A message-in-a-bottle that washed up on a North Sea beach in 2015 has officially been confirmed as the world’s oldest such message, and the lucky woman who found it will be getting a hefty reward of about seven cents for her discovery.
As MSN reports, retired German postal worker Marianne Winkler was checking out the beaches in the Frisian Islands, a North Sea archipelago about 300 miles from the U.K.
She stumbled upon the glass bottle, sealed with a message inside, and inspected her find.
As the Guradian explains, Mrs. Winkler and her husband tried to extract the message from the bottle but didn’t want to break it even though the instructions clearly said, “Break the Bottle.” Eventually, they were able to extract the bottle’s contents: a postcard written in English, German, and Dutch.
As it turns out, the message in a bottle was part of a century-old scientific experiment.
Message in a bottle that washed up on a North Sea island 108 years after being dropped as… https://t.co/QPAAafQ2rt pic.twitter.com/JFSSuOvJ4O
— MS Dhoni (@helicopterrshot) April 20, 2016
Specifically, one Mister George Parker Bidder released the bottle, and 999 or so others, on November 30, 1906, according to the Guardian. Bidder, a marine biologist, released the bottles into the sea in batches, complete with postcards inside, and asked their finders to return them, along with some identifying information, to the Marine Biological Association.
As Guy Baker, from the Marine Biological Association, explains, “The postcard asked the finder to fill out information about where the bottle was found, if it was trawled up, what the boat’s name was, and asked once the postcard was completed for it to be returned to a George Parker Bidder in Plymouth for a reward of one shilling.”
For what it’s worth, Mrs. Winkler returned the postcard and, for her efforts, was given the promised one-shilling reward. For those not familiar, a shilling is one twentieth of a British pound — that is, £.05 or about $.07.
“Our receptionist was somewhat confused.”
And since the Royal Mint doesn’t produce shillings anymore, the Marine Biological Association had to get a little creative in fulfilling the promised reward.
“We found an old shilling, I think we got it on eBay. We sent it to her with a letter saying thank you.”
Of the thousand bottles that Bidder released, several hundred were picked up within a few months by North Sea fisherman – that promised reward of one shilling would have been most welcome at the time – and the rest were presumed lost at sea forever.
Mr. Bidder’s research via the bottles helped prove that the North Sea’s currents flow from east to west. Bidder, who was the president of the Marine Biological Association from 1939-1945, died in 1954 at age 91.
Besides receiving an honorary, worthless coin for finding the message in a bottle, Mrs. Winkler now holds the honor of having officially found the longest-lasting message in a bottle, as confirmed by the Guinness World Records. At 108 years, four months, and 18 days, the North Sea message shatters the previous record-holder, which was found in Shetland (a group of islands off the coast of Scotland) in 2013. That bottle had been lost at sea for 99 years and 43 days.
This isn’t the first someone found a message in a bottle and it made the news. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, just last month, a Spanish schoolgirl found a message in a beer bottle on a Spanish beach. The letter inside had been written by an English-speaking woman after her friend died, and the bottle had traveled across the Atlantic Ocean all the way to Spain.
Have you ever found a message in a bottle?
[Image via Pixabay/Alexas_Fotos]