50 Years of the First E-mail
In 1971, Ray Tomlinson from the firm BBN was working with other members of staff to set up a data transmission system for the United States Department of Defence. Whilst doing so, he discovered a way of sending a file from one computer to a user on another computer. The recipient was able to read the file, save it, change it and send it back again.
Although not part of Tomlinson’s actual assignment, this created the idea of the e-mail. For transmission, it was necessary to combine the addressee and the computer name in the file address. Since this was not possible with a normal character because of the danger of confusion, a special character had to be found. Tomlinson decided to use the @, which he discovered in a special character set on his mainframe computer.
E-mails have long since become the dominant means of communication in the business world and the special character @ now has its permanent place on every keyboard. The special stamp “50 Years of the First E-mail” (face value: CHF 1.00) by Cologne-based designer Detlef Behr also features the at symbol. The stamp is available in a sheet of 12 wet-adhesive stamps.
Date of Issue – 06 Sep 2021 Denomination – 1 Franc