Crypt of Civilization: The world’s first time capsule lies behind a welded steel door in Atlanta
2010 07 14

From: AtlasObscura.com


The Crypt of Civilization at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia, is widely considered to be the first conventional time capsule intended to be opened on a specific date in the future. That date is May 28, 8113.

If you accept the premise that the Egyptian Calendar, created in the year 4241 BC, marked the first fixed date in the history of man, then the year 1936, when the crypt was conceived, would represent the exact midpoint of recorded human history.


Just before the door was shut on the Crypt of Civilization.



The welded door.


The crypt is 20’ x 10’ x 10’, sealed with a stainless steel door that has been welded shut. Its contents, inventoried at the crypt’s official web site, include microfilms of 800 "authoritative books on every subject of importance known to mankind" and 200 works of fiction. Also:

5 phonograph records (transcriptions)
2 bird records (songs of birds)
3 records in album
5 records (miscellaneous)
General Gannett and Acompo 8 records
1 transcription (Premier of Canada)
phonograph records in 2 boxes - History of Mines - 37 10" records, 2 12" records
1 container of beer (about one quart)
1 plastic bird, 1 plastic ash tray
1 beetle plastic ornament and bowl
1 vanity make-up mirror with light
11 miscellaneous recordings
6 recordings (Artie Shaw)
6 recordings (Richard Himber)
1 plastic savings bank
3 plastic pieces (miscellaneous)
1 plastic display case for watch
1 set Lionel model train (6 cars, I track)
1 cigarette holder
1 model air conditioner apparatus
1 box of eight plastic samples
1 set of scales (hand)
1 Ingraham pocket watch
1 Regen’s cigarette lighter
1 Ingraham wrist watch (woman’s)
1 sample of gold mesh
1 Gen-A-Lite flashlight
1 Toastolator (electric)
1 Monroe calculator
1 set Lincoln Logs (toys)
1 mannikin (female) in glass case
1 mannikin (male) in glass case
1 telephone instrument dial phone (desk type)
10 samples of textile upholstery
4 samples plated plastics
1 3-cell flash light
Audio Scriptions (2 records of Dr. Jacobs’ voice)
1 pencil painting
1 cut and 2 illustrations from cut
1 set Helios (game board and pieces)
2 carved glass panels
1 set Bridgeomatic (game)
2 micro-film readers and 2 micro-films (Oglethorpe Book of Georgia Verse)
1 obstetrical model (2 pieces)
1 set graduates (sealed)
1 Micarta gear
1 package containing 6 miniature panties, 5 miniature shirts, 3 drawers
1 sample plastic radio case
2 Lennox china vases, 1 blue china bowl
1 Emerson radio
1 sample of aluminum foil
1 sample technicolor film on display card
1 abrasive wheel (Aloxite)
4 skeins of rayon, 1 electric iron
2 electric lighting fixtures and 2 acetate shades
1 set of binoculars in leather case
1 recording transcription, King Gustav of Sweden
6 transcriptions "We, the People" radio show
1 Kodak (small) camera
1 plastic drinking glass holder
1 sample of catlinite
1 Schick Electric Razor (set)
1 sample of Lucite
1 Comptometer, Ser. no. J246635
2 ashtrays, plastic forms of gears
1 package Butterick dress patterns
1 DuPrene glove (rubber substitute)
1 set silver plate 1847 Rogers, I knife, 1 fork, 1 spoon
1 copy of The New York Herald-Tribune (especially prepared copy)
1 Masonic deposit (5 badges, I metal plaque in case, sealed)
1 glass jar containing 2 pen holders, 3 pencils, 1 slide rule and instructions, 1 set colored crayons, 1 plastic ruler, 1 fountain pen and pencil set, 6 corks
1 glass refrigerator dish and cover
1 Mazda lamp exhibit (component parts)
1 model Edison’s original and 1 Mazda lamp
1 package assorted wearing apparel
1 package samples of laces and ribbons
1 pair ladies stockings
1 package - 1 towel, 3 washcloths
1 framed painting (roses reproduction)
1 framed picture (reproduction, painting of a house)
1 package containing 6 wood and plastic pictures
1 rafia covered glass powder jar
1 sample of soap (figure of a bull)
1 package assorted hair pins
1 package containing 6 pieces, assorted costume jewelry
1 glass jar containing miscellaneous ornaments and 4 berets, 1 hair net, 1 clip
1 glass jar containing 1 hair bow, 1 gem razor, 1 package blades, 1 shaving brush, 2 powder puffs, 2 compacts, 3 samples powder, 1 eyebrow brush, 3 lipsticks, 1 hair remover, 1 toothbrush, 1 rouge, 1 nail brush, 1 ivory stick, 1 pair manicure scissors, 1 eyelash curler, 5 hair curlers, 1 package dental floss, 1 pair tweezers, 1 package Mallene, 1 package corn pads eye cup, 1 set artificial finger nails, 1 set artificial eyelashes, 1 package playing cards, 1 set Bridge tally cards
1 package containing 2 combs, 1 change carrier, 1 package of paper cleaning pads, 1 identification book, 1 pair dark glasses, 1 lady’s comb, 4 pair shoe laces, 2 pair shoulder straps, 1 flashlight, 2 dice, 1 cigar holder, 1 cigarette holder
1 package containing 5 spools of silk thread, 1 crochet hook, 1 thimble, 2 packages needles, 2 packages rickrack, 2 packages bias binding
