Douglas Crane, vice president at Crane, holds a new $100 bill in 2010. A creasing problem with the bills, which had held up circulation for more than two
Douglas Crane, vice president at Crane, holds a new $100 bill in 2010. A creasing problem with the bills, which had held up circulation for more than two years, has been fixed. (Eagle file)

DALTON -- The federal government is planning to circulate its newly redesigned $100 bills in October now that a creasing problem that held up production for more than two years has been resolved.

Douglas Crane, vice president of Crane, the Dalton manufacturer that has been supplying currency paper to the U.S. government since 1879, said production actually resumed 18 months ago, but the Federal Reserve is waiting until this fall to distribute the new bills since there are "quite a number of notes" that need to be released.

"The Fed is very conservative and wants to ensure that there are sufficient supplies and inventories for anyone who wants to trade one in," said Crane.

The $100 bills currently in circulation will continue to be used as legal tender after the new bills are released, Crane said. But he said it is common for people to trade in their old bills once the new ones go into circulation. The government has set Oct. 8 as the target date for releasing the new bills.

The new $100 bills, which include a range of high-tech security features designed to thwart counterfeiters, were originally scheduled to be released in February 2011. But officials announced a delay in December 2010, after a production problem left unacceptable creases in many of the 1.1 billion newly redesigned bills. The problem had first been discovered that summer.

The creasing problem developed when the paper folded over during production, which revealed a blank unlinked portion of the printed bill face. When the sides of the bill were pulled, the crease unfolded and revealed a blank space.

Resolving the issue took some time, according to Douglas Crane.

"It was a very systematic application of tightening up the process both here on our paper machine and at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing on their printing press," Crane said. "It was a really drawn-out process for us to get there. But after a lot of work by the technical group, we were able to get to the point where the bureau authorized production."

"We made numerous process changes to address the creasing issue," Dawn Haley, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, told USA Today.

The new $100 bill features state-of-the-art security features that include a blue 3-D security ribbon on the front of the bill, and a Liberty Bell placed in an inkwell that changes color from copper to green when the note is tilted.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:
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