Talk:Ticker tape

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Related info[edit]

I intentionally included information about some related topics, such as "stock ticker machines", as I doubt there would be people interested in developing a full article on such a historic footnote. Niteowlneils 22:11, 19 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Contradiction on source of "ticker"[edit]

From the History section

The origin of the term ticker tape come from the term tick, which refers to any movement, up or down, however small, in the price of a security or stock…

And from the Technology section:

…the word ticker comes from the distinct tapping (or ticking) noise the machines made while printing.

Which definition is right? If both,lol that needs to be clarified. If only one, the other needs to be removed. me_and 14:03, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

The on-line Marriam-Websters dictionary says that it comes from the sound the machine made. So I have changed it accordingly.
Nick Beeson 21:53, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Faulty Link?[edit]

The 'Universal Stock Ticker' link points back to the same page! 12:26, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Stockticker.gif[edit]

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Image:Stockticker.gif is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

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BetacommandBot (talk) 06:37, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

More technical information?[edit]

This article is too shallow. It does not cover the printing mechanism at all, nor how the data was transmitted over the lines, even though both were very key innovations of the machine. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:47, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

I'll try to do something about that. Early (pre-1930) tickers really were "tickers", with pulses to advance a wheel to the appropriate character, then a "print" pulse. Synchronization was a big problem. Edison's first big success was in solving that problem. See patents on "unison devices".
The "high speed ticker" (the "Western Union Ticker 5-A Stock Quotation Machine"[1]) introduced in 1930 was a form of Teletype machine, made by Teletype. It used a 6-bit start-stop code, polar (polarity reversal) signaling, and printed on paper tape, with numbers displaced vertically from letters. So the output looked like a classic stock ticker, and the electrical interface (although not the code) was compatible with the older tickers. It didn't "tick". It hammered out characters like a Teletype, at 500 chars/minute. Since it was a 6-bit machine, it didn't need the LTRS and FIGS shift characters of the Teletype page printers. The 6th bit did that. Stock quotations alternate figures and letters, so using Baudot would have been a bottleneck. . --John Nagle (talk) 18:29, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
Some good information can be found at that makes historically accurate reproductions of these 1870's ticker machines. These reproductions are so accurate, that if they were to travel through time to 1875 and hooked into the original telegraph lines, they would still work! Their FAQ and other pages, have a lot of useful information that simply must be added to this article. Maybe ask them for permission to use one of their beautiful ticker-machine images on this Wikipedia page. Mdrejhon (talk) 05:21, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Stock volume[edit]

I am not sure but I believe that the stock volume that shows on the tape is not the number of shares transacted but the number of hundreds of shares bought or sold. Am I correct? Does the article need to be corrected? TIA, markSonador21 (talk) 16:44, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

In the days of "tickers", the major exchanges traded only "round lots", multiples of 100 shares. Ticker volumes reflected that. Sales of less than 100 shares were handled by "odd lot houses", which carried a small inventory of each stock and bought and sold at a markup.[2]. That's obsolete, and the odd lot houses are gone. --John Nagle (talk) 01:17, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Stock quote redirects here[edit]

Moved from Talk:Stock quote - better chance of seeing it here. Astronaut (talk) 10:11, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

This redirect is patently inappropriate. (talk) 06:00, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

I think 76.85. has a point. Astronaut (talk) 10:14, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

I concur regarding stock volume, should there be mention of types of transactions which do not show on the composite tape? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:35, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Definition of "ticker tape machine"?[edit]

Is there an agreed definition of which machines are, and aren't?

I'd suggest that "ticker tape machine" would be:

  • An early telegraphic recording reader device
  • That "ticks", i.e. not syphon recorders
  • That doesn't require a telegraphist's skill to read
  • That prints on continuous paper tape
  • That prints as alphanumeric text.

This doesn't limit it to stock market information, or subscription commercial information. Although those are the best known, there are machines by Muirhead, Siemens & Halske that were used for general messaging, before the commercial broadcast systems.

Nor does it exclude transmitter devices that did require a skilled telegrapher to send.

