Industrial label printers have come a long way since they were invented by Texas Instruments in 1965 and first sold in 1969. The age of the industrial label printer had begun and became the “go to” technology for printing labels, especially those with barcodes.
A number of things had to happen before industrial label printers would become a staple.
The first related innovation was discovered by Joe Woodland, who had tasked himself with creating a code that could be read to speed the purchase of groceries. He found his moment of inspiration on a Miami beach when he, for some reason, stuck four of his fingers into the sand and drew them towards him. He also made a circle in the sand using the same method.
About that same time, Bernard “Bob” Silver overheard a conversation between a grocer and the dean of his college that called for a similar solution. Mr. Silver mentioned it to Mr. Woodland and the earliest barcode was conceived in 1949 and a patent was granted on October 7, 1952.
There was another challenge: how to read the barcode?
The “reading” technology (the LASER or Light Amplification by Stimulated Emissions of Radiation) was announced on July 17, 1960 by Theodore Maiman, a Hughes Aircraft Company research scientist. Interestingly enough, Mr. Maiman wrote, “I did not forsee the supermarket check-out scanner or the printer.”
At that same time RCA (Radio Corporation of America) was looking to solve the grocery checkout problem. They found the Woodland/Silver patent and were interested in using the circular version of the bar code because it could be read from any direction.
The issue was, how to accurately print the barcode so it would be read perfectly each and every time. However, IBM entered the race and was able to convince the Symbol Committee of the standards organization to use a “line-based” barcode instead, which was chosen as the standard on March 30, 1973.
Perfect timing for thermal printing technology.
Now, there is great demand for industrial label printers that can print labels containing barcodes, color images, and text. Afinia Label had two excellent options: The L301 Color Label Printer for Small Business and the L801 Digital Color Label Printer.