Experiencing our nation through its environments, animals, people and history.

Galatians 5:1

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Money, Money!

Ever wonder where money comes from?? We did. Today we went to check out the Bureau of Printing and Engraving (BEP). They did not allow pictures to be taken inside the actual printing areas so you'll just have to imagine.

As some of you know, some of the most popular sites in DC work on a ticket basis. We got to the BEP around 9:00 AM and got tickets for 10:15 so we decided to check out the Jefferson Memorial. We had just learned about Jefferson in Williamsburg so it was pretty cool to see him inside the monmument. I let JJ read all he wanted this time. He was pretty happy to have read a whole section of the Declaration of Independance.

A nice view of the Washington Monument on the way to the Jefferson.

Once again I missed the memo that you were supposed to wear yellow in the monument! At least we were all wearing a very complementary blue.

Ok, back to the money. Every hear the famous quote that Truman kept on his desk, "The buck stops here?". We got a chuckle out of signs posted near the printing presses that said "The buck STARTS here". The following will be TMI (too much information) for some of you, so skip ahead, but... you might miss my section on counterfitting????.
The money is printed in three stages. First it goes through an "offset" press that just does the watermarks and adds the color. Then they add some of the outside designs and more color (on some fancy kind of press that I couldn't repeat to you (made by Germans in America though). Then finally some other fancy press where the faces and finishing touches are put on.

Then the money gets cut, wrapped, inspected and loaded into Bill Gates' truck. We got to see the first three stages in process. Before it's cut each sheet of paper holds 36 "notes" or bills on it. When we got to the cutting and inspecting room we saw our tax dollars hard at work. There were 5 men and one woman standing around watching a 6th man push a button over and over again. I think they were coaching him on how to push it correctly because the machine wouldn't do anything when he pushed it. I think they needed to call in a "master button pusher".

One more "ever wonder" question and answer: Ever wonder why your money doesn't get all balled up and discolored when you send it through the washer?? It's because it's not actually made out of paper. It's some kind of linen and fiber composition. That's just what they told us, I've never actually washed any of my money.

Below is a picture of the kids trying to find money to get me to spend my money on. Well, actually they wanted little shredded up money or pictures of money or in this case a postcard of money. Seriously though, you could buy money there. My strategy, however, was just to keep my money so that they wouldn't have to print more money. What a thoughtful guy I am. Someone has to make up for the button pushing fiasco.

A little side note. One woman from Southern Virginia with a very heavy DRAAAWWWLLL said she could tell we'all were from up north because of our accent.
I thought maybe it was because we were all wearing Mariner tee-shirts.

A second side note: The kids were not very happy when I took the money away from them that I had given them to get the picture at the top of this entry. However, the normally tight wad mom made me give them each one dollar. Don't tell Josiah though, 'cause I stole his dollar back to do laundry. ShhhHHHHH.