Monday, September 12, 2016

Updated Info for Oxygen Removal & Moisture Control

New Chart for Oxygen Absorbers & Desiccant in Time Capsules

Currently these are most of our time capsule sizes. The amounts of Oxygen Removal packets and Desiccant packets are noted in the chart below. We like to use freshly packed absorbers, so in that column below you'll see in some cases 2 figures, one is the calculated amount and you will always get that amount as a minimum. The second amount is more likely that we will have that packed amount to include in your time capsule. You cannot use too much, so whatever you get from us, toss in and don't overthink it. For the 6x24, for instance, the calculated amount is 800 cc. However, packets come in 300, 500, and 1000 sizes. It's more likely that we will have a pack of 3-300's (900) and therefore, that amount is more likely for you to get with the bundled version of the 6x24.

As always, if your time capsule is more empty than full - you may need more oxygen absorbers. These we figure to be at least 3/4 full of items (and therefore, less oxygen to worry about). Call us if you have any doubts.

By the way, if your items are heavily paper, you should order additional desiccant. There is some amount of desiccant in most of our Time Capsule Kits for Preservation, and you can always add more desiccant to your order.

To see our time capsules and order them, go to our Future Packaging and Preservation website (Time Capsules Etc). Check out the Family Time Capsule Containers and Time Capsules for Schools and Nonprofit Groups for the 5.5x22 and 6x24, and the Stainless Steel Time Capsule Boxes Capped Style or Bolted Time Capsule Boxes for the other sizes you see below. 

Size of Time Capsule O2 Absorbers provided in cc Desiccant (Units)
5.5" d x 22" (523 in3) 1000 .5
6" d x 24" (678 in3) 1000 .5
9" x 4" x 12" (432 in3) 1000 1.0
9" x 6" x 15" (810 in3) 1000 2.0
12" x 7" x 12" (1008 in3) 1000 3.0
12" x 9" x 12" (1296 in3) 1500 3.0
15" x 6" x 15" (1350 in3) 1500 4.0
10" x 8" x 18" (1440 in3) 1500 4.0
12" x 12" x 12" (1728 in3) 1500 4.0
12" x 12" x 14" (2016 in3) 2000 5.0
12" x 12" x 16" (2304 in3) 2000 5.0
12" x 12" x 18" (2592 in3) 2500 7.0
12" x 12" x 20" (2880 in3) 2500 9.0
12" x 12" x 24" (3456 in3) 3000 10.0
14" x 14" x 14" (2744 in3) 2500
14" x 14" x 20" (3920 in3) 3500
14" x 14" x 24" (4704 in3) 4000 11.0
14" x 14" x 30" (5880 in3) 5000 12.0
16" x 16" x 16" (4096 in3) 4000 10.0
16" x 16" x 20" (5120 in3) 4500 11.0
16" x 16" x 24" (6144 in3) 6000 13.0
16" x 16" x 28" (7168 in3) 6500 14.0
16" x 16" x 30" (7680 in3) 7000 15.0

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Back to the Future Time Capsules

Happy Back to the Future Day!

Memories in a time capsule! Gosh it seems like only yesterday that I was taking my son to see Back to the Future II at his young age of 5, and October 2015 seemed like a long ways off. That was the year that Santa Claus had to find a toy DeLorean car for the little guy. Santa had to write a letter to Universal Studios by hand, as I recall. There were none to be found in any toy stores that year. Universal came through and Santa delivered it, too.

I should have done a time capsule for him in 1990! For one thing, we’d both remember the time better. And now, it's here, the date October 15, 2015, just like in the movie. And not.

While everyone is wondering “What did the movie get right” about 2015, I’m reminiscing about my son’s childhood and if Doc’s messages about ‘the future’ still stay with him. After all, the future IS what you make it.

Yes, we should have done a time capsule. Our company was just getting started, and went from 1 customer in 1986 to a handful in 1987 to many more in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. My son even drew the DeLorean BTTF car for one of our catalog mailers! But sometimes life gets in the way of doing things that one doesn’t ‘need’ to do.

