Bar Code Pioneer Proved the Technologies Was Strong

Bar Code Pioneer Proved the Technologies Was Strong

The essential concept driving the bar code came from study by N.

Joseph Woodland


Bernard Silver

in the late 1940s.

In the early 1960s,

David J. Collins

pioneered a way to scan bar codes with flashes of light. By building a system to determine railcars, he aided flip bar codes and their derivatives into an inescapable badge of present day daily life, utilised to identify goods, inventories, packages and individuals obtaining on airplanes.

Mr. Collins, a civil engineer, was operating for a Sylvania Electric Products and solutions Inc. lab in Waltham, Mass., when he arrived up with his plan for monitoring railcars. He labeled the vehicles with styles of bars in a variety of colours. Scanners study these codes as automobiles hauled gravel by way of Massachusetts. “It worked extremely, very effectively,” Mr. Collins said afterwards.

Railroads tried his KarTrak procedure in the late 1960s and 1970s but later switched to RFID tags. Mr. Collins still left Sylvania to type Laptop Identics Corp., which formulated laser scanners and furnished systems to

Normal Motors

to preserve keep track of of components on a Pontiac assembly line. Pc Identics also utilized the codes to monitor deals.

Others produced codes and scanners for groceries and other items, commencing with a pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum in 1974.

Mr. Collins died March 12 of troubles from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, at his residence in Duxbury, Mass. He was 86.

David Jarrett Collins, the youngest of 3 little ones, was born Feb. 11, 1936, and grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs. His father ran a railroad-source business. As a teen, he rowed competitively on the Schuylkill River with the Vesper Boat Club.

He analyzed civil engineering at Villanova University, wherever he graduated in 1957. Even though operating on his undergraduate diploma, he had a summertime career as a surveyor for the Pennsylvania Railroad. He acquired a master’s degree in industrial administration at the Massachusetts Institute of Technological innovation in 1959.

His railroad experience assisted give him his research strategy when he joined Sylvania. In an job interview with an MIT publication, he recalled that punch-card methods that tracked railcars ended up matter to errors, foremost to “a good deal of chaos.”

Mr. Collins later led Pc Identics as chairman and chief govt. In the late 1970s, the Massachusetts-centered business provided bar-code engineering to monitor runners in the New York City Marathon. In December 1983, Personal computer Identics went public with an preliminary general public supplying of stock.

Trying to get to develop in Europe, Computer system Identics fashioned a joint venture with NV Bekaert. That Belgian company finally obtained a 25% stake in Computer Identics. As Laptop or computer Identics struggled with losses in the mid-1980s, Bekaert and other shareholders place stress on the administration. Mr. Collins gave up the CEO job in 1986 and stepped down as chairman in 1987. He formed a consulting company, Knowledge Capture Institute, in Duxbury.

Mr. Collins is survived by his wife,

Joan Hacker Collins,

five small children and 10 grandchildren. An previously relationship ended in divorce.

Mr. Collins was an enthusiastic sailboat cruiser and racer. One of his sons,

Jarrett Collins,

recalled in a eulogy that his father was so determined to sail that, when limited-handed, he sometimes resorted to recruiting his daughter’s previous boyfriends as crew members. 

Produce to James R. Hagerty at [email protected]

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