Welcome to our free online barcode label generator. Using this tool you can generate all the popular barcode types for printing. To get started enter some data you would like to encode then click 'PRINT BARCODE'.

If you would like to learn more about barcodes and some of the different types of barcode available please feel free to have a browse.

A Brief History of Barcodes: Part 1

As food chain stores began to grow into the giant super market chains we have today a need for reading product information at checkout was required. Bernard Silver, a graduate student at the Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia, USA, investigated a solution. In 1948 a request was put to the institute to research a method of automatically reading the information about a product at checkout.

Together with Norman Joseph Woodland, Silver worked towards solving the problem. Woodland first had the idea of using ultraviolet light and an ink that was sensitive to the light. They built a prototype and found that the inks faded over time. Undeterred, Woodland moved to Florida, but the pair continued on the project. Woodland constructed his first barcode from sand on the beach. Inspired by morse code, Woodland extended the dots and dashes downwards making wide and narrow lines of them. On 20th October 1949 Woodland and Silver filed a patent application entitled, "Classifying Apparatus and Method". The patent was issued on 7th October 1952.

Woodland went to work for IBM, who researched the idea further, deciding that processing the information stored in these first barcodes needed technology that was unobtainable at the time. The patent was sold to a company called Philco in 1952 and then sold on to RCA.

Check back for part 2.

Posted: 06-03-2011 19:15:27

Using Barcodes Commercially

In a closed environment you can generate barcodes of any type for internal use. If you need to generate barcodes for commercial use you need to apply for a manufacturer number from GS1 (outside of the USA) or GS1 US (within the USA).

GS1, a not-for-profit organisation, among many other things, are responsible for assigning a prefix to use with your barcode numbers to ensure that they are unique. A list of regional GS1 offices can be found on their website.

Keep checking back for more interesting barcode facts!

Posted: 04-03-2011 08:22:56