1 package of samples oil cloth
1 lady’s breast form
1 package cellophane dish covers, 3 belts, 1 package 2nd carbon copy of teletype news
1 yellow china bowl, 7 "What-Not" ornaments, 1 package picture hooks, curtain rings and ends, 1 napkin and napkin ring
6 packages wooden forks and spoons set toy paints, 1 tea bowl, 1 package fish hooks, 1 package drapery pins, 1 June bug spinner, 1 package curtain rings, 1 fly, 2 toy watches, 1 pocket knife
2 smoking pipes, 1 bottle Vaseline
1 porcelain figure, 2 small glass ornaments, glass coal scuttle
1 small glass vase, 1 glass teakettle
1 package paper clips, 1 package cellophane ribbon, 1 set measuring spoons, 1 doughnut cutter, 1 plastic salt and pepper shaker set, plastic picture frame, 1 set Curtain holdbacks
1 toy whistle, 1 golfball, 1 cake of soap
1 cover for milk bottle, 1 plastic knife, fork and spoon, 1 salad fork and spoon
1 funnel, 1 barometer, 1 glass container and cover, 1 scouring pad, 1 package of marbles, 3 outlets, 1 socket plug, 1 switch, 1 Pull chain socket, 3 house numbers, 1 rule, 1 can opener
1 carving knife and fork, 1 rule, 1 screwdriver
1 grapefruit corer, 1 potato masher, 1 ladle, 1 spoon, 1 pancake turner
1 asbestos mat, 1 red china plate
1 glass bookend (girl’s head)
1 toy automobile, 1 toy stagecoach, 1 image of Buddha (incense burner)
1 small china plate, 1 small china bowl, 1 glass rolling pin,
1 package rayon chemicals
1 piece sheet music, 1 sample of mahogany treated with bakelite varnish orange reamer and bowl, 1 glass water bottle for refrigerator, 1 package paper drinking cups
1 coffee set (drip coffee maker, cream and sugar), 1 cream and sugar set, 1 flower holder, 2 Pyrex dishes, 1 covered china bowl, 5 drinking glasses, 1 wine glass
1 whiskey glass jigger, 1 liquor measure (jigger and cup), 1 vase, 1 set measuring cups, 4 red glass goblets, 1 Willow ware cup and saucer, 1 pottery bowl, 1 kitchen brush, 1 toilet brush
1 candlestand (candle and globe), 1 package soap and miscellaneous items (sealed)
1 sales ticket register, 1 Detrola radio
1 fishing rod, 1 badminton set and net
1 package fly swatter, coat hanger, etc.
1 assortment of cuff links, buttons, etc. (sealed), 8 packages assorted buttons
5 handkerchiefs, and silk scarves
1 Yankee screwdriver, 1 screwdriver and special screws
12 packages Rayon-Component parts and displays, 1 watt-hour meter, 1 tube rayon thread, 1 set of 6 radio tubes
1 toy pistol, 1 pinball game, 1 toy airplane
1 Negro doll, 1 toy flying gyro, 1 wrecker
1 toy greyhound bus, 1 tractor, 2 dolls (white), 1 1-one Ranger, 1 ambulance
1 Donald Duck, 1 set toy tools, 1 toy tank, 1 pacifier, 1 bubble pipe, 1 rattle
1 toy equestrian, 18 toy soldiers, 12 toy civilians, 1 toy cannon, 2 muses, 1 anti-aircraft gun, 1 set samples of better ware
1 blotter, 1 inkwell (sealed)
1 DuPrene sample (artificial rubber)
1 sample ILICite (plastic) 1 sample textile (cotton), 1 sample of rayon cloth
1 auto-point pencil, 8 Voca-films
1 transcription (Roosevelt, 11 parts)
1 transcription (King Edward VIII)
1 package Masonite (sealed)
1 denture (Lipper), 1 box samples of Micarta (sealed), 1 box samples of carpets, 1 crystalite, 10 rings
5 Iconoscape television tubes
Spectacle frames, buckles, 8 auto handles, bottle caps, beads, 22 miscellaneous plastic samples, 9 color samples tennite, 1 sample insulation, 1 distributor head cover, 1 thermometer case
1 instrument panel, 7 samples Formica
14 samples Formica (set)
1 set A-C spark plugs (sealed)
1 plastic flute


Article from: AtlasObscura.com




From official site:

"In 1935, while engaged in research on ancient historical materials in connection with the writing of one of his books, Dr. Thornwell. Jacobs, then President of Oglethorpe University, Atlanta, Georgia, was struck by the lack of accurate information regarding ancient civilizations.

Determined to make an effort to preserve in a scientific manner every salient feature of present day civilization for the people of the future, Dr. Jacobs devised the plans for the Crypt of Civilization. Looking back to the first recorded date in history about 6000 years ago, he decided to set the opening of the vault on May 28, about 6000 years hence, in the year 8113 A.D.

To assist him in this tremendous task, Dr. Jacobs sought the help of Thomas K. Peters, a scientist of versatile experience. Work on the Crypt commenced in August, 1937, and continued until June, 1940. During this period of thirty-three months, an astounding amount of knowledge was condensed: the accumulated knowledge acquired during the 72,000 months of the last 6000 years."


The dedication of the great door took place on the Oglethorpe campus on May 28, 1938. The huge art deco panel, with its rectangular shapes and "moon hubcap" decoration was considered a work of industrial art. Jacobs points to the plaque fused onto the door.










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