The George Williams' wax cylinder and shipping container box, 1894
This is a digital photograph of the George william's wax cylinder and shipping container box. It shows the box of the wax cylinder from the top with the wax cylinder sitting on the packing wool inside the box. YMCA founder George Williams recorded a message to the students of the International YMCA Training School, now Springfield College, at the Edison Laboratories office in London, England in 1894. He then had the cylinder, or record as they were called, shipped to Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. The message was played at the school's Jubilee (50th) Anniversary celebrations of the founding of the YMCA.
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Raised in the rural countryside of England, George Williams was drawn to London as a young man during the Industrial Revolution. He worked long hours in a city store, living in small, crowded rooms in the same building. The moral conditions of the inner city were incompatible with Williams’ evangelical Christian outlook. He organized a series of prayer meetings and Bible classes for 11 of his colleagues. These simple meetings formed the basis of the Young Men’s Christian Association. Williams grew to be a prominent businessman in London. He maintained a lifelong affiliation with the rapidly-spreading association, providing influence and financial support. In recognition of his contribution to English society and the world, Williams was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1894. After his death in 1905, he was commemorated by a stained-glass window in the nave of Westminster Abbey. Sir George Williams is buried in St. Paul's Cathedral.