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Ticker-tape' Exchange Telegraph receiver -  now in the Museum of London collection Calahan, Edward Augustin (1838-1912)

In 1867 Edward Calahan invented the first machine to print out the price of stocks and shares over telegraph wires.

Before the machine arrived, young men called runners had to dash from the Stock Exchange to their offices to report the changes in share values. It was so busy that Calahan was once literally swept off his feet, carried into the street and drenched by the rain.

Calahan realised that the prices could be sent directly via telegraph to each broker's office much more quickly and efficiently - not to mention more courteously - in a permanent stream of information.

The machines were an instant success and by the time Calahan had made his fourth one he had orders for another 100 just by word-of-mouth. Improvements were later made to his printer, now affectionately known as 'stock tickers' thanks to the distinctive ticking noise they made, by a young Thomas Edison.
 

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...