Manhattan Project Shield Window Fragment
Manhattan Project Shield Window Fragment
Specimens are hand-prepared from the source material and then listed here by mass. If a size you are interested in is sold out, sign up for email notifications and we'll let you know when a similar fragment becomes available.
The Manhattan Project Shield window also appears in the Large and Touch versions of the Fourth Edition of the Mini Museum!
Above: Shield windows at the Hanford facility. This is also the front of the specimen card.
The Manhattan Project was the codename for the research and development effort which allowed the United States to rapidly develop a series of atomic breakthroughs during World War II, including the first industrial-scale plutonium production reactor and the first atomic bombs. This enormous project involved over one hundred thousand scientists, engineers, technicians, and construction workers at more than 30 sites across the United States, including well-known locations such as Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, Trinity, and Hanford.
This specimen is a fragment of a leaded glass shield window installed in the T Plant (221-T) Plutonium Recovery Building, the first and largest of two production bismuth-phosphate chemical separations plants used to extract plutonium from fuel rods irradiated in the Hanford Site’s reactors. The Plutonium produced here was used in both the Trinity test on July 16, 1945 and in the "Fat Man" atomic bomb used over Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945.
The glass was sold during a government surplus auction in the late 1980s as part of the long (and continuing) decommissioning process. The yellow color of the glass is due to a high concentration of lead-oxide (up to 70%), which blocks blue and near-UV spectral frequencies, and also gives the glass its protective qualities.
About the Specimen
Small fragments of the glass appeared in the Fourth Edition collection. We are now making a small number of larger pieces available as single specimens. Each fragment will be sold as-is and pricing is determined by the physical and visual weight of the fragments.
The smallest fragments are available in our classic, glass-topped riker display cases. They come in two different sizes (A & B). Each specimen is enclosed inside an acrylic specimen jar.
Above: Size "A" (~1-2g) inside a glass-topped riker display box. Size "B" is about twice the size.
Larger fragments (10-59 grams) ship in black display boxes similar to those used for jewelry. We assume that collectors will make their own displays to meet the individual dimensions of each piece.
Above: The 128g fragment in the black display box.
Fragments over 60 grams do not ship with a display box as they are too large. However, they will be adequately protected for their journey.
Please Note: Larger fragments are made available as we process the material. If a size you are interested in is sold out, sign up for email notifications on that item and we'll let you know when a similar-sized piece is available.
All fragments ship with a small information card that also serves as the certificate of authenticity.
Above: The back of the specimen card.
Handling the Specimen:
The glass will be in a clear, plastic bag inside the box but you should wear latex or nitrile gloves when handling the box as the glass is comprised of 70% lead oxide. While you have your gloves on avoid touching surfaces you might touch later with bare hands, like your smartphone. Wash your hands carefully after taking off the gloves. The main thing you are trying to avoid is ingesting any lead.
Above: Holding a 22g specimen. Note the gloves. Always use extreme caution when handling the glass and wash your hands after use (after taking off and carefully disposing of your gloves).
Manhattan Project Shield Window Pricing:
- Riker Size "A": $39
- Riker Size "B": $59
- 10-19 grams: $89
- 20-29 grams: $139
- 30-39 grams: $179
- 40-49 grams: $229
- 50-59 grams: $269
- 60 grams and up: Sold individually.
With the exception of the largest specimens (60g and up), the fragments have an average footprint of 1 1/2 inches (4 cm). The difference is thickness.
As pictured below, specimens below 40 grams tend to be thin.
Above: A 20-29g specimen
Heavier specimens have roughly the same footprint but are thicker.
Above: A 40-49g specimen.
FULL WINDOWS AND EXTREMELY LARGE FRAGMENTS AVAILABLE
In addition to the fragments on offer here, there are a handful of full windows and very large fragments available. As you might suspect, they are very expensive and very heavy. These items are priced by weight and run between $10,000 to $3,400,000 (yes, that's three million).
If you are interested in obtaining one of these incredibly rare items, please contact us directly for details.
Above: The largest window weighs 1,700 lbs and is made from 30% lead oxide. It is stunning and absolutely clear. $3,400,000
LEAD WARNING: The glass is not radioactive but it is comprised of lead-oxide. The glass should be handled with care and only while wearing gloves. Lead is known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.
About the Manhattan Project
For more details about the glass and the Manhattan Project please visit our long-form article "Nothing Would Ever Be the Same: Notes from the Mini Museum."
Above: Photo of the Nagasaki bombing taken by Hiromichi Matsuda (Source: Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum)