Category Archives: United States

The Interrobang Character “‽” Was Used in a Court Opinion

Interrobang

Interrobang

The interrobang character “‽” was used in a court opinion on June 13, 2012.

The interrobang, also known as the interabang, is a nonstandard punctuation mark used in various written languages and intended to combine the functions of the question mark (also called the “interrogative point”) and the exclamation mark or exclamation point (known in printers’ and programmers’ jargon as the “bang”). The glyph is a superimposition of these two marks.

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The Great Democracy Scam of 2016

Some Great Quotes

Rather than a democracy, we increasingly have an elective dictatorship. People are merely permitted to choose who will violate the laws and trample the Constitution.

— James Bovard, in The Great Democracy Scam of 2016, September 29, 2016.

Election results are often only a one-day snapshot of transient mass delusions.

— James Bovard, in The Great Democracy Scam of 2016, September 29, 2016.

But the Constitution has long since vanished from the campaign trail, replaced by competing promises of new handouts and fiercer attacks on imagined perils.

— James Bovard, in The Great Democracy Scam of 2016, September 29, 2016.

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John Adams: “There is nothing I dread So much, as a Division of the Republick into two great Parties…”

There is nothing I dread So much, as a Division of the Republick into two great Parties, each arranged under its Leader, and concerting Measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble Apprehension is to be dreaded as the greatest political Evil, under our Constitution.

— John Adams, in letter to Jonathan Jackson, October 2, 1780.

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Telephone Exchange Names

This article is still being worked on, but I wanted to share it before it was completed. If you want to be notified when it is updated leave a comment below.

When I was a child I lived in San Bernardino, California from 1966 to 1969. I can still remember my home telephone number: TUrner 5-2176, sometimes abbreviated as TU 5-2176. My grandparents’ telephone number was TU 3-5155.

If I wanted to call my grandparents, since we both lived in the TUrner area, I only had to dial 3-5155. But if I called someone outside the TUrner area, I had to include the two letters, for example, to call someone at UNion 4-7721 I had to dial 864-7721.

So what or who was TUrner?

The Central Office

Prior to 1955, many people had been using exchange names that were not included in the official list and they were not required to change them. For example, I remember advertisements on television urging me to call RIchmond 9-5171 to go see Championship Wrestling at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. The official exchange names were PIlgrim, PIoneer, RIverside, RIverview, SHadyside, and SHerwood.

The National Numbering Plan

The National Number consists of ten digits as follows.

Table 1. Composition of the National Number.
Listed Directory Number
Area Code Office Code Station Number
X1 X2 X3 L L N N N N N

Where
L = Any letter from Table 2 below.
N = Any numeral from 0 to 9.
X1 = Any numeral from 2 to 9.
X2 = 0 (zero) or 1.
X3 = Any numeral from 0 to 9 when X2 = 0. Any numeral from 0 to 9 except 1 when X2 = 1.

Table 2. Dial Pulses Corresponding to the Letters of the Office Code Portion of the National Number.
Letters No. of Dial Pulses
A   B   C 2
D   E   F 3
G   H   I 4
J   K   L 5
M   N   O 6
P   R   S 7
T   U   V 8
W   X   Y 9

The information in Tables 1 and 2 was taken from “Section II Chart 1: The National Numbering Plan” in Notes on Nationwide Dialing (1955).

