Bureau of Engraving and Printing

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Bureau of Engraving and Printing
US-BureauOfEngravingAndPrinting-Seal.svg
Seal of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Flag of the United States Department of the Treasury.png
Agency overview
FormedAugust 29, 1862;157 years ago (1862-08-29) [1]
Headquarters300 14th St SW
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Employees2,169 (2006)
Agency executive
Parent agency Department of the Treasury
Website moneyfactory.gov

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is a government agency within the United States Department of the Treasury that designs and produces a variety of security products for the United States government, most notable of which is Federal Reserve Notes (paper money) for the Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank. In addition to paper currency, the BEP 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 BEP does not produce coins; all coinage is produced by the United States Mint. With production facilities in Washington, D.C., and Fort Worth, Texas, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is the largest producer of government security documents in the United States.

A government or state agency, sometimes an appointed commission, 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. Although usage differs, a government agency is normally distinct both from a department or ministry, and other types of public body established by government. The functions of an agency are normally executive in character, since different types of organizations are most often constituted in an advisory role—this distinction is often blurred in practice however.

United States Department of the Treasury United States federal executive department

The Department of the Treasury (USDT) is an executive department and the treasury of the United States federal government. Established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government revenue, the Treasury prints all paper currency and mints all coins in circulation through the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the United States Mint, respectively; collects all federal taxes through the Internal Revenue Service; manages U.S. government debt instruments; licenses and supervises banks and thrift institutions; and advises the legislative and executive branches on matters of fiscal policy.

Federal Reserve Note current type of paper currency issued by the United States

Federal Reserve Notes, also United States banknotes, are the banknotes currently used in the United States of America. Denominated in United States dollars, Federal Reserve Notes are printed by the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing on paper made by Crane & Co. of Dalton, Massachusetts. Federal Reserve Notes are the only type of U.S. banknote currently produced. Federal Reserve Notes are authorized by Section 16 of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and are issued to the Federal Reserve Banks at the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The notes are then put into circulation by the Federal Reserve Banks, at which point they become liabilities of the Federal Reserve Banks and obligations of the United States.

Contents

History

Aerial view of the BEP in Washington, D.C. circa 1918 Bureau of Engraving and Printing, aerial view - Washington, D.C..jpg
Aerial view of the BEP in Washington, D.C. circa 1918
United States Souvenir Card issued by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, for the HAPEX APS 70 exhibition and 84th Annual Convention of the American Philatelic Society in 1970 United States Souvenir Card HAPEX 1970.jpg
United States Souvenir Card issued by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, for the HAPEX APS 70 exhibition and 84th Annual Convention of the American Philatelic Society in 1970

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has its origins in legislation enacted to help fund the Civil War. In July 1861, Congress authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to issue paper currency in lieu of coins due to the lack of funds needed to support the conflict. The paper notes were essentially government IOUs and were called Demand Notes 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. The Second Legal Tender Act (July 11, 1862; 12  Stat.   532) authorized the Treasury Secretary to engrave and print notes at the Treasury Department; the design of which incorporates fine-line engraving, intricate geometric lathe work patterns, a Treasury seal, and engraved signatures to aid in counterfeit deterrence. [2]

American Civil War Internal war in the U.S. over slavery

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North, which also included some geographically western and southern states, proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights in order to uphold slavery.

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, and consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election, though vacancies in the Senate may be filled by a gubernatorial appointment. Congress has 535 voting members: 435 representatives and 100 senators. The House of Representatives has six non-voting members representing Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia in addition to its 435 voting members. Although they cannot vote in the full house, these members can address the house, sit and vote in congressional committees, and introduce legislation.

United States Secretary of the Treasury Government position

The secretary of the treasury is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury which is concerned with all financial and monetary matters relating to the federal government, and, until 2003, also included several major federal law enforcement agencies. This position in the federal government of the United States is analogous to the minister of finance in many other countries. The secretary of the treasury is a member of the president's Cabinet, and is nominated by the president of the United States. Nominees for secretary of the treasury undergo a confirmation hearing before the United States Senate Committee on Finance before being voted on by the United States Senate.

