U.S. Currency Milestones
1690 -- Massachusetts Bay Colony issued bills of credit to finance military expedition to Canada.
1775 -- Continental Congress issued currency during the American Revolution to cover government and military expenditures.
1780 -- Continental Congress stopped printing Continental Currency when it fell to one-fortieth of original face value.
1812 -- Treasury Notes issued by Congress to cover short-term loans during War of 1812.
1800-1865 -- Banks and companies print paper currency. Bills issued by failed banks were called "broken-bank notes".
1861 -- First legal tender paper money authorized by Congress as demand notes or "greenbacks".
1914 -- Federal Reserve Notes issued under Federal Reserve Act of 1913.
1929 -- First small-sized currency issued.
1946 -- Last printing of denominations larger than $100.
1955 -- IN GOD WE TRUST mandated on all coins and paper bills.
1991 -- Security thread added to $100 notes.
Interestingly, the last time a major design change was introduced was in 1929. For almost seventy years the US banknots were virtually unchanged, except for minor adjustments.
Another intersting point is the fact that not a single one of these changes was meant to take into account human factors such as recognizability.
Last modified: Sun Dec 8 12:17:43 EST 1996