1/2¢ Benjamin Franklin
Issue Date: May 1958
City: Washington, D.C.
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10½
Color: Red orange
U.S. #1030 features a portrait of Benjamin Franklin by J.S. Duplessis from the book, The Pictorial Life of Benjamin Franklin, Printer.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-90)
Benjamin Franklin was an American statesman, writer, scientist, and inventor born in Boston, Massachusetts. He ran away to Philadelphia at age 17, and founded his own printing business there at age 24. Franklin published his famous Poor Richard’s Almanac from 1733 to 1758. Franklin was the only person to sign all four of the key documents in United States history: the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Alliance with France, the Treaty of Peace with Great Britain, and the Constitution of the United States. Franklin was also appointed the first U.S. Postmaster General in 1775. Ben Franklin discovered lightning was electricity, and created such terms as armature, condenser, and battery.
The Liberty Series
Issued to replace the 1938 Presidential series, this patriotic set of stamps honors guardians of freedom throughout U.S. history. Eighteenth century America is represented by Revolutionary War heroes and statesmen such as Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, Henry, Jay, and Revere.
Leaders of the 19th century including Monroe, Lincoln, Lee, Harrison, and Susan B. Anthony make an appearance. The 20th century is represented by Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and General Pershing.
The Liberty Series also features famous locations important to America’s democratic history, such as Bunker Hill, Independence Hall, and the Alamo.
“Wet” versus “Dry” Printing
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing began an experiment in 1954. In previous “wet” printings, the paper had a moisture content of 15 to 35 percent. In the experimental “dry” printings, the paper had a moisture content of 5 to 10 percent. This process required stiffer, thicker paper, special inks, and greater pressure to force the paper through the plates.
Stamps produced by dry printing can be distinguished by whiter paper and higher surface sheen. The stamps feel thicker and the designs are more pronounced than on wet printings. So the dry printing experiment was a success, and all U.S. postage stamps have been printed by this method since the late 1950s.