OH THE PROBLEMS of a war-torn America! Fifty years ago this month, in 1942, this country was so strapped for strategic war materials that we had to replace the nickel in the nickel coin.
That led The Evening Sun to comment editorially:
"What is the 5-cent piece to be called? It will have in it copper, silver and other metals. But the one ingredient it will not have is nickel. Of course, because of long association, people may continue to speak of the new coin as 'a nickel,' though the term would obviously be incorrect.
"Other coins bear names denoting their relationship to a dollar. 'Cent' is short for centesimus, or hundredth part of a dollar. 'Dime' is a derivation of decimus, or tenth part of a dollar. The 5-cent piece is a twentieth of a dollar and the Latin word for twentieth is vicesimius. Thus the new coin might be appropriately called a 'vice.' But the modern American is farther removed from Latin than were his ancestors and such a name would be likely to appeal only to a classicist. It would have to be decreed from above.