This was inside the time capsule found in the cornerstone of Brashear's factory which was demolished after a partial collapse in March 2015.
This is a picture of the employees of John A. Brashear's mechanical department dated August 1894. This photo was found inside the time capsule found in the cornerstone of Brashear's factory which was demolished after a partial collapse in March 2015.
By Robert Zullo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Heinz History Center has taken possession of a 120-year old time capsule found after a construction crew demolished the Brashear Telescope Factory on the North Side last month.
Andrew Masich, the history center’s president and CEO, said the center received the brass capsule Wednesday afternoon from Minniefield Construction, the company that performed the emergency demolition of the city-owned property on Perrysville Avenue March 17 after a wall partially collapsed.
The city had sought and won a preliminary injunction ordering the construction company to turn the time capsule over to Heinz. Who actually owns the capsule remains an open issue, though the city is confident it can prove it has legal title and plans to convey ownership to the history center "in perpetuity," said Kevin Acklin, Mayor Bill Peduto's chief of staff. Minniefield, which was paid $235,000 to demolish the building, claimed it had the right to any salvage and was reluctant to relinquish the time capsule.
The factory, which was on the National Register of Historic Places, was built by John A. Brashear, a self-made Pittsburgh astronomer, and manufactured hundreds of telescopes and precise scientific instruments for observatories and scientific institutions.
Mr. Masich said the time capsule contains about 60 items, including optical glass, a lock of hair from Mr. Brashear’s wife, Phoebe, photographs, plans and blueprints of the factory and newspaper clippings.
“Our curators have photographed and inventoried the material and are holding it in a climate-controlled environment,” Mr. Masich said. “Its value is more historical than monetary. It’s sort of a snapshot in time of John Brashear’s Pittsburgh. …Like many time capsules, people don’t put treasures in, they tend to put everyday items. ...They want people to know who they were.”
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