Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Overview
 
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is a government agency
Government agency
A government or state agency is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an intelligence agency. There is a notable variety of agency types...

 within the United States Department of the Treasury
United States Department of the Treasury
The Department of the Treasury is an executive department and the treasury of the United States federal government. It was established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government revenue...

 that designs and produces a variety of security products for the United States government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

, most notable of which is paper currency for the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve itself is the central bank of the United States of America. In addition to paper currency, the B.E.P. produces Treasury securities; military commissions and award certificates; invitations and admission cards; and many different types of identification cards, forms, and other special security documents for a variety of government agencies.
Encyclopedia
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is a government agency
Government agency
A government or state agency is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an intelligence agency. There is a notable variety of agency types...

 within the United States Department of the Treasury
United States Department of the Treasury
The Department of the Treasury is an executive department and the treasury of the United States federal government. It was established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government revenue...

 that designs and produces a variety of security products for the United States government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

, most notable of which is paper currency for the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve itself is the central bank of the United States of America. In addition to paper currency, the B.E.P. produces Treasury securities; military commissions and award certificates; invitations and admission cards; and many different types of identification cards, forms, and other special security documents for a variety of government agencies. The B.E.P. does not produce coins
United States coinage
United States coinage was first minted by the new republic in 1792. New coins have been produced every year since then and they make up a valuable aspect of the United States currency system. Today circulating coins exist in denominations: $0.01, $0.05, $0.10, $0.25, $0.50, and $1.00. Also minted...

; all coinage is produced by the United States Mint
United States Mint
The United States Mint primarily produces circulating coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce. The Mint was created by Congress with the Coinage Act of 1792, and placed within the Department of State...

. With production facilities in Washington, DC, and Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth is the 16th-largest city in the United States of America and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. Located in North Central Texas, just southeast of the Texas Panhandle, the city is a cultural gateway into the American West and covers nearly in Tarrant, Parker, Denton, and...

, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is the largest producer of government security documents in the United States.

History

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has its origins in legislation enacted to help fund the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. In July 1861, Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 authorized the Secretary of the Treasury
United States Secretary of the Treasury
The Secretary of the Treasury of the United States is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury, which is concerned with financial and monetary matters, and, until 2003, also with some issues of national security and defense. This position in the Federal Government of the United...

 to issue paper currency in lieu of coin
Coin
A coin is a piece of hard material that is standardized in weight, is produced in large quantities in order to facilitate trade, and primarily can be used as a legal tender token for commerce in the designated country, region, or territory....

 due to the lack of funds needed to support the conflict. The paper notes
Banknote
A banknote is a kind of negotiable instrument, a promissory note made by a bank payable to the bearer on demand, used as money, and in many jurisdictions is legal tender. In addition to coins, banknotes make up the cash or bearer forms of all modern fiat money...

 were essentially government IOUs and were called Demand Notes
Demand Note
A Demand Note is a type of United States paper money that was issued between August 1861 and April 1862 during the American Civil War in denominations of 5, 10, and 20 US$...

 because they were payable "on demand" in coin at certain Treasury facilities. At this time the government had no facility for the production of paper money so a private firm produced the Demand Notes in sheets of four. These sheets were then sent to the Treasury Department where dozens of clerks signed the notes and scores of workers cut the sheets and trimmed the notes by hand. Gradually, more and more work involving currency and government obligations, including engraving and printing, devolved to the Treasury.

Initially, the currency processing operations in the Treasury were not formally organized. When Congress created the Office of Comptroller of the Currency
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is a US federal agency established by the National Currency Act of 1863 and serves to charter, regulate, and supervise all national banks and the federal branches and agencies of foreign banks in the United States...

 and National Currency Bureau in 1863, currency-processing operations were nominally subordinated to that agency and designated the "First Division, National Currency Bureau." For years, however, the currency operations were known by various semi-official labels, such as the "Printing Bureau," "Small Note Bureau," "Currency Department," and "Small Note Room." It was not until 1874 that the "Bureau of Engraving and Printing" was officially recognized in congressional legislation
Legislation
Legislation is law which has been promulgated by a legislature or other governing body, or the process of making it...

 with a specific allocation of operating funds for fiscal year 1875.

From almost the very beginning of its operations, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing designed and printed a variety of products in addition to currency. As early as 1864, the offices which would later become the B.E.P. made passport
United States passport
United States passports are passports issued to citizens and non-citizen nationals of the United States of America. They are issued exclusively by the U.S. Department of State. Besides issuing passports , also limited use passport cards are issued by the same organization subject to the same...

s for the State Department
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 and money order
Money order
A money order is a payment order for a pre-specified amount of money. Because it is required that the funds be prepaid for the amount shown on it, it is a more trusted method of payment than a cheque.-History of money orders:...

s for the Post Office Department
United States Post Office Department
The Post Office Department was the name of the United States Postal Service when it was a Cabinet department. It was headed by the Postmaster General....

