Edison: His Life and Inventions - Vol. 1

By Frank Lewis Dyer; Thomas Commerford Martin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE STOCK TICKER

"THE letters and figures used in the language of the tape," said a well-known Boston stock speculator, "are very few, but they spell ruin in ninety-nine million ways." It is not to be inferred, however, that the modern stock ticker has anything to do with the making or losing of fortunes. There were regular daily stock-market reports in London newspapers in 1825, and New York soon followed the example. As far back as 1692, Houghton issued in London a weekly review of financial and commercial transactions, upon which Macaulay based the lively narrative of stock speculation in the seventeenth century; given in his famous history. That which the ubiquitous stock ticker has done is to give instantaneity to the news of what the stock market is doing, so that at every minute, thousands of miles apart, brokers, investors, and gamblers may learn the exact conditions. The existence of such facilities is to be admired rather than deplored. News is vital to Wall Street, and there is no living man on whom the doings in Wall Street are without effect. The financial history of the United States and of the world, as shown by the prices of government bonds and general securities, has been told daily for forty years

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