Oldest recorded message in a bottle


Dropped into the Atlantic Ocean's North Sea on June 10, 1914, this is the oldest message in a bottle ever found. A fellow plucked it from the sea last year. The bottle was part of a study of ocean currents conducted by the Glasgow School of Navigation nearly a century ago. From National Geographic:

NewImageAccording to (Marine Scotland Science's Bill) Turrell, Leaper's discovery -- plucked just 9 miles (15 kilometers) from where (Captain C. Hunter) Brown released it -- is the 315th bottle recovered from that experiment. Each one, Turrell explained, was "specially weighted to bob along the seabed," hopefully to be scooped up by a trawler or to eventually wash up on shore.

Turrell's Aberdeen-based government agency still keeps and updates Captain Brown's log. Oddly enough, the previous record—a message in a bottle dating to 1917—was set in 2006 by Mark Anderson, a friend of Leaper's who was sailing the same ship, the Copious. "It was an amazing coincidence," Leaper said in a statement. "It's like winning the lottery twice."

"Oldest Message in Bottle"



  1. I might just make a message in a bottle and date it, say, 2078, so if somebody finds it before then they’ll assume it was set adrift by a future time traveler.

  2. It was found nine miles from where it was released, but had those old-fashioned stickers on it indicating it had been around the world 18 times.

  3. Meanwhile a bottle I set adrift near St. Petersburg, Florida–because I thought it would be cool to see where it ended up–approximately three decades ago has apparently never been recovered, and probably sank to the bottom of the ocean. 

  4. I’m a little concerned the fellow didn’t fill in the data as requested. This would be an even better story if it showed up in the mail room of the Glasgow School of Navigation filled out.

    1. If they filled it out and dropped it off at the post office, we’d get a BoingBoing article out of it in 2109: 

      In 2012, pre-Singularity, a biological ur-sapiens named One-Who-Jumps-Off-Things filled out a form and submitted it to a local messaging service on the pre-computronium Earth. The form was “specially weighted to bob along the bottoms of various mail baskets”, hopefully to be delivered to its destination, a school for the teaching of maps related to the placename of “Glasgow”. 

      That journey took 97 annual cycles, a record packet delay, and was finally delivered to entity Glazgus Kulovnav E’gashn 7315. Oddly, that entity’s co-prime key holder, Awbr Nwash E’nton 706, held the previous record for packet-delayed messages, receiving a round hydrocarbon bubble with helium inside from an ur-sapiens named Kind-of-Flying-Organism-Which-Talks. “It was an amazing coincidence,” E’gashn said, “It was like finding two archived personalities with the same improbability hash.”

Comments are closed.