Most people do not ‘need’ to do a time capsule. Indeed, most people don’t even think of doing one. It’s most usual for an event to stimulate time capsule thought. “Oh the church is celebrating a centennial, let’s do a time capsule,” or “Wouldn’t it be nice for us to do a time capsule when we’re married so that we could open it at the (10th) (25th) year?”

You there, do you have young children? Start a time capsule right now. Don’t wait! No you don’t need a special container - but here are some affordable ones. The container should be protective of the contents you put inside. And there are more reasons to get a nice container than you might think. For one thing, don’t ever consider burying a container that’s not good enough to protect the things in it once it’s underground. And then, even if you keep the time capsule indoors, what container you choose should be an archivally safe one so that it doesn’t cause any harm to the contents inside because it’s made of vinyl plastic or acidic cardboard.

What could you show about 2015? Why so many (white) cars nowadays look like Star Wars storm troopers; why so many other cars look a lot like athletic shoes; why the Republicans have so many choices for presidential candidates; why the Democrats have so little to choose from; and so on.

As Doc says, “Go forth, time travelers, and remember....The Future is what you make it!”

And maybe, just maybe, we can say, as President Reagan mentioned in his State of the Union speech in 1986, “Where we’re going, we don’t need ... roads.”

To get excited about Back to the Future day, visit the site for the Back to the Future Campaign, at See how they’re “saving the clock tower (that is, future present, and the past itself)”. The website wants us to believe “the future is malleable, that we can imagine better.” The time period is from October 21, 2015 to January 31, 2016. The campaign, says the website, “champions a new kind of thinking, one that that prioritizes the ideal over the cynically-defined, one that believes that to create a wonderful world, we have to imagine it first.” Check the site out and then, do your own time capsule!

And since you’re reading this from me, check out the time capsules at Our time capsules range from the personal & family size to larger box time capsule projects complete with cast plaque or engraving.

We almost always have some of the family time capsules on sale! Check it out today.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Should you use a vault for your time capsule?

Time Capsules with Harsh Conditions

Cemeteries in areas such as Key West and New Orleans
face harsh conditions, and so would any time capsules
buried in such areas. (Photo: Marc Averette, Wikimedia)
Should you use a vault for your next groundbreaking time capsule? 

No, not necessarily. But sometimes there are reasons for encasing a time capsule in a vault. Let's discuss those.

Environmental Considerations

If environmental conditions are harsh during the time the capsule lies in place, you may need to give it extra protection.

When it's under water

Poor conditions can be as simple as the area getting more water from above or below sea level than normal. For instance, Florida's Key West area is a terrible place to bury a time capsule because it's below sea level. In their case, they used some extra protection from the water coming up from below the time capsule placement.

When it's in earthquake country

Are you in earthquake country, such as California, or will the area be earthquake prone in the future? This is a harsh condition. In such a scenario, the vault will provide some protection from earth movement around the time capsule. In general, if you expect an earthquake of 7.5 or more during the time of interment, consider a vault to enclose the time capsule.

How Long Before the Time Capsule is Opened?

If the time expected before opening is longer than 100 years, you should consider a vault. You will likely not be the one to open the time capsule in the future. You do not know the future conditions over time. What if earth-moving equipment comes along and pierces the container? In this case, a vault provides physical and mechanical protection. Such equipment will hit the vault before it hits the time capsule. That's a good thing.

Questionable Time Capsule Containers

Is there a reason for you not to trust the time capsule container's protection? Do you suspect its quality? Consider the material used to make the container, the material used to make the seal, and the design. You can buy a time capsule container today made out of various materials. Common materials include stainless steel, plastic, aluminum, and 'composites'. 

Container Materials to Question

An example of a time capsule burial showing drainage on
Example of burial for a time capsule
and provide shoulder for plywood cover. (Image courtesy of
Future Packaging and Preservation)
Certain materials used for time capsules are 'iffy.' They may be okay, but you should consider their shortcomings.


If the time capsule is plastic, this material is subject to cracking. In this case, you should consider a short period of interment and a vault to enclose it.

