A 108-year-old message in a bottle is officially the oldest in the world, according to the Guinness World Records, demoting a 99-year-old bottle to second place.
Marianne Winkler and her husband found the bottle on the German island of Amrum in April 2015.
She was pleased to find the mysterious bottle, Winkler told local newspaper Amrum News in August. She had no idea how old it was.
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She took it home and followed the instructions written on the glass bottle’s side: “BREAK THE BOTTLE.”
Inside was a postcard with instructions written in English, Dutch and German to fill out information about how and where the bottle was found and to mail it back to the Marine Biological Association in the U.K.
She did as it asked.
“It was quite a stir when we opened that envelope, as you can imagine,” the biological association’s Guy Baker told the Telegraph.
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The bottle was one of 1,020 that scientist George Parker Bidder flung into the North Sea between 1904 and 1906.
Bidder, who was president of the association between 1939 and 1945, was using the bottles to study the pattern of ocean currents. By tracking where the bottles went he hoped to determine the direction of deep sea currents and help pinpoint the movement of fish.
About 55 per cent of Bidder’s bottles were returned within months, the association said, mostly by fishermen enticed by the promise of a one-shilling reward.
Determined to keep its word, the Marine Biological Association found an old shilling on eBay and sent it to Winkler with a thank you note.