. Passports are now produced by the Government Printing Office. Other early items produced by the B.E.P. included various government debt instruments, such as interest-bearing notes, refunding certificates, compound interest Treasury notes, and bonds
Bond (finance)
In finance, a bond is a debt security, in which the authorized issuer owes the holders a debt and, depending on the terms of the bond, is obliged to pay interest to use and/or to repay the principal at a later date, termed maturity...

. The production of postage stamp
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

s began in 1894, and for almost the next century the B.E.P. was the sole producer of postage stamps in the country.

Production

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing officially took over production of postage stamps for the United States government in July 1894. Paper currency was later produced on hand presses around 1918, utilizing plates capable of printing four notes
Banknote
A banknote is a kind of negotiable instrument, a promissory note made by a bank payable to the bearer on demand, used as money, and in many jurisdictions is legal tender. In addition to coins, banknotes make up the cash or bearer forms of all modern fiat money...

 per sheet.

Postage stamp production

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing officially took over production of postage stamps for the United States government in July 1894. The first of the works printed by the B.E.P. was placed on sale on July 18, 1894, and by the end of the first year of stamp production, the B.E.P. had printed and delivered more than 2.1 billion stamps.

111 years of printing stamps at the B.E.P. came to an end in 2005 when all stamp production was ceased.

Currency production

Plate capacity on power presses increased from four to eight notes per sheet in 1918 in order to meet greatly expanded production requirements related to World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

.

With the dramatic redesign of currency
United States Note
A United States Note, also known as a Legal Tender Note, is a type of paper money that was issued from 1862 to 1971 in the U.S. Having been current for over 100 years, they were issued for longer than any other form of U.S. paper money. They were known popularly as "greenbacks" in their heyday, a...

 in 1929 – the first major change since paper currency was first issued in 1861 – note design was not only standardized but note size was also significantly reduced. Due to this reduction in size, the Bureau was able to convert from eight-note printing plates to twelve-note plates. The redesign effort came about for several reasons, chief among them a reduction in paper costs and improved counterfeit
Counterfeit
To counterfeit means to illegally imitate something. Counterfeit products are often produced with the intent to take advantage of the superior value of the imitated product...

 deterrence through better public recognition of currency features.

A further increase in the number of notes per sheet was realized in 1952 after breakthrough developments in the production of non-offset inks. Beginning in 1943, the B.E.P. experimented with new ink
Ink
Ink is a liquid or paste that contains pigments and/or dyes and is used to color a surface to produce an image, text, or design. Ink is used for drawing and/or writing with a pen, brush, or quill...

s that dried faster, therefore obviating the need to place tissues between sheets to prevent ink from offsetting to other sheets. The faster drying ink also enabled printed sheets of backs to be kept damp until the faces were printed, thereby reducing distortion caused by wetting, drying, and re-wetting of the paper (sheets needed to be dampened before each printing).

By reducing the distortion that increases proportionally with the size of the sheet of paper, the Bureau was able to convert from 12-note printing plates to plates capable of printing 18 notes in 1952. Five years later in 1957, the Bureau began printing currency via the dry intaglio
Intaglio (printmaking)
Intaglio is a family of printmaking techniques in which the image is incised into a surface, known as the matrix or plate, and the incised line or area holds the ink. Normally, copper or zinc plates are used as a surface, and the incisions are created by etching, engraving, drypoint, aquatint or...

 method that utilizes special paper and non-offset inks, enabling a further increase from 18 to 32 notes per sheet. Since 1968, all currency has been printed by means of the dry intaglio process, whereby wetting of the paper prior to printing is unnecessary.

Currency has since been printed primarily by the intaglio method, whereby fine-line engravings are transferred to steel plates from which an impression is made on sheets of distinctive paper. Ink is applied to the plates – each plate containing 32 note impressions – and then wiped clean, leaving ink in the engraved lines. The plate is pressed against the sheet of paper with such pressure as to actually press the paper into the lines of the plate to pick up the ink. Both faces and backs are printed in this manner, the backs being produced first. After the faces are printed, the sheets are then typographically overprinted with Treasury Seals
Seal of the United States Department of the Treasury
The United States Treasury Seal is the official symbol of the United States Department of the Treasury. It actually predates the department, having originated with the Board of Treasury during the period of the Articles of Confederation. It is used on all U.S...

 and serial number
Serial number
A serial number is a unique number assigned for identification which varies from its successor or predecessor by a fixed discrete integer value...

s.

