In 1983, Steve Jobs headlined a technology conference, the Aspen International Design Conference, in which he wisely predicted the creation of wireless technologies, email, and even the iPhone. During the presentation, Jobs used the first ever mouse to navigate through his presentation. At that time, over 30 years ago, the Mac had not yet been created. Apple was developing a personal computer, called the Lisa, for consumer use. Following the name, Jobs called the mouse the “Lisa Mouse.”
After his presentation, Jobs added the Lisa Mouse to a large collection of items that were to be included in a 13 foot time capsule, which was then buried in Aspen. The original plan was to then unearth the capsule in the year 2000. Due to the inclusion of the Lisa Mouse, the time capsule became known as the “Steve Jobs Time Capsule”.
This particular speech has become famous in Steve Jobs lore, due to the many visionary predictions that Jobs made during the course of the speech, such as personal computers and the technology that would later turn into iPads and iPhones.
The legend of the Steve Jobs Time Capsule grew even greater when the planned recovery of the capsule in 2000 was a failure. Due to a large scale landscaping project where the time capsule was buried, no one could find it when recovery attempts were made in 2000. The capsule remained lost for another 13 years, until September of 2013, when a crew from the National Geographic Channel television show, Diggers, made the discovery.
George Wyant, one of the Diggers co-hosts had this to say about the Steve Jobs Time Capsule:
We just freaked out. We went crazy. Because I had a pit in my stomach all day, so it was like instant relief.
Once the Diggers crew located the capsule, they had to sift through many items in order to find the “treasure” they were interested in, the Lisa Mouse. Tim Saylor, a Diggers co-host described the find,
Literally things just poured out. There must be literally thousands of things in there.
Some of the items placed in the time capsule, and successfully recovered were a six-pack of canned Balantine beer, a Moody Blues cassette tape (clearly showing the technology in place in 1983), and a Rubik’s Cube. When the time capsule was opened, there was a pungent smell of mold. Luckily the prized artifact was preserved in a sealed plastic bag. The Jobs’ Mouse was found amid all the clutter, and fortunately it was not damaged during its 30 year stay underground.
Everyone knew that it was the original Lisa Mouse that Jobs had placed in this capsule. The mouse was distinguishable by its blocky shape, the distinctive rectangular clicker that ran across the top of the mouse, and the “tail” formed by the wire. The Lisa mouse was not nearly as stylish or comfortable as the current generation of “mice”, however the Lisa Mouse clearly demonstrates the genius of the late Steve Jobs. The recovery of the lost Jobs’ Time Capsule has preserved a priceless piece of tech history.