Saturday, June 10, 2006

The "@" Symbol

Some things are so common place that you scarcely notice them. But that doesn't make them any less fascinating. Take the humble "@" symbol, for instance.
The @ sign was used in trade to mean "at the price of" before resting on the first Underwood typewriter keyboard in 1885, then later with QWERTY on modern keyboards in the 1940s

One day in late 1971, computer engineer Ray Tomlinson grappled with how to properly address what would be history's very first e-mail. After 30 seconds of intense thought, he decided to separate the name of his intended recipient and their location by using the "@" symbol. He needed something that wouldn't appear in anyone's name, and settled on the ubiquitous symbol, with the added bonus of the character representing the word "at," as in, hey_you@wherever_you_happen_to_work.com.

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