On June 12th, 1886, a German ship in the Indian Ocean tossed a bottle into the water to track the currents. Amazingly, that bottle was discovered earlier this year on a beach in Australia, making it the oldest message in a bottle ever found—a time capsule, 131 years in the making.
Time capsules can be pretty boring. But time capsule nerds like me live for those rare capsules with something really cool inside. This year we saw time capsules filled with the weird, the rare, and the surprising. One thing that so many of 2015’s time capsules had in common: Lots of booze.
Back in April, a retired postal worker named Marianne Winkler discovered a message in a bottle that had washed up on a German beach—and her find may be the oldest message in a bottle ever recovered.
An Australian couple were vacationing in Scotland recently when they discovered a curious time capsule: A message in a bottle dated January 15, 1971. Amazingly, they were able to track down the teenager (now in his 50s) who first chucked it into the North Sea.
So you want to send a message in a bottle, and you're hoping that someone, somewhere, will find your missive and still be able to read what you've written. There's a strategy involved, and while some of it's obvious (choose a dark bottle), other aspects require a little more forethought.
Time capsules can be buried, sealed in a vault, or even shot into space. They can be regular old boxes, enormous vaults, or a simple letter. Time capsules can take so many different forms that it's about time we ask, what is a time capsule, exactly?
Argentinian beer Andes had a great idea: Let people use QR codes printed on their bottles to record video messages so friends or family could get them by pointing their camera phones at it. Then they made this hilarious ad campaign showing one potential use: Send uncomfortable messages about delicate matters.
What at first appeared to be a normal, discarded beer bottle caught in a fisherman's net has turned out to be a record-breaking discovery — a proverbial message in a bottle dating back to May 17th, 1913.
The world's largest message-in-a-bottle has taken to the seas, but it's not a call for rescue or some kind of timeless secret. Its message is just "drink our soda" but damned if it isn't still kind of cool.
Scooped out of the North Sea by the Scottish fisherman Andrew Leaper, this 98-year-old note is the oldest message-in-a-bottle. Certified by the Guinness World Records this letter isn't the stuff you make Kevin Costner movies out of — instead, it's sexy science.
Harold Hackett's hobby, tossing messages in a bottle into the ocean, proves that even the most outdated and unreliable form of 'social networking' can still work in our booking the face, twittering the tweet world. He sent 4,800 messages via the Atlantic and received over 3,000 messages back from all over the world.