List of Suitable Central Office Names

Table 3. List of Suitable Central Office Names.
22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
ACademy
BAldwin
CAnal
CApital
CAstle
ADams
BElmont
BEverly
CEdar
CEnter
CEntral
CHapel
CHerry
CHestnut
CHurchill
CIrcle
ALpine
BLackburn
CLearbrook
CLearwater
CLifford
CLinton
AMherst
ANdrew
ANdrews
COlfax
COlony
COngress
BRidge
BRoad
BRoadway
BRown
BRowning
CRestview
CRestwood
ATlantic
ATlas
ATwater
AVenue
BUtler
AXminster
AXtel
CYpress
32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39
DAvenport
DAvis
EAst
EAstgate
FAculty
FAirfax
FAirview
DEerfield
DEwey
EDgewater
EDgewood
EDison
FEderal
DIamond
DIckens
FIeldbrook
FIeldstone
FIllmore
FIreside
ELgin
ELliot
ELmwood
FLanders
FLeetwood
EMerson
EMpire
ENdicott
FOrest
FOxcroft
DRake
DRexel
ESsex
FRanklin
FRontier
DUdley
DUnkirk
DUpont
EVergreen
FUlton
EXbrook
EXeter
EXport
EXpress
42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49
GArden
GArfield
HAmilton
HArrison
HAzel
GEneral
GEneva
HEmlock
HEmpstead
IDlewood
GIbson
GIlbert
HIckman
HIckory
HIllcrest
HIlltop
GLadstone
GLencourt
GLendale
GLenview
GLobe
HObart
HOmestead
HOpkins
HOward
INgersoll
GRanite
GReenwood
GReenfield
GReenleaf
GRover
GRidley
HUbbard
HUdson
HUnter
HUntley
HUxley
IVanhoe
GYpsy
HYacinth
HYatt
52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59
JAckson
LAfayette
LAkeside
LAkeview
LAmbert
LAwrence
JEfferson
KEllogg
KEystone
LEhigh
LEnox
KImball
KIngsdale
KIngswood
LIberty
LIncoln
LInden
Reserved
for radio
telephone
JOhn
JOrdan
LOcust
LOgan
LOwell
Reserved
for radio
telephone
JUniper
JUno
JUstice
LUdlow
LUther
LYceum
LYndhurst
LYnwood
LYric
62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69
MAdison
MAin
MArket
MAyfair
NAtional
MEdford
MElrose
MErcury
NEptune
NEwton
NEwtown
MIdway
MIlton
MIssion
MItchell
NIagara
OLdfield
OLive
OLiver
OLympia
OLympic
MOhawk
MOntrose
MOrris
NOrmandy
NOrth
NOrthfield
ORange
ORchard
ORiole
ORleans
OSborne
MUrdock
MUrray
MUseum
MUtual
OVerbrook
OVerland
MYrtle
OWen
OXbow
OXford
72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79
PAlace
PArk
PArkview
PArkway
RAndolph
RAymond
SAratoga
PErshing
REdfield
REdwood
REgent
REpublic
PIlgrim
PIoneer
RIverside
RIverview
SHadyside
SHerwood
PLateau
PLaza
PLeasant
PLymouth
SKyline
POplar
POrter
ROckwell
ROger
ROgers
SOuth
SOuthfield
PRescott
PResident
PRospect
SPring
SPruce
STate
STerling
STillwell
STory
SUnset
PYramid
SWathmore
SWift
SWinburne
SYcamore
82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89
TAlbot
TAlmadge
TAylor
VAlley
VAndyke
TEmple
TEnnyson
TErminal
TErrace
VErnon
THornwall
TIlden
VIctor
VIctoria
VIking
VInewood
ULrick
ULster
ULysses
TOwnsend
UNderhill
UNion
UNiversity
VOlunteer
TRemont
TRiangle
TRinity
TRojan
UPtown
TUcker
TUlip
TUrner
TUxedo
TWilight
TWinbrook
TWinoaks
TWining
92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99
WAbash
WAlker
WAlnut
WArwick
WAverly
WEbster
WElls
WEllington
WEst
WEstmore
YEllowstone
WHitehall
WHitney
WIlliam
WIlliams
WIlson
WIndsor
Reserved
for radio
telephone
WOodland
WOodlawn
WOodward
WOrth
YOrktown
Reserved
for radio
telephone
YUkon WYandotte
WYndown
WYman

The information in Table 3 was taken from “Section II Appendix A: List of Suitable Central Office Names” in Notes on Nationwide Dialing (1955).

References

American Telephone and Telegraph Company. Notes on Nationwide Dialing. 1955.

First Lawsuit of Its Kind Blames Marijuana for Murder

Reefer Madness (1936) Reefer Madness (1936)

The Burning Question (1936), alternate title for Reefer Madness The Burning Question (1936), alternate title for Reefer Madness

It must be time to get out that old copy of Reefer Madness and watch it again. I’ve forgotten that marijuana has the ability to turn people into crazed killers.

The family of a Denver woman whose husband killed her after eating marijuana-infused taffy has sued the manufacturer who made the candy and the retailer who sold it. The Denver Post says the case “appears to be the country’s first wrongful-death lawsuit against the recreational marijuana industry,” and it surely won’t be the last. But any lawsuit that blames marijuana for murder faces steep obstacles because causation is virtually impossible to prove when a cannabis consumer does something that cannabis consumers almost never do.

Kristine Kirk, a 44-year-old mother of three, died on April 14, 2014, after her husband, Richard, shot her in the head. He had been behaving oddly, jumping in and out of windows and raving about the end of the world, after eating a few bites of Karma Kandy Orange Ginger taffy that he bought that evening at Nutritional Elements, a marijuana store on South Colorado Boulevard in Denver. The lawsuit, which was filed by Kristine’s parents and sister on behalf of her three sons, argues that Nutritional Elements and Gaia’s Garden, which made the candy, failed to adequately warn Richard about the hazards of consuming too much.

According to Richard Kirk’s public defender (who has since been replaced by a private attorney), the clerk at Nutritional Elements, after learning that Kirk was an inexperienced user, did caution him against taking too large a dose, and Kirk ate more than recommended. It’s not clear exactly how much. The entire taffy contained 100 milligrams of THC, which state regulators count as 10 doses. But Kirk did not eat the whole thing, and when his blood was tested after the murder the THC concentration was just 2.3 nanograms per milliliter, less than half the level that is presumed to impair drivers under state law (but which may not in fact indicate impairment, especially in regular users). Assuming Kirk was an infrequent cannabis consumer, it is still possible that he ingested enough THC to have an unpleasant experience. But bad trips rarely end in homicide.

Read the full story at Reason magazine.

Links

The Nintendo Glock and the Glocktendo

Precision Syndicate, LLC, a custom gun manufacturer in Odessa, Texas, modified a Glock to resemble the famous “Nintendo Zapper” gun that came with the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your view of guns), it’s a one-off build and will not be produced for other people.

Nintendo Glock

Click on the image to see it full size.

