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Sounds of Wall Street
The Bell
Information provided courtesy of
The New York Stock Exchange.

One of the most familiar features of the New York Stock Exchange is the loud, distinct bell, which signals the beginning and ending of trading each day.

Bells were introduced when continuous trading was instituted in the 1870s. Originally, a Chinese Gong was used, but brass bells have been used since The Exchange moved to its current location in 1903.

There is one large bell in each of the four trading areas of the NYSE. The bells are operated synchronously from a single control.

The bells, measuring 18 inches in diameter, were manufactured by the G. S. Edwards Company of Norwalk, Connecticut. In the late 1980s, the NYSE decided to refurbish the bells and have an extra bell made as a back up. However, it was discovered that bells as large and loud as The Exchange's were no longer made by Edwards or any other bell company. Edwards agreed to make a special replica for the NYSE and brought employees out of retirement to handle the job.

While this was being done, an older, larger bell was discovered in a crawl space above the main trading floor. Measuring 24 inches in diameter, this 1903 bell had most likely been put away because it was too loud, even for the New York Stock Exchange. After being cleaned and refurbished, this giant bell was toned down. It now gleams on a platform above the trading floor, ready for use should it ever be called into action.

The bell is a part of the NYSE's heritage, and it is considered an honor to be invited to ring the opening or closing bell.

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