An overview of EAS security tags' history

by Karter Hall on October 25, 2022

Retailers have been fighting the five-finger discount for as long as there have been goods to sell, and along the way they have used a variety of tactics to stop the crime.

Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS), which enables shops to secure individual products with security tags and be informed of a theft incidence, was one of the most successful techniques created in this continuously changing battlefield.

EAS and security tags have advanced significantly in the five decades since they were originally used on the factory floor in the 1960s, making them one of the most widely used loss prevention solutions on the market.

Here is a brief history of EAS and security tags, including how they became one of the most popular strategies used to combat retail shrink.

Not quite modest beginnings

Electronic article surveillance was created in 1964 as a result of the frustration of an Ohio store manager with the recurring issue of stealing. He allegedly said that anyone who could find out a technique to stop such criminals was destined to make a fortune after following a guy who had stolen bottles of liquor.

After hearing the remark, his cousin Jack Welch excitedly accepted the challenge and returned to the store a few weeks later with a package of electrical components and a tag affixed to a piece of cardboard. Although the design was rudimentary, it showed what would happen if someone attempted to leave the business with the tag.

The 1960s super tag

In two years, Arthur J. Minasy will officially be credited for creating EAS security tags. He is recognised as the creator and developer of a security mechanism that could be fastened to goods up for sale. Manasy's method, which was based on RF technology, served as the foundation for his business Knogo.

Security tags were heavily promoted to shops by the year's conclusion.

The 1970s' small label era and Swept RF

Major EAS industry developments occurred throughout the 1970s. Swept RF technology, electro-magnetic technology, and the capacity to produce miniature labels had all been established by the early 1970s.

The 1980s: Acousto-magnetized

Throughout the 1980s, more advancements were made, with acousto-magnetic technology joining the EAS lineup.

Retailers were able to stop shoplifters who attempted to circumvent tag security by utilising foil booster packs since it operated on a lower frequency.

Then, in 1986, Ink tags became available. These tags had a dye pack that, when tampered with by thieves, would leak ink. Although the technology's initial iteration wasn't very successful, it would later be refined into a highly successful benefit denial technique that now also makes use of EAS.

90s is the source tag

The introduction of source tagging in the 1990s allowed merchants to benefit from tags being affixed at the point of manufacturing. Major US businesses like Home Depot and JC Penney adopted it fast.

Beyond 2000

Over the past two decades, EAS has undergone ongoing enhancement and amplification.

Now available in a variety of sizes, security tags and labels provide a higher quality solution without impeding customer engagement. They are also simpler to disable at the point of sale, more dependable, and easier to integrate with packaging.

The availability of new technology and smaller components has played a major role in this evolution, but it has also been prompted by thieves' evolving skills.

As a result, loss prevention techniques like EAS, security labels, and tags are always being updated and improved. It rates as one of the most effective tactics, reducing loss by up to 80%, and is used by 68% of US merchants and 73% of retailers worldwide.


To learn more about which security tags are a good fit to upgrade at your retail store, INEO’s expert online support staff are able to assist you with the decision. Please reach out to Amit Pannu, at APannu@ineosolutionsinc.com. 

Additional Resources


At the same time, staff should also ensure the label deactivator is switched on.