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