Steam pioneers to grace £50 note

The new Bank of England 50 pound note features British steam pioneers James Watt and Matthew Boulton; it's a nice, makerish touch to the currency.

(via Core77)


  1. -sigh- Now the Euro is cracking up due to material tension, it seems that the Brits had the right idea. Here in the Netherlands, we used to have a series of banknotes that celebrated our greatest mutants. Something must have used to be right about a nation that put a beautiful cartoonish portrait of its greatest heretic, Baruch Spinoza, on its banknote with the biggest number on it.

  2. Perfect for the occasions when you want “Money is power” to not be referring to some kind of squishy social influence…

  3. Holy crap – are you serious? I am assuming this is just a draft of the engraving. It isn’t the final look – right?

    The engraving is brilliant, but the text/typography looks like a secretary of the Treasury Dept (or what ever they have) fired up Word and tacked it on.

    I do hope that is a work in progress.

  4. So we can look at our money to remind ourselves what that we used to innovate and engineer before we  figured out that having a services based economy made so  much more sense. 

    will account and trade stocks for food. 

    1. Pip Pip! I say,  I for one miss the days of 10 year olds working 12 hours doing dangerous menial labor. Uneducated drones were sooooo much easier (and cheaper) to control compared to those cubical dwellers.

      Now adays no one wants to get their hands dirty, and they scream bloody murder when they loose a finger. I don’t envy today’s pointy-haired boss, that’s for sure.

  5. Since it’s on a fifty, no-one will ever see it for real anyway, but I’d rather have seen Richard Trevithick on there.

  6. Slight typo, Cory: you’ve misspelled “steam pioneer James Watt and patent trolling pioneer Matthew Boulton”.

  7. Troll or not, it’s a damn sight better than the current £50, with John “first governor of the Bank of England” Houblon and his “so pimp they ended up turning it into a bank” house…

  8. Once again, international currency honors productive citizens i.e. scientists, artists, etc.  on currency (see also Darwin on the 10 pound,  Cezanne/Delacroix on old French 100 franc, Saint-Exupéry on the 50 franc, Hideyo Noguchi on Japanese 1000 yen, Gauss on the German 10 mark, etc. etc.).

    US honors only politians (except maybe Franklin) but so does Canada, but still imagine Charlie Parker or Frank Lloyd Wright or Clara Barton?

      1. How do you  get from “US honors only politians” to “they never did anything of merit”?

        Sure, the “founding fathers” did plenty of merit but Hamilton?  Grant?  Jackson? Chase?

        I realize there is a strong feeling that creating the Constitution and the Constitution is be greatest thing in history, but seriously, there is should be some room for updating the honorifics.

        USA!  USA!  USA!  We’re Number 1!  (well, not in much these days, but still . . .) USA! etc. etc.

        1. I guess my point was they were more than just politicians.

          But yeah – there are  a few head scratchers on the list.

  9. In fairness, American Currency is pretty boring by the rest of the world’s standards. Actually, I should probably refine that statement, American printed money is pretty boring. Our coinage is looking pretty good. I just wish they stopped with the Dead White Men meme. Why not Helen Keller or Harriet Tubman for a change?

Comments are closed.