Ben Franklin Goes Hi-Tech On The New $100 Bill

The United States Treasury unveiled a new $100 bill this week. Benjamin Franklin stays, but Treasury engravers have put so many other high-tech features onto the currency, you might call it the iBill.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

SCOTT SIMON, Host:

The United States Treasury unveiled a new $100 bill this week. Benjamin Franklin stays, but Treasury engravers have put so many other high-tech features onto the currency, you might call it the iBill. The new Franklin has an embedded security thread that glows pink under ultraviolet light. Wiggle the bill back and forth and the Liberty Bell appears in an inkwell. A faint watermark image of Franklin looms to the right of his portrait, like Ben catching a glimpse of himself in a window. The numeral 100 shifts from copper to green.

Now, there are great demands these days to put more diversity of images onto U.S. currency, but keeping Ben Franklin in his spot on the hundred might remind us that the intrepid spirit that devised bifocals, published "Poor Richard's Almanac," tapped into lightning, and helped create a republic, is the kind of one-man diversity that endures in a nation's character.

By the way, it will take 128 billion Franklins to pay off the national debt.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS")

P DIDDY: (Rapping) ...millenniums, it's all about the Benjamins. What? I get a fifty pound bag of...

SIMON: P Diddy. You're listening to NPR News.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.