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  • Jul 4, 1921
    (b.) -
    Dec 31, 2005
    (d.)

Bio/Description

He attended the Branch Agricultural College (BAC) now Southern Utah University, in Cedar City and entered the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD, in 1942. After graduation in June 1945, he served on the USS Walke as First Lieutenant and Damage Control Officer in the Korean War. After the Walke was hit by a torpedo or floating mine which killed 26 sailors and wounded 40, he was awarded a Bronze Star with Valor. After leaving the Navy in 1952, he went to work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and in 1954 went to work for Dow Chemical and then at Unette Corporation, a small plastic packaging firm. In May 1957, he began his 30-year career with IBM, mostly in Rochester, Minnesota. While at IBM, he developed devices and systems for high-speed printers, optical character readers, Universal Product Code (UPC) checkout systems, and an Advanced Optical Character Reader (AOCR) which reads addresses from mailed letters and reprints it as bar codes for easy resorting at smaller post offices that have simpler and cheaper sorting machines. In 1960, while at IBM, he invented the magnetic stripe card for use by the U.S. Government. He had the idea of gluing short pieces of magnetic tape to each plastic card, but the glue warped the tape, making it unusable. After returning home, she told his wife Dorothea about his problem. She was using a flat iron to iron clothes and tried ironing the magnetic tape to the card. That solved the problem, because the temperature of the iron was just high enough to bond the tape to the card. Magnetic stripes are now used on credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, stored-value cards, hotel keycards, and security identification badges.
  • Date of Birth:

    Jul 4, 1921
  • Date of Death:

    Dec 31, 2005
  • Gender:

    Male
  • Noted For:

    He was the IBM engineer who invented the Magnetic stripe card used for credit cards and identification badges
  • Category of Achievement:

  • More Info: