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Downtown 1958

Downtown 1958

Monday, May 6, 2013

Gilbert Paper Company




The Gilbert Paper Company was established in 1887 by William Gilbert Sr. and his sons William Jr., Albert, Theodore and George.  Gilbert Jr. had previously been in business with George A.Whiting, who operated the George Whiting Co. paper mill on River Street in Menasha. The Gilbert concern was built on the Lawson Canal the year of the canal’s completion and was the third paper manufacturing operation in the city. Designed by the Chicago firm of Childs & Smith, the front portion of the office was completed in 1919 and the rear by no later than 1926. The gatehouse to the northeast was also completed by 1926. In 1960, the firm was purchased by the Mead Corporation and, in 2001, by the Fox River Paper Company but ceased production later that year. Throughout its history, the company produced “higher quality, cotton-fiber content papers including bond, ledger, index and onion skin papers."  The former paper company office currently serves as the law offices for a number of attorneys.

36 comments:

  1. I remember sorting paper there in the early 50's & we sorted some currency too.People don't usually believe me but a gal I worked with remembers it too.When you checked the watermark you saw tiny blue & red speckles...I also modeled with a ream of paper for them but they never gave me a picture of my own.I DID recieve $25.00 tho &our wages at the time were only $1.25 per hr.

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  2. Hey Anonymous. You are NOT crazy! My father worked in the boiler room that generated steam for the plant and for the turbine that generated electricity for the mill. In the 1960s, my father used to tell me stories about Gilberts making paper for US currency.

    When this paper was produced, the Secret Service had agents on duty all the time to prevent somebody from taking any of it. Even the waste from the process was carefully guarded.

    An agent would accompany the waste paper to the powerhouse and watch as my father would put the stuff into the furnace that heated the boiler. Once the paper was incinerated, which I presume did not take very long, the ashes were removed from the hotbox and the agent poked through the ashes to ensure that the waste paper had been totally incinerated.

    If I recall, my father told me that Gilberts also made paper for several foreign currencies, although I don't remember the details. Unfortunately, he passed away 25 years ago so I can't ask him any more questions.

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  3. What ever happened to Bill Robinson who was a foreman in finishing dept? I will be checking for a reply because I would like to contact him.

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    1. Was he married to Darlene Robinson who worked in the office? If so they had built a house on Caman Islands for their retirement. Unsure of their wearabouts or if still living.
      I worked at Gilbert from abuot 1991 to 2000 just before they closed.
      Definitely true about them making paper for the currency. I believe there where samples hanging on the wall in sample room.

      Was alot of fun back then.

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    2. Hey I am Darlene (Snell) Robinson I work there from 1954 to 1997.. I married Bill in 1966, he passed away April 1st, 2001.. I still live on Cayman Brac one of the Cayman Islands.. I do get back to The Fox Valley in the summer for my "Spring Tune ups" with my doctors....Will be back Mid June, July maybe part of august 2014
      1-920-202-6571 e-mail sno4sun@candw.ky

      Yes we did make US currency, I worked on it as I was in the Mill for 13 years before going to the Main Office.

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  4. My uncle was a salesman for the Louisville Paper Company and passed away in the mid 80's. His wife just passed away in January 2012. While going through the estate belongings I came across a 1963 dollar bill in a money clip/wallet with this note attached:

    A memento from the Gilbert Paper Co. Mehasha, Wisconsin

    More than thirty years ago Congress passed a law providing that the Director of the Bureau of Engraving & Printing establish a second source of supply for Currency Paper which would meet Government requirements. In more than 85 years only one mill met those requirements and has been the only supplier for this type of paper.

    As a result of continued approach to the Director, and educational contract was given to our company in 1963. This contract arranged for trial lots of Currency Paper to be manufactured and printed into U.S. Currency Paper. The second trial lot shipped to the Bureau was accepted by the Government agencies and completely printed into one dollar bill, which are now in circulation.

    The enclosed bill is printed on Gilbert made "Distinctive Fibre Currency Paper".