They posted a couple of photos of the Nintendo Glock on Facebook and received so many hate comments that they issued a press release that said:

In light of the “Nintendo Glock” drama, we feel that the media and our fans need to know that this firearm will not be mass produced nor will it ever be. This is a one off custom build for a friend of ours. Do to the thousands of emails and messages we have received in the past 2 days we have been unable to contact everyone in a timely manner, please be patient we will get to you as soon as possible. Thank you all for your support! Oh, and please… keep your guns locked up and away from children, it’s common sense.

Precision Syndicate isn’t the first gun maker to make a real Nintendo Zapper gun, but this is the best one I’ve seen. Just don’t use it to play Duck Hunt.

If you need a Glocktendo, Retro Armory will do a full build to turn your Glock into a Glocktendo for $600.00. It’s not quite a realistic-looking as the Nintendo Glock, though. On their website they say, “All accessories will be Cerakoted in Glocktendo Red, the lower receiver will be Cerakoted in an 80’s Gray and the upper finished in a lighter gray.” You can also get a Glocktendo Slide Only.

Glocktendo Full Build Customer Weapon

Glocktendo Full Build Customer Weapon

Precision Syndicate and Retro Armory can be found at 208 E 2nd St in Odessa, Texas 79761, (432) 638-0242.

Glocktendo

Click on the image to see it full size.

The Gardener’s Patent Locomotive Seat

Text of Item
Library of Congress Data
References

I love old advertising. Sometimes I come across some that I have to share.

Eliphalet Whittlesey of Mullica, New Jersey invented a “Gardners’ Stool” that was assigned U.S. Patent 40,301 on October 13, 1863.

The Gardener's Patent Locomotive Seat
The Gardener’s Patent Locomotive Seat

Text of Item

The Gardener’s Patent Locomotive Seat.

Patented, October, 1863.

The invention represented above, is designed to relieve a want long and seriously felt by Gardeners, Florists, Strawberry-pickers, &c., by furnishing an ever-ready support in all cases where their hands need to be employed on or near the ground.

Its chief advantages are:

Simplicity. It consists only of a malleable iron foot-piece with an oblique standard and seat of wood, all (weighing about one pound), firmly and quickly attached to the foot by two straps.

Locomotion. It enables the wearer to walk about at pleasure (the stool constantly attending him), with both hands free for other purposes.

Adaptation. It can be used between the thickest rows, or wherever the wearer can set his foot.

This stool when sold, will be delivered to the Express at Hammonton, New Jersey, on receipt of the price, $1.00.

Orders solicited by

E. WHITTLESEY,
Patentee and Manufacturer, Hammonton, Atlantic Co., New Jersey.

Quinn, Pr. 3d & Market Phila.

PLEASE POST THIS UP CONSPICUOUSLY.


Library of Congress Data

Title
The gardener’s patent locomotive seat … E. Whittlesey. Patentee and manufacturer … Philadelphia Quinn, Pr. 3d & Market St. [1863?].

Contributor Names
Whittlesey, E.

Created / Published
Philadelphia, 1863.

Notes
Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 158, Folder 22.

Subjects
Advertisements–Pennsylvania–Philadelphia
United States–Pennsylvania–Philadelphia.

Medium
1 p.; 30 x 20 cm.

Call Number
Portfolio 158, Folder 22

Part of
Broadsides, leaflets, and pamphlets from America and Europe

Digital ID
rbpe 15802200 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.rbc/rbpe.15802200


Part of…
American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera
Rare Book and Special Collections Division
American Memory

Format
Books

Contributors
Whittlesey, E.

Dates
1863

Location
Pennsylvania
Philadelphia
United States

Language
English

Subjects
Advertisements
Pennsylvania
Philadelphia
United States


References

Whittlesey, Eliphalet. “The Gardener’s Patent Locomotive Seat. Philadelphia, 1863”. Image. United States Library of Congress. Accessed April 15, 2016.

Whittlesey, Eliphalet. “Gardeners’ Stool”. United States Patent and Trademark Office. Accessed April 15, 2016.

Sedan Crater

Sedan Crater

Sedan Crater

Sedan Crater is located at 37°10’36.5”N 116°02’47.0”W (37.176820, -116.046382) in Area 10 on the Nevada National Security Site (formerly the Nevada Test Site) near Mercury, Nye County, Nevada. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places (#94000183) on March 21, 1994.

Project Plowshare and the Sedan Experiment

The United States Atomic Energy Commission’s Project Plowshare was intended to develop techniques to use nuclear explosives for peaceful construction purposes. In the 1960s and 1970s, during the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union carried out a number of Peaceful Nuclear Explosions (PNE).

The PNEs were nuclear explosions conducted for non-military purposes, such as activities related to economic development, the creation of canals, rock blasting, stimulation of tight gas, chemical element manufacture (test shot Anacostia resulted in Curium-250m being discovered), unlocking some of the mysteries of the so-called “r-Process” of stellar nucleosynthesis, probing the composition of the Earth’s deep crust, creating reflection seismology data, and mining company prospecting.

There was significant public opposition to Project Plowshare’s 27 nuclear projects, which eventually led to the program’s termination in 1977. Some of the consequences of the program included the deposition of fallout from radioactive material being injected into the atmosphere and tritiated water (T2O, a radioactive form of water where the usual hydrogen atoms are replaced with tritium) which was projected to increase to a level of 2% of the then-maximum level for drinking water.

