Dow Jones 'ticker' will soon fall silent

September 17, 1991|By New York Times News Service

NEW YORK -- For most of its 95 years, the Dow Jones News Service machine -- best known as "the ticker" -- was a key part of newsrooms and trading floors, delivering its daily stream of financial information with a loud, rhythmic clack-clack-clack of keys striking paper.

The sound of the ticker has long since evolved into the blurred clatter of the high-speed printer, but even that soft drone will be silenced after Jan. 1 when Dow Jones replaces the few remaining ticker machines and completes the conversion to all-electronic delivery of the news service.

Roger B. May, a Dow Jones spokesman, said only a few hundred of the printer machines are still in service. All the rest of the approximately 131,000 clients of the news service receive data electronically.

Mr. May said that the remaining ticker machines were being phased out because the news service was switching to a system that transmits

9,600 words a minute electronically, compared with 300 words a minute transmitted now both electronically and to the printers.

The much higher-speed form of electronic delivery is too fast for the ticker printers.

The Dow Jones News Service is also known as the broad tape, to distinguish the size of the paper in its ticker machines from the narrower paper tape used by the New York Stock Exchange in its machines that carried stock quotes.

It was largely the stock tape, rather than the broad tape, that fluttered down from Wall Street skyscrapers during major parades, giving rise to the term "ticker tape" parades.

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