Various forms of one-to-one electronic messaging were used in the 1960s. People communicated with one another using systems developed for specific mainframe computers. As more computers were interconnected, especially in the US Government's ARPANET, standards were developed to allow users of different systems to email one another. SMTP grew out of these standards developed during the 1970s.
SMTP can trace its roots to two implementations described in 1971: the Mail Box Protocol, whose implementation has been disputed, but is discussed in RFC 196 and other RFCs, and the SNDMSG program, which, according to RFC 2235, Ray Tomlinson of BBN invented for TENEX computers to send mail messages across the ARPANET. Fewer than 50 hosts were connected to the ARPANET at this time.
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, a protocol for sending e-mail messages between servers. Most e-mail systems that send mail over the Internet use SMTP to send messages from one server to another; the messages can then be retrieved with an e-mail client using either POP or IMAP. In addition, SMTP is generally used to send messages from a mail client to a mail server. This is why you need to specify both the POP or IMAP server and the SMTP server when you configure your e-mail application.
The geeks would get this right!