Tickertape Machine

Samuel Spahr Laws (1824-1921), a Cincinnati gold broker, invented the tickertape machine, a device that transmitted stock prices on a long strip of paper that was cut and pasted for a permanent record. His patent (No. 72,742) was issued on December 31, 1867, and titled "Electrical Indicator." The New York Stock Exchange first adopted this early form of text messaging in 1867 for stock quotes, and the machines quickly went into businesses around the country.

Laws, a one time resident of Troy, Ohio, graduated in 1848 from Ohio's Miami University as the valedictorian of his class.

Did You Know?

  • During his career, Laws hired a 22 year old inventor named Thomas A. Edison.  Edison reportedly helped refine the ticker tape machine.

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Thomas Edison Gold & Stock Telegraph, Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI. Image source: Edison Stock Telegraph Ticker.jpg by H. Zimmer is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Laws as President of the University of Missouri in 1876. Image source: SamuelLawsMissouri.jpg (originally derived from MIZZOU magazine, May 21, 2014) by unknown author is licensed under Public Domain Mark 1.0