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belief in the future usually produces a fascination with history and
one's place in it. So it's no wonder that the 20th
century showed a keenness for time capsules that hasn't been seen
since the days of the pharaohs. They were cropping up all over
the place from corner stones, to buried caches under cyclotrons, to
huge vaults such as the one at
Oglethorpe University. By the end
of the century, you could even buy DIY time capsules to preserve
personal memories, but since these usually consisted of little more
than a biscuit tin and a scrap book their utility was questionable.
The Westinghouse Time Capsules: 1939 (left) & 1965
Though literally thousands of time capsules were
buried (and lost) in the last century, two time capsules stand out
above the rest: the Westinghouse Time Capsules for the New York
World's Fairs of 1939 and 1964. These repositories of the works
and words of 20th century man had an ambition and execution
that would have done the architects of the Pyramids proud, though at a
much more reasonable price and a much greater chance of success.
In many ways, they could be called the primary artefacts of Future Past.