Closing time for Chicago’s trading pits

Danny, Sonny and Marty Venit all worked as traders at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. (Photo by Andrew Gill)

Danny, Sonny and Marty Venit all worked as traders at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. (Photo by Andrew Gill)

For more than 160 years, traders in colorful blazers crowded into pits at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, shouting orders for commodities like corn, cattle and pork bellies.

But with the rise of electronic trading, the futures pits have shrunk to just one percent of overall trading volume, according to the CME Group.

The company, which merged with the Chicago Board of Trade in 2007, closed all but one of its futures pits in July. Some say it’s only a matter of time before “open outcry” trading disappears for good.

To mark the occasion, photographer Andrew Gill and I produced a series of portraits on current and former traders for WBEZ.

See and hear the series here.

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