Thoughts? Andy Dingley (talk) 00:22, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

With the preface that I am no expert in the technology, your suggestion sounds reasonable to me. Infrogmation (talk) 03:01, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
The trouble is that it's something of a back formation. I'm sure that the popular phrase "ticker tape" didn't appear until Wall St was using enough of the stuff to start throwing it from the windows, long after the "telegraph that doesn't need a telegrapher" had been supplanted by the telephone. So do we restrict the machine's defined by the phrase to those in popular use at that period (easily citable) or do we push it backwards to encompass the comparable machines that may not have ever been described under that term, in the period? A social definition, or a technical definition? Andy Dingley (talk) 09:45, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
It's complicated. There were two lines of development. "Tickers" used step by step advance mechanisms with a mechanism much like a clock escapement, which is why they "ticked". They were rather slow, maybe 20 words per minute . Edison is noted for making those reliably self-synchronizing, so they didn't need an operator at the receiving end.. Separately, there were "printing telegraphs", like the House and Phelps machines, which were synchronous machines able to achieve about 60 words per minute, but those were fussy devices and needed an operator at the receiving end to start them in sync. The telegraph side of the industry switched over to start-stop teleprinter technology in the 1920s, which has the speed of the printing telegraphs without the sync problems, and those machines would reliably print unattended.
The stock quotation industry switched over to teleprinter technology in the 1930s with the Western Union Ticker 5-A Stock Quotation Machine, built by Teletype Corporation [3]. This was called at the time the "High Speed Ticker"[4]. It used a 6-bit start-stop code system like a teleprinter but had the print format of a stock ticker. This didn't "tick", but it replaced the machines that did, so it was generally called a "ticker" in the financial industry. Unlike the earlier machines, which were cute little brass machines under a glass dome, the 5-A was a rather ugly black box. (The brass ticker machines are valuable collectables. Nobody seems to like the 5-A any more, not even Teletype collectors.)
All these machines printed on a long paper tape. Page printers came a bit later. The first page printer dates from 1900, but it wasn't until the Teletype Model 15 in 1930 that they became solidly reliable.
So that's the distinction between the technical definition and the social definition.
There were many, many other variations. See [5] for a list of all known stock ticker/printing telegraph patents. --John Nagle (talk) 18:28, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

"the earliest digital electronic communications medium"[edit]

The claim "the earliest digital electronic communications medium" strikes me as odd, seeing that it was run using older telegraph technology. The only thing in the phrase that might introduce something new compared to existing technology would be "electronic"; however, then the article should demonstrate more clearly that the (early) tickers were electronic and that other telegraph technology was not.

My recommendation would be to rewrite the sentence entirely, considering additionally that the phrase as it stands is unlikely to be understandable to most laymen. (Most people will have no idea what "digital" actually means and the difference between e.g. "electronic" and "electric" will be a puzzler too. While I broadly speaking know electronics (and porn) when I see it, I am far from certain that I, myself, could give an accurate formal definition without looking it up. Further, it is becoming hard to find electric devices that are not also electronic, even for items that were electric or electro-mechanical in the past.) (talk) 12:11, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

It's certainly not the first "electronic" medium as radio was using active electronic devices at the time printing telegraphs were still electromechanical. I would support "digital" though, as multi-bit codes like Baudot have moved away from analogue. Even the earlier "clock" automatic telegraphs using a single pulse and pulse position modulation had quantised this pulse timing. One might even make the case that the very early five-needle telegraph was using a directly manually entered multi-bit digital code. Andy Dingley (talk) 13:53, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
Almost all telegraph systems are digital, being on/off devices. "Electronic" implies the use of tubes or transistors, which are considered "electron devices". See IEEE Electron Devices Society. "Ticker tape" came from digital signal, electromechanical, non-electronic machines. John Nagle (talk) 18:48, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

Use as a computer storage media[edit]

In the 1970's these were used to store data (such as programs) at the university of Southampton Computing centre, pretty sure they must have been fairly widespread at that point for such use, although magnetic media were making them obsolete by before 1978. Still have a small tape (rolled on a spool) in my presence, so I guess they outlast magnetic media ;-). In a way they were complimentary to punched cards, which could store larger amounts of data but were vulnerable to "shuffling". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:26, 20 November 2015 (UTC)