The @ symbol has been in written rotation long before it became a Twitter holla! Today, MoMA has officially announced its acquisition by the museum’s Department of Architecture and Design. They haven’t paid for it nor bought exclusive rights to use, but everyone is quite happy about nabbing the symbol, which is both “priceless” and “free.”
Along with smug glee, the Department of Architecture and Design’s senior curator offers up some diverse background info on the @ symbol, reaching back in history to its appearance in a 1536 letter and its past use in meaning “amphora, a standard-size terracotta vessel employed by merchants, which had become a unit of measure.” It’s can also be a signifier of gender neutrality in Spanish word endings and looks like a dog to Russians… really? A dog? How? What part of a dog, exactly? Why can I only explain such an odd interpretation with a self-hating vodka-involving stereotypes?