Here's How Traders Used To Instant Message Each Other Back In 1922

We recently took a rare tour of the New York Stock Exchange building and its expansive archive collection

One of the cool things we learned while we were there was how traders communicated with each other back in the 1920s.  

They used this pneumatic tube system, which carried reports/stock order in capsules through a system of pipes. 

Let’s walk through how it works.

Here’s the pneumatic tubing station that dates from 1922. It was located on the 7th floor at the Stock Exchange Luncheon Club. 

pneumatic tubing

These capsules traveled through the pneumatic tube system carrying orders and reports of stock sales from the broker’s booth, to the trading post, and to the Ticker Department.

pneumatic tubing

You can see that the capsules were destined for the floor… 

pneumatic tubing

You can see the pipes that the capsules traveled through here. 

pneumatic tubing

You can see the pneumatic tubing station in action in this photograph. That’s a clerk organising the messages.

pneumatic tubing

Pretty amazing pro-version of IM.

Of course, technology is constantly changing.

The pneumatic tube system was replaced by radio paging and wireless communication systems beginning in the late 1960s, according to the display. 

Even those forms of communication have changed. Now we live in a world of instant messages. 

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