In Reply to: Buy a seat on the exchange posted by Audrey on March 27, 2009 at 18:03:
: I am looking for the ORIGIN of the phrase "buy a seat on the exchange". I know it's meaning but I think it goes back to early London and not originating on Wall Street. There is also a place called The Exchange in Bristol, England but I find no reference to "buying a seat" there.
"Buying a seat to stand on the floor -- Although the trading floor, the heart of stock market activity, has no chairs, a new member in an exchange purchases a 'seat,' as it has been called for years. In fact, at Chicago's Merc, rules prohibit sitting on anything including garbage cans and coffee urns. As one might guess, traders at the exchanges used to sit on chairs, at a time when business was conducted by auction. Writing in 1871, James Medbery described armchairs that surrounded the sunken area where trading took place, explaining that traders jumped up out of their chairs when trading grew heated..." "Wall Street Slang: High Steppers, Fallen Angels, & Lollipops" by Kathleen Odean (Dodd, Mead & Company, New York, 1988). Page 155.