Time capsule

A time capsule is a historic cache of goods or information, usually intended as a deliberate method of communication with future people, and to help future archaeologists, anthropologists, or historians.[2] The preservation of holy relics dates back for millennia, but the practice of preparing and preserving a collection of everyday artifacts and messages to the future appears to be a more recent practice. Time capsules are sometimes created and buried during celebrations such as a world's fair, a cornerstone laying for a building, or at other ceremonies.

Helium monument time capsule in amarillo texas usa
The Helium Centennial Time Columns Monument located in Amarillo, Texas, holds four time capsules in stainless steel intended to be opened after durations of 25, 50, 100, and 1,000 years after they were locked in 1968.[1]

Early examples

It is widely debated when time capsules were first used, but the concept is fairly simple, and the idea and first use of time capsules could be much older than is currently documented.[3] The term "time capsule" appears to be a relatively recent coinage dating from 1938.[4]

Around 1761, some dated artifacts were placed inside the hollow copper grasshopper weathervane, itself dating from 1742, atop historic Faneuil Hall in Boston.[5]

A time capsule dating to 1777 was discovered within a religious statue in Sotillo de la Ribera.[6] A time capsule was discovered in November 30, 2017, in Burgos, Spain. A wooden statue of Jesus Christ had hidden inside it a document with economic, political and cultural information, written by Joaquín Mínguez, chaplain of the Cathedral of Burgo de Osma in 1777.[7]

A Revolutionary-era time capsule, dating to 1795 and credited to Samuel Adams and Paul Revere, was temporarily removed in 2014 from the cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House in Boston.[8] It had been previously opened in 1855, and some new items had been added before it was reinstalled.[8] It was ceremonially reopened in January 2015 at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, with specific restrictions on media coverage, to preserve the fragile artifacts.[9] The contents were displayed there briefly, and then reinstalled in their original location.[8][10] It is the oldest known time capsule in the country.

20th century

The Steinbach time capsule at the Shore Mall in southern New Jersey, installed in 1974
Herrick Tower Time Capsule Adrian College
Herrick Tower time capsule, Adrian College, Michigan, 2009–2059

In 1901, a time capsule was placed inside the head of the copper lion ornamenting the Old State House in Boston. It was opened in 2014, during repairs to the sculpture and building, with plans to add new artifacts and reinstall it in its original location.[11]

The Detroit Century Box, a brainchild of Detroit mayor William C. Maybury, was created on December 31, 1900, and scheduled to be opened 100 years later. It was filled with photographs and letters from 56 prominent residents describing life in 1900 and making predictions for the future, and included a letter by Maybury addressed to the mayor of Detroit in 2000. The capsule was opened by city officials on December 31, 2000, in a ceremony presided over by mayor Dennis Archer.[12][13]

The Crypt of Civilization (1936) at Oglethorpe University, intended to be opened in 8113, is claimed to be the first "modern" time capsule, although it was not called one at the time. George Edward Pendray is responsible for coining the term time capsule.[14][15] During the socialist period in the USSR, many time capsules were buried with messages to a future communist society.[16]

The 1939 New York World's Fair time capsule was created by Westinghouse as part of their exhibit. It was 90 inches (2.3 metres) long, with an interior diameter of 6.5 inches (16 cm), and weighed 800 pounds (360 kg). Westinghouse named the copper, chromium, and silver alloy "cupaloy", claiming it had the same strength as mild steel. It contained everyday items such as a spool of thread and doll, a book of record[17] (description of the capsule and its creators), a vial of staple food crop seeds, a microscope, and a 15-minute RKO Pathé Pictures newsreel. Microfilm spools condensed the contents of a Sears Roebuck catalog, dictionary, almanac, and other texts.

