The History of Email: Happy 29th Anniversary


On August 30th, 29 years ago, V. A. Shiva copyrighted “EMAIL” after he invented an interface that resembles the one we still use today with the fields “To: From: Cc: Bcc: Subject: Reply, Reply All, Forward” as well as an EMAIL body and attachment.

For this anniversary, V. A. Shiva designed the infographic below depicting the History of Email and Growth of Email Accounts.

As V. A Shiva states on his website “Starting in 1978, I began creating the first EMAIL system while 14-years old, at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).  In fact the term “Electronic Mail”, “EMAIL” itself was a new term.  The two words, “Electronic” and “EMAIL” juxtaposed together for me originally brought images of vaporizing paper and somehow transporting it across electrical wires, like the transporter in Star Trek. ”

30 years later he now teaches a class at MIT called “Systems Visualization”.

Read more about V.A Shiva’s story of  email here:

Note:electronic messaging predates V. A. Shiva Ayyadurai’s work in 1978. However, Ayyadurai holds the copyright to the computer program called “email,” establishing him as the creator of the “computer program for <an> electronic mail system” with that name, according to the U.S. Copyright Office.

A brief but accurate history of email is available here: 

Edit 2013: It should be noted many feel this graphic is a mis-representation of the history, and a full technical refutation is available here:  
Click the infographic to view it full size
Previous articleInfographic: Dutch Email Open Rates 2011
Next articleEmail Marketing Summit Australia: Be Inspired
emailexpert is published by Andrew Bonar, the founder of the company Deliverability which is incorporated in Australia, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. Deliverability has included Dotmailer, GetResponse,, SendLane and other ESPs as clients. Having launched his first website in 1990, he went on to become the co-founder of @POBox UK in 1993, a free email address provider, possibly the first in the world. Thereafter launching Cheapnet which became the longest running privately owned ISP in Europe before launching the first privately owned online payment gateway in the UK: Ebanx. Andrew has consulted to some of the worlds biggest senders including Amazon, Mondelez and Nestle. 2012 in his role as Global Deliverability Director at Emailvision was the first time he oversaw the delivery of more than 100 Biillion messages in a single year. Since that time he has provisioned consultancy or performed leadership roles at some of Australia's most successful tech companies. Including Campaign Monitor, and Kogan. With 21+ years of industry experience, Andrew is widely recognised as a leader in the field of message sending, deliverability and compliance. He currently resides in the Harbour City of Sydney and continues to serve as an independent consultant at organisations throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and the US.


  1. After reading through this blog, I never truly realized how e-mail got started. I actually did reports in college on the history of the Internet and how it was started and not once did the fantastic display of information regarding e-mail come up in the sources I cited for my report. Thank you for sharing this infographic, got a great break down of the history. It is very amazing to notice the difference in subscribers by every other year.

Comments are closed.