The Sedan Experiment was a part of Project Plowshare to take place at the Nevada Test Site consisted of detonating a 100-kiloton thermonuclear device 635 feet underground. The device was relatively clean as far as thermonuclear devices go—fission contributed less than 30% of the total yield. The device was buried in a 36-inch diameter cased hole that was back-filled with sand.

Predictions

The predicted crater diameter was 1,200–1,400 feet (366–427 meters) and the depth from about 170–300 feet (52–91 meters). About 95 per cent of the radioactivity produced by the explosion would be trapped underground. The heavier fallout would be confined to within about two miles upwind and crosswind, and four miles downwind of ground zero.

Detonation

On July 6, 1962 at 10:00 PDT (17:00:00 UT) the device was detonated. The detonation created a crater 1,200 feet (366 meters) across and 320 feet (98 meters) deep. About 7.5 million cubic yards (5.7 million cubic meters)—12 million US tons (10.9 million metric tons)—of earth and rock were removed. A 12,000-foot (3658-meter) dust cloud formed of some of the smaller earth particles. The lip of the crater (Hal in the diagram below) varied in height from about 20 feet (6 meters) to 100 feet (30 meters).

Nuclear Explosion Crater Cross Section
Nuclear Explosion Crater Cross Section [Glasstone and Dolan, 1977]

 

SZ surface zero 37°10’36.5”N 116°02’47.0”W
(37.176820, -116.046382)
DOB depth of burst 635 feet (194 meters)
Da apparent depth 320 feet (98 meters)
Dal depth from the lip crest 340–420 feet (104–128 meters)
Hal height of the lip crest from the original ground surface 20–100 feet (6–30 meters)
Average 33 feet (__ meters)
Ra apparent radius 1,200 feet (366 meters)
Ral radius to crater lip crest
Re radius of ejecta

 
The exact percentage of escaping radioactivity could not be obtained from the available preliminary data, but there was no major deviation from the prediction. The dust cloud carried the small amount of radioactivity which was not trapped underground or deposited close to the crater north at a speed of about 12 miles per hour. The fallout was in line predictions.

Photographs

Crater from the 1962 “Sedan” nuclear test as part of Operation Plowshare. The 104 kiloton blast displaced 12 million US tons (10.9 million metric tons) of earth and created a crater 320 feet (98 meters) deep and 1,200 feet (366 meters) wide. (Look to the size of the roads in the bottom-right of the picture, and the observation deck at the lower-right edge of the crater, for a sense of scale.)

Sedan Crater
Photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Field Office.

Sedan Crater at Nevada Test Site with the information sign about the project. The image was created from a dozen smaller images and stitched together using Hugin software.

Sedan Crater Panorama
Photo courtesy of Jarek Tuszynski / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Sedan Crater aerial view.

Sedan Crater Aerial View
Original image source unknown.

Sedan Crater aerial view.

Sedan Crater Aerial View
Original image source unknown.

Statistics about Sedan Crater and other nearby craters are described in the image.

Sedan Crater and Nearby Craters Annotated
Original image source unknown.

Sedan Crater is marked on this satellite image. Many other craters are visible in the image.

Sedan Crater on Google Maps Satellite View
Based on image courtesy of Google Maps Satellite View.

Taking a Tour of the Sedan Crater

Yes! You can take a tour of the Sedan Crater and the rest of the Nevada National Security Site. The National Nuclear Security Administration’s Nevada Field Office provides free general interest tours of the Nevada National Security Site on a monthly basis.

Most tours depart from the National Atomic Testing Museum at 755 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, Nevada. Tours depart at approximately 7:30 a.m. and return at 4:00 p.m. Provided transportation is usually a chartered bus equipped with a restroom.

The Nevada National Security Site is located 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. Each tour usually covers about 250 miles. Tour participants should bring their own food and drinks, but no alcoholic beverages. There are no lunch stops. Casual clothing is recommended, and sturdy shoes are required for the rugged terrain. No shorts or sandals are permitted. Visitors to the Nevada National Security Site must be at least 14 years old. Pregnant women are discouraged from participating in Nevada National Security Site tours because of the long bus ride and uneven terrain.

Points of interest on the tour include:

  • Mercury, Nevada — Mercury is a closed city 65 miles (105 km) northwest of Las Vegas. It is situated within the Nevada Test Site and was constructed by the Atomic Energy Commission to house and service the staff of the test site.
  • Frenchman Flat — On January 27, 1951, the first atmospheric nuclear test, Able, took place on the Nevada National Security Site.
  • Nonproliferation Test and Evaluation Complex (NPTEC) — The NPTEC is the world’s largest facility for open-air testing of hazardous materials and biological simulants.
  • Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Site — There is a low-level waste storage pit at the Nevada National Security Site.
  • Sedan Crater
  • T-1 Training Area — The soil emits low levels of radiation, simulating widespread radiological contamination from Improvised Nuclear Devices (INDs) or multiple Radiological Dispersal Devices (RDDs or “dirty bombs”), yet posing minimal risk to participants.
  • Apple II Houses — In an effort to determine the seismic effects of low yield atomic tests, three “typical American homes” were built down range from the May 5, 1955 Apple II test of 29 kilotons.

Contact the Department of Energy’s Office of Public Affairs to find out the date of the next tour. (All 2016 tours have been filled.) Reservations are required for all tours. Space is limited and seats fill quickly. Groups, civic or technical organizations, and private clubs may request specially-arranged tours (minimum of 25 people) by calling 702-295-0944.

