Just over a week ago as I pen these words, my chum Luke Miller, VP of Aerospace & Defense at Lattice Semiconductor, emailed me to say:
Hi Max, I picked up an old Edison Model 35-A Stock Ticker Tape machine. I would like to wire it up to print out the weather and some tweets. What do you think? Sounds like fun?
As an aside, the folks at Lattice are doing some amazing stuff with regard to creating radiation-tolerant FPGAs, but let’s not wander off into the weeds here. If you want to know more about this technology, see my column, Handling Radiation in SRAM-Based FPGAs.
Returning to the point in hand, I just had a quick Google, which was quite refreshing, to discover that telegraphic printing machines were first invented in 1846; also, that the first stock price ticker system using a telegraphic printer was created by the American inventor Edward A. Calahan in 1863.
The original ticker systems used the same symbols as Morse code as a medium for conveying messages. One of the earliest practical stock ticker machines, the Universal Stock Ticker developed by Thomas Edison in 1869, used alphanumeric characters with a printing speed of approximately one character per second.
It further turns out that the Edison Model 35-A Stock Ticker Tape machine is a much sought-after item. If you search the internet, you can see them being auctioned for anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000 (which just dashed my chances of ever owning one unless my pension plan — in the form of winning the lottery — ever comes to fruition).
Luke is looking forward to refurbishing his machine. I think it would be awesome to have it print out tweets from someone famous as soon as they are posted, like posts on semiconductor physics from Britney Spears. Sad to relate, earlier this morning, Luke sent me a follow-up email in which he spake as follows:
Hi Max, I cannot find any information on the Edison 35-A Stock Ticker Tape machine. Nothing. Nada. Nichts. Nimic. No manuals, no voltages, and no schematics. I really do not want to characterize each coil by hand. I wrote to a few places that sell refurbished units but have not heard back. Do you know anyone who would have a manual on these things?
I really want to see a video of this machine after Luke has refurbished it and has it up and running. What say you? Do you know where we might find any of the documentation Luke is looking for?
Well- It’s not for an Edison 35-A, but I think the tickers all speak the same language: https://hackaday.com/2012/03/15/bringing-a-19th-century-stock-ticker-into-the-21st-century/
Hope this is a starting place.
Awesome — thanks Rick — I’ll make sure Luke sees this comment.
Here’s a link to another site that contains bits of useful information: http://www.edisonticker.com
Cool Beans — thanks again Rick — Happy Monday 🙂