The technology of the new Benjamins

The government has released its design for the new $100 bill. It's a 21st century technology marvel.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive

The government has released its design for the new $100 bill. (Click here for an interactive tour.)

It's a 21st century technology marvel.

The front is still based on a 1785 portrait of the man by French artist Joseph Duplessis, although as time has gone by the $100 Franklin has come to look considerably younger than his 79-year old original.

The new money uses more of the portrait than previous versions -- we now get most of his right shoulder -- and that's a good place to start our tour of the bill's technology.

  1. When you rub around the shoulder it should feel rough. This is said to be an intaglio printing process, which creates a raised effect.
  2. Above the shoulder, next to his hair, is a gold vertical thread imprinted with the letters USA and the number 100. It should glow pink when put under an ultraviolet light. This is high tech paper, not just ink.
  3. The gold 100 printed in the lower right-hand corner color-shifts from gold to green when you bend the bill. This is due to a feature from Crane & Co. of Chicago called Motion, in which microlenses are embedded in the printing.
  4. The government used micro-printing to place THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, USA 100, and ONE HUNDRED USA in strategic locations on the front of the bill.
  5. The coolest new feature is a blue, 3D security ribbon in the middle of the bill that alternately displays Liberty Bells and and the number 100 as you tilt the bill. (The image of it above is from newmoney.gov, the official government Web site for people who need to handle the stuff.)
  6. There is a new image of what seems to be a gold inkwell to the right of Franklin as you look at the bill. There is an image of a Liberty Bell inside it, which changes color from copper to green and back again as you tilt it.

If that's not enough the back has undergone major changes. You're no longer seeing Constitution Hall from the front. Now it's from the back. And the time on the clock in the tower has been changed -- sorry National Treasure fans.

All in all a great new Benjamin which I'm certain the man would appreciate. Snark aside, he wrote about the efficacy of paper money as far back as 1729 and as a printer was active in anti-counterfeiting technology.

I just wish I saw more Franklins. In Atlanta they call me Aaron Burr because I've been killing all the Hamiltons.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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