References

Furlow, Robert C. “Sedan Crater” PDF. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. National Park Service. October 5, 1993. Retrieved 2009-05-25.

Glasstone, Samuel and Dolan, Thomas. 1977. The Effects of Nuclear Weapons. USGPO.

Reynolds Electrical and Engineering Co., Inc. “Project Sedan On-Site Radiological Safety Report”. PDF. United States Atomic Energy Commission. April 29, 1963.

Sublette, Carey.“The Effects of Underground Explosions”. Nuclear Weapon Archive. March 30, 2001.

United States Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, Nevada Field Office. Image NF-12187.

United States Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, Nevada Field Office. “Public Tours of the Nevada National Security Site”. August 2013. Accessed April 14, 2016.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. “Environmental Monitoring Report For The Nevada Test Site And Other Test Areas Used For Underground Nuclear Detonations”. PDF. U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration. May 1976.

Links

Salton Sea Area

Updated April 5, 2016


Communities


Points of Interest

Bombay Beach Ruins

Davis-Schrimpf Seep Field

East Jesus

International Banana Museum

Salton Sea Test Base

Salvation Mountain

Slab City


Links for More Information

The Coinage Act of 1792

The Coinage Act of 1792, also known as the Mint Act of 1792, was passed by the United States Congress on April 2, 1792. The Act established the United States Mint and regulated the coinage of the United States. The long title of the legislation is An act establishing a mint and regulating the Coins of the United States. The Act established the silver dollar as the unit of money in the United States, declared it to be lawful tender, and created a decimal system for U.S. currency.

According to the Act, the U.S. Mint was to be situated at the seat of government of the United States — Philadelphia, at that time. The five original officers of the U.S. Mint were a Director, an Assayer, a Chief Coiner, an Engraver, and a Treasurer. The Treasurer is a separate office from the Secretary of the Treasury. The Act allowed that one person could perform the functions of Chief Coiner and Engraver. The Assayer, Chief Coiner and Treasurer were required to post a $10,000 bond with the Secretary of the Treasury.

Although some of the provisions in the 1792 Coinage Act were adjusted as time went by, the majority of the rules specified in the Act remained in effect for many decades. Essentially, it provided the basic framework on which all subsequent coinage production was based. While the first draft of the Act stipulated that all coins would employ a portrait of the president on the obverse, the final version called for an image emblematic of liberty as well as the word “Liberty”. The Act also authorized construction of a mint building in Philadelphia, the nation’s capital. This was the first federal building erected under the United States Constitution. Mint director David Rittenhouse laid the building’s cornerstone on July 31.

On May 8, 1792, An Act to Provide for a Copper Coinage was signed into law by President George Washington. This legislation resulted in the birth of the copper cent, from which descends today’s one cent piece. The Act also stipulated that “the director of the mint… be authorized to contract for and purchase a quantity of copper, not exceeding one hundred and fifty tons… to be coined at the mint into cents and half-cents… and be paid into the treasury of the United States, thence to issue into circulation.” Furthermore, “no copper coins or pieces whatsoever except the said cents and half-cents, shall pass current as money, or shall be paid, or offered to be paid or received in payment for any debt, demand, claims, matter or thing whatsoever.”

Section 9 of the Act authorized production of the following coins:

Eagles $10 247 4/8 grain (16.0 g) pure or 270 grain (17.5 g) standard gold
Half Eagles $5 123 6/8 grain (8.02 g) pure or 135 grain (8.75 g) standard gold
Quarter Eagles $2.50 61 7/8 grain (4.01 g) pure or 67 4/8 grain (4.37 g) standard gold
Dollars or Units $1 371 4/16 grain (24.1 g) pure or 416 grain (27.0 g) standard silver
Half Dollars $0.50 185 10/16 grain (12.0 g) pure or 208 grain (13.5 g) standard silver
Quarter Dollars $0.25 92 13/16 grain (6.01 g) pure or 104 grains (6.74 g) standard silver
Disme $0.10 37 2/16 grain (2.41 g) pure or 41 3/5 grain (2.70 g) standard silver
Half Disme $0.05 18 9/16 grain (1.20 g) pure or 20 4/5 grain (1.35 g) standard silver
Cents $0.01 11 pennyweights (17.1 g) of copper
Half Cents $0.005 5 1/2 pennyweights (8.55 g) of copper

Section 10 of the Act requires the coins to have the following markings:

  • One side was to have an impression emblematic of liberty, with the inscription “Liberty”, and the year of the coinage.
  • The reverse side of each of the gold and silver coins was to have the figure or representation of an eagle with the inscription “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”.
  • The reverse of the copper coins was to have an inscription expressing the denomination.

Section 11 of the Act defined the ratio of the value of gold and silver as 1:15, 1 unit of pure gold was equivalent to 15 units of pure silver. “Standard gold” was defined as 11 parts pure gold to one part alloy composed of silver and copper. “Standard silver” was defined as 1485 parts pure silver to 179 parts copper alloy. The Act also specified the dollar as the “money of account” of the United States, and directed that all accounts of the federal government be kept in dollars, dismes, cents, and milles (one-tenth of a cent or one-thousandth of a dollar). The silver content of a dollar under the Act was almost exactly equal to 1/5 of the silver content of the contemporary British pound sterling, or 4 British shillings.

