Exhibits At the Museum

This Day in History

Today: April 18, 2014

May 3, 1978

Earliest known case of SPAM

Today, unsolicited bulk email--better known as spam--accounts for up to 90% of all email messages, but it wasn't until this date in 1978 that the first spam was sent. Gary Thuerk, a Digital Equipment Corporation marketer, composed a message promoting the DECSYSTEM-20 computer, working with Carl Gartley, who would log-on with Thuerk's mail account to send the message. The message promoted two upcoming product presentations of the DECSYSTEM-20 accessing the ARPANET. The reaction to the message was swift and highly negative, including one who claimed that the message shut down his system.