Bonhams NY Presents Original Window from the Manhattan Project

New York—Bonhams, one of the largest auctioneers in the world, presents an item of outstanding proportions at its History of Science sale in New York on October 22—an original viewing window (est. $150,000-250,000) from the Manhattan Project's Hanford Site in Southern Oregon, employed in the production of plutonium for the atomic bomb known as Fat Man, dropped on Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945. 

The windows, of which few have survived, were constructed to allow the project's scientists to oversee plutonium production without being exposed to lethal levels of radiation. Composed of numerous layers of glass mixed with 70% lead oxide, the window emits an eerie yellow glow. Because of the high lead content, the glass reacts more like a metal, sweating like ice when heated, and crumbling when ground or cut, making it a truly exotic material. Despite the window's provenance, the glass is not radioactive.

Says Cassandra Hatton, Senior Specialist in charge of the History of Science sale, “The Manhattan Project is known as the most ambitious weapons program in human history. It harnessed the intellectual powers of some of the greatest minds of our time, including Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Enrico Fermi to name but a few. This window is a symbol of that project, and the dual ingenuity of man—the creative on one side, and the destructive on the other. It is a truly incredible piece.”

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