The Making of U.S. Currency: Free Video Resources


Videos, like the History Channel provides, are excellent resources and free. The one described in this article shows how paper currency is madeWe’ve said it before … "The emergence of Internet on-demand videos has not only provided the excitement of action-packed movies that can be viewed straight from your computer, but the availability of interesting, educational and free video content."

However, just like it’s nearly impossible to find good videos on minting coins, it’s difficult to track down and find good videos on making and printing currency.

There’s naturally a security component of having to hide facets of producing money and perhaps that’s one reason so few videos are available. Fortunately, there are at least two videos worth recommending that cover the creation and design of currency.

The History Channel video, ‘Modern Marvels: Currency’

The History Channel website through offers intriguing Internet-enabled videos that are free to watch. Their Modern Marvels: Currency video runs at 8 minutes and 20 seconds. Like a good movie, you won’t notice the time flying by while watching. It’s surprisingly succinct, yet engagingly descriptive and educational.

Modern Marvels: Currency, covers:

  • The beginnings of Treasury produced currency in 1861
  • How discarded blue jean scraps are the source for paper in currency
  • The removing of waxes, oils, etc. from scrapped jeans, using a large pressure cooker
  • Moving shreds to a "pulper" that further breaks down the cotton
  • Conveyers moving pulp through washers, bleaching and water removal system
  • Mixing red and blue security fibers into the pulp
  • Embedding security thread denoting the bill’s value
  • Using bronze dies to add watermarks that vary by denomination
  • Delivery of paper to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for printing
  • While not showing the latest technology BEP uses to print notes, a walk through of how notes were once printed provides a conceptual example of how it’s done

Watch the Modern Marvels: Currency video now.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) video: The redesign and security features of the $5 bill

On Sept. 20, 2007, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) digitally unveiled the redesign of the new U.S. $5 bill for circulation in 2008. They described the bill as: "Safer, Smarter. More Secure."

Along with their digital release of the new $5 bill, the BEP produced a video describing the new design and those security features so highly touted. Again, no secrets in currency production are provided but it does detail security features of the bill itself, which offers insights you’ll likely find interesting.

This video won’t make you sleepy. It’s short and put together well. It includes several comments from BEP and Treasury officials discussing and showing:

  • The improved, and two separate embedded watermarks
  • The change to the security thread
  • The addition of the Great Seal of the United States
  • The elimination of the oval and the addition of stars around Lincoln’s portrait
  • The enlargement of the numeral five in the lower right hand corner
  • The tiny shades of yellow 5’s in the front and back of the bill

Watch the BEP $5 design and security features video now.

If you prefer reading and looking at the images of the new bill design and security features, you can visit the Bureau of Engraving and Printing page, The Redesigned Currency, About the new $5 Bill.

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