20¢ Joseph Priestley
Issue Date: April 13, 1983
City: Northumberland, VA
Printed By: American Bank Note Company
Printing Method: Photogravure
In 1774, chemist Joseph Priestley discovered the existence of oxygen. This stamp was issued to honor Priestley on the 250th anniversary of his birth.
Joseph Priestley (1733-1804)
Scientist and Philosopher
Born in England, Priestley was an intellectual who laid the foundation for the science of chemistry. Priestley discovered oxygen and the method of adding carbon dioxide to liquids. Largely self-educated, Priestley was fluid in nine languages and wrote extensively. Priestley supported the French and American Revolutions. English loyalists burned his home and destroyed his laboratory. Encouraged by his friendship with Benjamin Franklin, Priestley emigrated to America and settled in Northumberland, Pennsylvania. He is credited with establishing the first Unitarian Church in America.