The 1939 time capsule was followed in 1965 by a second capsule at the same site, but 10 feet (3.0 m) to the north of the original. Both capsules are buried 50 feet (15 m) below Flushing Meadows Park, site of the Fair. Both the 1939 and 1965 Westinghouse Time Capsules are meant to be opened in 6939. More recently, in 1985, Westinghouse created a smaller, Plexiglas shell to be buried beneath the New York Marriott Marquis hotel, in the heart of New York's theater district. However, this time capsule was never put in place.

There is documentation of at least three physical time capsules at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as a "virtual" or digital time capsule.[5]

As of 2019, four time capsules are "buried" in space. The two Pioneer Plaques and the two Voyager Golden Records have been attached to spacecraft for the possible benefit of spacefarers in the distant future. A fifth time capsule, the KEO satellite, was scheduled to be launched in 2015–16.[18] However, it has been delayed several times and an actual launch date has not been given. After launch, it will carry individual messages from Earth's inhabitants addressed to earthlings around the year 52,000, when it is due to return to Earth. As of April 2019, the satellite had not been launched.

The International Time Capsule Society was created in 1990 to maintain a global database of all known time capsules.


According to time capsule historian William Jarvis, most intentional time capsules usually do not provide much useful historical information: they are typically filled with "useless junk", new and pristine in condition, that tells little about the people of the time.[19] Many time capsules today contain only artifacts of limited value to future historians. Historians suggest that items which describe the daily lives of the people who created them, such as personal notes, pictures, and documents, would greatly increase the value of the time capsule to future historians.

If time capsules have a museum-like goal of preserving the culture of a particular time and place for study, they fulfill this goal very poorly in that they, by definition, are kept sealed for a particular length of time. Subsequent generations between the launch date and the target date will have no direct access to the artifacts and therefore these generations are prevented from learning from the contents directly. Therefore, time capsules can be seen, in respect to their usefulness to historians, as dormant museums, their releases timed for some date so far in the future that the building in question is no longer intact.[19]

Historians also concede that there are many preservation issues surrounding the selection of the media to transmit this information to the future.[19] Some of these issues include the obsolescence of technology and the deterioration of electronic and magnetic storage media (known as the digital dark age), and possible language problems if the capsule is dug up in the distant future. Many buried time capsules are lost, as interest in them fades and the exact location is forgotten, or they are destroyed within a few years by groundwater.

Archives and archival materials, including videos, might be the best types of time capsules, as long as the medium can still be used, or the data can be read by the latest technologies and software.

Cultural references

The 1947 docudrama The Beginning or the End is a semi-historical account of the creation of the first atomic bomb during World War II. The film begins with staged newsreel footage of the scientists and officers involved in the project (played by actors) burying a time capsule in Redwood National Forest in California. The capsule contained a copy of the film, along with a projector to view it on, and instructions for its operation set on a metal sheet. The purpose of the capsule was in line with the film's title, about whether humanity will destroy itself now that it has the ability to, or whether it will rise above war as a whole and come together to use nuclear power for greater purposes. The film can be seen as an example of Cold War propaganda.[20]

The 2009 dramatic film Knowing involves a time capsule being placed in the ground by an elementary school in 1959. After staring into the sun, a girl begins to hear voices and later begins to frantically write an incoherent set of numbers down onto a page that she is supposed to be writing a letter to a student in the future with. The capsule is sealed and opened in 2009 where the character John Koestler realizes that the list of numbers correlates to the dates and death tolls of major disasters, such as the September 11 attacks, the Lockerbie bombing, and other events resulting in mass death which occurred after the time capsule was buried, after his son Caleb Koestler receives the letter and brings it home.

Artists such as Andy Warhol, Christian Boltanski, and Louise Bourgeois are known for compiling collections of everyday artifacts that they associate with memories of the past, which are preserved in museums and archives.[21]

Personal and domestic time capsules

Commercially-manufactured sealable containers are sold for protection of personal time capsules; some of the more durable waterproof containers used for geocaching may also be suitable. Many underground time capsules are destroyed by groundwater infiltration after short periods of time;[22][23] caches stored within the wall cavities of buildings can survive as long as the building is used and maintained.

