Proof That Emojis Are More Ancient Than You Think!

People think that emojis are this new thing, but I have a hunch they’ve been around for a while. It’s just that maybe they used to be a little more physical. For example, one year, at Previous Church’s annual Holiday Fair, someone donated this antique emoji-transmitting device:


At first glance, it just looks like some sort of oddly proportioned babydoll. But don’t be deceived. Take this baby for a spin and…


…it might fall asleep on you.


Did you find that upsetting? Sorry. I find it pretty creepy, too.

But this is not the only evidence of the age of emojis. A few weeks ago, while beach-combing on Cape Cod, I discovered a rare artifact. I haven’t gotten this appraised or anything, but I think I might have found an emoji device from the Stone Age. I call it the Emojistone. (Harry Potter’s life would have turned out so differently if he had been looking for one of these instead of the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone.) Behold.


Here we have what looks to be a cheery, if rushed, or maybe overly enthusiastic, little rock-character. But (also by spinning) he can also express anger/outrage (how relevant he is!):


…and sad/upset/despairing/Edvard Munch:


I’m pretty excited about this discovery. Imagine if people had to express emotions in some other, more complicated, intimate way–like with our faces…


For the genuinely curious, evidently those holes in the rock are created by mollusks called “piddocks“–and indeed, there were tiny little mollusks inside this stone when I first found it. 



8 thoughts on “Proof That Emojis Are More Ancient Than You Think!

  1. Interesting thoughts. Reminds me of ancient theatre where the actors donned masks to exxagerate whatever emotions the characters were feeling. (Ancient Greek? Ancient Japan? Both? I kinda forget)
    So, I am not sure how much your tongue is in your cheek on this one. There is some pretty fascinating research about human pattern recognition, that we tend to project face-shapes (and emotions that the face is carrying) on stuff where the faces are not there. i totally “see” the emotions you are referring to in the rock. But I find myself wondering if it isn’t naturally occuring, and the emotions that seem to be there are just a combination of luck, projection, and selection bias (you would not have picked up the other 99% of the rocks that didn’t appear to have faces)….
    Then again, maybe I have it all wrong.

    • Oh, my tongue was 100% in my cheek. And I actually picked up a whole jar-full of other rocks that day, too. But I do enjoy pattern recognition. Yes–the “face” was naturally occurring–by virtue of mollusks (see note at end of post)–but I anthropomorphize most things, and in fact have an entire Pinterest board where I post things that look like faces where faces were not intended to be. (Also a lamp that looks like an arm–intentionally–because it was interesting and I wasn’t sure where else to put it).

      I’ve basically decided to use the Jenn Stories as a spot to post silliness and stuff that I’m otherwise not taking too seriously, and the more thought-consuming (therefore more-work-to-write) posts at, though, so if it’s here, don’t take it too seriously!

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