RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Today marks an important anniversary. On October 7, 1952, 60 years ago, the patent for the bar code was filed. For younger listeners, it's perhaps hard to imagine that there was actually a time when everything you bought wasn't scanable. Today, of course, those vertical zebra stripes are ubiquitous, on everything - from air fresheners to zombie survival kits.
According to the BBC, the very first item ever scanned by its barcode was a pack of chewing gum in an Ohio supermarket in 1974.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MARTIN: And you're listening to NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.