In 1913, 20-year-old Richard Platz scribbled a short note on a postcard, placed it inside a beer bottle, secured it with a cork, and tossed it out to the Baltic Sea. Little did Platz know that his message would be found a hundred years later.
The bottle was found in March by German fisherman Konrad Fischer, in a location not far from where Platz threw the bottle. When Fischer found the bottle, he almost threw it back to the sea, but noticed that the bottle had a note inside. The note asked whoever found the bottle to send it back to an address in Berlin, but a portion of the writing was illegible.
— NBC Nightly News (@nbcnightlynews) April 8, 2014
Platz’s message is now known as the oldest message in a bottle, with the message dated May 17, 1913. Currently, the record holder is a message from a bottle from 1914 that was found in 2012. The Guinness World Records has not yet commented on Platz’s bottle.
Based on the address scribbled on the postcard, researchers were able to identify Platz as the author of the note. There were able to track down his granddaughter, Angela Erdmann, 62.
Erdmann never knew his grandfather, as he died in 1946 at the age of 54. She did all she could to learn more about Platz through scrapbooks kept by the family.
Last week, Erdmann visited the museum where the message in a bottle is being kept. She was able to hold the bottle in her hands. “That was a pretty moving moment. Tears rolled down my cheeks,” she said.
The message in a bottle, which will be 101 years in May, will be displayed at the International Maritime Museum until the first of May. It will then be further examined by experts who will try to decrypt the rest of the message.
German Fisherman Discovers The World's Oldest Message In A Bottle: What at first appeared to be a normal, dis... http://t.co/NsfIxDmf42
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Image via Wikimedia Commons