Due to the article in the NY Times, yesterday, this subject has again become current.
In an archived column here at
various people claimed credit for themselves or others for inventing the smiley face some time during the last several decades.
Such claims are ridiculous. Using a circle with two dots for eyes and a curved line for a smile is as old as mankind. Coloring it yellow is one of only a few available choices of primary color. You don’t “invent” something like this. At most, you re-start a fad.
I say RE-start because the first one seems to have been at least 30,000 years ago.
Some years ago, there was a big traveling exhibit of ice age art that I saw at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Millions of other people saw it as well. The artworks were arranged chronologically, with the oldest stuff last. As I traveled back in time, I eventually reached a case with the oldest objects in the show, which were dated at about 30,000 years ago, and there, on a shelf, was a small disk-shaped rock inscribed by some hairy grunting ancient marketer with, you guessed it, a smiley face!