Serial number

A serial number is a unique number applied to a product example, as opposed to a model number or type number. Each of a series of identical products has a different serial number. The term strictly applies only to numbers that increase by one for each unit (for example, 060001, 060002, 060003), but usage has expanded the term to refer to any unique alphanumeric identifier for one of a large set of objects.

Serial numbers are valuable in quality control, as once a defect is found in the production of a particular batch of product, the serial number will quickly identify which units are affected. Serial numbers are also used as a deterrent against theft and counterfeit products in that serial numbers can be recorded, and stolen or otherwise irregular goods can be identified.

Many computer programs come with serial numbers, often called "CD keys," and the installers often require the user to enter a valid serial number to continue. These numbers are verified using a certain algorithm to avoid usage of counterfeit keys. Some warez organizations supply lists of known valid serial numbers. Others will often develop a "keygen"; a program that creates a random serial number by running the installer's verification algorithm in reverse, fooling it into allowing the user to install the software without a valid licence. One database that contains many serial numbers is Serial Box.

Serial numbers also help track down counterfeit currency, because in some countries each banknote has a unique serial number.

Other items that have serial numbers include electronic goods, musical instruments, lottery tickets, bingo cards and large vehicles. The ISSN or International Standard Serial Number seen on magazines and other periodicals, an equivalent to the ISBN applied to books, is serially assigned but takes its name from the library science use of serial to mean a periodical.

Starting as early as 1850, the big American Watch Companies also marked each single watch movement with an individual serial number and carefully recorded the characteristics of each batch, which is still of great assistance to today's watch collectors. Nowadays, each COSC Officially Certified Chronometer's movement is marked with an officially recorded individual serial number.



  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools