The M31 gallery of... American Classics !


1964/65 New York World's Fair
Westinghouse Time Capsule transistor radios:



Westinghouse's main attraction at the 1964 / '65 New York World's Fair was its Time Capsule, a missile-shaped metal cylinder buried 50 feet below the surface of the Westinghouse pavilion grounds. It was buried alongside another Westinghouse time capsule created for the 1939 / '40 NYWF 25 years earlier. Both capsules contained an assortment of objects depicting the social and technological cultures of their respective times. The two capsules were intended to survive 5000 years of rot and oxidation and then be opened by God-Knows-Who-or-What in the Year of our Lord 6939. The first cylinder was buried September 23, 1938; and the second was buried October 16, 1965. If you visit Flushing Meadow Park today, you'll find a marker showing the internment site.

The '64 capsule contained 41 objects, including a ruby laser rod, a plastic heart valve, birth control pills, a Beatles 45, a bikini bathing suit -- and a transistor radio, made by Westinghouse, of course...

So why are TWO transistor radios shown here? It's because there were two '64 time capsules -- the "real" one, and the display capsule -- and I'm quite certain that two different transistor radio models made their way into these: the [left] H-901P7GP in the display capsule, and the [right] H-903P8GP in the buried capsule. I saw the display capsule in person in 1989, and the "901" inside it is similar to but different from the "903" shown in archival photographs of the contents of the actual buried capsule. The two models are quite similar, and it's easy to imagine a scenario in which these two were consigned together for posterity as doubles: see the letter from Westinghouse historian Charles Ruch on the following pages...



UPDATE: July, 2001 — When I saw the display capsule at the 1989 Queens Exhibition in Flushing Meadow, I had come with a sketch pad but not a camera. I sketched the Westinghouse radio in the display capsule, then promptly misplaced the sketch, never to be found again...
But I knew what I had seen — all I lacked was the visual proof... So now, twelve years later, I've been given proof by World's Fair collectors John McSweeny and Bradd Schiffman, in the form of a snapshot Bradd took of the display capsule when he visited the '89 Queens Exhibition. As you can see by the photos below, the two diferent Westinghouse transistor radio models named above did in fact find their way into their respective capsules. And of added interest, John McSweeny notes that, similarly, most likely two different Bulova watch models shared the same fate. As John wrote, "Apparently the Westinghouse folks thought it was enough that they had the same class of items in each of the capsules." Kinda makes you wonder about that old slogan, "You can be sure if it's Westinghouse"...

UPDATE: May, 2017 — Several years ago Roger MacBride Allen contacted me about the Westinghouse Time Capsule radios — he's writing a book about the 1939 and 1964 Westinghouse Time Capsules, and we've had a long correspondence over the past few years about the Westinghouse transistor radios involved. At the end of it all, as I've last understood it, Roger believes he has strong proof that only one model — the seven-transistor H-901P7GP with the white plastic grille — found its way into both the actual time capsule and the display capsule, and I'm satisfied in going along with that conclusion. I do think that you'll find it interesting how the confusion arrived in the first place, as will be detailed in Roger's upcoming book!


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2007 by Robert Davidson, transistors@abetterpage.com


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two Motorola
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Futura "earphone
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Westinghouse
.."Escort"

'57 GE 715
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Westinghouse
..'64 Time Capsule
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Westinghouse
..'64 Time Capsule
..page 2...

Westinghouse
..'64 Time Capsule
..page 3...

teeny Admiral
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Wards Airline
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1960 Arvin
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teeny Bulova
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Bulova watch
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Magnavox
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two Philco
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RCA shirtpocket
Westinghouse
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