A Trading Technology that Transformed the Street

November 15, 2011

A Trading Technology that Transformed the Street

By Kristin Aguilera, Deputy Director, Museum of American Finance
Bloomberg - Echoes Blog

On Nov. 15, 1867, Wall Street experienced an important -- arguably its most important -- technological breakthrough, as the first stock ticker went “online.”

Stock symbols, volume and price were typed into a machine and then relayed over telegraph wires to tickers, which printed the information onto thin strips of paper, called ticker tape.

For the first time, continuous nationwide transmission of stock prices was possible, even if there was a few minutes’ delay between data entry and ticker printing. This was a vast improvement over the earlier methods of transmitting financial information by mail, messenger, flag signal and carrier pigeon.

But the ticker didn’t just make communications within the financial industry faster -- it completely transformed the way Wall Street worked...


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