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History

What do Paul Revere, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Queen Mum have in common?

 

  • Paul Revere engraved banknotes for the Colony of Massachusetts Bay on Crane paper to help finance the American Revolution.
  • Franklin and Eleanor conducted the affairs of a nation on Crane paper. 
  • The Queen Mum announced the celebration of her 100th birthday on Crane paper.

They are among millions – from the eminent to the ordinary, from heads of state to heads of households, from European monarchs to Hollywood royalty - who have relied on the fine 100 percent cotton papers made by Crane & Co. to help shape their piece of history.

 

We know these things for two very good reasons
At Crane & Co., we’re very proud that so many important events in history have been announced and recorded on Crane paper, and we save them for posterity in our Museum. Secondly, cotton paper stands the test of time, ensuring that history will survive for generations to come.

 

Crane & Co. is now in its seventh generation, with its roots extended to before the American Revolution. From these early times to the present, our reputation for quality, innovation and integrity is unmatched.

 

In 1770 Stephen Crane took over Massachusetts’ first paper mill

They took obvious pride in advertising their political leanings, naming their business The Liberty Paper Mill. Stephen and his family helped shape the momentum of the Revolution by exercising their fiery patriotism at the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Lexington and Concord. Papers made by Stephen Crane were used to print patriotic newspapers leading up to and during the war for Independence, and were even engraved for Colonial Currency by Paul Revere.

 

Following Stephen’s death during his service with the Continental Army, his eldest son Stephen, and later the younger Zenas, helped operate the family paper business. In the 1790s, young Zenas headed west to Worcester, Massachusetts to work in a paper mill owned by his father’s long-time friend, customer and fellow patriot – Isaiah Thomas – the publisher of the Massachusetts Spy newspaper.

 

In 1799, when Thomas sold the mill to the Burbank family, Zenas struck out to look for a suitable location for his own mill. He found the perfect spot on the banks of the Housatonic River in Dalton, Massachusetts. Two years later, after obtaining sufficient capital, he established the first mill west of the Connecticut River. It was a modest mill, but was recognized early on as producing papers of the finest quality. As early as 1806, local and regional banks began printing currency on Zenas Crane’s fine cotton papers. This was quickly followed by official government proclamations, permanent public records and stocks and bonds.

 

Crane Paper becomes the Fashion of Europe

In the mid-1800s, with the advent of the envelope and postage stamp, Zenas Crane’s sons began making fine 100 percent cotton social stationery papers that had become the fashion in Europe. They were immediately successful, and it wasn’t long before Crane stationery was carried in all the finest shops across the country.

 

At about the same time, it was discovered that pulp from trees could be turned into paper cheaply and efficiently. As most others in the paper industry rushed to embrace this new source of pulp, Crane & Co. steadfastly clung to the best raw material to make the best paper – cotton – a rich tradition it continues to embrace in its third century of papermaking.

 

In 1879, Crane won its first contract to produce the paper for United States currency
Through its tradition of innovation and dedication to quality and integrity, Crane & Co. has continued to win the award of that coveted contract for more than 125 years, a great source of pride to the company, its employees and its community.

Today, all Crane’s papers are still made in the mills alongside the Housatonic River where Zenas Crane found such an ideal location for his paper mill.

 

A Legacy Renewed

The company continues to be owned and managed by members of the Crane family, overseeing every final touch that goes into creating its fine stationery. The Crane watermark has been the most significant mark of quality over the past two centuries, symbolizing the pride and personal touch of the papermaker and providing visible evidence of uncompromising quality
for the purchaser.

 

Crane & Co. is embarking on its third century as the United States’ premier maker of fine papers for social and business correspondence, proudly adhering to its American values embodying the commitment, spirit and optimism that make the country great.

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Crane & Co. Dalton, MA 01226 Customer Service: 1-800-268-2281
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