Paper Used For New $100 Bills Made In Dalton, Mass.

Crane & Co. has been in charge of curating cash since the 1700's.

Photo via NewMoney.Gov

New $100 bill photo via NewMoney.Gov

Expect a lot of smiles coming from Dalton, Mass., on Tuesday as the paper company that supplies and manufactures the material used to print American currency watches their latest project hit the streets and go into the pockets of the general public.

The new $100 bill, complete with never-before-used 3-dimensional holograms, will begin circulating around the country today, and its rollout started at Crane & Co. in the Western part of Massachusetts.

The paper currency bearing the face of Benjamin Franklin is the last in the series of redesigned bills to go into circulation, which started with the $20 back in 2003. The new design for the $100 bill was unveiled in 2011, but its introduction was postponed following a few unexpected production delays, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

Peter Hopkins, a historian at Crane & Co., wouldn’t specifically discuss the problem they ran into several months back, but he was more than happy to talk about the roll-out of the new $100 bill.

“We make the paper, and during the process of making that paper, we insert various counterfeit deterrent features, which also can be used for authentication purposes. Crane does anything that’s in the paper, and anything printed on the paper is done by the Bureau [of Engraving and Printing],” Hopkins said. “It’s a lot of work and a great honor, and we have hundreds and hundreds of proud people. When something like this rolls outs, it has taken an awful long time and a lot of brain power to get this to the point where it will be circulated around the world.”

Some of that hard work included developing and commercializing technology that would allow special 3-D images put into the paper to actually move—including the Liberty Bell and the $100 bill sign on the currency, which go back and forth when someone tilts the bill. That effect is embedded in the paper’s material, not printed on the currency.

Watermarks, as well as a security thread that helps denominate the money, give it extra security features. “So if you see someone holding a bill up to light, that’s what they are looking for,” said Hopkins.

Crane & Co., which employs 1,600 people, 600 of whom work in the currency department in Dalton, has been producing paper for the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing since the late 1800s. Hopkins said there is even evidence that the company holds proving they once did a sale with Paul Revere in the 1700s for reams of money paper. “Paul Revere was the first currency paper customer,” he said.

The company first started embedding silk threads into banknote paper in 1844, according to its website, and since then, has been a leader in “developing paper-based counterfeit deterrents, such as advanced security threads, watermarks, planchettes, security fibers, special additives, and fluorescent and phosphorescent elements.”

The Federal Reserve will roll out more than 3.5 billion C-notes on Tuesday as trucks start to ship the money from regional banks to local institutions. Bills currently in circulation will remain valid, and will be phased out as they deteriorate and return to the hands of the federal government.

By law, a bid process is done every four years in order to select the best manufacturer to produce the paper used for American money, but Crane & Co. has been successful in securing that bid for more than 130 years, according to Hopkins.

The last time a $100 was redesigned was in 1996. It took more than 10 years to finalize the version that hits the streets today.