On June 26th, 1974, a cashier at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio ushered in the modern era of retail cashiering when the scanned the first item sold with a Universal product Code or UPC.
The first UPC codes were developed and patented in the 30s and 40s with the first practical attempts to use UPC coming in the 1960s when railroads experimented with multi-color codes for tracking rail cars. The experiment was not successful and the railroads discontinued their use.
By the late 60s, the Uniform Grocery Product Code Council was formed by a group from the grocers trade groups. After five years of research and development the UPC was launched.
Clyde Dawson purchased a 10 pack of Juicy Fruit gum from Sharon Buchanan for 67¢. Actually the entire cart continued UPC coded products, the gum just happened to be the first item selected. Recognizing the importance of the transaction, the gum later went on display at the Smithsonian Institute