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Who Invented the Stock Ticker?



The first stock ticker was unveiled in 1867 by American Telegraph Company employee Edward A. Calahan.

More Info: This followed the introduction of the telegraph to the NYSE in 1844 and preceded by 11 years the addition of the first telephone on the NYSE trading floor in 1878, two years after the telephone’s invention by Alexander Graham Bell.

Each one of the NYSE trademarks that we take for granted today can be traced back to a similar momentous moment in history. The first ever Dow Jones Industrial Average for example, or DJIA for short, was published by the Wall Street Journal in 1896.

Stock Ticker Improvements

Over the years, technological improvements have been made to the stock ticker. In a bit of ironic timing, one of the first major steps forward in NYSE stock ticker technology – the Black Box ticker, which had the ability to stream information at a rate of up to 500 characters per minute – was introduced in 1930, right after the market crash of 1929.

Stock Ticker Goes Real-Time

Then, in 1964, the year after Kennedy was assassinated came the 900 Ticker. Per its name, the new device had a nearly double capacity of its 1930 predecessor. But perhaps the biggest anniversary date of all is the year 1996, for it was then that the NYSE finally went real-time with its stock ticker on such cable news networks as CNBC and CNN-FN. Prior to this time, market data was on a 20-minute delay to the media. Hard almost to imagine in today’s wired world of instant, split-second trading.

As with all inventions, Calahan’s stock ticker invention was improved upon by others, most notable Thomas Edison. The famed inventor made various improvements to the stock ticker for the Gold and Stock Telegraph Company, receiving the then huge sum of $40,000. Edison was paid by check, and because it was the first time he had received compensation in this bank draft form, he had to be told how to cash it.



New York Stock Exchange – Timeline, Retrieved October 28, 2010 from

“Stock Tickers – The Edison Papers.” The Thomas A. Edison Papers. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2010.

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