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)
  • josephd-6-bar
    5/06/2016 - 12:36 a.m.

    People may have used glass bottles for their messaging because as said in paragraph 9, "This was the best technology available at the time." People would use glass bottles if they were lost at sea in hopes of trying to be rescued. I chose this article because I think that this was a good idea for messaging but not a very useful one.

  • colbys-3-bar
    5/06/2016 - 01:04 a.m.

    People use bottles for their messages because when a bottle is thrown into the ocean it will not biodegrade for a long time. People put messages in bottles when they need help but can not find a way to get something to someone. They put the message in the bottle and send it off. I thought this article was interesting because in movies people sometimes do this to get help.

  • madelinew-1-bar
    5/06/2016 - 01:40 a.m.

    People used messages in bottles for many things. For some, it was to find help if they were stranded on an island. Other times, like in this instance, messages in bottles were sent out to track the current of the ocean.
    I didn't really find this article too interesting. I do want to learn more though.

  • kaled-2-bar
    5/06/2016 - 01:53 a.m.

    People have used bottles for their messages because it was "the best technology available at the time."(paragraph 9) I thought this article was interesting and cool because I would have thought after 108 years, that the bottle would've broken by then.

  • aidanp-1-bar
    5/06/2016 - 01:55 a.m.

    If they couldn't have actual person deliver a message they just had bottles because it way cheaper. It didn't mean that the message was going to be surely given to the person, like in this case. On paragraph 10 it says, "The Marine Biological Association reports that about 55 percent of the bottles were returned."

    I found this article interesting because it beat a world record.

  • sofiap-3-bar
    5/06/2016 - 02:24 a.m.

    People have used bottles for messaging because there was not any advanced technology like phones. Like Guy Backer said, "This was the best technology available at the time." (Paragraph 9) People who "sent" the bottle depended on fishermen to find them. My guess is that bottles were used to send messages ,if you were stranded, because they would float from the air in them. I think that it would be really cool to find and read a really old message in a bottle. I found this article interesting because it was fascinating to learn how these bottles were used for and how someone found one.

  • milok-3-bar
    5/06/2016 - 02:58 a.m.

    People used bottles for their messages because it could travel a long way and they could use the currents to navigate it. I think it is cool that this man sent many bottles and used them to see where the current was going. he also lived a long life to be over 90 on a ship back more than 100 years ago.

  • sheridanm-6-bar
    5/06/2016 - 06:15 a.m.

    People have used bottles for messaging because it is a fun and easy way to communicate. Although, most messages sent in bottles are lost at sea. In the last paragraph a Marinie Biologist states how bottle messaging is one of the oldest forms of communicating. "This was the best technology available at the time," said Guy Baker. He is the communications officer for the Marine Biological Association. I enjoyed this article because it was surprising to me that the bottle was actually found.

  • azalear-man
    5/06/2016 - 09:01 a.m.

    Very interesting means of communication. Honesty this was a good concept. I amazed the bottle was still in one piece and survived for 108 years, 4 months and 18 days. I figured it would have just broken on so reef, or swept under the sea.

  • deaundrem1-man
    5/06/2016 - 09:02 a.m.

    Thats cool that they're are still ancient stuff we can find in the ocean without having to actually find it

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