#371: Where Dollar Bills Come From
Planet Money
download episode


Who makes paper for the US dollar? 00:43

Small paper mill in Massachusetts that's been doing this for 130 years.


What is an American Dollar Bill made from? 03:01

Dollars bills are made from 75% cotton and 25% linen, which makes for a very sturdy paper.


What is an American Dollar Bill made from? 03:03

American dollar bill is made out of 75% cotton and 25% linen. No trees are killed by printing dollar bills, while linen and cotton mix make for a very sturdy paper.


How many times can you fold a US dollar bill before breaking it? 03:28

US dollar bills undergo a quality control measure by a fold test, when a machine folds and unfolds paper, until the paper breaks.

While regular copy-paper can take ~100 folds before breaking, the paper for US Dollar Bill can take 5000 folds!


How did the Crane family get the monopoly on printing paper for the US dollars? 04:32

It's been a family business for generations, starting in 1979, when Mr. Crane undercut his competitors during the bidding process and got the very first contract from the US treasury.


How is the US currency protect from forgery? 07:31

While a lot of the design goes into creating subtle hard-to-copy differences, some counterfeit features are quite literally embedded into the paper. A security strip and a colored thread are just a few, among many.


How do you spot a transport of US dollar bills? 09:12

If you ever meet a truck driver with a gun, telling you he's carrying halloween candy, chances are you have just run into the truck transporting US currency paper from the mill, to the engraving department.

Suggested Episodes

Sign up for the newsletter!