Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New York style pits

One thing I've never understood is why the New York trading pits were a circular ring rather than an octagonal shape like the pits in Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City and the first pit in Milwaukee.  As a result, most NY traders refer to the trading pit as "the ring" and the roots stretch back to at least 1886 as shown below in this sketching from Harper's of the wheat pit at the NY Produce Exchange.

photo credit nypl.org

1906 photo from my personal collection also of wheat pit at NY Produce Exchange

photo credit heatusa.com

Finally the above photo shows the modern 'ring' at NYMEX over 100 years later to show that some standards never changed.

Anyone wishing to read more about the NY Produce Exchange can read the Harper's article from 1886 which elaborates extensively about the many features although it's pits, I mean rings, were never near as large as Chicago's.  An interesting thing in the article for me was that the NY Produce Exchange had a Gratuity Fund for the widow or heirs of members who died.  To this day the CME hits up all us members for $100/year for the Gratuity Fund for the same reasons.
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