While most people believe that Scott Fahlman was the first person to suggest the use of :-) symbol for representing a smiley face, Times has stumbled upon an old speech of Abraham Lincoln that contains a sequence of characters which look very similar to what we now refer to as an emoticon.

emoticon in lincoln's speech

As you may seen in the screenshot, the transcript of this 1862 speech delivered by Lincoln contains the characters “;)” immediately after the word laughter. If these characters were meant to represent a smiling face, it will definitely push back the the birth of emoticons by more than a century.