A Historical Tradition of Opening and Closing Bells of the NYSE

A Historical Tradition of Opening and Closing Bells of the NYSE

3 Min.

The New York Stock Exchange's (NYSE) opening and closing bells symbolize the beginning and end of each trading day for over a century. Originally a gavel, they transitioned to a gong before becoming the iconic bells we know today. This tradition has evolved, with celebrities and executives now often taking part in this symbolic act, closely tied to significant corporate events.


The history of the opening and closing bells of the New York Stock Exchange is a tale deeply intertwined with the world of finance and commerce. These bells, though taken for granted today, have a rich history that spans over a century.

The Original Signal

In the early days of the NYSE, the signal to commence and cease trading was not a bell, but a gavel. Much like the gavel used by judges in courtrooms, it served as the auditory cue for the traders to begin or conclude their day's work.

However, during the late 1800s, a significant change occurred. The exchange decided to replace the gavel with a gong to mark the opening and closing of trading. The gong had a distinctive and resonant sound that reverberated through the trading floor, signaling to traders and brokers that it was time to commence or wrap up their daily activities.

Transition to the Iconic Bell

The transition from the gong to the bell as the symbol of NYSE's opening and closing ceremonies occurred when the exchange relocated to its present location at 18 Broad Street in 1903. The melodious chime of the bell replaced the gong's resonant sound, and it has remained the iconic symbol of the NYSE ever since.

The Evolving Tradition

In recent years, the ringing of the NYSE bells has become a highly publicized event, often featuring celebrities or corporate executives who stand proudly behind the NYSE podium to press the button that sets the bells in motion. This act is considered a symbol of honor and recognition of a lifetime of achievement for those who have the privilege to participate.

Moreover, due to the extensive media coverage the opening and closing bell ceremonies receive, many companies strategically coordinate significant events, such as new product launches or corporate milestones, to coincide with the day when their representative rings the bell. This association has turned the ringing of the NYSE bells into a strategic marketing opportunity for businesses seeking to gain visibility and commemorate important moments in their corporate history.


The opening and closing bells of the NYSE have evolved from a simple gavel to a resonant gong and finally, to the iconic bells we know today. These bells, initially a functional signaling device, have transformed into symbols of honor and recognition in commerce. As they continue to ring each trading day, they serve as a reminder of the enduring traditions and evolving significance of the New York Stock Exchange in the global financial landscape.

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
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