Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1949 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
A DAY ON CHICAGO BOARD OF TRADE, WHERE
THEY TOSS YOUR FOOD ABOUT AND SCREAM
BY FRED L. BQALT.
, The farmer plants the 'wheat.
; God makes it grow and ripen.
You eat it.
But the job of getting the wheat
from the farm to you is left to a wild
man in shirtsleeves who perspires
profusely, utters strange, gutteral
cries and makes weird signals with
The Chicago Board of Trade is the
largest food market in the world. I sat
in the visitors' gallery and saw direct-
J. Ogden Armour.
Biggest Meat Speculator in World.
ly beneath me a man in a telephone
booth hand a slip of paper to a boy.
The boy folded the paper in the
middle, so that no one might read its
message, and dashed with it to the
He gave it to a dapper, elderly man,
whose hair and pointed beard were
snow white. He was such an im
maculate, cultured-appearing old
man that I could not associate him
with the rough-and-tumble of the pit.
But when the elderly man the
"floor man" for a big firm of brokers
t had scanned the message he under
went an instant and curious change.
His face turned red, then purple. The
muscles of his neck stood out in
cords. He threw back his head and
s crGfLHi fid
And he'beld up FOUR FINGERS.
"Sort of a panic?" I asked.
"No," said my guide, a veteran
operator. "The market is dull today."
One finger in the wheat pit means
5,000 bushels. The elderly man was
informing the world that he had 20,
000 bushels to sell.
And the pit went mad or seem
Instantly arms were raised and
waved. Thumbs were tucked under
fingers. Fingers were twisted about
thumbs. For the men in the wheat
pit have .a sign language. They were
bidding for the 20,000 bushels.
The elderly man sold his wheat
and yawned. He wasn't as mad as
he seemed. A boy on a platform hand
ed a yellow slip to a telegraph oper
ator behind him and as the key click
ed, the financial world knew that so
much wheat of such-and-such a
grade, and for delivery at a certain
item, had changed hands in Chicago.
The elderly man never raised a
grain of wheat in his Hfe. He didn't
know where the 20,000 bushels came
from or where it was going. The boy
from the telephone booth handed him
another message and he went mad
Others were doing the same thing
holding up one finger, two fingers,
whole flstfuls of fingers.
Suppose a farmer plants 200 acres
of wheat Suppose the crop averages
16 bushels to the acre, or 3,000 bush
els. Why, the elderly man cleaned up
the combined wheat crop of an entire
farming community when he wig
gled his four fingers.
.Wheat or. corn Qr oats or, provjh