Trivia Minute June 26, 2015

118: UPC Codes

by Marcus Michelson
On June 26, 1974, the first product with a UPC code was scanned by a cash register.
Here are some things you may not know about the system.
First, early ideas for methods to quickly scan items involved punch cards, bulls-eye symbols and color codes. Eventually a grocery industry group agreed on a proposal from IBM which uses the lines of varying widths we know today.
Second, the code includes a beginning and an end so that the scanner can determine which way the code is oriented. each line of the code equates to the numbers that are printed below them.
Third, the first UPC scanned was on a package of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit Gum. It was purchased by Clyde Dawson from cashier Sharon Buchanan at a Marsh supermarket in Troy, Ohio. The pack of gum cost 67 cents.
Our question: What does UPC stand for?
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