Postal worker finds 108-year-old message in a bottle
Postal worker finds 108-year-old message in a bottle (Marine Biological Association/Thinkstock)
Postal worker finds 108-year-old message in a bottle
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On Nov. 30, 1906, George Parker Bidder dropped a bottle from a boat into the North Sea. The weighted glass bottle sank almost to the sea floor. Then it bobbed along for 108 years, 4 months and 18 days.
 
Its journey finally ended when Marianne Winkler, a retired postal worker on holiday on Amrum Island, found it in 2015. It was washed up on shore. Amrum Island is one of Germany's North Frisian Islands. 

Though Winkler didn't know it, the message in a bottle was the oldest ever recovered. It earned Winkler a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

When Winkler first found the bottle, she could see a message inside telling her to break it open. But she hesitated to actually break it open. Winkler and her husband could tell that the bottle was old and they didn't want to damage it, Maev Kennedy reports for the Guardian. When they finally got the note out, they found it was actually a postcard addressed to G.P. Bidder at the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth, England. It promised a one-shilling reward.
 
The Winklers filled out the card and posted it in an envelope. Luckily, the Marine Biological Association still exists. According to a press release, the association was surprised and thrilled to get a postcard addressed to its former president, who died in 1954. He was 91-years-old. 

According to Corey Fedde at the Christian Science Monitor, the staff searched around on eBay to find a shilling, a unit of currency that went out of circulation in Great Britain in the early 1970s, to send to Winkler.
 
Winkler's bottle was not the only one Bidder sent to sea. Between 1904 and 1906, he released thousands of bottles. He placed postcards inside them. The bottles were part of a research project to map currents in the North Sea. 

He used special bottles he called "bottom-trailers." They were weighted so they would sink. But each had a piece of stiff wire attached to keep them off the seafloor. The idea was that fishermen trawling the sea would find the bottles and send them in. This was something the MBA says might be one of the first citizen science projects ever recorded.
 
"This was the best technology available at the time," said Guy Baker. He is the communications officer for the Marine Biological Association. "The bottles were [Bidder's] own invention. It was the first time instruments had been made that could record the currents, but it depended on fisherman to report the finding."
 
The Marine Biological Association reports that about 55 percent of the bottles were returned. The MBA added that the experiment was a success as it showed the East-to-West flow of the North Sea's currents. Bidder's bottle breaks the previous record for finding a message in a bottle. The previous record went to a bottle that spent 97 years and 309 days at sea. It was found by a Scottish skipper near the Shetland Islands in 2012.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/postal-worker-finds-108-year-old-message-bottle/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why have people used bottles for their messages?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (197)
  • william1108-yyca
    5/05/2016 - 09:27 p.m.

    It was very smart of that guy that he sent thousands of bottles to the sea and also that he put some wires on them so the fishermen could get them on their fishing pole. But also I wonder how many floated. If I saw all those bottles I would have freaked out. Maybe one day I will do something like that.

  • lukep-6-bar
    5/05/2016 - 09:29 p.m.

    Marianne Winkler, a retired postal worker on Amrum Island, found a message in a bottle in 2015. On Nov. 30, 1906, George Parker Bidder dropped a bottle from a boat into the North Sea. The communications officer for the Marine Biological Association said that "This was the best technology available at the time"

  • gregorys-6-bar
    5/05/2016 - 09:50 p.m.

    People have used bottles for their messages because they don't want to send it to one person. Some people might not want to know who they are so sending an anonymous message might be the best. People might want to get a message out there but want to be anonymous. People do this for many reasons but mostly it is to help people on the receiving end.

  • katherinec-3-bar
    5/05/2016 - 09:55 p.m.

    People use messages in bottles because they know if you throw out a glass bottle into the ocean it is most likely to float because of the air inside. In this paragraph it's stated," Between 1904 and 1906, he released thousands of bottles. He placed postcards inside them. The bottles were part of a research project to map currents in the North Sea." I found this interesting because I have always wanted to put a message in a bottle and see who finds it. I never thought it could take 100 years for someone to find my bottle.

  • jennaw-1-bar
    5/05/2016 - 10:04 p.m.

    many historical events people have sent messages in a bottle for not only entertainment but to message people or let someone know that something is happening if you are stuck on a boat or somewhere in the ocean you cannot escape from. Messages in a bottle have been happening for many years. People write messages and bottles so that when someone finds the bottle they will get the news of whatever someone put into it. Something surprising I learned from this article is that 108 years pass by without anyone finding it.

  • calis-3-bar
    5/05/2016 - 10:51 p.m.

    People have used bottles for messages because they are interesting and will protect the message inside. Sending a body through a body of water can do many things, and in this specific case it's purpose was to measure current patterns. However, it is also a fun and unique way of sending messages, even though they may never be found. Messages in a bottle also protect the message. They are able to travel through water but not get wet because the glass protects the paper from the outside forces. I enjoyed the article. It is cool that they were able to deliver the message back to the person it was intended for, and this was a fun article to read and interpret.

  • grantm-2-bar
    5/05/2016 - 11:24 p.m.

    People have used bottles for their messages for many things like rescues, science, travelers. Scientists used them long ago to see where the currents in the water went.
    People that have been stranded have used them in hope of rescue. Travelers have used them just to see how long it takes for people to find the bottles with a message in them. This is why people use bottles for messages.

  • kayleeu-2-bar
    5/05/2016 - 11:38 p.m.

    People have used bottles for their messages to map the currents of the north seas. The bottles were "called "bottom-trailers." They were weighted so they would sink. But each had a piece of stiff wire attached to keep them off the seafloor." These bottles were "one of the first citizen science projects ever recorded." Bidder sent thousands of these bottles into the ocean.

    My opinion on this article is that I didn't know what the messages in a bottle were really for and its so cool how long that bottle floated in the ocean for.

  • olgan-4-bar
    5/06/2016 - 12:10 a.m.

    People have used bottles for their messages since it was a form of communication. The article states " between 1904 and 1906, he released thousands of bottles. He placed postcards inside them ". I thought this article was humorous since it would be funny to find a very old message sent.

  • adamp-3-bar
    5/06/2016 - 12:21 a.m.

    People have used bottles to transport messages in water for years. The number one reason is they float and last long. This bottle lasted "108 years, 4 months and 18 days." Another reason is they float. Anyone trying to keep a message viewable should keep it buoyant. The air in the bottle makes the bottle less dense than the amount of water it displaced so it floats. In my opinion, it is awesome that they found this artifact and I hope I find a bottle at the beach one day.

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