Guided tours/ of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing/ in Washington D.C./ are a popular activity/ for visitors. These tours/ are a good way/ to learn new and interesting facts/ about the history of money/ and its complex production methods. It is also very exciting/ to stand in a room/ with millions of dollars/ flying through machines.
"All right, Ladies and Gentlemen, once again/ welcome to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. And this is/ where the color of money begins. The money making process begins/ when a yearly order/ sent by the Federal Reserve Board. That order/ will then be divided/ in half. Half/ will be done/ here in Washington, D.C. and the other half/ will be done/ in Fort Worth, Texas".
Next, the Bureau orders/ special paper/ from the Crane company/ in the state of Massachusetts. The paper/ is actually cloth/ since it is made up/ of seventy-five percent cotton/ and twenty-five percent linen. This paper/ is made so that it can last a long time. And, it is made/ with details/ that make it/ hard to copy. For example, bills/ contain security threads.
These narrow strips of plastic/ inside the paper/ run along the width/ of the bill. This special paper/ is also made/ with very small blue and red fibers. Both of these designs/ make it/ very hard/ for counterfeiters/ to copy. Counterfeiters/ are criminals/ who create false money.
The first stage/ of production/ is called intaglio printing. This is done/ on high-speed presses/ using printing plates/ onto which images/ have been cut. Each plate/ receives a layer of ink, which gathers/ in the cut areas of the plate. Then, each sheet of paper/ goes into the press/ to receive the printing plate. The machine forces/ about twenty tons of pressure/ onto the printing plate and paper. One side of a dollar bill/ is printed/ in green ink, while the other/ is printed/ in black. Each side/ must dry/ for about forty-eight hours.
The printing plate/ used in this process/ is created/ from hand-cut engravings/ called master-dies. Highly skilled artists/ called engravers/ draw images/ into soft steel/ to make the dies. There are separate dies/ for the different images/ on the bill, such as the portrait of the president, the lettering, and other designs.
After each master-die/ is copied, they are fitted together/ to make a printing plate/ that has thirty-two copies/ of the bill/ being printed. A master-die/ can last/ for many years. For example, the master-die/ with the picture of President Abraham Lincoln/ was made/ in the eighteen sixties. It was used again this year/ to redesign the five-dollar bill.
Next, the large printed sheets/ are carefully examined/ to make sure/ there are no mistakes/ on any of the bills. This process/ used to be done/ by people. Now, computers/ do the work.
"OCIS/ is an acronym/ for Off-line Currency Inspection System/ and this is where the money/ from the last phase/ will be inspected. Now that blue box/ will take a picture/ to size of the sheets of the money/ and compare its cut, color and shape/ with the master image/ sent by the Federal Reserve Board. It will take that picture/ and break it down/ into over one million pixels. Every single last one/ has to be absolutely correct."
In this part of production, the thirty-two bill sheets/ are cut into sheets of sixteen. In the next step, the bills/ are printed/ with a series of identifying numbers and seals.
"And this is/ where the money/ from the last phase/ will be put to its final state. If you look to the left of the room/ ladies and gentlemen, there is a tall machine/ with green ink/ at the top of it. That is the machine/ that will print your serial numbers, Federal Reserve seal and Treasury seal/ onto the money."
The serial numbers/ on the money/ tell the order/ that the bills/ were printed. Other numbers and letters/ printed on the bill/ tell when the note/ was printed, what space/ on the printing plate/ the bill/ occupied/ and which Reserve bank/ will issue the bill.
Once the money/ is printed, guillotine cutters/ separate the sheets/ into two notes, then into individual notes. The notes/ are sorted/ into "bricks", each of which/ contains forty one-hundred-note packages.
The bricks/ then go to one of twelve Federal Reserve Districts, which then give the money/ to local banks. Ninety-five percent/ of the money/ printed each year/ is used to replace money/ that is in circulation, or that has already been removed/ from circulation. The Federal Reserve/ decides/ when to release/ this new money/ into use.