Mild Steel

If the time capsule material is mild steel (or stainless 302 or below, or regular steel), the material corrodes in just a short time. One way to extend the life of a metal is to paint it. For instance, some people think to use a surplus 'ammo' can for their time capsule. It's cheap enough. But the material of a surplus 'ammo' can is mild steel, and it will corrode. It's usually painted with an olive drab paint. This serves to slow corrosion for a time, but it will not prevent it. Also, the ammo can has a plain rubber gasket seal that will crack over time. The ammo can is a poor choice for a time capsule container, whether you use a vault or not.

Composite Material - define it!

If you choose a time capsule made of a 'composite' material, know what each of the materials in the composite is. Then check the aging characteristics of each and the capsule design. As of this writing I could not find enough details from the manufacturer's websites to make a good report. You will find that the companies selling time capsules made of 'composite materials' are vague in their descriptions. It's not important that the material withstand 1000 degrees or that it withstand high pressure. Time capsules do not experience such conditions. It's important that your time capsule does not corrode. It's also important that the seal does not leak. Beware of these marketing oriented sites. They want to do one thing - sell you their stuff.

Thin Aluminum

If you choose an aluminum time capsule, be sure that it's thick enough to withstand oxidation and corrosion. It will corrode over time and it's subject to having its oxidation layer scratched. It should be 1/4" or more in thickness. Also, ask what kind of aluminum the container is. Some alloys are better able to withstand corrosion than others.

Cheap Mild Steel or 302 Stainless Steel

Do not use mild steel, and beware of 302 stainless steel. This grade of stainless steel is not much better for resisting corrosion than painted mild steel! As with aluminum, stainless steel has various grades. Use only 304 or better (316 is fine but difficult to fabricate).

How Does Your Time Capsule Seal?

Sealing Material

"Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary, How
does your Time Capsule Seal? (Image from
It's important to consider how your time capsule seals. Not only is the design of the time capsule closure important, the material used to seal it up is important, too. The material used for the time capsule container is the most important thing to consider. How it seals is the next most important consideration.

The way a time capsule seals is a prime way for moisture to get inside and ruin your contents. What material makes up the seal? It's usually called an "O-ring" or "gasket." If it's made of rubber or elastomer, you should ask, "What are its aging characteristics? That's most important for time capsules.

Take a look at the shelf life of the material. Pay no attention to how it performs for chemical or temperature or pressure resistance. Aging is the most important characteristic for time capsules. For our time capsules, we chose Silicone Rubber (an elastomer). It has excellent resistance to ozone, weathering and aging. It has an unlimited shelf life. If the sealing material for your time capsule is a rubber other than silicone, you are asking for trouble. To see an example of a design that uses this seal, see our Bolted Time Capsule Boxes.

Sealing Design

The design of a time capsule seal is important. Does it allow for moisture to get through or around the seal and into the capsule? Besides the material of the seal, does the design of the time capsule closure make sense?

If the time capsule closes via a gasket or O-ring, does the design make it 'blind'? Our FPP Bolted Time Capsule features Blind Seal. First, an o-ring groove allows the silicone o-ring to fit exactly inside. We doubt that moisture will get past the o-ring, but if it does, we cap off the bottom of each bolt hole to make double sure. If the formed gasket just sits there, flat, consider what would happen if the gasket material cracked over time. Would it allow any moisture to get through?

Vaults Not Always Best

If you construct a vault, or use a pre-fabricated one, pay attention to how it drains.

As for placement, the time capsule should not receive more water than usual, such as would placement in a garden setting. In the same vein, never wrap our time capsules in plastic. The plastic will hold moisture to the metal, and instead of protecting it, it would hasten corrosion over time. Do research into concrete that claims to be waterproof. Know its limitations. Use a sturdy container inside of it. But ALWAYS allow the vault to drain for above sea level placement.

Leaky Time Capsules

In 2013 UNMC opened a time capsule from 1993
only to find a leaky disappointment. (Image courtesy of
University of Nebraska Medical Center)
In 2013, the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) opened a time capsule from 1993. They found a leaky disappointment.

This example of a container that leaked is sobering. Opened after it was in the ground only 20 years, this UNMC time capsule was full of water and muck.

Can anyone tell me what the material was? It appears to be a mild steel or galvanized metal.

