New $100 bill buys security at Crane


Tuesday, August 28

Crane & Co. is perhaps best known for manufacturing the paper used to make U.S. currency and developing the security thread that protects against counterfeiting. However, the company manufactures and sells other products, including stationery, business cards, invitations, journals and books. Crane's paper is made out of 100 percent cotton, which the company says is the highest-quality fiber for paper other than the more commonly used wood pulp.


The new five-year contract, estimated by government officials to be worth $46 million, means greater job security for the roughly 350 currency paper employees in Dalton.

"It means more revenue, increased opportunity to produce additional security-thread technology and secures our place as a currency paper supplier for our government and for other governments around the world," said Charles Kittredge, Crane & Co.'s CEO and board chairman.

It also means job security for the employees of Technical Graphics in Milford, N.H., a company mostly owned by Crane that manufactures the security ribbon in sheets, which Crane then cuts into threads and weaves into the currency paper.

'Near impossible' to counterfeit

The security threads are cut from a sheet of film manufactured with thousands of tiny lenses that create a complex image that seems to travel up and down the thread. The new product is called Motion, according to Kittredge.

The value in the security thread is that the production process is so complex, it would be completely impractical — and very expensive — to counterfeit, said company vice president Douglas Crane.

"It would be damn near impossible," he said. "It takes an immense effort just to make the materials. The hurdles of making a simulation of this stuff are so great, I can't imagine a counterfeiter even trying it. They would likely end up going after a different currency, I would think."

Article Continues After These Ads

After the Motion material is delivered and cut to size, the paper must be formed around the thread, which is woven in and out of the sheet.

"It is a confidential, very specialized process," Crane said.

The concept came from Nanoventions, a firm based in Georgia. Crane & Co. took the concept and developed the manufacturing process, bringing the science of currency manufacture into a new age, Kittredge said.

"We think currency utilizing this technology is the most secure in the world," Kittredge said.

"There is no way to put this on a color copier or a scanner and make it work," Crane added.

Motion won Crane & Co. the Best New Security Feature Award at the Global Currency Conference in Thailand earlier this year.

"It is certainly a source of great pride," Kittredge said.

It took Crane designers about three years to make it work. The contract was finalized in February, Crane said. Once the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing completes the new bill's design, the actual paper manufacturing likely will start early next year, with the new bills moving into circulation late in 2008.

Crane & Co. employs about 1,300 worldwide, with 350 in Dalton's U.S. currency division, 250 in the Swedish currency operation, about 550 in the specialty stationery business and another 100 in the nonwoven product division.

To reach Scott Stafford:, (413) 496-6240.


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions