Time Capsules

Time Capsules

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The New York World's Fair 1939 Time Capsule

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Laying the 1939 time capsule to rest.A 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 1939 time capsule exhibit.The 1964 time capsule exhibit.

The Westinghouse Time Capsules: 1939 (left) & 1965 (right).

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.

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