From Thos. Edison to Amelia Earhart…

…by way of Western Union

If you’ve ever seen grainy photos of New York City parades with streams of paper floating everywhere, then you know what “ticker tape” is. But do you know anything about the machines that produce it?

The ticker tape machine was invented in 1867 by an engineer with the American Telegraph Co., Edward A. Calahan. His printing telegraph worked to get stock prices disseminated more quickly, and came to be known as a “stock ticker” due to its rhythmic ticking sound, and was quickly adopted by the New York Stock Exchange.

Within a few years, Thomas Edison, who’d spent his early working years as a telegraph operator was working for Gold and Stock Telegraph, a division of Western Union, and which owned the patents to the stock ticker. Using that knowledge, he began working independently on an improved version of the machine. Among his improvements: he developed the system of printing abbreviated company names as alphabetic symbols followed by the stock transaction information on long, narrow continuous-feed strips of paper.

Between 1871 and 1874 The NY Stock Exchange bought nearly 5,000 of Edison’s “Universal Stock Printer” machines, before buying the rights to the machine in order to manufacture them and sell stock quotation services to brokers. Offices up and down Wall Street kept tickers furiously generating tape when the stock market was open. Office workers quickly saw that throwing those long streams of tape out the windows was loads of fun during city celebrations, hence the term “ticker tape parade”. (1)

Fun Fact: 5,438 tons of paper were thrown during the 1945 celebration of the end of WW II: the most in parade history. (2)

Want to own a piece of history? Take a look at lot 50 in our February 15th Estate Antiques, Fine & Decorative Arts Auction. Up for auction is an antique Thomas Edison Western Union ticker tape machine, Model 35-A, serial #11858. The machine sits on a cast iron base under a glass dome, and would make a most interesting focal point for any home- or traditional office. Pre-auction estimate: $2,000 – 4,000.

Click to view the full auction details and catalog.



1. A History of Wall Street’s Stock Tickers, The Institute (The IEEE News Source), by the IEEE History Center Staff, October 2017.

2. By The Numbers: Ticker Tape Parades, CNN, by Emily Smith, CNN and Evelyn Andrews, Special to CNN, July 2015.




Thank You For Your Support!


Thank you for making Operation Warm & our Halloween Candy collection resounding successes!


Thanks to our very so very generous customers, we’ve collected a great many items for our Operation Warm clothing and blanket drive for Cityteam Cheser. Our collection table is overflowing, and we’ll be making our first drop-off very soon, so all the donations can be put to good use!

We’re continuing the drive through January, so if you’re looking for a place to “lose” that ugly hat you got from Great Aunt Martha for Christmas, keep us in mind…


Another Extra-Large Thank You to all who donated to our Halloween candy drive for our Troops and First Responders. Thanks to you (and with some help from the Girl Scouts), we shipped nearly 400 pounds of candy! Maybe we should have sent some toothbrushes, too!

Halloween Candy for Troops, First Responders, and Volunteers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                      


Operation Gratitude Halloween Give-Back Campaign Underway

Candy for a Cause: Donations Distributed to Deployed Troops and Local Heroes


GARNET VALLEY/PENNSYLVANIA.  October 4, 2018 – Taking candy from children is usually frowned upon, but teaching them the value of giving back by donating their excess Halloween candy in support of Operation Gratitude’s Care Package Programs for U.S. Troops, Veterans and First Responders is a win-win for kids, parents, and dentists.

This Halloween, local trick-or-treaters will join kids across the country when they donate their extra Halloween candy to Operation Gratitude at local collection site: The Briggs Auction Showroom. The sweet treats will be included along with handwritten thank you letters in Care Packages sent to U.S. Service Members deployed overseas, Veterans, and to First Responders serving in their local communities.

Americans spend an estimated $2.5 billion dollars on a whopping 600 million pounds of Halloween candy each year. In 2017, more than 400,000 pounds of candy was donated to Operation Gratitude and distributed to America’s Heroes through its care package programs.

“Operation Gratitude’s mission is to thank all who serve, bridging the divide between grateful Americans and the Heroes who serve and protect them,” said Kevin Schmiegel, Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret.) and CEO of Operation Gratitude. “The Halloween Candy Give-Back Program provides every American child the opportunity to learn about service, sacrifice and generosity.”

Candy and handwritten thank you letters for deployed Service Members, Veterans, and First Responders will be collected at the Briggs Auction Showroom: 1347 Naamans Creek Road, Garnet Valley, PA 19060 until Friday, November 9th. Check the Briggs Auction website ( for hours of operation. Operation Gratitude is also accepting donations of dental floss and travel sized toothpaste, as well as pens and mechanical pencils for deployed troops writing letters home during the holidays. Visit to learn more.




About Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude, a 501(c)(3), volunteer-based organization, annually sends 250,000+ care packages to Veterans, New Recruit Graduates, First Responders, Wounded Heroes, Caregivers, and to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed overseas and their families waiting at home. Each package is filled with food, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, as well as personal letters of support. Operation Gratitude’s mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of the Military and First Responder communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for civilians anywhere in America to express their appreciation to all who serve our nation. Each package contains donated product valued between $50 and $100 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 2.1 Million Care Packages.


Local Media Contact: Stephanie Germana, Briggs Auction Consignment Manager,| 610-566-3138

Operation Gratitude Media Contact: Samantha O’Neil,

Paul Shaub: Artistic Sensibility & Modern Design

Briggs Auction, Inc. is pleased and proud to offer at auction items from the impressive collection of furnishings, fine and decorative arts, and more amassed by Paul Shaub and his wife, artist Josephine Shaub over their lifetime. The Shaubs collected high end modern design furnishings and decorative arts in the 1960s and settled in historic New Castle, Delaware.

Shaub’s life is a rich tapestry of prestigious endeavors. He won multiple prizes in the 1950s from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Baltimore Museum of Fine Arts, Philadelphia Art Alliance and more. He has art represented in many museums including the Smithsonian Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Delaware Art Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts and The Library of Congress. Shaub co-authored the children’s book Squeaky the Mechanical Whale with Josephine. He was the co-proprietor the The Packet Press and was a member of the American Color Print Society, The Society of American Graphic Artists and the Philadelphia Art Alliance, where he served as chairman of the Print Committee. Shaub was aslo a designer of exhibits and graphics at the Hagley Museum, a Professor and Director of Professional Studies at the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, proprietor the Studio 52 in historic New Castle and a free-lance designer.

Known for his wood block prints, the Collection will include original art by by both Paul and Josephine Shaub. Paul focused on seascapes and nautical themed paintings, while Josephine painted horses, birds, and the occasional still life. Other collections cultivated by the Shaubs include a large collection of corkscrews, Native American and African art, vintage tin toys, and more.

A fine collection of original Shaub woodblock prints and Josephine Shaub’s original paintings will be sold Friday, September 22nd. The Shaub Collection also featured prominently in our recent September 15th Modern Design & Decorative Arts Auction.