1879: Money, Soap and Light

Folks who are familiar with Crane & Co. understand that 1879 was a big year. It was in 1879 that Crane was awarded its first contract to manufacture paper for United States currency. Crane has won every competitive bid since then.

And 1879 was a big year for at least two Crane customers you may be familiar with.

Proctor Gamble letterhead 1880

William Proctor & James Gamble founded the company in 1837 in Cincinnati and produced modest amounts of candles and soaps for the Midwest market. It was left to the next generation to make the first breakthrough product in 1879 that would launch Proctor & Gamble onto the national and world stage:

Ivory soap drawing

From the modest beginnings of a soap that floats and is 99 44/100 percent pure, Proctor & Gamble today operates in 80 countries and generates revenues in excess of $82 billion.

In 1879, the world became a little brighter, as Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light. Edison had used Crane papers for his experiments for quite some time. Here is just one such invention:


George Bliss, who wrote the instruction manual for the Electric Pen, recommended Crane’s Bank Folio:

Edison Electric Pen bank folio

Edison’s Electric Pen never really caught on, but Edison evidently appreciated the quality of Crane’s papers, as he continued to order them. In this case Crane’s Parchment paper. For which of his inventions, we may never know, but there are more documents in the Crane archives yet to explore!


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