Francis Hopkinson - Founding Father, Everyday Presence

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Francis Hopkinson - Founding Father, Everyday Presence

The name Francis Hopkinson is hardly a household name in American history. Nor is he a widely recognized Founding Father. However, many would be surprised to know that they see results of Hopkinson's work nearly every day.

Born in Philadelphia in 1737, Hopkinson was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence as a delegate from New Jersey. But, it is his work in other areas that make Hopkinson an interesting, and to this day, still a very relevant figure in our everyday life. You see, in addition to his work as an author, retail merchant, state delegate, and eventual Federal Judge - Hopkinson played a central role in the design of our nation's flag..and our nation's Great Seal.

Hopkinson's design for a flag for our fledgling nation had the 13 stars arranged in a staggered pattern, with each star having 6 points, instead of the 5 points used today. Hopkinson sought compensation for his design, however, the new government's Treasury Board refused saying that many others had been consulted also. However, even though somewhat controversial, Hopkinson's Stars and Stripes design is still seen as the model that remains today.

Another not so widely known fact is the role Francis Hopkinson played in bringing about the final version of Great Seal of The United States design. As a consultant to the Second Committee (there were three) to take on the challenge to develop a seal for the new nation, he inherited the original ideas from the committee of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. Hopkinson then contributed several key components of the final design, including the red and white stripes, the constellation of 13 stars, and the olive branch. Development of the seal then was finalized with the third committee and approved by Congress in 1782.

So, whether it is pulling a dollar bill from our pocket or saluting our country's flag, the work of Francis Hopkinson is all around us. Hopkinson died prematurely of an epileptic seizure at the age of 53 in May of 1791. He is buried in Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia.

DP Turner is the President of Woodmere China and a tabletop industry veteran of 25 years. Previously, Turner was North American VP Sales & Marketing for Villeroy & Boch. Before that, he held various sales and marketing postions with several consumer package goods companies.

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