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Incredible Images Of Wall Street Trading Before The Bloomberg Terminal

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Incredible Images Of Wall Street Trading Before The Bloomberg Terminal

Source: Old Wall Street Trading Technology - Business Insider

Incredible Images Of Wall Street Trading Before The Bloomberg Terminal

by Elena Holodny

Today's traders are spoiled by their online discount brokerage accounts and their Bloomberg terminals.

Before broadband fired live quotes and analysis at the speed of light to our smartphones, people used read bid-ask spreads off of chalkboards and historical data off of miles of ticker tape.

We went way back to see how trading was done in the pre-Bloomberg terminal era. We even went back before ticker tape was a thing.

With the help of images from the Museum of American Finance in New York, we put together a brief, visual history of trading technology, from ticker tape to the present.

Brokers called the main trading room downtown "The Curb Exchange." This was before it became the American Stock Exchange.
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Photo from 1915.

Much of the time, deals would be conducted out of windows to traders on curbs.
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And traders were hardcore. Here they are on the Curb Exchange during a snowstorm.
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The first stock ticker introduced in November, 1867 was just a modified telegraph receiver. Thomas Edison later patented a widely-used updated version.
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Some people saw the tickers as a novelty.
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But they were also a symbol of inequality. This 1911 image from Life Magazine shows a man studying stock prices as "the losers" point at him from across the room.
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Telegraph wires (many of which would have connected tickers) created a virtual canopy above downtown Manhattan.
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Here's ticker tape from Black Tuesday (October 29, 1929), showing the first trades of the historic day. You can see the date on the top left.
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Here's how the day ended. Notice the volume steadily increasing throughout the day.
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By 1926, a broad-sheet version had been developed by Dow Jones. Here's a fancy Art Deco version with a clipboard.
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Here's a photo of trader on Wall Street in a raincoat at a trading post.
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Ticker tape actually persisted as late as the 1970s. With the Dial Teleregister (created in 1932) you could dial-in a stock, and its bid and ask would be displayed.
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Here's a more handsome version.
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The industrial version the quotation board marked the end of chalkboards on Wall Street.
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Here's how it worked. From a central transmitting station in New York City, Teleregister provided data to over 400 boards throughout the country.
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Here's one section of the aforementioned Central Transmitting Room that controlled Teleregister prints.
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The coolest image we found: a 1930s broker's office at the firm of Benjamin Block & Co., featuring various ticker tape machines and stock quote board.
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The stock exchange had a "Quotation Room" where people would answer requests for stock prices within 60 seconds (1943).
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Versions of these persisted until digital displays came along. Here's what one looked like in 1955.
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But tickers still existed well into the latter half of the century. Here's a woman at checking "high speed tape and quotations."
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And here's a Trans-Lux "Personal Ticker."
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By the 1970s, things start to get slightly more familiar. Here's Bunker Ramo's video terminal. Bunker Ramo is now owned by Honeywell.
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A woman at a brokerage's terminal in the '70s, using one of the last ever ticker machines. It was "high speed" at 900 characters per minute.
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By the eighties, the big time tech player was Quotron. Here's what one of their terminals looked like on Black Monday, October 19, 1987.
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Quotron was a household name back in the day. They were eventually sold to Reuters.
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Behold, the handheld Quotron machine.
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Modern trading desks are way more powerful.
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...but then again, they'll never be as cool as this.
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