In 2016, the art collective Ant Farm displayed a show, The Present Is the Form of All Life: The Time Capsules of Ant Farm and LST, at the art center Pioneer Works, in Brooklyn, New York. The artists had previous experiences with failed time capsules, and were now exploring "digital time capsules" as a more durable form of preservation.[24] They have said, "We’ve come to understand that the best way to preserve digital media is to distribute it." [24] Researchers have started to study methods of preserving digital data in forms that will still be usable in the distant future.[25]

See also

Further reading

  • William Jarvis (2002). Time Capsules: A Cultural History. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2003, ISBN 0-7864-1261-5
  • Janet Reinhold (1993, 2000). A Sampling of Time Capsule Contents. Covina, Ca.: Future Packaging & Preservation, 2000, ISBN 1-891406-30-2
  • Larry Richard Clark (2010). "Time Capsules: the Why, the How, the Where". ISBN 978-1452882567
  • M. Guzman, A.M. Hein, C. Welch, "Eternal Memory: Long-Duration Storage Concepts for Space", 66th International Astronautical Congress, Jerusalem, Israel


  1. ^ "HELIUM MONUMENT". Amarillo, Texas, USA: Don Harrington Discovery Center. Retrieved November 30, 2008.
  2. ^ M. Guzman, A.M. Hein, C. Welch, "Eternal Memory: Long-Duration Storage Concepts for Space", 66th International Astronautical Congress, Jerusalem, Israel.
  3. ^ ""Rustic Stone" article Monday, October 1st, 2012: All about Time Capsules and Plaque Markers". Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  4. ^ "time capsule". Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  5. ^ a b "A Lion, A Grasshopper And Other Boston Time Capsules". WBUR 90.9. WBUR. October 9, 2014. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  6. ^ "Hallan una «cápsula del tiempo» oculta en una talla del siglo XVIII". abc. November 27, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  7. ^ "'Time Capsule' Found in Jesus Statue—Where You Wouldn't Expect". December 4, 2017. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c "Inside the Box". MFA: Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 23 February 2015. Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  9. ^ "Media Advisory: Time Capsule Unveiling at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston". MFA: Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  10. ^ CNN, Kevin Conlon (December 11, 2014). "Paul Revere's 1795 time capsule unearthed". CNN.
  11. ^ "Century-Old Time Capsule From Old State House Lion Opened". WBUR 90.9. WBUR. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  12. ^ "On-call Requests: Time capsule questions the future". mlive.com. December 2008. Archived from the original on June 19, 2013.
  13. ^ DHSdigital (12 October 2012). "Future Friday: Century Box Prophecies". detroithistorical.org.
  14. ^ "Princeton University Library - G. Edward Pendray Papers, 1829-1981 (bulk 1923-1971)". Archived from the original on March 29, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2008.
  15. ^ New York Times, August 19, 1938, page 21
  16. ^ "Time capsule found under the statue of Lenin in Moscow". July 25, 2012. Archived from the original on March 26, 2013. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  17. ^ [Westinghouse electric corporation]; Frederic W. Goudy Collection (Library of Congress) DLC (April 14, 2019). "The book of record of the time capsule of cupaloy, deemed capable of resisting the effects of time for five thousand years, preserving an account of universal achievements, embedded in the grounds of the New York World's fair, 1939". New York. Retrieved April 14, 2019 – via Internet Archive.
  18. ^ "Les dates de KEO". Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  19. ^ a b c William Jarvis (2002)
  20. ^ "The Beginning or The End". LIFE. March 17, 1947. pp. 75–. ISSN 0024-3019.
  21. ^ Bliss, Louise. "Containers of remembering: the creative practices of collecting memory objects". Academia.edu. Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  22. ^ L'Universite Paris Descartes. "A Time Capsule Associated With Jules Verne Has Been Discovered in the French Pyrenees". Cision. Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  23. ^ "A University Just Opened A 25-Year-Old Time Capsule—And The Contents Are Peak 1993". George Takei. 29 October 2018. Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  24. ^ a b Budds, Diana (13 September 2016). "Building A Time Capsule For The Digital Age". Fast Company. Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  25. ^ Petrelli, Daniela. "There is more in personal heritage than data". ACM Interactions. Association for Computing Machinery. Retrieved 2019-05-02.

