Manhattan Project Shield Window Fragment
This variant is currently sold out
The Manhattan Project Shield window also appears in the Large and Touch versions of the Fourth Edition of the Mini Museum!
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 weight of the specimen in grams.
Above: The 128g fragment in the black display box.
As pictured, the fragments ship in black display boxes similar to those used for jewelry. A small information card will be included in the box. We assume that collectors will make their own displays to meet the individual dimensions of each piece.
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:
- 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.
LEAD WARNING: The glass is not radioactive but it is comprised of 70% 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)