De La Rue – The Family Business

Innovation for the future – a perfect motto for a company that keeps expanding the horizon of imagination.  From inventing the envelope folding machine in 1846 to winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2013 for creating the banknote security thread with a clear window in the banknote, including the papermaking process, De La Rue has been a name synonymous with innovation over many, many years.

Thomas was the ambitious and innovative founder of the De La Rue family partnership which started as a printer, stationer and fancy goods manufacturer. He was behind many of the initial ideas of the company, one of them being the production of playing cards and their printing technique of electro typing on enamelled paper. De La Rue became a family business when Thomas’ brother, Paul, joined and assisted with the sale of playing cards to the Russian market. Later Thomas’ sons, Warren and William, also joined the family business.

Warren de la Rue followed in his father’s footsteps with regards to invention and innovation. He invented the first envelope folding machine, which was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 held in Crystal Palace, London. This machine could produce 2,700 envelopes in one hour.

In 1853, the company was contracted to print adhesive fiscal stamps for the British Board of Inland Revenue. Not only were these the first stamps to be surface printed, they were also the first perforated stamps to be issued. Two years later, De La Rue began printing the four penny Carmine postage stamp using this surface printing method.

CAPE OF GOOD HOPE 1884 DE LA RUE GB14 SPECIMENS, RARE SET

CAPE OF GOOD HOPE 1884 DE LA RUE GB14 SPECIMENS, RARE SET

 

The family partnership eventually converted into a private company and later into a public ownership company with the departure of the De La Rues.

De La Rue was responsible for the convenience of the world’s first through-the-wall money machine in 1967. Today they are world-renowned for the paper production, the security threads and windows of many currencies.

For a full list of De La Rue items available on Filat AG’s online store, please click here.

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