    Pretty cool that I have this now...

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    1. I have several of the mementos given out by the Gilbert Paper Company to employees, and executives of Mead. I also wrote an article for Paper Money Magazine about Gilbert Security paper being used to print US currency. I'd like to know more, but haven't been able to speak to any past employees.

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    2. I worked there 1954 to 1997 I worked on the US Currency

      Darlene (Snell) Robinson sno4sun@candw.ky

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  5. In addition, if anyone has information concerning the Gilbert Paper Company's manufacturing of security paper used in the printing of US Currency, or has any of the one dollar bills or mementos given out in the 1960's, please contact me at stdege@verizon.net. Thank you

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  6. There were two people named Gary who worked in the finishing dept. back in the early 70's and also a guy they called Ace. Does any one know if they are still alive and if so how to contact any of them? I think one was Gary Howard. Another person was Lenny Heckner.

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    1. I think Gary Howard took care of the grounds in the late 80s. I worked with him occasionally killing weeds, etc. Nice guy… I think he went to our church too, because I think I went to Awana with his son at Calvary Bible in Neenah.

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  7. My dad worked there from the late 60s till the end. I worked at Gilbert(s) for three summers from 88-90 while I was going to college. I worked with the millwrights so I got to go everywhere on the grounds and never was questioned. One of the summers during shutdown we had to clean out the attic of the office. I remember a chute going from one of the upper windows down to a trash bin. All kinds of old stuff just got dumped, including foreign currency from one nation (can't remember what it was) that was nicely framed. Too many pieces of history gone just like that. Loved working there as did my dad and uncle Butch. They took the closing pretty hard.

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  8. It's very interesting to read through everyone's comments about the Gilbert Paper Company - I've been volunteering in the archives at the Paper Discovery Center in Appleton and sorting through loads of Gilbert paper work, documents, photographs, and records. If anyone is looking for more information, please stop by! The exhibit is on the river level. However, I haven't come across any information about printing currency so this was great to discover!

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  9. Amber V,
    They did not print currency at Gilbert paper Co they made the paper used in the printing of the US Currency. I hope this helps.

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  10. will pay top dollar for 1963 $1 ......over $700......these notes were made with Gilbert Paper and had serial numbers that started C6XXXXXXXA RH 708-447-7689 they were passed out by the company in the mid 1960's.

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    1. This is true, My grandfather, Leonard Jedwabny worked there most of his life, hated it when they were making paper for currency, hand secret service watching him all the time. The company gave them 1 dollar bills that my father has framed with my grandfathers Gilbert Paper company ID.

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    4. I have one of these 1963A G series dollar bills, with accompanying paperwork.
      Given to me when I visited the Mill many years ago. Willing to sell if you are interested.

      Christine Reilly

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  11. Note; The Gilbert Paper Series 1963 Serial Number Block is C60800001A to C61440000A (640,000 notes).
    I hope this information helps in your search, I gave up looking.
    Vernon Peterson

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  12. We also did Social Security Card paper. I remember the Krafta operator pointing out bags of colored dots in the basement underneath #1 machine. Next time you look at your S.S. card, look for small round colored flecks. Chances are they came from Gilbert. (Mid 90's)...

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  13. Does anyone know if Len Heckner is still alive>

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    1. No, he is not. Darlene (Snell) Robinson






















      No he not. Darlene (Snell) Robinson


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  14. Thank you for the info on Len Heckner Darlene. The last person I would like to know if he is still around is Gary Howard. Thank you.

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  15. Is the building still there or did they tear it down?

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  16. The Mill is gone, only the main office is still there now. Darlene

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  17. The two attorneys who bought the buildings had to drill the lock on the safe (in the office building) open. Inside it was several uncut sheets of dollar bills printed on Gilbert paper.

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  18. Anyone know how Carmelita Thede is doing? I had heard she had been sick a while back.

