Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ticker Tape Machine

Technology week continues here at OPOD with this picture of a ticker tape machine. Ticker Tape was used to print stock prices. The data was transmitted to the machine over telephone or telegraph lines.


  1. Ah HA! Ticker Tape. As in "Ticker Tape Parade!"

  2. I work in a maritime radio station. We are extremely high tech now, but when I started in 1991 it was morse code and telex. Telex was the original "IM".

  3. I work in the agriculture industry. I had to record the prices off of the ticker tape every 15 minutes. We also used the Telex to sent information to the home office.


  4. I can remember my mom grumbling about sending a Telex that got deleted just as she was getting ready to hit the send button. I wonder if the tape for the Ticker machine was rolled in a spool in the base of the machine? How did it come out, does anyone know?

  5. I think this might be the answer
    to your question, Norkio.

  6. My experience with ticker tape is that it came off free and the recipient would tear off the message and wind it around the fingers in a figure eight. It's meant to be acted on promptly. If a telegram was received in tape form, it was pasted onto a cable form and delivered to the recipient.
    At the radio station where I work the ticker tape was data punched. You would feed the tape back into the machine to forward the message to a ship. The recipient could receive it printed on tape but mostly on a sheet roll. Telex is either done in real time or store and forward. In real time, the sender gets a handshake from the recipient machine, sends the messages and closes with another handshake. That way delivery is guaranteed and both parties have a copy. It's the most expensive. With store and forward, the message is send to an intermediary (like a radio station) who then forwards the messages and confirms delivery. That's the economical method. A company would have telex lines between offices so they could exchange data in real time.
    In third world countries there are still some old type telex machines, but most of it is electronic and used mostly today by financial institutions (so I am told by the resellers of telex services that I deal with.)

  7. I am more confused than every after anon explanation.
    I suppose that it would make some sense if you ever used one.
    But the way he explains it, I am completely baffeled now.

  8. This is a nutshell explanation of telex machines in use today:
    "In parts of the banking and financial system they are still used for some types of trade and confirmation, because telex messages are legal documents unlike faxes or emails. Both sender and recipient are formally identified (they have to be subscribers to the telex network) neither party can deny the transmission (the sender can't claim that they didn't send it, nor the recipient that they didn't receive it), and the message can't be faked. [Because both parties have a copy of the message transmitted between the beginning and ending acknowledgment -or handshake.]

    In remote parts of Africa, telex is still the most reliable (and often only) form of government and administrative communication. The very low bandwidth means telex can work in places where voice and internet cannot, such as over low quality radio or microwave connections.

    BTW, I am not "he", I am "she". Sorry for being so terse in the explanation, I'm not used to explaining telex to people anymore because it's dying out. The beauty of the system is that it's very simple and very reliable.

  9. CNBC definitely should use these! It would make their shows so much better.
    And if they used only Roman numerals... the world would be a happy place.

  10. In the late 60's, I remember visiting a Chicago fire station where the alarms would be transmitted to the station on a ticker tape machine.

    The first computer that I ever saw was in high school... an ancient PDP8 that used Teletype machines for data entry. The Teletype machines would generate a punched tape so that you could reload your program back into the computer.