Crane Currency

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Crane Currency
FoundedDalton, Massachusetts, U.S.
(1801; 221 years ago (1801))
FounderZenas Crane, Henry Wiswall and John Willard
HeadquartersBoston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Key people
Sam Keayes, President, Crane Currency
ProductsCurrency paper and security features
RevenueUS$450 million+ (2018)
Number of employees
ParentCrane Holdings

Crane Currency is a manufacturer of cotton based paper products used in the printing of banknotes, passports, and other secure documents.


Stephen Crane was the first in the Crane family to become a papermaker, buying his first mill, "The Liberty Paper Mill," in 1770.[1] He sold currency-type paper to engraver Paul Revere, who printed the American Colonies' first paper money. In 1801, Crane was founded by Zenas Crane, Henry Wiswall and John Willard. It was the very first paper mill in the United States west of the Connecticut River.[2] The company's original mill had a daily output of 20 posts (1 post = 125 sheets). Shortly after, in 1806, Crane began printing currency on cotton paper for local, as well as regional, banks, before officially printing for the government. In 1844 Crane developed a method to embed parallel silk threads in banknote paper to denominate notes and deter counterfeiting.

In 1879, Crane grew when Winthrop M. Crane won a contract to deliver U.S. currency paper to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C. To shore up resources for this contract, Crane expanded its capacity with four new mills engineered by world-renowned mill architect David H. Tower. Tower, a native of Dalton would remain connected to the development of the company throughout his career, having gotten his first start in mill architecture working as an apprentice to rebuild Zena Crane's Red Mill in 1846.[3] Crane produced both the yellow (issued in 1883–1884) and the white (1884–1894) watermarked security papers for the nation's Postal Notes. These early money orders were produced for sale throughout the postal system by the Homer Lee Bank Note Company (1883–1887), the American Bank Note Company (1887–1891), and Dunlap & Clarke (1891–1894). In 1922, Crane & Co. incorporated, with Frederick G. Crane elected as president.

In 1960, Crane & Co. stationary presented an ad campaign intended to expand the use of written correspondence. The campaign, run by Margaret Hockaday's advertising firm, presented examples of letters that could be written but did not present images of the stationary.[4] An article in the New York Times detailed the fictional people writing the letters.[5] In 2015, Crane announced that it would be turning over its stationery division to employees via a "management buyout" by the end of December.[6]

In 2002, Crane purchased the company Tumba Bruk from the Central Bank of Sweden (Riksbank) and operates this today as Crane AB.

In 2016, Crane announced plans to build a new banknote printing facility and customer experience center in the country of Malta. The facility will be 15,000 square meters in size and will have space for three print lines. The "state-of-the-art" $100 million facility was announced on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 by Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.[7]

In 2017 Crane Currency was sold to Crane Co.,[8] now known as Crane Holdings.


Crane Currency’s MOTION[9] security technology is being introduced into high denomination banknotes worldwide. The design involves a micro-lens array interacting with graphics far smaller than any microprinting.

Sweden’s 1000 kronor banknote, released in 2006, was the first banknote to use Crane's MOTION technology. A 2007 AP article[10] revealed that the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing will use a new security thread containing "650,000 tiny lenses" (now believed to be over 1 million lenses per inch of thread).[9] It is currently being used on the $100 bill design released on October 8, 2013.[11]

In 2008, Crane acquired Visual Physics, a subsidiary of Nanoventions, based in Atlanta, Georgia. This purchase gave Crane exclusive control of Motion micro-optic security technology that is used for the protection of banknotes.

In 2014, Crane introduced its second security thread based on its micro-optic technology. The smaller lenses used in RAPID micro-optic thread enable rapid movement and high color contrast. RAPID uses dynamic movement as the key to easy authentication. Fast moving and unambiguous movement with just a modest tilt of the note are the feature’s trademark.

MOTION SURFACE, introduced in 2017, is based on miniaturized Motion micro-optic lenses that produce fluid movement and three dimensional effects. It is applied as a stripe as opposed to being integrated as a thread. Therefore, MOTION SURFACE can be applied in the printing works.


  • Frederick G. Crane (1922–1923)
  • Winthrop M. Crane Jr. (1923–1951)
  • Bruce Crane (1951–1975)
  • Benjamin J. Sullivan (1975–1986)
  • Thomas A. White (1986–1995)
  • Lansing Crane (1995–2007)
  • Charles Kittredge (2007–2011)
  • Stephen DeFalco (2011–2018)
  • Annemarie Watson (2018–2020)
  • Sam Keayes (2020–present)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Crane's - History". Archived from the original on 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2007-09-16.
  2. ^ Basbanes, Nicholas (2014). On paper: The everything of its two-thousand-year history. New York: Vintage Bpooks. ISBN 978-0-307-27964-4.
  3. ^ Lockwood, John H.; Bagg, Ernest Newton; Carson, Walter S.; Riley, Herbert E.; Boltwood, Edward; Clark, Will L., eds. (1926). "Tower, David Horatio". Western Massachusetts, A History 1636-1925. Vol. IV. New York & Chicago: Lewis Historical Publishing, Inc. OCLC 988211712. [A]t the age of thirteen years [he] became an apprentice of a local millwright. In 1846 he was employed on work being done in connection with the rebuilding of the old Red Mill, erected at Zenas Crane...Among the mills designed by Mr. Tower are the four Crane paper mills at Dalton, in which all the money paper for the United States Government has been made for over forty years.
  4. ^ "Crane & Co. Stationery Ads Hint at Write-It-Yourself Correspondence". Vol. 31, no. 2. Advertising Age. Crain Communications, Incorporated. 1960-01-11. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ "Crane & Co. Stationery Ads Hint at Write-It-Yourself Correspondence". Vol. 31, no. 2. Advertising Age. Crain Communications, Incorporated. 1960-01-11. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ Dobrowolski, Tony (December 10, 2015). "Crane stationery division to break off from currency operations". The Berkshire Eagle. Pittsfield, MA. Archived from the original on 2015-12-13. Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  7. ^ "Currency printer to open $100m facility in Malta, Prime Minister announces". Times of Malta. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  8. ^ Dobrowolski, Tony (December 5, 2017). "Crane Currency to be sold for $800 million". The Berkshire Eagle. Pittsfield, MA. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  9. ^ a b "Crane Currency Technology". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2010-03-06.
  10. ^ "$100 bill getting a high-tech face lift". Associated Press. August 27, 2007. Retrieved 2010-03-06.
  11. ^ "Federal Reserve Announces Day of Issue of Redesigned $100 Note". U.S. Currency Education Program. April 23, 2013. Retrieved 2020-07-06.

External links[edit]