email was Mac something something

From: Tom Jennings <>
Date: Wed Jan 12 16:31:40 2005

> What we're trying to find out, on two threads now, is how life
> was before registered domain names. It would be nice to
> see what a full email header looked like before 1985.

Sorry, but you have the cart before the horse there. Hidden
"header" implies RFC822 et al, but "email" not very broadly
defined, doesn't require 'internet email' at all. It's not a
semantic game. 822 type mail was simply "the winner" but the
field was and still is large.

Its valid to take the current most-popular, rfc822, and trace it's
history back, but that won't show you all the things that went
before, only those in that thread, and even that requires throwing
out a lot of hard-to-categorize systems and techniques, and you
can't call the resulting story "the story of email". It's common
to do that sort of thing, but it's wrong.

This is a general historiographic problem, but here there's
thousands of other schemes.

FidoNet started in 1984, probably the first amateur email system,
but there were many, many other email systems that predated it by

Hell SAGE had multiple sites and modems, electronic transmission
and storage of human-addressed email is a really obvious idea once
you have a few givens.

Western Union did automatic, electrical-plus-electronic unattended
store-and-forward of telegrams (in a few high-traffic areas),
that's pushing "e-mail" pretty hard!
Received on Wed Jan 12 2005 - 16:31:40 GMT

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