TIL that, due to a wartime shortage of copper, the Manhattan Project borrowed almost 15,000 tons of silver from the US Treasury to make wiring for the electromagnets in isotope-separating mass spectrometers. The wire, worth over a billion dollars at the time, was removed and returned after the war. : todayilearned: "To provide windings for the Y-12 electromagnets, massive amounts of silver were borrowed from the U.S. Treasury Department’s storage facility at West Point, N.Y. A Treasury Department official there said, “We sell silver in Troy ounces. How much do you want?” The answer: “We need about 15,000 tons of silver!” The metal was shipped to Allis Chalmers in Milwaukee, where it was rolled into ribbons and wound into coils for the Y-12 electromagnets.
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