Perth resident Tonya Illman uncovered the bottle half-buried as she was walking with a friend along the soft sand dunes, thinking it might look good in her bookcase. The note was damp, rolled tightly and wrapped with string," Tonya Illman said in a statement. Illman and her husband Kym brought the bottle to the Western Australian Museum, who have published a report on the discovery.
The Illmans even have produced s video about their find. Researchers think the bottle washed up on the beach within a year of being thrown off the ship, but was buried in the sand until a storm helped to unearth it a century later. The note, in German, asked for its finder to send the slip back to the German Naval Observatory or the nearest German consulate, with the date of its discovery and where it was found. Kym Illman, who understands basic German, was able to translate some of the letter before putting the rest through Google Translate.
As the bottle was found on the beach near Wedge Island on January 21, , the note remained inside the bottle for a total of years after days after it was thrown from Paula. The previous record for oldest message in a bottle was years. The bottle was thrown into the water before construction began on the Eiffel Tower, during the presidency of Grover Cleveland.
This will be noted where known. As a corollary to 1, consider the following quote: We can always have some indication of a starting date for a technique if we can find who first put the idea into practice. But any technique, once developed, can be used right up to the present - as many collectors know who have been so unfortunate as to rely too heavily on a popular termination date as sure evidence of true antiquity In short, there was and is nothing to stop a glassmaker from using an obsolete method in the production of a bottle.
Some technological changes were expensive and not adopted by glass makers until it became an "adapt or perish" issue and many glass factories just perished. The shift to the fully automated bottle machine from mouth-blown and some semi-automatic methods in the early 20th century is the classic example Toulouse , a.
The same bottle could have been recycled and reused many times for many years before finally being discarded - entire or broken Busch This was almost universal with many beverage bottle types e. The two products were from separate companies which were cross-town [Sacramento, CA. The author has also seen Star Bitters labels on Wait's bottles as well as both labels on the immensely period popular Hostetter's Stomach Bitters bottles!
Reuse, of course, does not change the manufacturing date of the bottle itself, but care must be exercised when using the known date of one or a few bottles to date other items found from the same context. When a likely or known "older" item is found in a known "newer" site it is referred to as deposition lag. An example of this is the finding of a few pontil scarred utilitarian bottles among otherwise late 19th or early 20th century refuse. It is unlikely that this bottle was made during the same era, but instead was reused for a lengthy period or otherwise retained until broken or discarded. Pontiled base fragments could also be from later produced "specialty" bottles which are described below.
Other diagnostic tools must be used to date these items.
Oldest message in a bottle found on Western Australia beach
Shape is more indicative of function - i. All this adds to the fascination with bottle making, but makes systematic dating similar to solving Rubik's cube - ostensibly simple on the surface but complex in practice.
To misquote an old saying as rephrased by the BLM supervisor that facilitated the initiation of this website project: That is the point of this website. A yet a couple additional factors to keep in mind in the dating of bottles Utilitarian items makes up the bulk of the bottles produced during the 19th century and first half of the 20th century. Produced during the era where all bottles were an relatively rare and cherished commodity to be discarded only when broken i.
Utilitarian bottles include the majority of the bottles in the following bottle categories or types: Click canning jar to view the typology page section devoted to that category. The beer bottle pictured to the above left is a classic example of a utilitarian bottle from the late 19th century that was typically reused. The dating guidelines found on these Dating Pages and the entire website do not always work well with what the author calls "specialty" bottles click for more information. For example, some bottle types which were intended to be kept indefinitely like the early 20th century barber bottle pictured to the right were produced with the use of pontil rods leaving telltale pontil scars on bottles into at least the early 20th century.
The base image below is of an late 19th to early 20th century barber bottle base with a very distinct blowpipe pontil scar with a little residual iron from the pontil rod. Another exception example is that the bottles for expensive, low production liquors e.
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Specialty bottles include a significant number of bottles in the following categories: Many specialty bottles were imported from Europe, though that fact may be at times hard to impossible to ascertain. Specialty bottles can be, of course, occasionally found on historic sites usually fragments, but occasionally intact but can rarely be used to help date the site because of the diagnostic problems and deposition lag issues noted above.
Having stated the above, there are still many diagnostic features or characteristics that provide a high probability of both dating and typing a bottle with some precision. A key concept in historic bottle dating is the high probability i.
World's oldest message in a bottle found on Australian beach
The general probability estimates noted on this website are based on a merging of reliable references with empirical observations made by this site's affiliated consulting experts see the About This Site page and the author who have been students of historic bottle dating and identification for many years. N otes on embossing, labeling, and existing research.
Raised embossing and when present, paper labeling on a bottle can frequently provide important details to refine the probable manufacturing date range if information exists for the company that either manufactured the bottle i. For example, the early mineral water bottle pictured here is known to date between based on the information provided by the embossing company name embossed on the pictured side and the glass maker - Union Glass Works - embossed on the reverse and complimentary research done by collectors Markota Researched historical information of variable depth and quality exists for thousands of different - typically embossed - bottles.
Published works generally cover either a particular city, region, or category of bottles. Quality examples of references within each of these three categories are, respectively, Gordon Pollard's book on Plattsburg, NY bottles Bottles and Business in Plattsburgh, New York: See the References page for more information. For a large majority of embossed and unembossed bottles, however, there is little or nothing formally published on the details of their origins. Only a relative few geographic areas or areas of collecting interest have received more than cursory historical treatment and the majority of this is due to the efforts of collectors.
Time has taken its toll on records, of course, but much of what happened in the past was simply not documented well or at all as with most endeavors of common people in the past. As noted in Munsey's book, " When it comes to methods of dating bottles As Munsey also notes - " Most of what is used today to date bottles Still all true today. This body of information will be utilized and extrapolated to make dating and typing estimates for the majority of bottles for which there is either no specific company or glass maker information available or such is not possible to determine because the bottles are unmarked i.
To the authors knowledge, the first and only serious attempt at using a key to date American bottles was done in a Historical Archaeology journal article entitled A Dating Key For Post-Eighteenth Century Bottles by T. Stell Newman Newman Newman's key made a noble attempt at simplifying bottle dating, but is weakened by the fact that the subject is much too complex to be conducive to such a simple approach by itself. Also, the format and space constraints of a journal article do not allow for the elaboration and illustrations necessary to make a key function fully Jones b.
Newman wryly recognized all this with his reworking of an old saying: A pdf copy of Newman's article is available now courtesy of the SHA by clicking on this link: