The Internet at the Speed of Thought

The Man Behind the @ Symbol

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The Surprising History of the @

Imagine a world without the @ symbol. Given the sign’s increasingly popular usage on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook–not to mention that it’s the foundation of all email–you probably can’t.

But like most computer slang and internet shortcuts, the @ symbol has a lengthy history, and the sign in its contemporary usage even has a creator. Sadly, that man, Ray Tomlinson, died on March 5. He was 74 years old.

How familiar are you with the @ sign? You might be surprised to learn how important it was to cultures across the world centuries before Tomlinson selected it as the very foundation of modern day email.

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Source: Twitter @HistoricalPics @gmail

Turns out the @ was nearly as important in the Middle Ages as it is today…