During the Fiscal Year 2008, the Bureau delivered 7.7 billion notes at an average cost of 6.4 cents per note.

Locations

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has two locations: one in Washington, DC, and another in Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth is the 16th-largest city in the United States of America and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. Located in North Central Texas, just southeast of the Texas Panhandle, the city is a cultural gateway into the American West and covers nearly in Tarrant, Parker, Denton, and...

.

District of Columbia location

The Washington, D.C., facility comprises two adjacent buildings, the elder of which is located between 14th and 15th streets, SW. The architectural style of this, what is considered the 'main building,' is neoclassical
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...

. It has a steel superstructure
Superstructure
A superstructure is an upward extension of an existing structure above a baseline. This term is applied to various kinds of physical structures such as buildings, bridges, or ships...

 with fireproof
Fireproof
-Track List for Original 2002 Release:# "Fireproof" – 3:46# "Just 2 Get By" – 4:17# "Echelon" – 3:25# "Stay Up" – 3:40# "Behind Closed Doors" – 2:55# "Epidemic" – 3:14# "Hindsight" – 2:57# "Light at My Feet" – 3:28# "A Shame" – 3:17...

 concrete
Concrete
Concrete is a composite construction material, composed of cement and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate , water and chemical admixtures.The word concrete comes from the Latin word...

, Indiana limestone
Indiana Limestone
Indiana Limestone, also known as Bedford Limestone is a common regional term for Salem limestone, a geological formation primarily quarried in south central Indiana between Bloomington and Bedford....

, and granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 trim exterior. The main façade of the building faces Raoul Wallenberg Place (15th St), the Tidal Basin, and the Jefferson Memorial
Jefferson Memorial
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial is a presidential memorial in Washington, D.C. that is dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, an American Founding Father and the third President of the United States....

, with stone columns spanning the 505 feet (153.9 m) length of the building's front. The building is 296 feet (90.2 m) deep and 105 feet (32 m) high with four wings that extend back toward 14th Street. The building is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 as Auditor's Building Complex.

In May 1938, work was completed on an addition to the Washington, D.C., facility to accommodate increases in personnel and production. The 'annex building,' as it is called, is located on 14th Street, between C and D streets, SW, just opposite the main building. The building is 570 feet (173.7 m) long, 285 feet (86.9 m) wide, and made entirely of reinforced concrete with a limestone façade
Facade
A facade or façade is generally one exterior side of a building, usually, but not always, the front. The word comes from the French language, literally meaning "frontage" or "face"....

. The structure consists of a central "backbone" running from 14th Street to 13th Street with five wings extending north and south from the backbone.

The Washington, D.C., location offers a free 30-minute guided tour which features the various phases of currency production. Tours may be taken Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. during the fall and winter months). The Bureau is closed for all federal holidays and the week between Christmas and New Year's Day.

Fort Worth location

In 1987, construction on a second facility, located in Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth is the 16th-largest city in the United States of America and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. Located in North Central Texas, just southeast of the Texas Panhandle, the city is a cultural gateway into the American West and covers nearly in Tarrant, Parker, Denton, and...

, began. In addition to meeting increased production requirements, a western location was seen to serve as a contingency operation in case of emergencies in the DC metropolitan area
Washington Metropolitan Area
The Washington Metropolitan Area is the metropolitan area centered on Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The area includes all of the federal district and parts of the U.S...

; additionally, costs for transporting currency to Federal Reserve banks
Federal Reserve System
The Federal Reserve System is the central banking system of the United States. It was created on December 23, 1913 with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, largely in response to a series of financial panics, particularly a severe panic in 1907...

 in San Francisco
San Francisco, California
San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...

, Dallas
Dallas, Texas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

, and Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

 would be reduced. Currency production began in December 1990 at the Fort Worth facility, and the official dedication took place on April 26, 1991.

See also

  • Federal Reserve
  • United States Department of the Treasury
    United States Department of the Treasury
    The Department of the Treasury is an executive department and the treasury of the United States federal government. It was established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government revenue...

  • United States Mint
    United States Mint
    The United States Mint primarily produces circulating coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce. The Mint was created by Congress with the Coinage Act of 1792, and placed within the Department of State...

  • United States passport
    United States passport
    United States passports are passports issued to citizens and non-citizen nationals of the United States of America. They are issued exclusively by the U.S. Department of State. Besides issuing passports , also limited use passport cards are issued by the same organization subject to the same...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK