I was quite pleased to stumbled upon the following 1985 Chicago Tribune article:
Signs Of The Times Stir Cbot Fuss Curb On Flashing Signals Pits Brokerage Firms, Floor Traders
In 1985, the bond pit was experiencing large growth and as a result, space in the bond room and pit were both scarce which resulted a greater reliance on "flashing," another term for using hand signals. The use of flashing created some rifts as clerks were crowding the pit and a movement to have such clerks get on a membership badge was made. Some old grain traders were also against flashing as outlined from this clip of the article, said as only an old grain trader could:
"In contrast, grain futures trading has always relied on slips of paper, carried by clerks called runners, to take customers` orders to the pits. ``We have existed for 200 years without flashing,`` said one grain trader. `These financial futures houses just want instant gratification on their orders.``
Perhaps the most exciting thing to come out of the article was a new hand signal which isn't up yet on tradingpithistory.com for Bear Stearns at the CBOT. It was noted that the signal for Bear Stearns was a mock hug, which must've derived from bear hug. Previously, the only signal I knew was the hand making a claw to signal Bear Stearns and perhaps this is part of the evolution from a two handed signal as cited in the article to a single handed signal which was prevalent when I was on the floor.
Know any signals which aren't up on tradingpithistory.com? Please leave them in the comments section or an email: firstname.lastname@example.org