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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Former IBM engineer George Laurer, who invented the supermarket bar code, dies at 94

George J. Laurer has died at the age of 94.

Laurer was a former IBM engineer. His invention of the Universal Product Code at IBM transformed retail and other industries around the world.
A funeral was held on Monday for Laurer, who died Thursday, December 5, at his home in Wendell, North Carolina.

Laurer was an electrical engineer with IBM in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park in the early 1970s when he spearheaded the development of the UPC, or bar code.

The now-ubiquitous marking, composed of unique black bars and a 12-digit number, allowed retailers to identify products and their prices as they are scanned, usually at checkout.
Laurer said in a 2010 interview that grocery stores in the 1970s were dealing with soaring costs and the labor-intensive requirements of putting price tags on all of their products. The bar code led to fewer pricing errors and allowed retailers to keep better account of their inventory.

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