WWW FAQs: What was the first email system?


2006-02-03: The very first email system was most likely a time-sharing system at MIT or SDC. Time-sharing systems allowed a single computer to be shared by many users at "dumb terminals" without computing power of their own. Email in these systems never left the single computer, so the Internet was not involved. See Wikipedia for more information.

Internet email somewhat as we know it today, featuring the now-famous "@" sign for addresses, dates back to Ray Tomlinson's work in 1971. Tomlinson received an IEEE Internet Award for his work in 2004.

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