Tag Archives: @ symbol


Raymond Samuel Tomlinson Email Inventor [1941-2016]

Email symbol

Each and every day many of us open our laptops and cell phones to find our inbox full of emails

In 2015 their were over 2 billion emails sent our world wide every single day from 4.35 billion personal and business accounts.

And we owe it all to one man – Raymond Samuel Tomlinson.


Raymond, born April 23, 1941 in Amsterdam, New York passed away March 7 at his Lincoln, Massachusetts home at the age of 74.

Raymond is the creator of the “Email” way back in 1971.


1964 – Earned a Electrical Engineering Degree from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute [RPI], Troy, New York.

1965 – Received a Masters Degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT], Cambridge, Massachusetts.


1967 – Technology company of Bolt, Beranek and Newman (now BBN Technologies), where he helped develop the TENEX operating system including ARPANET Network Control Program and TELNET implementations.

1968 – Ray and BBN were hired bythe United States Defence Department to build the first Internet.

1971, Using ARPANET, the forerunner to the internet, Ray poineered network email by combining the SNDMSG and CPYNET programs. Which allowed messages to be sent to people on other computers. To do this he needed a symbol.

1973 – Became a co-author of RFC-561 which many of the email fields we still use today. Example From, Subject, and Date.

The @ symbol actually originated as far as 1884 on the American Underwood Typewriter. It was known as the “commercial a” commonly used back then by bookkeepers and accounts in ledgers. Example; 20 widgets @ 10 cents each.



2000 – Received the George R. Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award from the American Computer Museum.

2001 – Awarded the Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences for lifetime achievement.

2001 – Inducted into the Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame.

2002 – Awarded the Innovation Award from Discover Magazine.

2004 – Earned the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Internet Award.

2009 – Received the Prince of Asturias Award for scientific and technical research.

2011 – Ray was listed 4th in the MIT 150 list of the top 150 innovators and ideas from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

2011 – Received the Eduard Rhein Kulturpreis Cultural Award.

2012 – Inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame by the Internet Society.

So next time you profit from an email you sent out to customer, give thanks to Raymond Samuel Tomlinson Email Inventor [1941-2016]

Rick Ostler