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From Rags to Riches at The Crane Museum of Papermaking

July 8th, 2019 by Corey A. Edwards

Crane Museum of PapermakingThe Crane Museum of Papermaking may sound like a real yawner until you learn that Crane & Co not only make the paper for our country’s currency, they’re the only ones to do so since 1879!

As you likely know, United States currency is printed on fabric, not paper made from wood. Recovered rags, to be more precise. Rag paper is a combination of cloth and linen cloth. This resulting blend is stronger, tougher, and feels better than wood-based paper.

You may have also noticed the red and blue fibers in the background of your U.S. bills, along with many other counterfeiting inhibitors. The very nature of rag paper makes it easier to add these kinds of security elements. And Crane & Co are the only ones to have done it for the United States in 140 years and counting.

Visiting The Crane Museum

The Crane Museum is located in an unobtrusive looking building in Dalton, MA, just a half mile down the road from our Berkshires inn. This building, located on a bank of the Housatonic River, is last remaining building – the rag room – of Crane & Co’s Old Stone Mill.

The Cranes built The Old Stone Mill in the early 1840’s specifically for paper production. The rag room was converted into a museum in 1930 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The building’s venerable age is revealed through rough-hewn oak beams, colonial chandeliers, many-paned windows, and wide oak floorboards.

Exhibits at the museum trace the long history of Crane papermaking all the way back to its roots in 1770. Crane’s first mill was The Liberty Mill in Milton, MA. The Liberty Mill played a role in the American revolution, serving famed revolutionaries like Paul Revere, Henry Knox, John Hancock, and many others.

One of the most popular exhibits at the museum is the incredibly intricate scale model of the the original, Crane mill Vat House. This beautiful work of art, handmade by Dard Hunter, perfectly illustrates the original, rag-papermaking process.

The Crane Museum of Papermaking

32 Pioneer St, Dalton, MA 01226
Open June 3rd to October 26th, 2019
Mondays through Fridays 1pm to 5pm. Saturdays 10am to 2pm
Visit cranemuseum.org for more information. You can also visit the Crane Museum on Facebook.

Berkshires Lodging

Applegate Inn makes the perfect home base for any Berkshires getaway. Our convenient location in Lee, MA puts the best of the Berkshires institutions within easy reach. Soak up your luxurious guest room, candlelight breakfasts, beautiful gardens, our heated swimming pool, and more. Book your stay today at Applegate Inn.

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