In 1792, 24 stockbrokers and merchants signed the Buttonwood agreement on Wall Street, agreeing to trade on a commission basis. But the very first scrip (acknowledgment of debt) exchanged hands on Wall Street in 1674, according to Phil Mackintosh, the head of trading Credit Suisse.
The stock market has come a long way from the early days. “Many of the seemingly ‘modern’ issues in today’s markets — including latency, fragmentation and regulation — have in fact been affecting the evolution of the market for many decades,” writes Mackintosh.
This chart from Credit Suisse offers a timeline of the key market, regulatory, and technological events in the U.S. stock market. (h/t JC Parets at All Start Charts)