The first dimes were ordered into production in 1792 by U.S. President George Washington before the U.S. Mint was officially finished. So, a borrowed coin press was used for four years until the U.S. Mint was complete in 1796. The original spelling of the word dime was "disme". It was pronounced the same as it is today, but the silent "s" was included because the word was based on the Latin word "decimus", which means "one-tenth".
The dime as we know it today was not the original design. The dime originally included Lady Liberty on the heads (obverse) side in various forms, including the most notable stint with wings on Liberty's head to express free thought (1916-1945). This depiction of Liberty was mistaken for the Roman god Mercury and gained the nickname "Mercury Dime". President Frank Delano Roosevelt didn't appear on the dime until 1946. After the president passed away while still in office, there was a public outpouring requesting Roosevelt's likeness be added to the dime. The dime was appropriate because President Roosevelt supported the organization March of Dimes, which raised funds to find a cure for polio - the disease he contracted when he was 39. Since then, the design of the U.S. smallest, thinnest coin has not changed!
Stop on a Dime Game
The saying "stop on a dime" has been in our lexicon for quite a while and means that you have ability to stop quickly. So, have your kids prove it! Put a dime down on the floor and race any toys with wheels or anything that rolls to see if you can stop it near the dime, if not on it. The one who gets their toy to stop closest to the dime wins!
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