Section 14 of the Act stated that any person could bring gold or silver bullion and have it coined free of charge, or later for a small fee, exchange it immediately for an equivalent value of coin.

Section 18 of the Act established quality control measures. From each separate mass of gold or silver used to produce coins, a minimum of three coins were to be set aside by the treasurer. Each year on the last Monday in July, under the inspection of the Chief Justice, the Secretary and Comptroller of the Treasury, the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General, the coins were to be assayed and if the coins did not meet established standards, the officers were disqualified from office. The meetings became formalized as the United States Assay Commission. Beginning in 1797, it met in most years at the Philadelphia Mint. Each year, the President of the United States appointed unpaid members, who would gather in Philadelphia to ensure the weight and fineness of silver and gold coins issued the previous year were to specifications. In 1971, the commission met, but for the first time had no gold or silver to test, with the end of silver coinage in 1970. Beginning in 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed no members of the public to the commission, and in 1980, he signed legislation abolishing it.

Section 19 of the Act established a penalty of death for debasing the gold or silver coins authorized by the Act, or embezzlement of the metals for those coins, by officers or employees of the mint; this section of the Act apparently remains in effect and would, in theory, continue to apply in the case of “any of the gold or silver coins which shall be struck or coined at the said mint.” (At present the only gold or silver coins struck by the US mint are the American Silver Eagle and the American Gold Eagle coins, some Proof coinage at the San Francisco Mint, such as the silver U.S. State Quarters, and much of the Commemorative coinage of the United States.) All other sections of the act have been superseded, as for example the Coinage Act of 1834 changing the gold-to-silver weight ratio. Various acts have subsequently been passed affecting the amount and type of metal in U. S. coins, so that today there is no legal definition of the term “dollar” to be found in U. S. statute.

Current statutes regulating coinage in the United States may be found in Title 31 of the United States Code, Chapter 51 — Coins and Currency.


ESTABLISHING A NATIONAL MINT .
(Regulating coins of the United States) .
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The Mint Act of April 2, 1792. .
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An act establishing a mint and regulating the Coins of the United States. .
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SEC. 1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, and it is hereby enacted and declared, That a Mint for the purpose of a national coinage be, and the same is established; to be situated and carried on at the seat of the Government of the United States, for the time being: And that for the well conducting of the business of the said Mint, there shall be the following officers and persons, namely, — a Director, an assayer, a chief coiner, an engraver, a treasurer. Mint established at the
seat of Government.
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SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That the Director of the Mint shall employ as many clerks, workmen, and servants as he shall from time to time find necessary, subject to the approbations of the President of the United States. Director to employ workmen, &c.
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SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That the respective functions and duties of the officers above mentioned shall be as follow: The Director of the Mint shall have the chief management of the business thereof, and shall superintend all others officers and persons who shall be employed therein. The assayer shall receive and give receipts for all metals which may lawfully be brought to the Mint to be coined; shall assay all such of them as may require it, and shall deliver them to the chief coiner to be coined. The chief coiner shall cause to be coined all metals which shall be received by him for that purpose, according to such regulations as shall be prescribed by this or any future law. The engraver shall sink and prepare the necessary dies for such coinage, with the proper devices and inscriptions, but it shall be lawful for the functions and duties of chief coiner and engraver to be performed by one person. The treasurer shall receive from the chief coiner all the coins which have been struck, and shall pay or deliver them to the persons respectively to whom the same ought to be paid or delivered; he shall morever [more ever] receive and safely keep all monies which shall be for the use, maintenance and support of the Mint, and shall disburse the same upon warrants signed by the Director. Duty of the officers.

Assayer.

Act of Mar. 3,
1794, ch. 4, sec. 2

Chief coiner.

Engraver.

Treasurer.

