On November 15, 1867, the first stock ticker was unveiled in New York City. The event was a show stopper which made up-to-the-minute prices available to investors around the country. Up until that point information from the New York Stock Exchange, which opened its doors in 1792, traveled by mail or messenger.
The ticker was invented by Edward Calahan, who worked for Gold & Stock Telegraph, configured a telegraph machine to print stock quotes on streams of paper tape. This is the same paper tape used later on in ticker-tape parades. The ticker, got its name from the sound its type wheel made.
Gold & Stock Telegraph Company rented its tickers to brokerage houses and regional exchanges for a fee and then transmitted the latest gold and stock prices to all its machines at the same time.
Thomas Edison, a former telegraph operator, patented an improved, easier-to-use version of Calahan’s ticker in 1869. Edison’s ticker was his first money-making invention and the manufacture and sale of stock tickers and other telegraphic devices providing the funding for his own lab in New Jersey where he developed the light bulb and the phonograph and other land-mark inventions.
The last mechanical stock ticker manufactured in 1960 and was replaced by computerized tickers with electronic displays.
A ticker shows a stock’s symbol, how many shares have traded that day and the price per share. It also shows how much the price has changed from the previous day’s closing price and whether it’s an up or down change. There is more than one ticker since private data companies run a variety of tickers giving information on a wide variety of stocks.