The Money Factory: A Day Well $pent

By: Abby Bedore, Jill Applegate, Courtney Howell, & Nathan Erickson

We all use money every day, but have you ever wondered where your cash comes from? Today, we visited the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. This building prints about half of the paper money distributed in the U.S. Another facility in Fort Worth, Texas prints the remaining half. Our tour took us through the four phases of creating money. From this tour, seven facts stood out to us:

1. The machines that are used to print currency can print up to seven colors. However, U.S. currency only uses three.

2. Paper currency isn’t actually made of paper. It’s a mixture of 25 percent linen and 75 percent cotton.

3. Six master engravers collaborate to design the plates to imprint each note.

4. New designs for each note are produced every 7-10 years.

5. The most common bills in the U.S. are the one dollar and 20 dollar notes.

6. Four percent of all the currency printed is flawed and is shredded immediately during the proofing process.

7. Every day, the Ft. Worth and D.C. facilities print a combined total of $1 billion. Most of this money is used to replace bills already in circulation.

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