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SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That every officer and clerk of the said Mint shall, before he enters upon the execution of his office, take an oath or affirmation before some judge of the United States faithfully and diligently to perform the duties thereof. To take oath
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SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That the said assayer, chief coiner and treasurer, previously to entering upon the execution of their respective offices, shall each become bound to the United States of America, with one or more sureties to the satisfaction of the Secretary of the Treasury, in the sum of ten thousand dollars, with condition for the faithful and diligent performance of the duties of his office. And give bond. Act of March 3
1794, ch. 4, sec. 2
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SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That there shall be allowed and paid as compensations for their respective services—To the said Director, yearly salary of two thousand dollars, to the said assayer, a yearly salary of one thousand five hundred dollars, to the said chief coiner, a yearly salary of one thousand five hundred dollars, to the said engraver, a yearly salary of one thousand two hundred dollars, to the said treasurer, a yearly salary of one thousand two hundred dollars, to each clerk who may be employed, a yearly salary not exceeding five hundred dollars, and to the several subordinate workmen and servants, such wages and allowances as are customary and reasonable, according to their respective stations and occupations. Salaries.
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SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That the accounts of the officers and persons employed in and about the said Mint and for services performed in relation thereto, and all other accounts concerning the business and administration thereof, shall be adjusted and settled in the Treasury Department of the United States, and a quarter yearly account of the receipts and disbursements of the said Mint shall rendered at the said Treasury for settlement according to such forms and regulations as shall have been prescribed by that Department; and that once in each year a report of the transactions of the said Mint, accompanied by an abstract of the settlements which shall have been from time to time made, duly certified by the Comptroller of the Treasury, shall be laid before Congress for their information. Accounts how and where to be settled
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SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That in addition to the authority vested in the Presi-dent of the United States by a resolution of the last session, touching the engagement of artists and the procuring of apparatus for the said Mint, the President be authorized, and he is hereby authorized to cause to be provided and put in proper condition such buildings, and such manner shall appear to him requisite for the purpose of carrying on the business of the said Mint; and that as well the expenses which shall have been incurred pursuant to the said resolution as those which may be incurred in providing and preparing the said buildings,, and all other expenses which may hereafter accrue for the maintenance and support of the said Mint, and in carrying on the business thereof, over and above the sums which may be received by reason of the rate per centum for coinage herein after mentioned, shall be defrayed from the Treasury of the United States, out of any monies which from time to time shall be therein, not otherwise appropriated. President of United States to cause buildings to be provided.
1794, ch. 4, sec. 2Expenses, how to be defrayed.
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SEC.9. And be it further enacted,, That there shall be from time to time struck and coined at the said mint, coins of gold, silver, and copper, of the following denominations, values and descriptions, viz.  Eagles—each to be of the value of ten dollars or units, and to contain two hundred fort-seven grains and four eighths of a grain of pure, or two hundred and seventy grains of standard gold.  Half eagles—each to be of the value of five dollars, and to contain one hundred and twenty three grains and six eights of a grain of pure, or one hundred and thirty five grains of standard gold.  Quarter Eagles—each to be of the value of two dollars and a half dollar, and to contain sixty one grains and seven eights of a grain of pure, or sixty seven grains and four eights of a grain of standard gold.  Dollars or the same is now current, and to contain three hundred and seventy-one grains and four sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or four hundred and sixteen grains of standard silver, Half Dollars—each to be of half the value of the dollar or unit, and to contain one hundred and eighty-five grains and ten sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or two hundred and eights of a grain of standard silver.  Quarter Dollars—each to be of one fourth the value of the dollar or unit, and to contain ninety-two grains and thirteen sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or one hundred and four grains of standard silver.  Dismes—each to be of the value of one tenth of a dollar or unit, and to contain thirty seven grains and two sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or forty one grains and three fifth parts of a grain of standard silver.  Half Dismes—each to be of the value of one twentieth of a dollar, and to contain eighteen grains and nine sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or twenty grains and four fifth parts of a grain of standard silver.  Cents—each to be of the value of the one hundredth part of a dollar, and to contain eleven penny-weights of copper.  Half Cents—each to be of the value of half a cent, and to contain five penny-weights and half a penny-weight of copper. Metals and denomination of the coins to be struck.
See act of February 12, 1873.Eagles.
See act of June 28, 1834, s. 1.
Act of January 18,  1837.Half eagles,
Ibid.Quarter eagles.
Ibid.

Dollars or units.
Ibid, s.9.
See Act of January 18, 1837, s.9.

Act February 12, 1873.

Half dollars.
Ibid.
See act of February 21, 1853, s. 1.

Quarter dollars.
Ibid.

Dismes.
Ibid.

Half Dimes.
Ibid

Cents.
See act. Of January 14, 1793; act of Mar. 3, 1795; act of Feb. 21, 1857.

Half cents.
Ibid.

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SEC. 10. And be it further enacted, That, upon the said coins respectively, there shall be the following devices and legends, namely: Upon one side of each of the said coins there shall be an impression emblematic of liberty, with an inscription of the word Liberty, and the year of the coinage; and upon the reverse of each of the gold and silver coins there shall be the figure or representation of an eagle, with this inscription, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” and upon the reverse of each of the copper coins, there shall be an inscription which shall express the denomination of the piece, namely, cent or half-cent, as the ease may require. Of what devices.
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SEC. 11. And be it further enacted, That the proportional value of gold to silver in all coins which shall by law be current as money within the United States, shall be as fifteen to one, according to quantity in weight, of pure gold or pure silver; that is to say, every fifteen pounds weight of pure silver shall be of equal value in all payments, with one pound weight of pure gold, and so in proportion as to any greater or less quantities of the respective medals. Ratio of gold to silver.
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SEC. 12. And be it further enacted, That the standard for all gold coins of the United States shall be eleven parts fine to one part alloy; and accordingly that eleven parts in twelve of the entire weight of each of the said coins shall consist of pure gold, and the remaining one twelfth part of alloy; and the said alloy shall be composed of silver and copper, in such proportions not exceeding one half silver as shall be found convenient; to be regulated by the director of the mint, the United States, until further provision shall be made by law. And to the end that the necessary information may be had in order to the making of such further provision, it shall be the duty of the director of the mint at the expiration of a year after commencing the operations of the said mint, to report to Congress the practice thereof during the said year, touching the composition of the alloy of the said gold coins, the reasons for such practice, and the experiment and observation which shall have been concerning the effects of different proportions of silver and copper in the said alloy. Standard for gold coin and alloy, how to be regulated.
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SEC. 13. And be it further enacted, That the standard of all silver coins of the United States shall be one thousand four hundred and eighty-five parts fine to one hundred and seventy-nine parts alloy; and accordingly that one thousand four hundred and eighty-five parts in one thousand six hundred and sixty four parts of the entire weight of each of the said coins shall consist of pure silver, and the remaining one hundred and seventy-nine parts of alloy; which alloy shall be wholly of copper. Director to report the practice of the mint touching the alloy of gold coins.

