March 1862:Spencer M. Clark, Chief Clerk in the Treasury Department's Bureau of Construction, obtains presses for the Treasury's Loan Branch for overprinting seals on notes.
About the same time, Clark experiments with two hand-crank machines for trimming and separating.
August 22, 1862:Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase directs Clark to proceed with trials using steam-powered machines to trim, separate, and seal $1 and $2 United States Notes.
Within the week, Clark
begins with five assistants.
January 1863:Secretary Chase instructs Clark to start trimming, separating, and sealing all denominations of notes.
The new bureau is responsible for the regulation of national banks and the issue of National Bank Notes and, nominally, includes the printing and engraving operations thus far handled by Clark
December 5, 1864:The 5-cent note of the second issue of Fractional Currency features the portrait of Spencer Clark
, causing a public uproar.
April 7, 1866: As a result of the uproar caused by Spencer Clark's
image on Fractional Currency notes, Congress prohibits the portrait or likeness of any living person on currency notes, bonds, or securities.