External links


AirPort is the name given to a series of products by Apple Inc. using the (Wi-Fi) protocols (802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n and 802.11ac). These products comprise a number of wireless routers and wireless cards. The AirPort Extreme name was originally intended to signify the addition of the 802.11g protocol to these products.

In Japan, the line of products is marketed under the brand AirMac due to previous registration by I-O Data.On April 26, 2018, Apple discontinued the AirPort product line. The remaining inventory was sold off, and Apple currently only sells Linksys Velop routers.

AirPort Extreme

The AirPort Extreme was a residential gateway product from Apple Inc. combining the functions of a router, network switch, wireless access point and NAS as well as varied other functions, and one of Apple's AirPort products. The latest model, the 6th generation, supports 802.11ac networking in addition to older standards. Versions of the same system with a built-in network-accessible hard drive are known as the AirPort Time Capsule.

The name "AirPort Extreme" originally referred to any one of Apple's AirPort products that implemented the (then) newly introduced 802.11g Wi-Fi standard, differentiating it from earlier devices that ran the slower 802.11a and b standards. At that time the gateway part of this lineup was known as the AirPort Extreme Base Station. With the addition of the even faster Draft-N standards in early 2009 this naming was dropped, and from then on only the gateway has been known as the AirPort Extreme. Several minor upgrades followed, mostly to change antenna and power in the Wi-Fi. In 2013, a major upgrade added 802.11ac support and more internal antennas.

The AirPort Extreme has gone through three distinct physical forms. The earliest models were packaged similar to the original AirPort Base Station, in a round housing known as the "flying saucer". From 2007 to 2013 the Extreme was packaged in a rounded-rectangle white plastic housing, similar in layout and size to the Mac mini or earlier Apple TVs. The 2013 802.11ac model was re-packaged into a more vertical case, taller than it is square.

According to a Bloomberg report on November 21, 2016, "Apple Inc. has disbanded its division that develops wireless routers, another move to try to sharpen the company’s focus on consumer products that generate the bulk of its revenue, according to people familiar with the matter."In an April 2018 statement to 9to5Mac, Apple announced the discontinuation of its AirPort line, effectively leaving the consumer router market. Apple will continue supporting the AirPort Extreme, however the company now provides a list of recommended features when consumers are searching for a new wireless router.

AirPort Time Capsule

The AirPort Time Capsule (originally named Time Capsule) is a wireless router sold by Apple Inc., featuring network-attached storage (NAS) and a residential gateway router, and is one of Apple's AirPort products. They are, essentially, versions of the AirPort Extreme with an internal hard drive. Apple describes it as a "Backup Appliance", designed to work in tandem with the Time Machine backup software utility introduced in Mac OS X 10.5.Introduced on January 15, 2008 and released on February 29, 2008, the device has been upgraded several times, matching upgrades in the Extreme series routers. The earliest versions supported 802.11n wireless and came with a 500 GB hard drive in the base model, while the latest model, introduced in 2013, features 802.11ac and a 3 TB hard drive. All models include three Gigabit Ethernet ports and a single USB port. The USB port can be used for external peripheral devices to be shared over the network, such as external hard drives or printers. The NAS functionality utilizes a built-in "server grade" hard drive. On April 26, 2018, Bloomberg announced that Apple's entire AirPort line had been discontinued without replacement.

Arthur (season 21)

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As Time Goes By (M*A*S*H)

"As Time Goes By" is the 255th episode of M*A*S*H, airing on February 21 (first-run) and September 12 (repeat), 1983, and the last episode filmed. As it was the final episode filmed they took a moment to pay tribute to the characters (except for Trapper John McIntyre) who had left the series before its conclusion. It also introduces the character of Soon-Lee, who would play a vital role in the series' final episode and the short-lived spin-off AfterMASH.

