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Happy Birthday Stock Tickers

By Dian Vujovich

November 15 turns out to be a really big day for stocks for it was on this day in 1867 that the first stock ticker machine was used in NYC.

Although it’s not one of those birthdates Wall Street celebrates, one would think they would given that prior to the creation of this telegraph machine —and the advent of those little one-, two-, three- or four-lettered ticker symbols —the buying and selling of stocks was a whole lot more cumbersome. Prior to its arrival, stock prices were spoken, handwritten or typed and traveled to and fro by mail or messenger. Imagine how long that must have taken!

According to History.com, Edward Calahan, who worked for the Gold & Stock Telegraph Company, created the first ticker tape machine and rented the machines out to interested firms. The ticker got its name because of the sound the machine made with it punched the paper tape.

But it was Thomas Edison who improved upon that earlier version, had it patented and it remained the one most familiar to Wall Street until the 1960s. That’s when electronics took over and it was goodbye to the ticker tape and hello to the ticker tape electronic board.

There’s a lot one can learn from a company’s ticker symbol. In addition to identifying a company and providing its stock’s price, a wealth of data is available to anyone researching a firm via its ticker symbol.

For those interested in identifying a company’s ticker symbol, EODData has collected 20 years of company ticker data from stock exchanges around the globe. Visit it at eoddata.com .

While ticker symbols are as important today as they were about 150 years ago, it’s too bad that ticker tape parades haven’t retained the same amount of clout.

To read more articles, please visit the column archive.

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