The Oldest-Ever Message In A Bottle Just Washed Up Off The Coast Of Germany

Source: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Giving us all a new reason to never complain about the postal service, the oldest message in a bottle ever found has recently surfaced off the coast of Germany. Though it took 101 years, the granddaughter of the sender finally received a message from the grandfather she'd never met. While the majority of the postcard-in-a-bottle was illegible, the name and address of the sender were luckily intact, and the letter was delivered to Angela Erdmann.

Richard Platz wrote the note in 1913 while on a nature appreciation hike, whereupon he placed the message in a beer bottle and threw it into the Baltic. It was rediscovered over a century later by a fisherman, still in the Baltic, near northern city of Kiel last month. Researchers managed to identify Richard Platz as the author and find his granddaughter in just about a month. In early April, Erdmann was given the opportunity to hold the bottle in the International Maritime Museum for the first time. 

Erdmann called it "a pretty moving moment," as she'd never met her grandfather, who died in 1946. Though she had heard stories about him, this message is certainly one of the more personal and uniques artifacts of his existence, and Erdmann said it was "wonderful" to see "where [her] roots came from." 

Platz, known to be a "Social Democrat who liked to read," was also remembered as "a writer who was very open minded, believed in freedom and that everyone should respect each other." Indeed, Platz was certainly extremely considerate, as he included two postage stamps in the bottle, "so the finder would not incur a cost," Erdmann said.

Despite the wonder and joy brought about by the message's discovery, Erdmann kept her environmentally conscious wits about her, pointing out, "Today the sea is so full of so many bottles and rubbish, that more shouldn't be thrown in there."

The previous world record for oldest message in a bottle was 98-years-old, and was one of 1,890 bottles released in 1914 as an ill-conceived government experiment carried out by the Glasgow School of Navigation to map the currents around Scotland. Of these 1,890 bottles, only 350 have been found, so there's certainly more record breaking to come.


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