Two weeks after the public opening of the time capsule I opened it again to start the conservation work necessary to record the objects as they are removed. This photograph shows the tools I will use (starting from the far right):
- an exacto-knife with a larger flat blade,
- a probe flat on one end, pointed on the other,
- a metal ruler for measurements, and
- a pen and paper to take notes.
First thing was to take the capsule measurements:
- 18.8 cm long, 11 cm wide, and 8.5 cm tall including the lid,
- 18.5 cm long, 10.5 cm wide, and 8.2 cm tall without the lid
The contents of the time capsule are (more details following):
- 7 handwritten sheets of paper
- 3 newspapers (details to come later)
- one small business card - Dominion Atlantic Railway
- one large business card - Town of Kentville
The capsule reacted strongly to a magnet implying that it has high iron content. The exterior and interior does show patches of reddish coloured corrosion which is another clue to iron content. The lid was made of a single flat piece of metal with notches in the four corners and folded over to produce an edge. One of the consequences of this is that there are minute openings in each corner which could allow moisture to enter the capsule. Moisture was evident on opening day on the paper observed.
|Small business card|
|Handwritten pages - pinned together|
The first thing I noticed upon opening the lid was that the handwritten sheets of paper folded on the top were now loose from the sides of the capsule. It is likely that it dried out to the point where it came loose. However, the newspaper below it was still attached to the sides. The folded up, handwritten pages came out easily with no tearing. On the other side a small business card in very bad shape was attached to the paper but came loose very easily. It is not easily readable but does have two lines printed in the lower left corner: Dominion Atlantic Railway and Engineer and Mechanical Supervisor. The person's name in larger lettering is printed in the middle. All is obscured by black spots and general deterioration. It is very fragile and requires special handling.
|Carefully releasing edges|
Below this was a folded up newspaper with some parts attached to the sides of the capsule. I used an exacto-knife with a larger, flat blade to scrape along the sides to loosen the attached bits. This was done all around the sides. The newspaper came loose after a few minutes with minimal damage. This newspaper was dated April 18, 1929, two months before the capsule was placed.
Beneath this was another newspaper. I was able to loosen the newspaper using the exacto-knife. It was dated June 19, 1929. The date the capsule was placed.
|What is in the bottom?|
Below this was a third newspaper and unlike the others this one had attached itself to some parts of the capsule beneath it causing slightly more tearing. This could not be loosened via an exacto-knife due to the location. However, it came out with only minimal damage. Some bits of newspaper are left intact in the bottom of the capsule along with a very well preserved business card for a Mr. Henry Morse Kentville Town Clerk and Treasurer. Although some small pieces of the newspapers were torn on removal all the text is readable except for the pieces shown at the bottom which will be left as is.
In my next blog entry I will show details of the handwritten pages. It is currently being transcribed by one of our museum volunteers. I will also write about the inscription on the inside corner of the lid. There are a few techniques that can be used with the right equipment to make the inscription clearer.