**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. The comma
symbol was first used in text in England in 1534.
**+** The plus sign was first used by Johannes Widmann in Leipzig, Germany in
1489.
**-** The minus sign was first used by Johannes Widmann in Leipzig, Germany in
1489.
**!** The exclamation mark was first used by John Day, an English printer,
in 1553.
**=** The equals sign was first used by Robert Recorde, an English
mathematician, in 1557.
***** The asterisk symbol was used by Sir Philip Sidney, an English poet,
politician, and soldier in 1587.
**?** The question mark was used by Sir Philip Sidney, an English poet,
politician, and soldier in 1587.
**>** The greater-than sign was first used by Thomas Harriot, an English
astronomer, mathematician, and physicist, in 1621.
**<** The less-than sign was first used by Thomas Harriot, an English
astronomer, mathematician, and physicist, in 1621.
**÷** The 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** The multiplication sign was first used by William Oughtred, an
English mathematician, in 1631.
**∞** The infinity symbol was first used by Reverend John Wallis, an
English mathematician, in 1655.

Last modified: 10.31.2017