The Material We Use

For your time capsule container, you want the properties of the metal that you choose to be the least corrosive possible. For our time capsules, we use only 304 or 304L stainless steel. You do not need to worry about our thickness or our methods of sealing. We use stainless steel 304 or 304L (low carbon). They are good choices to resist corrosion, and they are sturdy when buried. Another good choice is 316 stainless steel, but it is more difficult to fabricate. We provide warranties for our time capsule boxes.

See the main site over at Future Packaging and Preservation for stainless steel time capsules.

The Best for Burial

Choose the Bolted Time Capsule Boxes for burial up to 100 or more years. Next best is the Capped Time Capsule Boxes (up to 75 years). Yes you can bury the Family Time Capsules and School Time Capsules (Mr Future 6x24 and Mrs Future 5.5x22) up to 60 years or so. All capsules come with hints for burial, and the capsules should always be buried vertically so that their cap is oriented on top.

If you would like to contact us, please give us a call. You can also contact us using this form on our site: CONTACT US TODAY!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Your Time Capsule Project: the Basics

The Basics of Any Time Capsule Project
Matt Young and his Mr Future
All Waxed & Ready to Bury

The purpose of any Your Time Capsule Project starts with a protective container! is (1) the successful outreach to citizens both in present day and future groups, (2) to provide Kits for safe-keeping of items and cultural memories such as is found in documents, photos, ephemera when saved for a long time, and (3) analysis of how things are or how they have become.

Outreach to People - Present and Future

What’s the most important part of your time capsule project? You and your group.

Yes, people. People will support you, and they’ll argue with you. People can make or break a time capsule project. Some people will come up with good ideas and yet others will give you bad ones.

We help our customers with #1 & #3 by providing written material and information - and there is plenty of information and research online about these things already. Please see the following leaflets written by me and provided along with most of the time capsules that we provide:
  1. 12 Tips to Planning a Successful Time Capsule Project
  2. Preservation Hints for Time Capsule Items
  3. 100 Time Capsule Ideas: Things to Put in a Time Capsule
  4. Preserving Newspapers
These first 3 basic leaflets are important for you to read when you do a time capsule project. Preserving Newspapers is informative if you are storing newspapers. At one time we provided 12 Tips and Preservation Hints to our website visitors. However, due to blatant web scraping of our information and no credit along with little feedback from potential customers, we now only provide the information in their printed format to our customers. This is copyrighted information, and original.

When all is said and done, it’s up to you to deal with your people side. We feel it’s part of our mission to help you think about the other things. What our specialty is - and what the customer finds most difficult - is #2. We feel it is our job to provide the best quality time capsule and plaque (and archival supplies) so that what the future citizens open is not a mucky, muddy mess.

Your Stuff

What you put into your time capsule may be the next most important thing to consider after you deal with the people issue.
You’ll read all about things to include in the capsule and what not to include. Just choose things that are important to you and your group and give priority to original things. See our leaflet “100 Ideas for Time Capsule Contents” for lots of ideas you can use and revise to fit your circumstances.

Where you’ll place the time capsule and contents

Next consider where you want to put the time capsule. Do you have a niche in a building or a place under an entryway? Is it a relatively protected area (a cornerstone) or a well protected area (inside of a building’s archives) or underground? This matters.

When it’ll be opened again

Along with the placement you plan for the time capsule, you’ll want to consider the length of time for interment. This matters, too. If the length of time is short and the placement is protective, you won’t need to be so concerned about the container. Just be sure it’s archival plastic or an archival box to protect the items from dust and light and pollution and humidity found in normal indoor conditions.

Your Time Capsule Container

How then do you choose a container? If the length of interment is short and the placement is protective, you may be able to choose an archival plastic container or something quite inexpensive. Perhaps even the Smithsonian toy sold on Amazon would do, or one of those time capsules with a foam gasket would be all right. A glass canning jar might do just fine (keep it out of the light). Use silica gel, and if the capsule is air tight, use oxygen absorbers (we sell Ageless).

But most time capsule projects are bolder than the put-it-on-a-shelf kind you might do for a baby time capsule. For those more ambitious time capsule projects, our mission is to help you think about what you might need for those conditions.

