Inventions @IBM > Magnetic Stripe Technology


In 1969, IBM engineer Forrest Parry had a problem. He was trying to affix a strip of magnetized tape with a piece of plastic to create an identity card for the CIA, but he was struggling to combine the two components. When he mentioned the problem to his wife, who happened to be ironing clothing at the time, she suggested that he use the iron to melt the strip on. He tried it, and it worked. The magnetic stripe, when combined with point-of-sale devices and data networks, was one of the catalysts that accelerated the proliferation of credit card usage around the world, transforming commerce forever.


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