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The E-Sylum:  Volume 6, Number 23, June 8, 2003, Article 21

ATOMIC NUMISMATICS

  [The following article by is Warner Talso reprinted
  with permission from the MPC Gram (Series 004 -
  Number 928,  Monday June 2, 2003), edited by
  Fred Schwan.  Use the following link if you'd like to
  subscribe to this interesting email newsletter
  http://www.papermoneyworld.net/WebMailList/Default.asp
  -Editor]

  Here is an interesting connection between numismatics
  and the atomic bomb.  The Manhattan Project (code name
  for the atomic weapon development project) was famous
  for its insatiable appetite for materials and the lengths to
  which the project went to get the job done.  There was a
  need for a conductor for the coils of magnets.  In the
  summer of 1942 the preliminary plans for the electromagnetic
  plant had called for five thousand tons of copper. However,
  copper was in short supply due to other war related needs
  and strikes in the industry.

  Silver was suggested as a substitute, because it has the
  highest electric conductivity of any other natural substance.
  "On August 3, 1942, Colonel Nichols visited Undersecretary
  of the Treasury Daniel W. Bell with a request for a large
  amount of silver. When Bell asked how much he needed,
  Nichols replied 'six thousand tons', to which the secretary
  replied rather indignantly, 'Young man, you may think of silver
  in tons, but the Treasury will always think of silver in troy
  ounces.'" Eventually, 14,700 tons of silver (much in the form
  of silver dollars), worth 400 million dollars at the time, was
  loaned to the Project.   A total of 940 magnets were fabricated
  using this silver. The magnets were estimated to be one hundred
  times larger than any magnets previously constructed.  They
  were so powerful that they pulled on the nails of workers shoes,
  making walking difficult. They caused tools to fly out the hands
  of workers. Special nonferrous tools and equipment had to be
  fabricated.

 "When it came time to return the silver to the Treasury after the
  war, every ounce was scavenged.  In the final accounting, of
  the 14,700 tons borrowed, only a minuscule fraction of 1
  percent was missing."

  The majority of this information and the quotes are taken from
  the book "Racing for the Bomb" by Robert S. Norris,
  Steerforth Press, South Royalton, Vermont, 2002

  [Warner adds: "Please give the credit for the book as follows:
  An excerpt from Racing for the Bomb, by Robert S. Norris,
  published by Steerforth Press of South Royalton, Vermont.
  Copyright  2002 by Robert S. Norris"   This is the publisher's
  preferred format.]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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