We offer 4 sizes of affordable time capsule cylinders, our Future Line – and all are 304 stainless steel. They feature threaded caps and use a silicone sealant to finish and seal it. Their lids can be engraved. See our gallery of time capsule photos.

If you need a larger size and a box shape, we offer 3 time capsule types, also made of stainless steel 304. One is the Bolted 3000 (the heaviest duty and best designed) and it can be buried without an outer enclosure. Another is the simple Capped Cornerstone 4200 (most popular). All are made in the USA and made one at a time. We offer engraving as an option on the lids.

Marking the Spot

Nothing works better for remembering a time capsule placement than a plaque to mark the ceremony or mark the spot.

For indoor placement, a simple etched plaque may work just fine. For outdoors, however, consider a Outdoor Quality Bronze or Aluminum Plaques. An etched stainless steel plaque will also work fine for outdoors.

To save money, consider purchasing one of our Easy to Use Time Capsule Packages. The packages include a stainless steel time capsule container, a preservation kit to match, and a cast aluminum plaque that you can upgrade to a bronze plaque. We take the prices for each of those items and take 10% off the total. We have categorized them by price: for Small Turnkey Time Capsule Packages, Medium Turnkey Time Capsule Packages, and Large Turnkey Time Capsule Packages budgets.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Any questions about these things, please contact us. If we can, we’ll try to help. For most folks, placing a time capsule for the first time is a daunting task. There are lots of things to think about. However, we've been in business with folks just like you for over 25 years, and we understand the first-timer's learning curve.

And just give us a phone call to request one of our pamphlets!
Or see our contact form online here: CONTACT US NOW!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Some Technical Info About Our Bolted Time Capsules

Technical Info About Our Bolted Time Capsules

Wall Thickness of Stainless Steel

We're sometimes asked about the wall thickness of our stainless steel boxes. They're made by hand using 304 stainless steel that's .075" thick. To some folks, this just doesn't seem thick enough. Those folks may be thinking of aluminum - a much softer metal and therefore it must be thicker. Please don't compare these two metals. They may also be thinking of the composite material some of our competitors are using. This also must be of a thicker material. For how some of our competitors' capsules seal, and why we don't agree with the way they do it, we'll leave that to a future post.

Today we'll talk about thickness.
Bolted Time Capsule 3000

We offer the following additional technical information as it applies to the 14x14x24" bolted size, but it also applies to other size units, because the principle remains the same.

"In answer to why we make our wall thicknesses .075" and not .25" thickness of 304 stainless steel: A time capsule buried in dry soil will not experience an even pressure distribution, as it would if it were suspended in a liquid or a gas. With the capsule oriented vertically, the primary loads would be exerted on the top and bottom. Side loads would be insignificant, unless the soil were to become saturated with water and unstable. I assume you are not putting it in that kind of an environment. Our 14x14x24" bolted time capsule can withstand loads in excess of 200 lbs distributed over each of the 14x24" sides without significant deflection. In addition, it can sustain a vertical load well in excess of 10,000 lbs distributed over the top surface."

Not A Vault

Our customers will note that most of our time capsules are less than 16x16x30" in size. Larger than this, we consider to be a vault and not a capsule. We do not presume our calculations to cover vault containers.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cast Plaque vs Engraved Time Capsule - Which to Choose?

Cast Aluminum Plaque 8x10
Cast Aluminum Plaque 8x10" for 
Hyde Park Baptist High School 2009

Outdoor Quality Cast Plaques in Bronze or Aluminum - or Do You Want Engraving Personalizes the Time Capsule Container

See Examples & Discussion Below

Two examples from our customers in 2009 show an 8x10" cast aluminum plaque for Hyde Park Baptist High School and a 12x9" engraved time capsule lid for Middle Tennessee State University. Hyde Park also ordered a 9x6x15" time capsule with a small preservation kit.

It's nice to have an engraved time capsule. Our engraving process is actually a very high quality marking that lasts forever. When you engrave a time capsule, you place a message on the time capsule that not only identifies it, but it also can show a lasting message. See more examples at our Laser Engraving Gallery.

