Epic scenes like above are hard to find these days.
And these moments are only possible because of this seemingly-unrelated item:
The stock ticker has been an essential part of daily transactions at the Wall Street stock exchange for almost 90 years; since its inception in 1868, by the Western Union Telegraph Co, it has handled the most important financial transactions. At the point of its retirement, the ticker handled about 50,000,000,000 dollars annually, and used enough ‘ticker tape’ that could encircle the earth eight times.
The one on display at the N-Y Historical Society was made in 1923 by none other than Thomas A. Edison, who made drastic improvements to the apparatus, rendering it much more efficient.
Today, even though the stock ticker has been replaced by computers at the Exchange, the ticker still remains a part of daily life. Tickers are still being used to this day in the sports world in the news media front to report the latest statistics and results from events across the country.
Furthermore, ‘ticker tape parades’ are held in Lower Manhattan in the ‘Canyon of Heroes’ (or colloquially, Broadway) for championship teams and national heroes, from Teddy Roosevelt to Lindbergh and to the best team in town, the Yankees (sorry Mets fans). People skipped work, children missed school to witness the celebration of monumental achievements. During a parade, recycled tape would be thrown from the windows of high rise offices in celebration of achievement. However, with the phasing out of the stock ticker, ticker tapes no longer grace the presence of parades. Yet the name of these celebrations and those dramatic photographs remind us of the old glory days, with the nation basking in euphoria.
Stock tickers may run no more, but its perennial beat symbolizes the fast-paced yet steady and timely manner on which our nation operates on.
Tick tock tick tock…
– Albert Han
P.S. Who knew Ke$ha was such a capitalist, writing song lyrics to stock tickers?