A Short History of Signs and Symbols

  ,     Paolo Dagomari (1281-1372), an Italian mathematician, first used the comma to separate large figures into units of three. Comma sign was first used in text in England in 1534.
  +     Plus sign was first used by Johannes Widmann in Leipzig, Germany in 1489.
  -     Minus sign was first used by Johannes Widmann in Leipzig, Germany in 1489.
  !     Exclamation mark was first used by John Day, an English printer, in 1553.
  =     Equals sign was first used by Robert Recorde, an English mathematician, in 1557.
  *     Asterisk sign was used by Sir Philip Sidney, an English poet, politician, and soldier in 1587.
  ?     Question mark was used by Sir Philip Sidney, an English poet, politician, and soldier in 1587.
  >     Greater-than sign was first used by Thomas Harriot, an English astronomer, mathematician, and physicist, in 1621.
  <     Less-than sign was first used by Thomas Harriot, an English astronomer, mathematician, and physicist, in 1621.
  ÷     Division sign was first used by John Pell, an English diplomat and mathematician, c.1630 and Johann Heinrich Rahn, a Swiss mathematician, in 1659.
  x     Multiplication sign was first used by William Oughtred, an English mathematician, in 1631.
       Infinity symbol was first used by Reverend John Wallis, an English mathematician, in 1655.