Random Fascinating Facts About Presidents

atkins-bookshelf-triviaGeorge Washington lost all his teeth by middle age. In his autobiography, John Adams attributed Washington’s loss of his teeth from years of cracking walnuts between his jaws. There is a longstanding myth that George Washington’s false teeth were made of wood; however they were made from a variety of materials including lead, seahorse ivory and hippopotamus ivory. One set of his false teeth were actually made of real human teeth removed from dead soldiers and attached with gold rivets to a piece of carved hippopotamus ivory (which explained why they preferred staying immersed in a glass of water). Another set was made using carved cow’s teeth. The dentures, as you can imagine, were ill-fitted and very uncomfortable; moreover, they distorted his lips. Washington would often remove his dentures to eat.

Speaking of teeth, John Adams also lost all of his teeth by the time he was in his early thirties. In his autobiography Adams attributes the loss of teeth to a steady diet of milk and mercury for a period of time, which was considered an effective inocculation  against small pox in the mid to late 1700s. Unlike Washington, Adams refused to wear dentures; as a result he had difficulty eating and speaking (he had a pronounced lisp).

Thomas Jefferson loved traveling to Europe because of the bookstores. He loved browsing through the book stacks since European bookstores had a better selection and lower prices than those in America.

James Madison was the first president to wear pants. Prior presidents wore knee britches. And yes, Madison put his pants on one leg at a time.

James Monroe was the only president who was injured during the Revolutionary War. Monroe was shot in the shoulder where the bullet was lodged permanently.

Read related posts: Thomas Jefferson the Inventor
Jefferson and Adams Die on Same Day
The Best Sentences in English Literature

For further reading: Grover Cleveland’s Rubber Jaw by Stephen Spgnesi (2012)


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