Time Capsules in America Westinghouse Capsule

About the Westinghouse Capsule started as part of the New York's World Fair, history of the American time capsule.


Westinghouse Capsule

Inspired by the Oglethorpe project, the Westinghouse Electric Corporation built and buried the first device known as a "time capsule," a term coined by the project's publicists. The project was undertaken as part of the 1939 New York World's Fair. In 1938 the torpedolike capsule was buried in Flushing Meadows on the fair site. The container, made of a copper alloy, was sealed in 1940, to be opened in 6939 A.D.

The contents of the capsule centered on a 10,000,000-word, microfilmed essay describing all facets of civilization. Other writings, art reproductions, samples, recordings, and the like were also preserved. Among the items included: reproductions of works by Picasso and Grant Wood, a Bible, the Lord's Prayer in 300 languages, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, a rhinestone clip from Woolworth's, baseball cards, a toothbrush, a copy of Weird Tales. Westinghouse printed a book, The Book of Record, which describes the project and includes directions to find the capsule, as well as a key to the English language. Also included in the book are messages to the future written by Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein. The book, printed on special paper with nonfading ink, was sent to thousands of libraries and monasteries throughout the world in the hope that a copy might survive the 5,000 years.

Westinghouse Update

In 1964, as part of that year's New York World's Fair, Westinghouse buried another capsule right next to the original one. The purpose was to provide information on the years since 1938. A prestigious committee was appointed to select material describing W. W. II, atomic power, jet planes, and space travel. Over 117,000 pages of writing and 45 objects were included. Works were by John Kennedy, Albert Camus, Linus Pauling, Adlai Stevenson, Dag Hammarskjold, Winston Churchill, Andrew Wyeth, and Jackson Pollock. Among the objects: a piece of the reentry shield from Scott Carpenter's Aurora 7 spacecraft, three credit cards, a packet of birth control pills, a bikini, a copy of the record "A Hard Day's Night" by the Beatles, and a copy of A Long Day's Journey into Night by Eugene O'Neill. The capsule is to be opened on the same date as the first.

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