This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
On this day in 1867, On this day in 1867, the first stock ticker is unveiled in New York City. The advent of the ticker ultimately revolutionized the stock market by making up-to-the-minute prices available to investors around the country. Prior to this development, information from the New York Stock Exchange, which has been around since 1792, traveled by mail or messenger.
The ticker was the brainchild of Edward Calahan, who configured a telegraph machine to print stock quotes on streams of paper tape (the same paper tape later used in ticker-tape parades). The ticker, which caught on quickly with investors, got its name from the sound its type wheel made.
Calahan worked for the Gold & Stock Telegraph Company, which 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. In 1869, Thomas Edison, a former telegraph operator, patented an improved, easier-to-use version of Calahan’s ticker. Edison’s ticker was his first lucrative invention and, through the manufacture and sale of stock tickers and other telegraphic devices, he made enough money to open his own lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey, where he developed the light bulb and phonograph, among other transformative inventions.
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. Pulses on the telegraph line made a letter wheel turn step by step until the right letter or symbol was reached and then printed. A typical 32 symbol letter wheel had to turn on average 15 steps until the next letter could be printed resulting in a very slow printing speed of 1 letter per second. In 1883, ticker transmitter keyboards resembled the keyboard of a piano with black keys indicating letters and the white keys indicating numbers and fractions, corresponding to two rotating type wheels in the connected ticker tape printers.
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, hence 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).
655 – Battle of Winwaed: Penda of Mercia is defeated by Oswiu of Northumbria.
1315 – Battle of Morgarten the Schweizer Eidgenossenschaft ambushes the army of Leopold I.
1515 – Thomas Wolsey is invested as a Cardinal
1532 – Commanded by Francisco Pizarro, Spanish conquistadors under Hernando de Soto meet Inca leader Atahualpa for the first time outside Cajamarca, arranging a meeting on the city plaza the following day
1533 – Francisco Pizarro arrives in Cuzco, the capital of the Inca Empire.
1777 – American Revolutionary War: After 16 months of debate the Continental Congress approves the Articles of Confederation.
1791 – The first U.S Catholic college, Georgetown University, opens its doors.
1806 – Pike expedition: Lieutenant Zebulon Pike sees a distant mountain peak while near the Colorado foothills of the Rocky Mountains (it is later named Pikes Peak).
1854 – In Egypt, the Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, is given the necessary royal concession.
1859 – The first modern revival of the Olympic Games takes place in Athens, Greece.
1864 – American Civil War: Union General William Tecumseh Sherman burns Atlanta, Georgia and starts Sherman’s March to the Sea.
1889 – Brazil is declared a republic by Marechal Deodoro da Fonseca and Emperor Pedro II is deposed in a military coup.
1920 – First assembly of the League of Nations is held in Geneva.
1923 – The German Rentenmark is introduced in Germany to counter Inflation in the Weimar Republic.
1926 – The NBC radio network opens with 24 stations.
1935 – Manuel L. Quezon is inaugurated as the second president of the Philippines.
1939 – In Washington, D.C., US President Franklin D. Roosevelt lays the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial.
1942 – World War II: First flight of the Heinkel He 219.
1942 – World War II: The Battle of Guadalcanal ends in a decisive Allied victory.
1943 – Holocaust: German SS leader Heinrich Himmler orders that Gypsies are to be put “on the same level as Jews and placed in concentration camps”.
1945 – Venezuela joins the United Nations.
1948 – Louis Stephen St. Laurent succeeds William Lyon Mackenzie King as Prime Minister of Canada. King had the longest combined time (3 terms, 22 years in total) as Premier in Commonwealth of Nations history.
1949 – Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte are executed for assassinating Mahatma Gandhi.
1951 – Greek resistance leader Nikos Beloyannis, along with 11 resistance members, is sentenced to death by the court-martial.
1959 – Four members of the Herbert Clutter Family are murdered at their farm outside Holcomb, Kansas.
1966 – Gemini program: Gemini 12 splashes down safely in the Atlantic Ocean.
1967 – The only fatality of the X-15 program occurs during the 191st flight when Air Force test pilot Michael J. Adams loses control of his aircraft which is destroyed mid-air over the Mojave Desert.
1968 – The US Air Force launches Operation Commando Hunt, a large-scale bombing campaign against the Ho Chi Minh trail.
1969 – Cold War: The Soviet submarine K-19 collides with the American submarine USS Gato in the Barents Sea.
1969 – Vietnam War: In Washington, D.C., 250,000-500,000 protesters staged a peaceful demonstration against the war, including a symbolic “March Against Death”.
1969 – In Columbus, Ohio, Dave Thomas opens the first Wendy’s restaurant.
1971 – Intel releases world’s first commercial single-chip microprocessor, the 4004.
1976 – Rene Levesque and the Parti Québécois take power to become the first Quebec government of the 20th century clearly in favour of independence.
1978 – A chartered Douglas DC-8 crashes near Colombo, Sri Lanka, killing 183.
1979 – A package from the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski begins smoking in the cargo hold of a flight from Chicago to Washington, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing.
1983 – Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is founded. Recognised only by Turkey.
1985 – A research assistant is injured when a package from the Unabomber addressed to a University of Michigan professor explodes.
1985 – The Anglo-Irish Agreement is signed at Hillsborough Castle by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Irish Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald.
1987 – In Brasov, Romania, workers rebel against the communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu.
1988 – In the Soviet Union, the unmanned Shuttle Buran is launched on her first and last space flight.
1988 – Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: An independent State of Palestine is proclaimed by the Palestinian National Council.
1988 – The first Fairtrade label, Max Havelaar, is launched in the Netherlands.
1989 – Sachin Tendulkar makes his debut as an international cricketer.
1990 – Space Shuttle program: Space Shuttle Atlantis launches with flight STS-38.
2000 – A chartered Antonov An-24 crashes after takeoff from Luanda, Angola killing more than 40 people.
2000 – Jharkhand state comes into existence in India.
2003 – The first day of the 2003 Istanbul Bombings, in which two car bombs, targeting two synagogues, explode, killing 25 people and wounding about 300. Additional bombings follow on November 20.
2005 – Boeing formally launches the stretched Boeing 747-8 variant with orders from Cargolux and Nippon Cargo Airlines.
2007 – Cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh, killing an estimated 5000 people and destroyed the world’s largest mangrove forest, Sundarbans.