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The 'At' Sign In Emails

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Statistics by Radicati Group in April 2010 estimated that 294 billion emails are sent per day by about 1.9 billion users. Approximately 90% of these millions and trillions of messages are spam and viruses.

What they have in common is the @ sign, which according to the Museum of Modern Art's current exhibit, dates back to the 6th century used by scribes for the Latin word at, spelled ad.

Sixteenth century Venetian merchants used the symbol to abbreviate a unit of measure. To the Norman French it meant "each at" indicating price. Beginning in 19th century the symbol has been standard on typewriters and computers with the 20th century utilizing it for "at the rate of."

In 1967 Roy Tomlinson created the first email system for the US government and since that time the symbol means the relationship between two entities.

Poles, Germans and South Africans see it as a monkey's tail while to Chinese it's a mouse and to Italians and French it's a snail. Call it what you want, the universal @ sign is an example of globalism.

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

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