Standard for silver coins; alloy how to be regulated.

Alloy.

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SEC. 14. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for any person or persons to bring to the said mint gold and silver bullion, in order to their being coined; and that the bullion so brought shall be there assayed and coined as speedily as may be after the re-ceipt thereof, and that free of expense to the person or persons by whom the said bullion shall be been coined, the person or persons by whom the same shall have been delivered, shall upon demand receive in lieu thereof coins of the same species of bullion which gold or pure silver therein contained: Provided nevertheless, bringing such bullion, and of the direction of the said mint, to make an immediate exchange of coins for standard bullion with a deduction of one half per cent. from the weight of the pure gold, or pure silver contained in the said bullion, as an indemnification to the mint for the time which will necessarily be required for coining the said bullion, and for the advance which shall have been so made in coins. And it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to furnish the said mint from time to time whenever the state of the Treasury will admit thereof, with such sums as may be necessary for effecting the said exchanges, to be replaced as speedily as may be out of the coins which shall have been made of the bullion for which the monies so furnished shall have been exchanged; and the said deduction of one half per cent shall constitute a fund towards defraying the expenses of the said mint. Persons may bring gold and silver bullion, to be coined free of expense.

Act of April 24, 1800, chap. 34, how the director may exchange coins therefor deducting half percent.

Duty of Secretary of Treasury

The half per cent. To constitute fund,
&c.

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SEC. 15. And be it further enacted, That the bullion which shall be brought as aforesaid to the mint to be coined, shall be coined, and the equivalent thereof in coins rendered, if demanded, in the order in which the said bullion shall have been brought or delivered, giving priority according to priority of delivery only, and without preference to any person or persons; and if any preference shall be given contrary to the direction aforesaid, the officer by whom such undue preference shall be given, shall in each case forfeit and pay one thousand dollar; to be recovered with costs of suit. And to the end that it may be known if such preference shall at any time be given, the assayer or officer to whom the said bullion shall be delivered to be coined, shall give to the person or persons bringing the same, a memorandum in writing under his hand, denoting the weight, fineness and value thereof, together with the day and order of its delivery into the mint. Order of delivering coins to persons bringing bullion and penalty on giving undue preference, &c.
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SEC. 16. And be it further enacted, That all the gold and silver coins which have been struck at, and issued from the said mint, shall be a lawful tender in all payments whatsoever, those of full weight according to the respective values herein before declared, and those of less than full weight at values proportional to their respective weights. Coins made a lawful tender,
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SEC. 17. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the respective officers of the said mint, carefully and faithfully to use their best endeavors that all the gold and silver coins which shall be struck at the said mint shall be, as nearly as may be, conformable to the several standards and weights aforesaid, and that the copper whereof the cents and half cents aforesaid may be composed, shall be of good quality. And to be made conformable to the standard weight, &c.
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SEC. 18. And be it further enacted, And the better to secure a due conformity of the said gold and silver coins to their respective standards, Be it further enacted, That from every separate mass of standard gold or silver, which shall be made into coins at the said Mint, there shall be taken, set apart by the Treasurer and reserved in his custody a certain number of pieces, not less than three, and that once in every year the pieces so set apart and reserved, shall be assayed under the inspection of the Chief Justice of the United States, the Secretary for the Department of State, and the Attorney General of the United States, (who are hereby required to attend for that purpose at the said Mint, on the last Monday in July in each year, or under the inspection of any three of them, in such manner as they or a majority of them shall direct, and in the presence of the Director, assayer and chief coiner of the said Mint; and it shall be found that the gold and silver so assayed, shall not be inferior to their respective standards herein before declared more than one part in one hundred and forty-four parts, the officer or officers of the said Mint whom it may concern shall be held excusable; but if any greater inferiority shall appear, it shall be certified to the President of the United States, and the said officer or officers shall be deemed disqualified to hold their respective offices. The Treasurer to reserve not less than three
pieces of each coin to be assayed .when and by whom &c.
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SEC. 19. And be it further enacted, That if any of the gold or silver coins which shall be struck or coined at the said Mint shall be debased or made worse as to the proportion of fine gold or fine silver therein contained, or shall be of less weight or value than the same ought to be pursuant to connivance of any of the officers or persons who shall be employed at the said Mint, for the purpose of profit or gain, officers or persons shall embezzle any of the metals which shall at any time be committed to their charge for the purpose of being coined at the said Mint, every such officer or person who shall commit any or either of the said offences, shall be deemed guilty of felony, and shall suffer death. Penalty for debasing the coins.
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SEC. 20. And be it further enacted, That the money of account of the United States shall be expressed in dollars or units, dismes or tenths, cents or hundredths, and miles or thousandths, a disme being a tenth part of a dollar, a cent the hundredth part of a dollar, a mille the thousandths part of a dollar, and that all accounts in public offices and all proceedings in the courts of the United States shall be kept and had in conformity to this regulation. Money of account to be expressed in dollars, &c.

R. S. 3563.