Ticker tape

Ticker tape

Ticker tape was used by "ticker tape machines", the Ticker tape timer, "stock ticker machines", or just "stock tickers".


The term "ticker tape" came from the sound made by the machine as it printed, and tape simply refers to the machines using a paper tape printout as a rolling display of stock prices. [ [http://www.investopedia.com/articles/01/070401.asp Understanding the Ticker Tape] ] In 1867, Edward A. Calahan of the American Telegraph Company invented the first stock telegraph printing device. [ [http://inventors.about.com/od/sstartinventions/a/stock_ticker.htm Who Invented the Stock Ticker?] ] Early versions of stock tickers provided the first mechanical means of conveying stock prices ("quotes"), over a long distance over telegraph wiring. In its infancy, the ticker used the same symbols as Morse code as a medium for conveying messages. Previously, they were hand-delivered via written or messages. Since the useful time-span of individual quotes is very brief, they generally had not been sent long distances; aggregated summaries, typically for one day, were sent instead. The increase in speed provided by the ticker allowed for faster and more exact sales. Since the ticker ran continuously, updates to a stock’s price whenever the price changed became effective much faster and trading became a more time sensitive matter. For the first time, trades were being done in what we think of as near real-time.

By the 1880s, there were about a 1,000 stock tickers installed in the offices of New York bankers and brokers. In 1890, members of the exchange agreed to create the New York Quotation Co. in order to buy up all other ticker companies. The move was done to provide accuracy of reporting of price and volume activity. [ [http://www.tickertapedigest.com/articles/visitor/visitor.htm History of the Ticker Tape] ]

Stock ticker machines are an ancestor of the modern computer printer, being one of the first applications of transmitting text over a wire to a printing device. One of the earliest practical stock ticker machines, the Universal Stock Ticker developed by Thomas Edison in 1869, had an alphanumeric printing speed of approximately 1 character per second. A special typewriter designed for operation over telegraph wires was used at the opposite end of the telegraph wire connection to the ticker machine. Text typed on the typewriter got displayed on the ticker machine at the opposite end of the connection.


Stock tickers in various buildings were connected using technology based on the then-recently invented telegraph machines, with the advantage that the output was readable text, instead of the dots and dashes of Morse code. The machines printed a series of "ticker symbols" (usually shortened forms of a company's name), followed by brief information about the price of that company's stock; the thin strip of paper they were printed on was called "ticker tape". As with all these terms, 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. 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. 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, whence 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).

Other usage

Used ticker tape was cut into a form of confetti, to be thrown from the windows above parades, primarily in lower Manhattan; this became known as a ticker-tape parade. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/216006.stm Glenn's second ticker tape parade] ] Ticker tape parades generally celebrated some significant event, such as the end of a World War, or the safe return of one of the early astronauts.


External links

*"Exchanges - Ticker Tape Terminology." The Investment FAQ. 19 September 1999. 20 April 2007 .
*"Understanding the Ticker Tape." (symbols) Investopedia. 25 February 2005. 20 April 2007 .
* [http://patentpending.blogs.com/patent_pending_blog/2004/10/thomas_edisons_.html Thomas Edison's Ticker Tape Patent]
* [http://www.tickertapedigest.com/articles/visitor/visitor.htm Ticker Tape Digest (brief history of the ticker tape)]
* [http://www.ieee-virtual-museum.org/collection/tech.php?id=2345867 IEEE Virtual Museum: The Stock Ticker]
* [http://www.stocktickercompany.com/stc/history/ The Stock Ticker Company: Stock Ticker History]
* [http://www.worldwideschool.org/library/books/hst/biography/Edison/chap7.html WorldWideSchool: Edison and the Stock Ticker]
* [http://www.ashkon.com/ts.html Software emulating stock ticker tape]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ticker tape — Ticker Tick er (t[i^]k [ e]r), n. [See {Tick}.] 1. One who, or that which, ticks, or produces a ticking sound, as a watch or clock, a telegraphic sounder, etc. [1913 Webster] 2. A telegraphic receiving instrument that automatically prints off… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ticker tape — n 1.) [U] long narrow paper on which information, for example the price of company ↑stocks, is printed by a special machine 2.) ticker tape parade AmE an occasion when someone important or famous walks or drives through an American city and… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • ticker tape — ☆ ticker tape n. paper tape used in a TICKER (sense a) for recording telegraphed stock market quotations, etc …   English World dictionary

  • ticker tape — ► NOUN ▪ a paper strip on which messages are recorded in a telegraphic tape machine …   English terms dictionary

  • ticker tape — ticker ,tape noun uncount long narrow bands of paper with financial information printed on them by a special machine …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • ticker tape — Computerized device that relays to investors around the world the stock symbol and the latest price and volume on securities as they are traded. Bloomberg Financial Dictionary * * * ticker tape ˈticker ˌtape noun 1. [uncountable] long narrow… …   Financial and business terms

  • ticker tape — noun a continuous thin ribbon of paper on which stock quotes are written • Hypernyms: ↑paper * * * noun [noncount] : long, thin pieces of paper on which news and stock prices are printed by a special machine (called a ticker) * * * ˈticker tape… …   Useful english dictionary

  • ticker tape — N UNCOUNT: oft N n Ticker tape consists of long narrow strips of paper on which information such as stock exchange prices is printed by a machine. In American cities, people sometimes throw ticker tape from high windows as a way of celebrating… …   English dictionary

  • Ticker Tape — A computerized device that relays financial information to investors around the world, including the stock symbol, the latest price and the volume on securities as they are traded. Before computers, the quotations on a ticker tape were stamped on …   Investment dictionary

  • ticker tape — noun Ticker tape is used before these nouns: ↑parade …   Collocations dictionary

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