[TUHS] who invented the email attachment?

Mary Ann Horton mah at mhorton.net
Sun Mar 19 09:46:06 AEST 2017

I'd like the opinion of this August Group.

Should I make a claim to be the inventor of the email attachment?  (It 
would go on my web site, resume, the Wikipedia page, that sort of thing.)

Here's my understanding of the time line on all of this.

 1. Originally, our files were all plain text and we just included them
    in the email message body.  The ~r command in Kurt Shoen's Mail
    program was typical.  There was no name for this, we were just
    emailing files.
 2. In 1980, I wrote uuencode.  It's stated purpose was to "encode a
    binary file for transmission by email".  I didn't use the term
    "attachment".  It became part of 4.0BSD and later systems, and was
    widely used.
 3. In 1985, Lotus created cc:Mail.  It eventually included attachments,
    using a file store method.  When they added an SMTP gateway later,
    it used uuencode as the format.  I believe cc:Mail first used the
    term "attachment".
 4. Microsoft did the same thing with MS Mail somewhat later, possibly
    in the 1990s.  It also used uuencode in the SMTP gateway.
 5. In 1992, Nathaniel Borenstein and Ned Freed invented MIME.  It had a
    different (and IMHO much better) way to send attachments, and it
    became an Internet Standard sometime later, possibly in 1996.

What do you all think?

     Mary Ann

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://minnie.tuhs.org/pipermail/tuhs/attachments/20170318/3016713a/attachment.html>

More information about the TUHS mailing list