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Albert Einstein wrote a quote in 1938 and placed it in a time capsule to be opened in 6939

The Westinghouse Time Capsules are two-time capsules prepared by the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company: “Time Capsule I”, created for the 1939 New York World’s Fair; and “Time Capsule II”, 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 10 feet north of the 1939 one. Both are to be opened at the same time in the year 6939, five thousand years after the first capsule was sealed.

1939 time capsule being lowered Source
1939 time capsule being lowered Source


1939 Time Capsule sketch Source
Albert Einstein 1939 Time Capsule sketch. Source

Among the 35 small, everyday, physical items placed inside Time Capsule I were a fountain pen and an alphabet block set. Time Capsule I also contained 75 types of fabrics, metals, plastics, and seeds. Modern literature, contemporary art, and news events of the twentieth century were recorded on a microfilm “Micro-File” for placement in Time Capsule I; the “Micro-File” has over ten million words and a thousand pictures and came with a small microscope for viewing. There are also instructions included on how to make both a large microfilm viewer and a motion picture projector for the newsreels.

Time Capsule I (1938) Source
Time Capsule I (1938) Source


Also included were copies of Life magazine, a kewpie doll, one dollar in change, a pack of Camel cigarettes, a 15-minute RKO Pathe Pictures newsreel, a Lilly Dache hat and millions of words of text put on microfilm rolls which included a Sears Roebuck catalog, a dictionary, and an almanac. Seeds placed in the time capsule included wheat, corn, oats, tobacco, cotton, flax, rice, soy beans, alfalfa, sugar beets, carrots, and barley, all sealed in glass tubes.

Einstein's official 1921 portrait after receiving the Nobel Prize in Physics Source
Einstein’s official 1921 portrait after receiving the Nobel Prize in Physics Source


The Book of Record of the Time Capsule, of which a copy was microfilmed and put inside Time Capsule include a message of the physicist and genius Albert Einstein

Our time is rich in inventive minds, the inventions of which could facilitate our lives considerably. We are crossing the seas by power and utilize power also in order to relieve humanity from all tiring muscular work. We have learned to fly and we are able to send messages and news without any difficulty over the entire world through electric waves. However, the production and distribution of commodities is entirely unorganized so that everybody must live in fear of being eliminated from the economic cycle, in this way suffering for the want of everything. Further more, people living in different countries kill each other at irregular time intervals, so that also for this reason any one who thinks about the future must live in fear and terror. This is due to the fact that the intelligence and character of the masses are incomparably lower than the intelligence and character of the few who produce some thing valuable for the community. I trust that posterity will read these statements with a feeling of proud and justified superiority.

The exterior of the 1938 time capsule is die-stamped with this message to anyone that might stumble upon it prior to the scheduled opening year of 6939 to preserve its integrity.


Neil Patrick

Neil Patrick is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News