This year marks the 50th anniversary since computer engineer Ray Tomlinson sent the first email on ARPANET, kicking off one of the integral parts of today’s information technology landscape. The Onion looks back at key moments in the 50-year history of email.
1971: Ray Tomlinson develops system for communicating thoughts too passive-aggressive to say face to face.
1976: Queen Elizabeth II becomes first head of state to send an email, ushering the British monarchy into modern times in exactly one way.
1983: Email improved to allow users to not only send but also receive messages.
1991: Atlantis astronauts send first email from space, discovered 25 years later in spam folder next to ad for herbal baldness cure.
1993: Cindy Hobart of Louisville, KY, becomes first person to tell ex they’ll be deleting future emails unread only to cave after 24 hours of message sitting in inbox.
1998: Voice actor Elwood Edwards’ poetic recording of “You’ve got mail!” bastardized into cinematic filth starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
2011: Last time iPhone inbox at zero.
2018: Royal Egyptian Bedding announces storewide 20% off sale; use code BED20.
2021: 1,000th career ruined by someone accidentally hitting “Reply All.”