A Monestary in Tibet. A Library in Manhattan. A Drawer in your Home? ... an essay by Bill Young

Authentication slip from Westinghouse found inside the book.
Authentication slip

I have a copy of The Book of Record in my personal collection. Obtaining one became a quest after being able to read and study The Book of Record in the World's Fair collection of a friend. It's not a copy. It is one of the original 3,650 books printed by the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company and distributed to libraries and institutions around the world. Mine was one of the 2,000 that were printed on hand-made paper and stamped with aluminum. My friend's is bound in royal blue buckram and stamped with genuine gold. Both were surprisingly easy to find. I used an on-line book service and paid a paltry $25 for my copy which came from an old bookstore in Superior, Wisconsin. My friend obtained his from the on-line auction site eBay. I know of others who have obtained personal copies for their collections as well.

I treaure my book. I am amazed at the great care Westinghouse took and the thought they gave to develop the Time Capsules and The Book of Record and understand the hope they had that it would survive (in some form) into the 70th Century. I will pass my book on someday to an heir or to someone that I may find who shares my love of history and will value the book as much as I do. It is my hope that they, in turn, will pass it on to their heirs or assigns. I feel that fate has entrusted me with this "duty."

That may sound a bit silly. I'd like to think it is the right thing to do, for history's sake.

I don't write this to gloat about owning a rare book. Not at all! I write it because I think it's kind of sad that I was able to acquire a copy for a personal collection. Because that means that the plan to pass knowledge of the Time Capsules along to history may already be failing. The books are being discarded. Never having seen much, if any, circulation over the years the criteria for remaining on the shelves and in the library's collection wasn't met. Personnel at the institutions to which they were sent didn't realize the book's purpose and significance. So they've ended up in old book stores and on-line auctions and, quite probably, the dumpster. How can The Book of Record be secured for the people of 50 centuries from now if the institutions to which they were entrusted cannot manage to keep them even for 70 years?

The section on the Westinghouse Time Capsules and The Book of Record here at nywf64.com is meant to give you knowledge of the Time Capsules: their purpose, their location, their contents and their creator's hope to pass knowledge of our civilization on to the people of 5,000 years hence. Remember what you've read. Print a copy and give it to your kids to read. Pass your knowledge of the Time Capsules on to others. Perhaps, in this small way, we can all help to preserve this remarkable legacy to the future.

It's the right thing to do, for history's sake!

"We pray you therefore, whoever reads this book, to cherish and preserve it through the ages, and translate it from time to time into new languages that may arise after us, in order that knowledge of the Time Capsule of Cupaloy may be handed down to those for whom it is intended. It is a message from one age to another. We choose to believe that men will solve the problems of the world, that the human race will triumph over its limitations and its adversities ... the future will be glorious."

-The Book of Record of the Time Capsule of Cupaloy


Time Capsules Online

If you would like to know more about the Westinghouse Time Capsules, many websites exist on-line to help you. Use your favorite WebSearch tool and simply key "Westinghouse Time Capsule" into the Search Box.


Time Capsule monument at Osaka Castle

Expo '70 Time Capsule

For the Japan World Exposition of 1970, The Matsushita Electric Industrial Company and The Mainichi Newspapers worked together to create a much larger Time Capsule than the ones entombed in New York. The capsule is buried on the grounds of Osaka Castle on the site of Expo'70 in Osaka, Japan.

For this venture, the Japanese devised a different method of ensuring that their capsule will be found. They constructed two identical capsules, one buried atop the other. The bottom capsule is sealed and not to be opened until the year 6970 A.D. The capsule buried over it was opened in the year 2000 and is to be opened every 100 years following that to check the contents for deterioration.

Matsushita Electric (now Panasonic) presents a Book of Record online for their Capsule. You can view it the following URL:


Webmaster's note... Special thanks go to Craig Bavaro who shared his prized copy of The Book of Record of the Time Capsule of Cupaloy with me a while ago and to Bradd Schiffman for lending the photos of the Time Capsule II cutaway model. Thanks also to Rich Post for sharing his copy of the Supplement to The Book of Record announcing Time Capsule II. EXTRA SPECIAL THANKS to Doug Seed for sending me a quality copy of The Story of the Time Capsule so I could share it with everyone on-line.

Bill Young
February, 2002
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