Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/363

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Popular Science Monthly



���Porter called in a high official of the sub- treasury to see with his own eyes. That worthy was so excited when he saw the young man extracting the money that he came near precipitating an immediate explosion. Legal evidence secured, and final- ly a confession obtained. It turned out that the young man had been doing all the actual stealing ; he asserted, however, that the older man had shared in the loot, though this could never be proved.

The work of Captain Porter showed that there was no per- fect means of securing money bags. Sealing-wax is not only easily broken or de- faced but it can be readily manipulated so as to duplicate the impression Wax is even less satis- factory. Lead seals can be opened and replaced. With any of these materials a single fold can be pulled down, as described above, and part of the contents of the bag so carefully extracted that only weighing or counting shows the shortage.

Captain Porter proceeded to invent a safety seal that seems to have made successful tampering impossible. Like most effective inventions, the device is remarkably simple. A cord is run through a lead seal and placed around the mouth of the bag, which is drawn into accordion-like

��The sealing instrument by means of which the lead seals are crimped so as to make it impossible to loosen the cord. It is operated by means of a lever handle

���A bundle of bills ready for shipment. Although securely sealed it will not escape from the official eyes of the Government until it reaches its final destination

��folds in the usual fashion. Then a steel pin, attached to the seal, is run through each separate fold. With a sealing instru- ment the lead is crimped so as to make it impossible to loosen the cords without destroying the seal. Thus it is impossible to pull down a separate fold, as the steel pin holds each in place. A loosened cord be- trays itself.

Another baffling prob- lem closely akin to that of the money bags is the theft of one or more bills from a packet shipped from one bank to another or sent to the sub-treas- ury. Ordinarily the bills are bound into bundles containing ten thousand dollars, and a slip is placed o n t o p show- ing the num- ber of bills and their denominations. Often an unscrupulous clerk or messenger ex- tracts one or more bills and then claims that a mistake has been made in the counting and packing. With the ordinary binding, there is no absolute means of proving him to be wrong, as the packet is apparently intact.

A safety currency press invented by C. H. Bohanan makes this sort of theft impossible. Ordinarily a packet of five hundred dollar bills is from 2]4, to 2^ inches thick. In a press it is reduced to about i^ inches and it is then bound with three sealed cords. Owing to the compres- sion it is impossible to extract a single bill without cutting all three cords. An inner steel reinforcement in the lead seal makes breakage impossible; nor can the grip be removed.

By breaking the middle cord and one end cord, the contents may be counted. If there is a shortage the whole packet may be returned to the sender with indubitable evidence that the interior has not been tam- pered with. The compactness of the bundle also makes this device useful in compressing bundles of checks, drafts, and vouchers for storage in vaults.

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