The 100-year-old message found by a fisherman is considered to be the world’s oldest message in a bottle. About 100 years ago, in 1913, 20-year-old Richard Platz wrote a note on a postcard , threw two stamps along with it into a brown beer bottle, closed it, and tossed it into the sea, reported The Local on April 8. More than 100 years later, Platz's words brought tears into his granddaughter's eyes. She had never known much about her grandfather until his message in a bottle.
Richard Platz was the son of a baker. In 1913, he was on a nature hike with a nature appreciation group along the Baltic Sea in northern Germany when he wrote his message. His postcard was dated May 17, 1913, and the message asked that whoever would find it, would put the two stamps on it – and please return it to his home address in Berlin.
More than 100 years later, Richard Platz’s message in the old beer bottle was found by 65-year-old fisherman Konrad Fischer last month in Kiel, which is in northern Germany and not too far from where Platz had tossed it into the ocean. After finding the beer bottle, the fisherman gave his amazing find to the International Maritime Museum in Hamburg.
In regard to being able to read the 100-year-old message in the bottle, fisherman Fischer said in an interview that he wasn't able to decipher the writing because it was written in old German letters and that many of them were faded because of the longtime exposure to the sunlight and the dampness. However, he was able to read the year 1913, and he knew the bottle was authentic because it had a picture of an old German brewery on it. Fischer said that he used a wire to get the rolled-up postcard out of the bottle.
Holger von Neuhoff from the International Maritime Museum described the beer bottle to be in the utmost perfect condition. Despite the passing of time and the dampness, many of the words on the postcard were still legible. "This is certainly the first time such an old message in a bottle was found, particularly with the bottle intact," he said. So far, Guinness World Records identified the oldest message in a bottle dating back to 1914. It had spent nearly 98 years at sea before being fished from the water.
Instead of returning the 100-year-old message to Platz’s address in Berlin, researchers tracked down his 62-year-old granddaughter Angela Erdmann in Berlin. According to a report by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche, when someone knocked on Erdman’s door, she first thought it was a salesman. When she found out that it was a family researcher who had tracked her down, she could hardly believe that her grandfather had written a message in a bottle more than 100 years ago. Her grandfather Richard had died before she was born, and she never knew much about him.
After seeing the 100-year-old message and reading her grandfather’s words, Erdman conducted her own family research and was able to find old diaries and letters from her grandfather Richard Platz who was her mother's father and who had died in 1946 at the age of 54. While reading the diaries and letters, which had been prompted by his message in the bottle, Platz’s granddaughter said that “tears rolled down my cheeks."