Papermaking may not sound terribly exciting but, at the Crane Museum of Papermaking, you’re learning about the paper used to make our currency. Plus you’re also visiting Amerca’s oldest paper company!
The Crane & Co, located in Dalton, MA, makes a paper you’ve undoubtedly handled and most likely covet, at least a little bit. That’s right, they make the paper used in U.S. currency. Crane & Co. is the only company that makes the paper – and they’ve been the only ones since 1879!
Crane & Co makes paper from recovered rags. Rag paper, a combination of cloth and linen cloth, doesn’t act or feel like paper made from wood. It’s stronger, more crisp, and tougher than typical tree-paper. It’s also easier to make secure. Our currency uses red and blue flecks, as well as UV elements, for security. Hard as it may be to believe, Crane & Co handmade all their paper well into the 1950’s!
The Crane Museum of Papermaking is housed in what was the Rag Room of Crane’s 1844 Old Stone Mill. This humble, one-story building, situated on the banks of the Housatonic River, is on the National Register of Historic Places. This rag room is the last remaining building of what was known as the Old Stone Mill, a mill constructed in the 1840’s for Crane’s paper production business. The building was converted into a museum in 1930.
What will you find at the Crane Museum of Papermaking?
The museum houses a rich collection of watermarks and papers from Crane’s history that is fascinating to see. Exhibits trace the history of American papermaking from Revolutionary times, forward. Beautiful sets of handmade paper moulds and other tools used in the process of papermaking are also on display.
The building, itself, is interesting with its rough-hewn oak beams, colonial chandeliers, many-paned windows and wide oak floorboards.
The real draw, however, is the incredible, miniature scale model of the Vat House at the original Crane mill. The miniature, created by Dard Hunter, is incredibly intricate and beautiful. It perfectly illustrates the original, hand-process of rag-papermaking in miniature.
So come explore the history of the oldest paper company in America from 1770 to today! Admission is free!
Crane Museum of Papermaking
40 Pioneer St, Dalton, MA 01226
Open Tuesdays through Thursdays, 1pm to 5pm, November to June
Mondays through Fridays, 1pm to 5pm, June 2nd through October
Applegate Inn is less than half an hour’s drive from the Crane Museum of Papermaking. Our convenient location in the heart of the Berkshires puts all the best attractions at your fingertips. The combination of our modern conveniences and traditional setting make a stay with us the perfect compliment to your Berkshires’ getaway. Book your room at Applegate Inn today!