Air Wear products include a bar code design theme. I was saddened to learn that the co-founder of the barcode died this week. Joseph Woodland was schooled in morse code, and had been trying to track product using that...until one day at the beach...
The inventors originally intended the bar code to be round.
The excerpt from the Wall St. Journal article on Mr. Woodland's passing is below.
(The NY Times also offers a nice write up on Mr. Woodland's death here.)
The only code Mr. Woodland knew was the Morse Code he had learned in the Boy Scouts, his daughter said. One day, he drew Morse dots and dashes as he sat on the beach and absent-mindedly left his fingers in the sand where they traced a series of parallel lines.
"It was a moment of inspiration. He said, 'instead of dots and dashes I can have thick and thin bars,' " Susan Woodland said.