On September 19 1982, at 11:44 am, Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E Fahlman posted this - :-) and the "smiley", the first of the emoticons, was born.
The first smiley was posted in a message to an online bulletin board, the topic being the limitations of online humour and how to denote humorous comments.
Fahlman wrote: "I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-)
"Read it sideways."
Over the years, some have claimed to have got there before Professor Fahlman.
"I've never seen any hard evidence that the :-) sequence was in use before my original post, and I've never run into anyone who actually claims to have invented it before I did," Fahlman wrote on the university's Web page dedicated to the smiley face. "But it's always possible that someone else had the same idea -- it's a simple and obvious idea, after all."
For us poor saps in England back in 1982, smilies were unknown. Mind you, we had deelyboppers, so we weren't complaining...