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where it's @


What would you call this curly character? All around the world it goes by many names... Sweden cinnamon bun France arobas or "a roulé" Holland "apestaart" or monkey tail Italy "chiocciola" or snail Israel "shtrudel" Czech "zavinac" or rollmops Canada annie dalton

Contrary to popular belief, the @ sign is not actually a child of the computer age, but has been around for centuries. It is actually a ligature (two letters tied together) and comes from the Latin preposition "ad” meaning at; to; or toward, and goes back as far as the 6th or 7th century. As you can see, the bowl of the “a” and the “d” merged, then the upstroke of the “d” was exaggerated and curved to the left. Abbreviations like this were developed by scribes in order to save room on their parchment paper page or to fit a word in in a block of justified text.

By the 18th century, the @ sign was used as a commercial accounting abbreviation meaning "at the rate of”. By the 19th century it was incorporated into typewriter keys. In the 1970s the symbol surged into global use, after electrical engineer Ray Tomlinson invented the methodology of inserting it into email addresses and launched it career as a symbol for the internet.

It was so much fun to create this ligature mark from my first and last initials that I even had temporary tattoos made - give me a shout if you want one or two!


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