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Landing the currency contract
Landing the currency contract
A telegram from W. Murray Crane requesting permission to change the currency bid
The company went national in the late 1800s. In May 1879, Zenas' son, W. Murray Crane was in Washington, D.C., and heard that the Treasury Department was unhappy with their paper currency supplier and was accepting bids for the business.

After all the bids were submitted, Murray learned the amount of the lowest bid and raced back to his hotel room to prepare a second, much lower bid, says Crane historian Peter Hopkins. When the other bidders heard about Crane's plan they locked him in his room, according to the story, but he managed to slip out and get his bid in just in time. Ever since, Crane & Co. has manufactured the U.S. currency paper.

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Last updated October 22 2010: 12:40 PM ET
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