Old Stock Quotes
Now that more and more stock exchanges are becoming electronic and fully automated, do you ever wonder what old stock quotes looks like and how you got them? Here's a term you probably haven't heard in awhile: ticker tape.
Ticker tape was a means of sending stock price information over telegraph lines between about 1870 and 1970. It was a paper strip that ran through a machine called a stock ticker that printed abbreviated company symbols, followed by price and volume information.
Paper ticker tape started becoming archaic in the 1960s financial information was increasingly shared via as TV and computers. The stock ticker concept lives on, however, in the scrolling electronic tickers viewable on brokerage walls and financial channels on TV.
Stock tickers in different buildings were connected using equipment based on the then-just invented telegraph machines, although the advantage that the output was readable text, versus of the dots and dashes of Morse code. The apparatus printed a number of ticker symbols - which were normally an abbreviation of a company's name - followed by concise information about the price of that company's stock. The word ticker comes from the distinct tapping (or ticking) noise the machines made while printing.
"Newer and more efficient tickers became available in the 1930s and 1960s but the physical ticker tape phase was quickly coming to a close being followed by the electronic phase," says the Wikipedia article on ticker tape history. "These newer and better tickers still had an approximate 15 to 20 minute delay. Stock ticker machines became obsolete in the 1960s, replaced by computer networks; none have been manufactured for use for decades. However, working reproductions of at least one model are now being manufactured for museums and collectors. It was not until 1996 that a ticker type electronic device was produced that could operate in true real time. Simulated ticker displays, named after the original machines, still exist as part of the display of television news channels and on some World Wide Web pages--see news ticker. One of the most famous displays is the simulated ticker located at One Times Square in New York City."
"Ticker tapes then and now contain generally the same information," says the article. "The ticker symbol is a unique set of characters used to identify the company. The shares traded is the volume for the trade being quoted. Price traded refers to the price per share of a particular trade. Change direction is a visual cue showing whether the stock is trading higher or lower than the previous trade, hence the terms downtick and uptick. Change amount refers to the difference in price from the previous day's closing. These are reflected in the modern style tickers that we see every day. Many today include color to indicate whether a stock is trading higher than the previous day's (green), lower than previous (red), or has remained unchanged (blue or white)."
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