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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Old Money: 1914

Old Money: 1914

Washington, D.C., 1914. "Treasury Department -- Ofc. of U.S. Treasury -- second step in destruction of paper money. Machine cutting bills in halves." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

I bet Jack Benny had

I bet Jack Benny had nightmares of this room.

Handy and Practical

I need one of those machines--with the way money piles up, how else can you deal with it?

It’s all for the better.

I didn’t care for the grouchy engraving of Salmon P. Chase either, so I got rid of my $10,000 bills the same way.

A tale of old money for new

Around 1924 a widow friend of my father's family moved into a tiny house in West Philadelphia. The house was a lowly place which suited her straitened means. She had four fatherless children and little hope, this being before the days of Social Security. One day in the attic above the stairs one of her sons found a box full of money! (The previous owner had died in the house, and must not have told anyone of his nest egg). It was about $1,000 of the old bills. -- She was thrilled, seeing at last some hope for her children and her future. But being old money, it seemed the banks would balk at exchanging it for new, and it would be considered worthless.

She approached my grandfather about what to do and he devised a plan where friends and family, just a few bills at a time, brought these old bills in to their local banks and had them changed for new, being just a few dollars at a time didn't cause consternation as a lump sum would have.

As a result, she bought the little house, bought her sons bicycles and later sent them to college. -- We always loved that story and especially its happy ending!

High Tech Security

Shearing the bills lengthwise provides "extra" security before they are burned. That's one impressive paper cutter as evidenced by the size of the electric motor under the table. The exposed electric connections on the motor probably met the "OSHA" requirements of the day of "common sense" and a stern warning on your first day of work of "don't touch that".

Not on board

Says the guy in back: "This is bogus, man...I could by a house with just one of those wads."

Watch out,

the boss is taking a go on Old Nailcutter for the press.

The gentleman in the apron (presumably the regular operator of the machine) does look kind of wary. Like all practical people look when a suit from the head office takes over for a photo op.

What is the first step?

How can the second step be to cut a bill in half?

Holy Crap!!!!

Look at the bare terminals on the big electric motor under the table.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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