Pre-Mosaic Era

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Email at that time could be of several different kinds, not all of which utilized the now infamous letter '@'. For instance, some people were on BITNET, and in order to reach them from the ARPA-net (that is, the seed of today's Internet) one had to type in addresses like

The UUCP mail transfer protocol was also quite common, meaning mail delivery could take several days because systems only exchanged information (through a dial-up connection) once a day (or night).

There were other nets as well. FIDOnet was the predominant means of communication between users of BBS:es.