Many leaders are known beyond the borders of their own countries, but how well do we really know them? Check out ten unusual facts about some former U.S. presidents.
Thomas Jefferson invented the swivel chair
One of Jefferson’s greatest inventions was the swivel chair. As a writer, he wanted a seat that could provide more freedom in movement. In his creation, he put an iron spindle between the top and bottom half of the chair, and it had rollers fixed on it for smooth rotation. Over time, other companies made more innovations to Jefferson’s invention, and today the chairs are a pretty common feature in homes and offices worldwide.
George Washington had wooden teeth—or did he?
Despite his legendary physical prowess, Washington was plagued by dental problems. In his diaries, he’s mentioned toothaches, inflamed gums, and ill-fitting dentures. Many people believe that his teeth were made from wood—in reality, his dentures were made from a combination of hippopotamus ivory, bone, lead, brass and gold wires. Washington was known for his love of red wine, and many historians believe that it was his fondness for the drink that made his dentures look like grainy wood.
The stuffed toy bears named after Teddy Roosevelt
This story spread, and a candy shop owner named Morris Michtom put two stuffed toy bears in his window to attract customers. He wanted to call them “Teddy” bears and asked Roosevelt for permission. He gave his approval, and now children everywhere go to sleep hugging their favorite teddy bears.
14 presidents were Freemasons
Freemasons are influential people from all walks of life who have also enjoyed seats in many different levels of government, including Supreme Court. From 1798-1940, at least three Freemasons served as justices in each term. Even the Statue of Liberty was made by a Freemason named Frederic Bartholdi.
The secretive organization has nearly 2 million members in the U.S. and about 5 million the world over.
The enduring love/hate relationship between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson
Their rivalry reached its peak during the election in 1796 as both individuals slung mud at each other during their run for office. A campaign ad made by Adams’ camp read, “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood and the nation black with crimes.”
Toward the end of their lives, they softened toward each other considerably. On his deathbed on July 4th, 1826, Adams said, “Thomas Jefferson lives.” Jefferson died just a few hours later.
A president who was fond of duels and a cursing parrot
Jackson was said to never back down from a fight—it is believed that had taken part in almost 100 duels and was injured from by a shot to the chest and a bullet in the arm.
The president who loved pranking his staff
There were other instances in which he pretended to be kidnapped just for kicks. (Just kidding, Secret Service!) He also filled a bucket with water and beans and ordered his aide to scrub the brown spots from the beans (the only way to remove brown spots from beans is with a knife.) During one breakfast, Coolidge filled his saucer with coffee and cream and motioned the crowd to do the same, before leaning down to feed his dog from the saucer. The embarrassed crowd was left giggling in shame for falling for yet another prank from this presidential joker.
The eerily similar deaths of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy
The president who was done in by milk and berries
The president who made his dog an honorary Army private
F.D.R was terrified of the number 13 and tried his best to avoid it at any cost. He loved his dog, Fala, with an obsession, so much so he made the pooch an honorary Army private.