Benjamin Franklin's Greatest Invention
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The only other source of hard currency came from trade that brought in foreign coins, such as the fabled "pieces of eight" that were valued by how much silver or gold they contained. On April 3, 1729, Franklin published a pamphlet with the falsely humble title A Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency. In January 1776, in the first use of counterfeiting as a weapon of war, the British set up a printing press aboard the Royal Navy's HMS Phoenix, anchored in New York Harbor. Microfibers, colored threads, fluorescing inks and the rest, the arsenal of modern anti-counterfeiting tricks currently used by the U.S. government, can be traced to that Philadelphia master printer, whose pictures of leaves helped launch a paper money society.
DepartmentMIT Program in Writing & Humanistic Studies
Weider History Group
Levenson, Thomas. "Benjamin Franklin's Greatest Invention." American History 45.4 (2010) : 26-33.
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