1870: Protectograph


In 1870, the Protectograph offered a way for banks to protect themselves and their customers against forgers who would alter cheques, securities, cash certificates, bills, receipts and other forms of exchange. These chequewriters were used to print the face value on negotiable securities in relief so the value could be both seen and felt.

The machine printed a mark before the digits in the face value, making it impossible to change the amount after the cheque had been printed. The corrugated surface of the digit stamps was pressed into the paper fibres, allowing the paper to absorb the special ink. This technique made it virtually impossible to erase or even chemically remove the printed money value.

The Protectograph was part of a long line of technologies aimed directly at keeping the Montreal Bank and its customers safe from fraud.


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