Beginners Guide

Lesson 1, the history of email

Lesson 1, the history of email

Electronic mail, commonly referred to as email or e-mail since 1993, is the method of exchanging messages from a sender to the receiver on a network, generally the internet.

The first email was sent in 1971 by a man called Raymond Tomlinson over the ARPANET. He implemented the first email system that sent an electronic message from one computer to another, in doing so he also coined the ‘@’ symbol to seperate the user name from the senders domain, which has been used ever since.

The ARPANET is famous for securely transferring protected military files between networks. As the ARPANET expanded from 4 research labs to several others, different models of computers were connected, thus creating compatability issues.
The solution was a set of protocols now referred to as TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) this was designed in 1982.







Raymond Tomlinson was also deeply involved in services needed to send emails over networks, these services included;
Mail Transport Agent (MTA) to move emails between machines, setting a standard format for email messages and designing a tool for creating and reading messages.

In addition to this, R. Tomlinson was one of the contributers for developments towards the enhancement of FTP to support emails. FTP was used up until 1982 to transfer emails until it was replaced by SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) and is still used to this day.

In 1991 ISPs come along and allow widespread internet access, but there were limited options for use until Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide web.

This concludes the first lesson of the guide, please go to Lesson 2 – the beginning of Commercial email

By Anthony Mitchell

Anthony Mitchell is a Deliverability Consultant with ten years of experience in all areas of E-Mail Deliverability & Abuse Management.
A Blogger & Youtuber, discussing all things email

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