MANSFIELD — Construction workers have uncovered a time capsule at the town’s famous former chocolate factory, but the capsule only dates to 1991.

The factory was built in 1903 and had many names over the years, including Lowney, Merkens, and Archer Daniels Midland, but is now slated to become a mixed-use complex.

Workers were doing excavation work at the main building, preparing to convert it into apartments, when they came across the capsule Saturday, supervisor Jeffrey Lockley of general contractor WDG Construction, said.

He said the workers had been told there might be a time capsule on the site and when they uncovered a concrete container with the date 1991 on the cover, they suspected that was it.

Inside a casing they found a 2-foot by 4-inch PVC pipe.

David Wellman of Peter Degirolamo & Sons, another one of the contractors, said he was the first one to touch the capsule.

He said he does not know what is inside it, but there was speculation from townspeople that it contains dies and molds used in the chocolate-making process.

There is also talk of holding a public opening of the capsule.

Martin Conboy, chairman of the town historical commission, said he will talk to other commission members about it, but doesn’t know anything about the capsule or why it was planted in 1991.

Jim Hand may be reached at 508-236-0399 or jhand@thesunchronicle.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TSCpolitics.

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