For many years, the use of the 8th bit in strings was
up-for-grabs, initially used by applications (Wordstar set it
to make beginnings of words easier for it to find), then by
vendors (e.g. ATARI-800 "graphics" characters!)...
Eventually the 8th bit characters were standardized by iso-8859, whose Latin-1 kept us Merkin Boobs happy for a long time.
The character names are already starting to look like the Unicode standard ("DIAERESIS" instead of "umlaut", and so on).