The world’s oldest message in a bottle has reportedly washed up in Germany after 108 years at sea.
Renowned researcher George Parker Bidder released the bottle into the sea in the early 1900s, and it was discovered in April by a woman walking the beach on Amrum Island in the North Sea, according to Amrum News reports
“It’s always a joy when someone finds a message-in-a-bottle on the beach,” Marianne Winkler, who found the bottle, told the site.
After making the find, she took it home to her husband, Horst Winkler, for further inspection, and that’s when they noticed the message, “Break the Bottle. Inside they found a postcard with no date but a return address listing the British Marine Biological Association. The message, written in German, Dutch, and English, promised a reward of one shilling to the person who returned it.
According to the MBA, Bidder released approximately 1,020 bottles between 1904 and 1906 as part of an experiment to understand currents. The bottles were designed to float above the sea bed so they could be carried by the deep sea currents. And thanks to those bottles, Bidder proved for the very first time that the currents flowed from east to west in the North Sea, valuable information for local fisherman, The Telegraph reported.
The MBA is still waiting for the bottle to be recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. But in the meantime, the Winklers say the organization has fulfilled its promise: they’ve received their reward of one shilling.
After all the excitement, the couple says they can’t wait to visit Amrum Island again.
“We know and love the island,” Horst Winkler said. And while they might not uncover another piece of history, they’re planning for another adventure next year.
Amrum News and The Telegraph contributed to this report.