Mark Pilgrim explores the question: why do we have an IMG element in HTML?
Why not an <icon> element? Or an <include> element? Why not a hyperlink with an include attribute, or some combination of rel values? Why an <img> element?
What Pilgrim doesn’t touch on was how that IMG tag drove adoption of Mosaic. Having images embedded right into web pages was like Dorothy stepping out of her house and into the lush color of Oz. (via waxy)