23rd May 2024

The e-mail predates the Internet or the World Wide Web by more than a decade. The e-mail originated in the research labs of the United States Defence Labs in the late 1960s, in the ARPANET project. It was used as a note or a file that was transferred from one user’s folder to another user’s folder in a mainframe computer. Several users could log in at a time to the mainframe computer from their respective ‘dumb terminals’ (computers that could not store data but could access the mainframe computer). Once any user logged in to a computer, he was able to see the message. However, it was not clear who sent the message and to whom. In 1971, Roy Tomlinson designated an e-mail address format, i.e. the name of the user @ name of the computer, and used the ‘at the rate of’ @ symbol to separate the user from the host (computer). The Internet arrived on the scene some time in the early 1980s, almost ten years after the e-mail.

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