A THREAD containing moving images is being used as a security feature by the Bank of England for the first time on its new £50 note, which came into circulation this week.
The green ‘motion thread’ has five windows featuring the pound symbol and the number 50, which move up and down when the note is tilted from side to side.
The thread has been woven into the new-style note, which celebrates the 18th century business partnership of entrepreneur Matthew Boulton and engineer James Watt, rather than printed on to it.
When the note is tilted up and down, the images move from side to side and the number 50 and the pound symbol switch, the Bank of England said.
The Boulton and Watt note is the first Bank of England note to feature a motion thread, as well as marking the first time two portraits have appeared together on the back of a Bank of England bank note.
It will also be the first banknote in circulation to be signed by Chris Salmon who was appointed the Bank’s executive director, banking services and chief cashier in April.
He said: “The Boulton and Watt £50 banknote has new and enhanced security features which demonstrate the Bank’s commitment to its role of maintaining public confidence in the currency.
“The motion thread security feature is one of the new measures which should help members of the public to identify genuine £50 banknotes.”
Boulton was a leading entrepreneur of the Industrial Revolution.
On leaving school he worked in his father’s buckle-making factory in Birmingham, which he later inherited.
He was particularly enthused by the development of steam engines and the minting of coins.
In 1775, Boulton went into partnership with Watt, whose improvements to steam engine design had led to greater efficiency and cheaper running costs.
The pair pioneered the use of the steam engine in the cotton spinning industry.
Boulton established the Soho Mint, which produced high-quality coinage using steam-driven machinery.
Watt was involved in several civil engineering projects during his life, including a survey and estimate in 1773 for a canal between Fort William and Inverness. The Caledonian Canal was constructed in the early 19th century.
Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said: “The Bank is delighted to acknowledge the invaluable contribution that Boulton and Watt made to the advancement of engineering by featuring them on the new £50 banknote.
“Boulton and Watt’s steam engines and their many other innovations were essential factors in the nation’s Industrial Revolution.
“The partnership of an innovator and an entrepreneur created exactly the kind of commercial success that we will need in this country as we rebalance our economy over the years ahead.”
The new note will initially circulate alongside the current £50 note featuring Sir John Houblon, the first Bank of England gover- nor.
The Bank will make an announcement about the withdrawal of the Houblon note in due course.