Elizabeth: With a rich history tracing back over 200 years, JPMorgan Chase has preserved a unique collection of artifacts and records that help tell the story of our firm. In our collection are two legendary pistols that changed the course of history. How did these artifacts impact a young nation and forever change the lives of two famous statesmen and how did they come to be part of our collection? These pistols, made in 1797 are linked to Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Hamilton and Burr were highly accomplished men who contributed much to the early growth of the United States. Hamilton was a Founding Father and Secretary of the Treasury. Burr was a Revolutionary War hero and Vice President of the United States. They were both lawyers, traveled in the same circles and were both instrumental in founding JPMorgan Chase's earliest predecessor, the Manhattan Company in 1799. But working together was the exception. Hamilton and Burr's personal and political differences fueled an animosity that played out in public as early as the 1790s. Aaron Burr ran for president in 1800. He tied with Thomas Jefferson but lost the re-vote, thanks in part to Hamilton, who had been campaigning heavily against him. Hamilton: "As for Burr, there was nothing in his favor. He is bankrupt beyond redemption except by the plunder of his country. His public principles have no other spring or aim than his own aggrandizement." Elizabeth: As was the law back then, Burr was instead appointed vice president, a concession he wasn't happy about. Four years later, he ran for New York governor, but lost. He learned afterward that Hamilton had again been slandering him. A scorned Burr did what men of distinction often did back then; he challenged Hamilton to a duel. Burr: "You have invited the course I am about to pursue and now by your silence impose it upon me. Elizabeth: Hard to imagine now, but in early America, the practice of a duel, or prearranged fight, was a respected means of settling a score. There were even rules and guidelines about what could and could not transpire. The goal was to defend what the law would not defend, a man's honor. On July 11, 1804, Hamilton and Burr met in Weehawken, New Jersey. Hamilton carried with him a set of pistols owned by his brother-in-law John Church. As the challenged man, it was his right to select the guns. Hamilton fired his shot in the air. Burr aimed directly at Hamilton and mortally wounded him. The two men returned by boat to New York City where Hamilton died the following morning. Burr, the Vice President was indicted for murder in both states. The charges were dropped, but his political career was destroyed. The pistols survived and in 1930, the Bank of the Manhattan Company, JPMorgan Chase's earliest predecessor, purchased them from the Church family. Years later, in the 1970s, long hidden details were revealed. Both pistols were equipped with a hidden mechanism called a hair trigger, which, if engaged, would allow its user to fire faster than normal. Hamilton, who procured the pistols, would have likely known about this feature and it could have given him an advantage. So, how did he lose? We'll never know for sure, but we're proud to preserve these two pieces of American history and explore their role in a pivotal moment in time.
Steven: Technology has revolutionized how bankers and consumers handle money in amounts ranging from the single penny to billions of dollars. Early banks, including those that would become part of JPMorgan Chase, added up dollars and cents by hand, a time consuming task that left a lot of room for error. Over the years, JPMorgan Chase and its predecessors pioneered technologies that saved money and dramatically increased the speed at which bank work could be accomplished. Around the turn of the 20th century, even simple advances improved the employee and customer experience. The hand cranked adding machine of the 1890s did the work of two people. The direct dial phone eliminated the need for a switchboard, while the electric coin counting machine tallied with accuracy and was up to five times faster than counting by hand. In the 1920s, check processing, the backbone of personal banking, was greatly improved with the Recordak. Bank employees used the machine to process large volumes of checks entering the bank by photographing them, saving hours of work a day, and guarding against forgery. But it was the introduction of the electronic computer in the 1950s that revolutionized banking, propelling the industry forward at an unprecedented pace. Computers quickly became a staple in back offices across the country, and many of our predecessor banks built entire data processing centers devoted to the new technology. In 1959, Chase Manhattan Bank installed an IBM 650 computer, which enabled the staff to process transactions at lightning speed. A few years later, Chase Manhattan opened its New York Automated Check Processing Center, one of the largest in the world. Relying on new computer technology, employees processed checks using a high speed sorter that could read magnetic ink characters. Within the first year, it was processing over a million checks per day. As computerization spread across the country, so too did the bank credit card, which transformed America's shopping habits. Now, instead of opening individual charge accounts with each store, bank clients could use one card for their purchases at any store. In 1969, Chemical Bank unveiled its cash machine, the precursor to the ATM. The ATM, the Automated Teller Machine, made banking on the go possible with the swipe of a card. ATMs appeared in malls, airports and overseas, making it possible to get cash and perform transactions 24 hours a day. The trend for banking whenever, wherever and however you'd like continued. With Bank One's Channel 2000, an early home computer banking program launched in 1980, customers could bank without ever leaving the house. The internet brought banking at home into the 21st century, allowing customers to complete transactions securely online through personal computers, while mobile apps like Chase Pay meant banking could be done with the swipe of a finger on a phone, tablet or watch from anywhere in the world. JPMorgan Chase has come a long way, from bankers computing numbers by hand to a global team of technologists working hard to keep us ahead of the curve. Behind the scenes, the firm is developing new technologies, deploying artificial intelligence and working in the cloud to advance the financial landscape. This culture of innovation is helping employees work smarter, and customers bank better, every day.
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