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  19. [quote]Amber VMay 14, 2014 at 6:46 PM
    It's very interesting to read through everyone's comments about the Gilbert Paper Company - I've been volunteering in the archives at the Paper Discovery Center in Appleton and sorting through loads of Gilbert paper work, documents, photographs, and records. If anyone is looking for more information, please stop by! The exhibit is on the river level. However, I haven't come across any information about printing currency so this was great to discover![/quote]

    Amber, I am trying to "quote" your post above to request any information you can provide on the BEP 1964 contract with Gilbert paper, and after reading other posts above, now seeking any info on currency Stock Gilbert Paper produced for Foreigh Currency.
    I recently questioned the BEP on the 1.2+ Million Sheets of Currency Stock Gilbert Delivered to the BEP, and questioned what happened to the Currency Stock as the Series 1963 C-A Block only used 20,000 sheets of Gilbert paper...
    The BEP also mentioned no Foreign Currency was printed in D.C. in the 1960's..

    Any information cn be sent to'
    vernonpeterson@gmail.com

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  20. My question to the Bureau of Engraving & Printing on Gilbert was;

    In my recent search on Gilbert Paper, I found that they delivered over 1.2 Million Sheets of Currency Stock to the BEP in 1964, and the BEP only printed 640,000 FRN's (20,000 sheets) on Gilbert Paper.. Recorded serials are C60800001A to C61440000A for the series 1963 FRN..
    Found in Gilbert Papers Safe was also series 1963A $1.00 FRN's from thr G-G Block that Employees from that time perion say was also printed on Gilbert Paper, (and since no recorded serials from this Block can be confirmed without BEP documention), I'm curious if the BEP has (or knows) of a Archives Department from the early to mid 1960's time period & verify if the BEP had also printed Currency for other Nations...
    I ask this, as employees at Gilbert mention that foreign currency was also printed on their paper...

    With over 1.2 Million Sheets being unaccounted-for, and believing the BEP would not destroy them, must have used the remaining sheets in other production...

    I understand it is difficult going back some 50+ Years, but I have to start somewhere, and most of Gilbert Employee's from that time period is no longer with us, taking valuable Numismatic Information with them, and their children are grandparents now & can not recall what their parents said, only remembering stories about Gilbert Paper making currency stock for the BEP, and the rigid security provided by the Secret Service, that monitored every piece of reject paper as it entered their Furnace..

    Any Information Provided will advance Numismatics and collector interest..

    Many thanks,
    vernonpeterson@gmail.com

    B.E.P.'s Reply;

    Unfortunately, BEP does not have a comprehensive in-house archive. BEP records from the 1960s would have been transferred to the National Archive and Records Administration. www.archives.gov

    As such we have very little on files about the currency paper supplied by the Gilbert Paper Company. We have no records discussing the final disposition of the unused sheets.

    Also, the BEP did not print currency for other countries in the 1960s.

    Hope this helps.

    BEP

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  21. I have spoken and emailed with Tom, one of the lawyers that bought the Gilbert Mill, and was told they found roughly 2000 new one dollar bills in the safe. He did not mention any currency sheets. The official Gilbert notes are series 1963 $1's printed with serial numbers ranging from C60800001A through C61440000A. The notes found in the safe are series 1963A $1's with serial numbers near G25631121G ....I do not know the full range, but do own copies of the handwritten records kept by Gilbert employees that chronicle the exact serial number of the notes given to the sales force to be distributed with great pride as advertising samples to current and potential customers. I am unable to procure official proof from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing that the 1963A G-G notes, found in the safe, were printed on Gilbert security paper, but have extensive circumstantial evidence that would show that the Gilbert Paper Company treated these notes as notes printed on their paper.

