I've noticed that in computer programming, underscores are used extensively to create names that are technically one word long but consist of several different words. For example, C++ has
get_temporary_buffer. However, this use case only exists because it's easier for software to split apart source code using whitespace as boundaries. In fact, in every case I can think of where I've seen underscores used, the rationale has always been to simplify some automated process.
Did the underscore character exist before computers were invented? If so, what were they used for?