A Real Time Capsule Was Found!

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Photo: Michael Macor / The Chronicle

Normally, after a “controversial” post (see: The Future is Now (or coming soon) from yesterday) I try to follow up with something lighter. This item from last week definitely qualifies.

As an elementary school student I participated in a time capsule project. We buried items from our daily lives in a capsule, sealed it and told its future finders to open it on a certain date. It was fun. It made us think about our world. But as the buriers it was unremarkable. I don’t even remember what I contributed or what other things we may have buried.

I have always thought that it would so much cooler to be the finder! Imagine finding everyday items from decades ago in a capsule. The items would be authentic, in pristine condition and tell an fascinating story. Sure, archeology has some aspects of this kind of experience, but it’s a lot more guess work and the items that are found are rarely in perfect condition. That’s why a time capsule is so cool!

Anyway, a REAL time capsule was recently found in San Francisco. It was buried in 1910 and was discovered over 100 years later. Sadly, the contents were not that illuminating. In fact, they are pretty boring.

One item that piqued my curiosity was a book titled “Courses of Study – Evening Elementary School”. I guess some kids had to help out at home in 1910 and went to school at night. Pretty interesting.

Anyway, read all about the contents of the time capsule and see some photos here: SFGate and note that the authors of the note in the capsule presumed the future mayor of San Francisco would be a man. Not surprising, but noteworthy nonetheless.

Finally, it is worth considering what we would place in a Time Capsule if we were burying one today… and no cheating by using technology. So no battery powered devices, no digital storage and nothing that uses electricity…

  • Philo

    According to the article, the letter in the time capsule read:

    When completed the Cleveland school will be the only permanent building in the block bounded by Brazil, Athens, Moscow and Persia. Doubtless before these lines are read, the block will be built up solid with fine mansions, as the Excelsior Homestead district promises

    They got that wrong. Look at the neighborhood now. Not terrible, but certainly not mansions.