Did You Know

What Is The Oldest Known Time Capsule?

The oldest known time capsule is the Samuel Adams and Paul Revere Time Capsule that can be found in a cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House.

The oldest known time capsule is the Samuel Adams and Paul Revere Time Capsule that can be found in a cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House. Supposedly, this time capsule was buried in 1795, which makes it the oldest known time capsule in the United States and possibly the world.

It was buried by former Governor Samuel Adams who was one of the founding fathers of the United States, and Paul Revere, a patriot, industrialist, and silversmith. It is a small container that is measured at 5.5 by 7.5 by 1.5 inches, and it weighs 10 pounds. 

History Preserved In A Capsule

The time capsule was first removed from the location where it was buried in 1855. At that time, the contents of the time capsule were documented and cleaned. Some other items were added inside then, and the capsule was resealed. The second time it was removed from its burial site was in 2014. It was revealed by X-ray examination that there are coins and other items inside. This examination was done by conservation specialists at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

The capsule was found in 2014 by accident. Workers that were trying to fix a water leak found it, and at first, people were hesitant to remove it. However, with the water leaking inside of that part of the building, they had to save the capsule and open it in hopes of managing to save everything that was inside. It is a valuable relic of the past whose value will only continue growing with time, so they needed to do everything they could to save it.

The Contents Of The Capsule

At first, experts were afraid that not many of the contents managed to survive the passing of time. Centuries have passed, and it was opened once already, which could have damaged them further. The reason for this is because the preservationists that opened it in 1855 were not that skilled, and they used acid to wash all of the items inside. They did seal all of the contents inside of a brass box, which is a much more suitable container for them.

The opening of this capsule was done in front of the media on January 6th, 2015, inside of the gallery in the museum. The process of opening it lasted almost five hours. Extreme caution was necessary to not damage the capsule. There are many valuable items inside that allow us to get a better glimpse of our history—things like newspaper pages from that time and ancient coins. One of the coins found inside is exceptionally rare, the Pine tree shilling. One other interesting item found inside is a silver plate that was engraved by Paul Revere and a unique medal made out of copper. This medal depicts first US president George Washington, and it is one of a kind. 

All of these items were put on display at the museum for a limited period and were then returned inside of the time capsule, which was stored once again.

About the Author

Antonia is a sociologist and an anglicist by education, but a writer and a behavior enthusiast by inclination. If she's not writing, editing or reading, you can usually find her snuggling with her huge dog or being obsessed with a new true-crime podcast. She also has a (questionably) healthy appreciation for avocados and Seinfeld.

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