A Brief New York Stock Exchange History


The iconic New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building is in the financial district of New York City (Big Apple) on Wall Street. It is the main trading floor exchange where brokers act on behalf of clients in buying and selling securities.

Fondly called “the Big Board,” the New York Stock Exchange is the oldest and the largest stock exchange anywhere in the world with an equity market capitalization of just over 24.4 trillion U.S. dollars as of May 2021.

Trading on the New York Stock Exchange Floor

The NYSE sounds its opening bell at 9:30 a.m. and its closing bell at 4 p.m. During its earlier history, the NYSE bell was rung by floor managers. However, sounding the bell today is considered an exciting and prestigious event.

Invited figures like CEOs, public figures, and celebrities are invited to ring. The bell-ringing event is so precise in its time that if the invited guest is a second too late in ringing the bell, they could easily hear humorous “boos.”

The NYSE floor was once abuzz with excitement as traders cried out their orders, shouted stock prices, and used hand gestures to complete trades. Today, with the advent of technology, trading happens electronically such as during PNTG stock trades.

Currently, when trading is huge, there still may be a few traders who will yell out. Also, since the post-COVID-19 pandemic, vaccinated members of the floor will be on the floor wearing masks. Some traders and brokers may continue to delve into day trading but under pandemic restrictions.


The New York Stock Exchange has had many milestones since its inception and is a great part of American and New York history. The New York Stock Exchange has a 220-year-old history. Let’s look at key dates in the history of the exchange.

1792: Under a huge Buttonwood Tree, twenty-four brokers and merchants signed the Buttonwood Agreement. This agreement was the start of security trading and was named The New York Stock and Exchange Board. The NYS&EB grew in popularity and exchange commissions.

1863: The New York Stock and Exchange Board shortened its name to the New York Stock Exchange. During the 1800s the NYSE outgrew the financial security districts of Philadelphia. In the early 1800s, the stock exchange had eleven trading sectors. This included canals, docks, assurance, bridges, systems, literary institutions, mines, gas/light, coke, roads, railways, and other miscellaneous stock trades in conjunction with Britain.

1867: The telegraph had been the buying and selling communication equipment. During this era, the “ticker tape” machine was invented and placed on the NYSE floor. The stock “ticker” revolutionized how brokers received quick stock prices.

1878: Two years after Alexander Graham invented the telephone, one was installed on the floor of the NYSE.

1903: The NYSE moved to its present location of the new financial district on Wall Street.

During the late 1800s and toward the end of World War I, the New York Stock Exchange experienced more downs than ups. Then before you knew it, this famous stock market crashed in 1929. Because of the market’s crash and its temporary uncertainty, the U.S. government created regulations that were overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Touring the NYSE

The New York Stock Exchange was once open to the public and tourists visiting the city. But things have changed. After 9/11 the NYSE did not allow the public or tourists to enter the building. Tourists must now make arrangements ahead of time.

If you are invited to tour the exchange, you must check in at the front security desk where you are given a name tag. Your invited tour will be short with sights that include Buttonwood Agreement documents, the earlier golden-crested trading floor sample, a Faberge urn created for the exchange, the vintage ticker-tape machines, and vintage maps of Lower Manhattan.

The city has become more innovative in the financial district. The public can join a guided tour called the “Financial Crisis Tour.” You are introduced to famous landmarks of the New York City Financial District, and you will hear about many of the New York Stock Exchange historical moments like the 2008 financial crisis.

One interesting touring feature in front of the New York Stock Exchange is a buttonwood tree that has been planted. You can take a picture of yourself and the tree and spread the history of this amazing stock market.

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