100-Year-Old Message in a Bottle Arrives Home to Granddaughter

Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 07:09 PM

By Michael Mullins

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A 100-year-old message in a bottle arrived home last week to the granddaughter of the original sender, courtesy of the International Maritime Museum in Hamburg, Germany.

In March, German fisherman Konrad Fischer recovered the bottle during a fishing expedition in the Baltic Sea. The postcard found inside had been dated May 17, 1913, which is likely the date when the bottle was thrown into the sea, the BBC reported.

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The man who wrote message was Richard Platz. Part of the message had a simple request: Whoever finds it should send it back to Platz at his new address in Berlin, which was included on the postcard.

After finding the bottle, Fischer brought it to Hamburg's International Maritime Museum, where researchers managed to track down the descendant of the sender.

"This is certainly the first time such an old message in a bottle was found, particularly with the bottle intact," Holger von Neuhoff of the International Maritime Museum told the Agence France-Presse.

With help from a Berlin-based handwriting expert, Von Neuhoff was able to locate 62-year-old Angela Erdmann, Platz's granddaughter, who reportedly still lives in Berlin.

"It was almost unbelievable," Erdmann told German news agency DPA.

Erdmann told the museum that although she didn't know her mother's father, who died in 1946, the discovery was very special to her.

"That was a pretty moving moment," Erdmann added. "Tears rolled down my cheeks."

The bottle and its message will be displayed at the maritime museum until May 1, after which time it will be removed and further examined by experts who will attempt to decipher the remainder of the message, much of which was damaged from dampness and time, The Guardian reported.

According to Guinness World Records, prior to last month's discovery, the oldest message in a bottle found dated back to 1914.

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