• U.S.

Electronics: Quotations by Computer

2 minute read

No more eye-straining squint at changing figures on the office board.

No more phone calls to the busy operators at the exchange. No more time wasted searching out symbols on a paper tape. Not for some New York stock brokers, anyway. If they are dealing in stocks listed on New York’s American Stock Exchange and subscribe to the exchange’s computerized Am-Quote service, they can dial for information and get it automatically by voice.

The Am-Quote system, built by Teleregister Corp. of Stamford, Conn., is based on a relatively simple computer that records all the figures reported from the floor of the exchange and holds them available for questioning. From the broker’s telephone, an extra line runs to the computer. After pressing a button to activate the line, the broker merely dials the code numbers of the stock in which he is interested. In a second the computer answers in a toneless but pleasant voice. It repeats the stock’s code letters, then gives the latest information—the bid price, the high, the low, etc.

The 57 words and letters of the ma chine’s vocabulary* were originally spoken into a recording device by Walter Jennison, a Teleregister Corp. engineer who could speak with the necessary clarity. Then the words were recorded on a revolving magnetic drum. What the computer does is to extract the latest quotations from its continually refurbished memory, translate them into the proper words taken from the drum, and transmit them to the listening broker over the telephone line. It makes no mistakes, never gets tired, and costs $100 per month.

Other companies present instant stock information visually. Scantlin Electronics Inc. prints figures on a tape when questioned in a proper code; Ultronic Systems Corp. uses small lights that give three digits of information at a time. In this fiercely competitive field, Teleregister will have an advanced entry: a desk device hooked to its computer that will flash the information on a screen. But none of these visual systems are likely to be quite so impressive as the embalmed voice of Walter Jennison speaking tonelessly for Am-Quote’s computer.

* The 26 letters of the alphabet, 13 numbers (0 through 9, plus 11, 13, 15. Other numbers are spoken as separate digits); 18 words (offer, last, open, high, low, volume, up, off, even, and, half, none, quarter, eighth, teenth, quarters, eighths, teenths).

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