Laser Engraved Lid
Engraved lid for 12x9x12" Time Capsule 
for MTSU veterans in 2009
A cast plaque marker (made of cast bronze or cast aluminum) is one way to mark the spot of your time capsule placement. It helps assure that the time capsule is not lost or forgotten over time. What wording works best for a plaque will vary, but in general, the simpler the better. See more examples at our Plaques Gallery. Look at both the Cast Aluminum and the Cast Bronze.

Popular wording for a time capsule marker includes the name of the organization, the phrase 'time capsule' and the date of placement. A suggested date of opening is also often placed on the plaque. It's nice to put a simple logo or small iconic picture on the plaque if you have the room.

In my opinion, to choose an exact opening date can be too restrictive on that future organization. I recommend paying attention to what day of the week that the future date will be on, if you decide to do that. Lately we have had two customers who had to remake their plaques because of a change of dedication date, so don't make that too restrictive either. Don't know if it will be the 13th of August? Just make it August. Not sure about August? The year is fine.

In popular usage, the engraving on a time capsule is more of a message, while the cast plaque marker is simply identification.

If you have any problems fitting your information onto a plaque, we can help you. The art and fit requirements are more restrictive for plaques than for engraving. Cast bronze and cast aluminum are just that - visualize the pouring of the metal into a form.

To get an idea of spacing and wording for a cast plaque, here's a simple trick to try yourself:
  • Put your message on your favorite word processing software. 
  • Now, format the font character setting to 'Expand' by 3 points. 
  • Make your font size at least 36 points. 
  • Double space the paragraph settings.
It may not be perfect, but it will give you an idea of how to adjust for printing vs. casting.

You can visit our main site at Future Packaging and Preservation. There are lots of examples and you can purchase what you want there.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Oxygen Absorbers & Desiccant for Time Capsules: Handy Chart

Oxygen Absorber Packets
Ageless Oxygen Absorber Packets (upon opening)

Oxygen Absorbers & Desiccant

Conditioning Agents

Finally we have a chart that designates a certain amount of oxygen absorbers for each of our time capsules. It does not go by total time capsule volume (cu. in.), but rather is figured on the head space of a time capsule that's considered to be 3/4 full by height. The last number given in our time capsule dimensions is always the height in inches (L x W x H).
desiccant packets
Desiccant Packets make it easy to keep your time capsule items dry during storage.

As always, a disclaimer: you may need more than so designated if your time capsule is less than 3/4 full of items. If you have more than that shown or calculated, it's not considered a problem.

In practicality, when we cannot give you the exact amount below, we round up - so that for 2900 cc you will likely get 3000 cc. It's a factor of what we have in stock at the time we fill your order. When we package the absorbers in the special Marvelseal® MVP bags, extracting the air, we try to make them in the amounts sold separately (e.g., 2 packs of 300, 3 - 300, 2 - 500, 2 - 1000 and so on). The packs are clearly marked, and - a bonus - you get the formula for calculating them on your own included with the info leaflet attached to the packets. This updated chart shows the desiccant that we calculate, too - although you'll want to revise that depending on your contents and cushioning materials. If you have a lot of paper, you may need more desiccant in your time capsule. As a general rule, add 1 unit of extra desiccant to your capsule for each pound of paper you have to go inside.

The following amounts have been updated and are current as of Nov 2015. In most cases we have increased the amounts given for both Oxygen Absorbers and Desiccant. Number in parentheses indicates the amount normally given to customers for that size.

TC Size (inches) 
02 Abs calculated/provided to you with time capsule order (in cc)Desiccant

5.5 x 22


1/2 u
6 x 24
1/2 u
9 x 4 x 12
1 u
9x 6 x 15
2 u
8x 6 x 20
3 u
10x 8 x18
4 u
12x 9 x12
3 u
4 u
5 u
5 u
7 u
9 u
9 u
11 u
12 u
9 u
10 u
11 u
12 u
4 u
10 u
11 u
13 u
14 u
15 u 

© 2013 Janet Reinhold
Updated 2015, February 2018

Updated 2021, May 14, 2021