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The Oldest Message in a Bottle Ever Found


More than 100 years ago, a young man from Germany named Richard Platz wrote a letter, stuffed it in a plain old brown beer bottle, sealed it carefully and threw it in the cold waters of the Baltic Sea, while he was out on a nature outing.

Platz, who was just 20 years old at the time, probably never would have believed that his message in a bottle would survive 2 world wars, the Great Depression and the Cold War, not to mention harsh sea storms and winds.

At the beginning of May, a German fisherman found Platz's message in a bottle in the waters of the Baltic Sea - the one that been thrown out more than a century ago by his fellow countryman.

The message had been riding the waves since May 17, 1913 up until today, i.e. for 102 years. According to some scientists this makes it the oldest message in a bottle ever found.

The curator of the Internationales Maritimes Museum in Hamburg admits that the discovery is truly unique. Not only has the bottle survived all kinds of cataclysms for more than a century, the message inside has also remained untouched.


The humble note that Platz stuffed in the beer bottle had a humble request - that whoever found the message deliver it to the address listed.

102 years later, his request was fulfilled. Researchers managed to get into contact with the granddaughter of Richard Platz - Angela Erdman, and to pass on her grandfather's message.

The moment was beyond emotional, since the 62-year-old Angela had never seen her grandfather, who had died in 1946 at just 54.

Platz's message in a bottle takes a worthy spot in the list of rare finds. Right alongside it is the message in a bottle by American glaciologist Paul T. Walker, found under a pile of rocks in Arctic Canada, buried back in 1959.

The scientist had been studying the glaciers in Canada when he suddenly suffered a heart attack. Even though he was immediately transported to a medical facility, he died.

In the bottle, found 54 years after his death, they found voice recordings of his research - a voice from beyond the grave half a century later.

Up until Richard Platz's message was found, the record for the oldest message in a bottle belonged to a message thrown out to sea in 1914. 98 years later, in 2012, it was discovered along the shores of Scotland.

The bottle was part of a scientific project for studying sea currents, where they threw thousands of sealed messages out to sea. Only that one survived.