Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Scoville & Co. grain

I'm really appreciative to Laura Scoville Ekstrom who shared the following photos from her family archives as the Scoville family were CBOT members stretching back many generations. 

The above photo is of the Scoville and Company office in 1895 and Laura's Great Grandfather, Amasa Unruh Scoville is seated at the desk with his hat on next to his brother, John H. Scoville.  In the upper left corner, they have a framed photo of the CBOT building of that era which predated the current one.  (Click on the picture to enlarge) This photo I find particularly interesting because it was taken six years before The Pit was published by Frank Norris and many scenes are set in offices of grain firms such as one of my favorites, linked here.

Above is a better version of a photo of Laura's father from a 1967 National Geographic article on Chicago.

For the above 1996 Chicago Sun Times article, you'll have to click on it to enlarge the photo but it's a fun read as traders recall how the grain market at the time compared to prior markets in the past.  Fittingly it shows a photo of Lee Stern who remains the longest serving member of the CBOT currently and quotes James Scoville who at the time was a member for 50 years.  The only reason these guys and others trade for so long is for the love of the game!  2052 is a long time from now and if all goes as planned I hope to be celebrating my 50th year as a CME member then.

The other notable thing is how the old timers in the article stuck into a single market to have so many references to past movement.  It's easier in the grain complex with a few contracts to trade but from watching people at the Merc, a lot of traders jump to whatever is moving.  I remember seeing in the late 90s there was a big migration to the S&Ps or NASDAQ pits from the currencies and those same people went to the eurodollar pit later on and from there a few to the meats, personally I'm a one contract guy myself.
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