New Paper, Old Moulds

Making new paper for old bank-notes

By Tumba Paper Mill Museum

Bank Note, Rikets Ständers Bank, 19th Century, From the collection of: Economy Museum – Royal Coin Cabinet
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The history of banking in Sweden dates to 1657, and the history of banknotes to the year 1661. Within this timespan the most interesting period is arguably the period between 1831 and 1904, an era when many private banks issued a wide variety of bank notes and the evolution of a modern central bank takes place in parallel lines.      

A Large Denomination (2019) by unknownTumba Paper Mill Museum

The Bank of the Estates of the Realm (Sveriges Riksbank) had quite a bumpy road to become a modern central bank, and during the 19th Century the bank had severe problems in providing services and banknotes to the entire country. In fact, one could say that without the help from the private banks it is likely that the economic growth would have been massively delayed and hindered, at least in rural and desolate areas.      

Sixteen Daler 32 Shilling Bank Note (19th Century) by Rikets Ständers BankEconomy Museum – Royal Coin Cabinet

Keeping this in mind, the central bank to become was still anxious to ensure its control of the financial system. As a result, the “Affiliated banks” where invented in mid-century. These were private banks but issued no bank notes, and the idea was to distribute banknotes for the Bank of the estates of the Realm instead.

One Daler in Copper (reverse), unknown, 18th Century, From the collection of: Economy Museum – Royal Coin Cabinet
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An additional reason to establish those banks was to free the bank of the estates of the Realm from its dual function of providing loans and guarding the silver standard.      

Paper Mould C50, reverse (1865/1904) by Tumba pappersbrukTumba Paper Mill Museum

The collection of moulds in Tumba Paper Mill Museum somewhat reflects this period, at least the period between 1870 and 1904.     

Paper Making (2019) by Jens MohrTumba Paper Mill Museum

2020 project, making new paper using historical paper moulds

Paper Mould SK, Tumba pappersbruk, 1863/1904, From the collection of: Tumba Paper Mill Museum
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In 2020 a project was launched to produce a reference collection of paper sheets using some of the old moulds and deckles. The chosen objects are mainly moulds intended for making paper used to print banknotes for various private banks in the late 19th Century.      

Paper Sheet KEB (2020) by Tumba pappersbrukTumba Paper Mill Museum

The project came out of a lack of examples where you can see the watermarks clearly. There are quite a few banknotes still in existence, but it is often hard to study the watermarks in detail because the printing obscures the watermark.

Paper Mould KEB, Tumba pappersbruk, 1835/1904, From the collection of: Tumba Paper Mill Museum
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The result of the project consists of a range of pictures showing the moulds and the finished paper.      

The Malt House (2019) by Jens MohrTumba Paper Mill Museum

The history of Swedish banknotes is long, and so is the history of Swedish banknote paper. Tumba paper mill has been the sole supplier to the Swedish Central Bank (Sveriges Riksbank) since 1759 and produced most of the bank note paper used by the private banks.      

Credits: Story

Text: RIchard Kjellgren, Swedish History Museums

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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