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An estimated 281 billion emails are sent each day worldwide — and lo and behold, they all got their start with the letters “LO.”

On Oct. 29, 1969 — just three months after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon — UCLA graduate student Charley Kline sent the first electronic message between two computers over the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), the U.S. Defense Department’s precursor to the Internet. Kline and his professor, Leonard Kleinrock, were trying to reach Stanford Research Institute programmer Bill Duvall, some 350 miles away.

How electronic messages were implemented

Using a Sigma 7 mainframe — a room-sized computer with under-floor cooling and only 128 KB of memory and 24 MB of disk space — Kline began trying to type LOGIN. He only got as far as L-O before the Sigma 7 crashed.

Kline rebooted the machine, which took an hour. His second attempt was successful. Kline was able to type L-O-G-I-N and connect to the SDS 940 host computer at Stanford.

Following this achievement, Kleinrock said: “As of now, computer networks are still in their infancy. But as they grow up and become more sophisticated, we will probably see the spread of ‘computer utilities’ which, like present electric and telephone utilities, will service individual homes and offices across the country.”

Photo:  Vladimir Sukhachev / Shutterstock

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Kate Johanns

Posted by Kate Johanns

Kate Johanns is a communications professional and freelance writer with more than 13 years of experience in publishing and marketing.

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