A History of U.S. Mint Production Technology
Producing Gold coins and Silver coins, among other Precious Metals products, has been the responsibility of the U.S. Mint as long as it has been in existence. However, minting coins in 1792 was not nearly as efficient of a process as it is today. Here is a brief history of different production techniques the U.S. Mint has used:
- The Screw Press
In 1792, the Philadelphia Mint produced coins using a fairly well-established process. The screw press requires a furnace to heat the metals to proper smelting temperature. Once heated, the metals were flattened into sheets by passing them through rollers multiple times. Once at the proper thickness, coin blanks, also known as planchets, would be punched out of the metal sheets. Then the planchets were fed into the large screw press that held the die stamps for each coin set. Harnessed horses were used to drive the machinery and press the die into the blank coin.
- The Steam-Powered Press
While metals still had to be smelted, pressed and punched, the steam-powered press harnessed the power of a toggle joint mechanism. It increased the amount of coins that could be produced. The steam-powered press also featured a collar that automatically held the planchets in the center of the die, ensuring fewer errors in the process.
- Minting in the Modern Age
Electricity dramatically increased the speed at which metals could be weighed and coins could be produced. Today, the U.S. Mint can manufacture more than 75 million coins in just 24 hours.
- The Current Production Process
Today’s methods hearken back to those used in 1792, but have been streamlined and modernized by contemporary technological advances. Metals arrive at various mint locations in coils 1,500 feet long. Planchets are then punched from these coils. Once punched, they go through a series of preparation processes where they are softened then cooled and washed then dried, their rims get raised in an upsetting mill and finally they are pressed into coins. Throughout the process, the mint uses scanners and scales to check the metal content and ensure the coins have the proper purity.
Backed by the United States government and boasting more than two centuries of production, the U.S. Mint is one of the most well-established producers of Precious Metals products. U.S. Gold and Silver coins are widely recognized as solid investments all around the world.