Horace Silverstone, New York Stock Exchange telephone clerk, 1929

In October of 1929 I was just being broken in on the phones on the floor of the Stock Exchange, cold. The wires from the order room and from any special customer or any registered rep that had a direct wire to me, would put an order in and I had to take the order — buy a thousand shares of Auburn Motors or whatever. Give it to a broker. But at that time I was just a clerk. I was brought down two months before that crash took place to learn the wires. So when the crash took place, I didn’t know enough about what was going on. And it was just like a nightmare. I couldn’t believe what was going on. In those days, every buy order was on a black pad. And every sell order was on a red pad. And all I saw was members running around with a fistful of red orders. I couldn’t find any bids. I’d come back to the phone and say, “there’s no bid for New York Central, it’s down … it’s selling down 15 points.” The tape ran … in those days the market was open from 10 until 3. That’s during the five day week and on Saturday, from 10 to 12 on Saturday, we had a short weekend. Anyhow, the tape ran two and a half hours late in a five-hour session and didn’t stop running until 8:30 at night the day of the crash.

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