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Ticker Tape

Reviewed by Vineeth | Updated on Oct 05, 2020



Ticker tape is one of the earliest mediums designed for electrical communication related to the field of finance. It was in use between the year 1870 and 1970 to communicate the stock prices through telegraph wiring system.

The ticker tape system was made up of a strip of paper that went across a machine names stock ticker. This machine was printing shortened/abbreviated names of the companies. It was followed by the stock transaction price and volume, among other things. The machine was making a ‘ticking’ noise, and that is the reason why the whole setup is named as the ticker tape.


The paper made ticker tape become outdated sometime in the 1960s. These were replaced by computers and televisions, which slowly started to gain popularity around the world. Nevertheless, the idea of a stock ticker can still be seen in the form of electronic tickers on new channels and brokerage walls. The ticker tape setup was modelled by Edward A Calhan in the year 1867. He was working at the American Telegraph Company.

Science Behind Ticker Tape:

The stock ticker machinery is a predecessor of the modern-day computerised printing machines. Ticker tape is a pioneer application that was invented to transmit text messages through a wire to a printing setup. The idea of the ticker tape is based on the printing telegraph. The technology that was used in ticker tape was that of the then recently modelled telegraph setup.

The ticker tape machine had the ability to produce a readable output text while the telegraph machinery could produce Morse code’s dots and dashes. A tailor-made typewriter was designed to operate over telegraph wiring and was utilised at the end opposite to the telegraph wiring to the ticking machinery.

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