It was previously thought that the emoji was created by a Japanese team working on messaging features in 1999 and made most popular by their inclusion on the iPhone.
All of this has been blown out of the water by the discovery of a document from 1635. In the paper, the hand-drawn smiley face can be clearly seen next to the signature of Jan Ladislaides after a section where he had audited municipal accounts.
The previous record holder was found on the manuscript of “To Fortune” by English poet Robert Herrick dating back to 1648, a full 13 years after the new document.
Also found on the Jan Ladislaides document is a clown face with what appears to be a hashtag in it, but it isn’t clear what the lawyer meant by this.
Featured image via Ringier Axel Springer.