[HASTRO-L] Brashear Time Capsule Found & Opened Today.


  • John W Briggs

  • 2015 Mar 24 at 8:18 PM


Forwarded from the distribution list of the Antique Telescope Society.
Please forgive cross-postings:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Al Paslow [ATS_Forum] <>
Date: Tue, Mar 24, 2015 at 3:48 PM
Subject: [ATS_Forum] Brashear Time Capsule Found & Opened Today.

Hi all,

I was at the site of the Brashear Factory today when I was informed that a
Time Capsule was found in the cornerstone of the building by one of the
demolition crew.

We pondered over the question to leave it intact; but eventually a decision
was made to open the capsule and document whatever was found inside with

So three of the demolition crew and I were the first and only people to
witness the contents of the small brass box sealed with solder for the
first time in 121 years.

First a letter signed by John, followed by newspaper articles from 1891 to
the most recent date I believe - August 9, 1894. Pictures were in the
capsule of Brashear's family including his mother and father, and prominent
people of the day perhaps of the Cities of Pittsburgh and Allegheny.

Some of the most interesting finds were a piece of glass having the
inscription "One of the first pieces of Optical glass Made in America"; and
a lock of his wife Phoebe's hair within in a small envelope and labeled as

Other noteworthy items; a letter from Warner & Swasey congratulating
Brashear on his new factory signed by Worcester Warner and Ambrose Swasey
and a book labeled "In Memorandum of William Thaw" complete with
photographs all in wonderful condition. Plans and blue prints of the
factory were found at the bottom of the box.

I will try to post images on my website tonight and possibly some video.

Obviously the find is of importance in the field of historical science and
astronomy. Most of the contents of the Time Capsule are in remarkable
shape; however some of the older photographs are faded but many look as
good as the day they were left inside.

It is too bad that the site demolition is now complete and the tract has
been covered in straw as of late this afternoon.

Al Paslow