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  22. I made a comment earlier in regards to the paper currency. This is all very true, my grandfather Leonard Jedwabny worked there most of his life, prior to that he was a hooper for Menasha Wooden Ware making 50 cents a day and happy to have it during the depression. When times got better he went to work for Gilbert. He told my father he hated it when they were printing paper for currency. Said the secret service was always walking around and when leaving their shift would look into their lunch boxes to see if they were taking any currency paper home. When they were finished the company gave them I believe (2) 1 dollar bills printed on Gilbert paper as a thank you. It was hard not to spend them back then but he didn't and my family still has them. Later when he retired Gilbert presented him with a watch, that's what you did back then. When Grandpa passed after a long and happy retirement with a lot of fishing we found some of his old pay check stubs from Gilbert, I believe they were less than 3 bucks an hour. But back then that was a good living.

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  23. My Grandfathers s/n on the Bills given to him as a being a Member of the 25+ year Club were G77238156B Dated 1963 . A printed bill on Gilbert made "Distinctive Fibre Currency Paper" As noted on the letter with the Bills.

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    1. Question - the serial number on your grandfather's note, G77238156B , is the series date 1963 or 1963A??

      I have taken part in the Gilbert Paper discussion on CCF and would like to add the above serial number block to our discussion as this would add another 640,000 notes to the proposed Gilbert Census..

      Current Block Census is series 1963 Block C-A Run#96 (C60800001A - C61440000A), series 1963A Block G-G Run#41 (G25600001G - G26240000G)..

      Your serial number would be Block G-G Run#121 (G76800001B - G77440000B)..

      Both series were printed in 20,000 sheet runs of 32 notes per sheet, and the BEP is not going to mix currency stock from Crane & Gilbert in the same Run..

      Really need to know if the series was 63 or 63A..

      Would it be possible to email of photo of the note with any Gilbert documentation to vernonpeterson@gmail.com ...

      Thanks

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    2. Should read Block G-B (auto-correct changed it to G-G without me noticing) Run#121 above..

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  24. Gilbert Paper Company and the 1963A G-G Notes



    In my mind, I truly believe that the 1963A G-G notes the Gilbert Paper Company gave out at the time to current and potential customers as a sales aid were printed on Gilbert Paper Company security paper and printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

    Through the Freedom of Information Act, I was able to obtain a copy of the actual contract between the BEP and the Gilbert Paper Company, along with all the correspondence between them.

    Contract TEP-5374 for Distinctive Paper (Gilbert Paper Co.) Under Schedule No.12

    Term: 12-month period beginning June 30, 1964

    Most of the correspondence between the BEP and the Gilbert Paper Company involved Mr.Mike Donovan, Procurement Officer at the BEP, Washington DC and George Griffin, Vice President of Gilbert Paper Company, Menasha Wisconsin.

    In a letter between the two, dated May 7 1965, George writes; Regarding our telephone conversation of today, the Gilbert Paper Company would like to be relieved of running the fourth portion of the subject contract TEP-5374.

    The contract was amended from 150,000 pounds to 85,501 pounds, and from $111,750 to $63,698 on May 10 1965, and officially terminated on June 11 1965.



    The Gilbert Paper Company kept meticulous, handwritten records which included actual serial numbers and which sales person or company official were given the notes. The notes were given with pride to company employees, local bank officials, Mead Corporate officers along with pamphlets and leaflets explaining that the United States one dollar bill was printed on Gilbert Security paper. I will never believe that the Gilbert Paper Company was giving out random one dollar bills without knowing for sure that they were printed on Gilbert Security paper. Somehow the Gilbert Paper Company knew exactly which series and district and serial numbers were printed on their paper.



    The BEP keeps, and has kept detailed records of the engraved plates used for printing U.S. currency, but does not keep a record for the paper or ink. The ink they formulate “in house”, and the paper supplier hasn’t changed in over 145 years….so why should they. I am currently unable to prove, and furnish a serial number range without doubt, that the 1963A $1 G-G notes handed out by the Gilbert Paper Company were printed on Gilbert security paper. This event happened over 50 years ago, and most of the people that would know for SURE have passed away, but I believe the circumstantial evidence of the handwritten records, the notes found locked up in the company safe, and the notes handed out with the leaflets and pamphlets proclaiming their origin proves that they were printed on Gilbert security paper

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