by Alex Keller

The floor of the Cincinnati Stock Exchange in 1899

December 11, 1914

Exchange Floor Is to Be Opened

Nearing the end of the year, governors of the Cincinnati Stock Exchange decided to open the exchange floor for informal meetings, but not for record trading or official quotations. The exchange was to have its first informal session the following Monday, to be held daily at 11 a.m.

The intention at that time was to hold the sessions for one week, and at the end of the week a meeting was to be held to decide whether to continue with the informal sessions, or to open the exchange officially. If expectations were fulfilled, the exchange would open for regular official quotations Saturday, December 19.

During this first, informal test week, the exchange was not to make any public sales as an organization; individual members would be allowed to quote sales if they chose. However, the official stock and bond sheet would not be published, nor would general quotations be made public. The newspapers did plan to publish, informally, quotations in active stock established by the trading of the day.

(Cincinnati Commercial; December 11, 1914; 9:5)

The makeup of the Cincinnati Stock Exchange in 1915

March 13, 1918

First Stock Broker in C.S.E. History

To be Expelled from Membership

Richard G. Bray, stockbroker, was the first in history to be expelled from membership at the Cincinnati Stock Exchange. Bray was also made to assign, or legally transfer, his effects to attorney William J. Creed as a result of his actions at the exchange. It was estimated by those informed of his situation that between $75,000 and $100,000 may have been involved.

No details as to the specific reason for his expulsion were disclosed at that time. However, the reason given on the assignment deed was, “Dullness in the brokerage business.” It was not clear whether Bray had been speculating, or making risky deals for profit, in the market.

A short session was held the following morning by the governors of the Stock Exchange in which evidence that had been submitted at the hearing was reviewed. They voted to expel Bray from membership, carrying with it his dismissal as secretary. President Claude Ashbrook announced the official verdict from the rostrum (a platform for public speaking) when the exchange met at 10 a.m. for the usual morning call.

By that time, Bray had already made his assignment in Insolvency court. The deed of assignment was filed that afternoon. Bray’s brokerage business and all his real and personal estate was transferred on the deed.

(Cincinnati Enquirer; March 13, 1918; 16:1)


The Cincinnati Stock Exchange Has a Very Big Year

The Cincinnati Stock Exchange, guided by Charles H. Tobias, chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Charles H. Steffens, president, turned down a proposal to unite, like Cleveland and St. Louis had, with Chicago on Feb. 3, 1950. CSE was already preparing to add new facilities.

The Cincinnati Stock Exchange had modernized its trading room in the Dixie Terminal Building on Fourth Street to better facilitate stock trades. The third wall of the exchange’s floor was lined with compartments resembling curtainless voting booths equipped with signal lights instead of telephone bells for the phones, which were directly connected with the offices of member firms. The floor broker would follow the ticker showing New York Exchange transactions as fast as they happened. He would execute orders according to their prices.

In December 1950, 15 issues were added on the exchange’s board in the Dixie Terminal Building, bringing the total to 115. By the end of the year, the trading volume reached 590,000 shares, which was quite a jump from 375,000 in 1949.

“Much business is coming from smaller investors,” Steffens said. “The little fellows seem more prosperous.”

(Cincinnati Times Star, Cincinnati Enquirer, Post, 1950)

June 3, 1952

Longer Hours Adopted By Cincinnati Stock Exchange,

Breaking Half-Century Old Pattern

The Cincinnati Stock Exchange adopted longer hours, June 3, 1952, in keeping with several of the nation’s stock markets.

The New York Curb Exchange, the Midwest Stock exchange and the Cincinnati Stock Exchange broke a half-century pattern by extending their hours of activity to 2:30 p.m. (EST) from the traditional 2 p.m. (EST) closing time. The New York Stock Exchange had not yet extended its hours.

It was believed that centers of population and wealth had moved westward, and the additional time to do business was intended to meet the needs of stock market traders and investors in those areas.

At that time, it was common practice for stock exchanges to begin closing on Saturdays during the summer months, picking the sixth day up again in September. Many stock market analysts believed that it if the longer hours of operation during the five-day weeks were successful, year-round closings on Saturdays would become the norm.

(Cincinnati Enquirer; June 3, 1952; 14:6)

January 7, 1964

Local Exchange Has Second Best Year in History

& Record Day

In January of 1964, the volume of trading on the Cincinnati Stock Exchange was second highest in 32 years. The CSE had traded 837,636 shares during the year, up from 806,035 two years earlier. The exchange’s all-time high had come in 1961, when brokers traded a reported 919,052 shares.

The record for the largest one-day volume of trading came Oct. 23, 1964. A total of 39,267 shares changed hands that day in Cincinnati. The Gas & Electric Co. accounted for most of the action with stock amounting to 36,000 shares.

Prices on the CSE grew to a high of 154.63 points in November from a low of 132.03 recorded on the first week of the year. However, they did not reach the all-time high of 161.10 recorded in November 1961.

(Cincinnati Post Times Star; January 7, 1964; 11:1)

June 18, 1976

Cincinnati Stock Exchange Offers System as Model

In the 1970s, computer automation was the on the verge of revolutionizing the business of trading stocks and bonds, and Cincinnati was leading the way. In 1976, the Cincinnati Stock Exchange was offering its own version of a computerized central market system, a.k.a. national market system, to the Securities and Exchange Commission as a model to be followed for the national central market.

The system, which was scheduled to go into operation in October 1976, would allow brokers and dealers to execute orders directly through their viewing terminals, said Richard G. Meyer, chairman of the CSE.

The system was based on a working model developed at Weeden & Co., a New York third market investment house that was a CSE member. It was not the only system though. Other systems, including NASDAQ’s, which was offered by the National Association of Securities Dealers, were in competition for SEC attention and approval.

The advantage of automation, under the central market system, was that a computer could accept and match buy and sell orders for stocks and other equities from all over the country automatically; a revolutionary idea at the time.

The CSE led this revolution, already executing some limited orders in utility stocks on its system. The CSE planned to test the capabilities of the system further in October by using it to handle approximately 75 issues of stock.

(Cincinnati Post; June 18, 1976; 20:4)

July 1, 1995

Cincinnati Stock Exchange Says Good-Bye

The Cincinnati Stock Exchange turned 110 in 1995, and with it bid farewell to its namesake city, moving all of its operations to Chicago.

The CSE had been in the process of moving since 1991, after the Chicago Board Options Exchange took over the management of its computer system and the majority of its 239 seats for brokerages. There had been just three employees left at the CSE offices at the Bartlett Building on Fourth Street to wrap up the exchange’s final administrative and financial duties.

(Cincinnati Enquirer; July 1, 1995; B7:2)