Initially, the currency processing operations in the Treasury were not formally organized. When Congress created the Office of Comptroller of the Currency 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 with a specific allocation of operating funds for fiscal year 1875.

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency American federal government organization

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is an independent bureau within the United States Department of the Treasury that was established by the National Currency Act of 1863 and serves to charter, regulate, and supervise all national banks and thrift institutions and the federally licensed branches and agencies of foreign banks in the United States. The Comptroller of the Currency is Joseph Otting.

Legislation is law which has been promulgated by a legislature or other governing body or the process of making it. Before an item of legislation becomes law it may be known as a bill, and may be broadly referred to as "legislation", while it remains under consideration to distinguish it from other business. Legislation can have many purposes: to regulate, to authorize, to outlaw, to provide (funds), to sanction, to grant, to declare or to restrict. It may be contrasted with a non-legislative act which is adopted by an executive or administrative body under the authority of a legislative act or for implementing a legislative act.

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 BEP made passports for the State Department and money orders for the Post Office Department. Passports are now produced by the Government Publishing Office. Other early items produced by the BEP included various government debt instruments, such as interest-bearing notes, refunding certificates, compound interest Treasury notes, and bonds. The production of postage stamps began in 1894, and for almost the next century the BEP was the sole producer of postage stamps in the country.

United States passport passport

United States passports are passports issued to citizens and nationals of the United States of America. They are issued exclusively by the U.S. Department of State. Besides passports, limited use passport cards are issued by the same government agency subject to the same requirements. It is unlawful for U.S. citizens and nationals to enter or exit the United States without a valid U.S. passport or Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative-compliant passport-replacement document, though there are many exceptions, waivers are generally granted for U.S. citizens returning without a passport, and the exit requirement is not enforced.

United States Department of State United States federal executive department responsible for foreign affairs

The United States Department of State (DOS), commonly referred to as the State Department, is a federal executive department responsible for carrying out U.S. foreign policy and international relations. Established in 1789 as the nation's first executive department, its duties include advising the President of the United States, administering the nation's diplomatic missions, negotiating treaties and agreements with foreign entities, and representing the U.S. at the United Nations.

Money order payment order for a pre-specified amount of money

A money order is a payment order for a pre-specified amount of money. As it is required that the funds be prepaid for the amount shown on it, it is a more trusted method of payment than a check.

Fort Worth, Texas City in Texas, United States

Fort Worth is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. state of Texas and the 13th-largest city in the United States. It is the county seat of Tarrant County, covering nearly 350 square miles (910 km2) into three other counties: Denton, Parker, and Wise. According to the 2018 census estimates, Fort Worth's population is 895,008. Fort Worth is the second-largest city in the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area, which is the 4th most populous metropolitan area in the United States.

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 per sheet.

Banknote Form of physical currency made of paper, cotton or polymer

A banknote is a type of negotiable promissory note, made by a bank, payable to the bearer on demand. Banknotes were originally issued by commercial banks, which were legally required to redeem the notes for legal tender when presented to the chief cashier of the originating bank. These commercial banknotes only traded at face value in the market served by the issuing bank. Commercial banknotes have primarily been replaced by national banknotes issued by central banks.

Garfield, Issue of 1894
1st postage stamp printed by BEP James Garfield2 1894 Issue-6c.jpg
Garfield, Issue of 1894
1st postage stamp printed by BEP

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 BEP was placed on sale on July 18, 1894, and by the end of the first year of stamp production, the BEP had printed and delivered more than 2.1 billion stamps. The United States Postal Service switched purely to private postage stamp printers in 2005, ending 111 years of production by the Bureau. [3] [4] Starting in 2011 the United States Postal Service in-housed all postage stamp printing services.