The episode is dedicated to Connie Izay, RN, one of the show's medical advisors.

Although this was the penultimate episode of the series, it was the final episode that was produced with, wrapping January 14, 1983 at exactly 6:05PM. The series finale was filmed earlier in the production of that season.

International Time Capsule Society

The International Time Capsule Society (ITCS), based at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia, is an organization established to promote the study of time capsules. Since 1990, it has been documenting all types of time capsule projects worldwide. In October 2016 its website reported that it is no longer active but continues to register time capsules.

K25 Time Capsule

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List of time capsules

This is a list of time capsules. The International Time Capsule Society estimates there are between 10,000 and 15,000 time capsules worldwide.

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Polish Polar Station, Hornsund

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The Reno Gazette Journal is the main daily newspaper for Reno, Nevada. It is owned and operated by the Gannett Company. It came into being when the Nevada State Journal (founded on November 23, 1870) and the Reno Evening Gazette (founded on March 28, 1876) were combined on October 7, 1983.Speidel Newspapers bought the Gazette on October 1, 1939 and bought the Journal a month later. Gannett bought Speidel Newspapers on May 11, 1977.On April 16, 2019, an edition of the Nevada State Journal was found during the opening of a time capsule from 1872 in the cornerstone of a demolished Masonic lodge in Reno.The Reno Gazette Journal is one of two dailies (the other being the Sparks Tribune) covering the Reno–Sparks metropolitan area, which is also served by the Reno News & Review, an alternative newsweekly.

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Time Capsule (Elvin Jones album)

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Time Capsule (Parks and Recreation)

"Time Capsule" is the third episode of the third season of the American comedy television series Parks and Recreation, and the 33rd overall episode of the series. It originally aired on NBC in the United States on February 3, 2011. In the episode, Leslie tries to encourage civic pride through a time capsule, but it descends into chaos as Pawnee citizens argue over what to include. Meanwhile, Chris tries to help Andy win back April.Written and directed by series co-creator and executive producer Michael Schur, "Time Capsule" was one of six episodes filmed early after second season to accommodate Amy Poehler's pregnancy. Although always meant as the third episode of the season, it was the last of the six filmed because it had the highest amount of props that could conceal Poehler's belly. Saturday Night Live star Will Forte guest starred as Kelly Larson, a Pawnee citizen who passionately argues for including the Twilight books in the time capsule."Time Capsule" also included appearances by recurring guest stars Jama Williamson, Alison Becker, Darlene Hunt and Natalie Morales, who made her last in a string of performances as Tom's girlfriend Lucy. According to Nielsen Media Research, the episode was seen by 4.95 million household viewers, a 17 percent decline from the previous episode, "Flu Season". It received generally positive reviews.

Time Machine (macOS)

Time Machine is a backup software application distributed as part of macOS, desktop operating system developed by Apple. The software is designed to work with AirPort Time Capsule, the Wi-Fi router with built-in hard disk, as well as other internal and external disk drives. It was introduced in Mac OS X Leopard.

Washington Monument (Baltimore)

The Washington Monument is the centerpiece of intersecting Mount Vernon Place and Washington Place, an urban square in the Mount Vernon-Belvedere neighborhood north of downtown Baltimore, Maryland. It was the first major monument begun to honor George Washington (1732-1799).

Westinghouse Time Capsules

The Westinghouse Time Capsules are two time capsules prepared by the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company: "Time Capsule I" was created for the 1939 New York World's Fair and "Time Capsule II" was created for the 1964 New York World's Fair. Both are buried 50 feet below Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, the site of both world's fairs; the 1965 capsule was placed ten feet north of the 1939 capsule. The capsules are to be opened at the same time in the year 6939, five thousand years after the first capsule was sealed.

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