Ah @, the only symbol on the list to earn a spot in the MoMa’s architecture and design collection. How has this fetishized symbol become so potent over the years? It probably has something to do with the net-ruling rune’s deep and mysterious origins. 


It has been known by many names: the snail (France and Italy), the little mouse (China), the monkey’s tail (Germany). 


In 1971, a Bolt, Beranek & Newman programmer Raymond Tomlinson decided to insert the symbol between computer network addresses to separate the user from the terminal. Prior to Tomlinson’s use, the @ also graced the keyboard of the American Underwood in 1885 as an accounting shorthand symbol meaning “at the rate of.” 

在1971年,Bolt, Beranek & Newman的程式設計師Raymond Tomlinson決定在電腦網路地址中插入一個符號,來區隔使用者與終端名稱。在Tomlinson使用之前,@在1885年American Underwood的鍵盤上被作為會計「at the rate of」的縮寫符號。

Go back even further and things start to get hazy. Some suggest that @ has its origins in the sixth century, when monks adopted it as a better way of wirting the word ad-Latin for “at” or “toward”-that was not so easily confused with AD, the designation for Anno Domini, or the the years after the death of Christ. 

更往前追朔,事情開始變得模糊。有些人認為@源自於六世紀,當時的修道士將此視為「ad」(拉丁文的「at」或「toward」)更好的寫法,而且不會容易與「AD」,也就是Anno Domini,基督死亡的年那年混淆。 

via The Secret Histories of Those @#$%ing Computer Symbols