Currency production

Federal Reserve $1 note, 2009 issue Onedolar2009series.jpg
Federal Reserve $1 note, 2009 issue

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.

With the redesign of currency 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 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 BEP experimented with new inks 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).

Three consecutive $2 notes, 2009 issue Three Consecutively Numbered Two-dollar Notes.jpg
Three consecutive $2 notes, 2009 issue

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 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. In this process, fine-line engravings are transferred to steel plates from which an impression is made on sheets of distinctive paper. Ink is applied to a plate containing 32 note impressions, which is 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 – backs first. After the faces are printed, the sheets are then typographically overprinted with Treasury Seals and serial numbers.

During Fiscal Year 2013, the Bureau delivered 6.6 billion notes at an average cost of 10 cents per note. [5]

Locations

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has two locations: one in Washington, D.C., and another in Fort Worth, Texas.

District of Columbia location

The Washington facility consists of two adjacent buildings. The elder, considered the main building and located between 14th and 15th streets SW, was constructed in 1914. [6] The architectural style of the main building is neoclassical. It has a steel superstructure with fireproof concrete, Indiana limestone, and granite trim exterior. The main façade of the building faces Raoul Wallenberg Place (15th St), the Tidal Basin, and the Jefferson Memorial, with stone columns spanning the 505-foot (154 m) length of the building's front. The building is 296 feet (90 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 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 (170 m) long, 285 feet (87 m) wide, and made entirely of reinforced concrete with a limestone façade. 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. The Bureau is closed for all federal holidays and the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. [7] [8]

Fort Worth location

In 1987, construction began on a second facility in Fort Worth, Texas. 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; additionally, costs for transporting currency to Federal Reserve banks in San Francisco, Dallas, and Kansas City would be reduced. Currency production began in December 1990 at the Fort Worth facility, and the official dedication took place on April 26, 1991. Any currency printed at Fort Worth includes a small "FW", usually located to the left of the bill's face plate number, and most also have larger back plate numbers. [9]

Historic locations

The Bureau moved into its own building in 1880 with the completion of a facility at 14th St. and Independence Ave. SW, now the Sidney Yates Building. An addition was built on the south side of the building in 1891. The Bureau relocated to its present Washington location, just south of the original building, in 1914.

BEP Police

A Bureau of Engraving and Printing Police (BEP) patrol car. Bureau of Engraving and Printing Police.jpg
A Bureau of Engraving and Printing Police (BEP) patrol car.

The Bureau operates a police department, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing Police Force, that protects BEP personnel and facilities. The BEP Police are responsible for enforcing federal and local laws, Treasury Department rules and regulations, Washington, DC Criminal Code through a Memorandum of Understanding, and Texas Criminal Code. [10] In 2004, 234 Police officers were employed. [11]

See also

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References

  1. Treasury.gov Archived December 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  2. "U.S. Currency". Bureau of Engraving and Printing U.S. Department of the Treasury. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  3. McAllister, Bill (13 June 2005). "After 111 Years, Postage Stamps Go Private". Washington Post. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  4. "2005 Comprehensive Statement on Postal Operations". USPS. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  5. Bureau of Engraving and Printing. "Annual Production Figures" Archived 2011-08-27 at the Wayback Machine , referenced 2014-03-11.
  6. Latimer, Louise Payson (1924). Your Washington and Mine. Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 162.
  7. "Washington, D.C. -- Places To Tour -- Bureau of Engraving and Printing".
  8. "Bureau of Engraving and Printing". Yelp. 8 November 2015.
  9. "USPaperMoney.Info: Features of Current Notes".
  10. Dempsey, John S.; Forst, Linda S. (2009). An Introduction to Policing. Cengage Learning. p. 63. ISBN   1435480538.
  11. Reaves, Brian A. (July 2006). "Federal Law Enforcement Officers, 2004" (PDF). Bureau of Justice Statistics.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)