• Staff

112 Year-Old Message in Bottle from 1907 Found in Wall of Montclair State University

November 30, 2019


A message in a bottle from over 100 years ago was recently discovered inside the brick wall of the College Hall at Montclair State University in New Jersey.

Construction worker Robert Kanaby found the bottle while performing renovations at the college this past summer. Reported by CNN, Kanaby, was using a chip hammer on a campus wall during renovations at the University when he heard glass break.


“I hit a void and I heard glass break,” Kanaby said, according to the university’s magazine, Montclair. “And I’m like, ‘Something’s not right.’ So, we took away the debris, and I found the glass and then I found the note.” The bottle was placed “between the first and third layers of brick.”

Inscribed in blue ink was a note dated the note July 3, 1907 that was inside an empty beer bottle.



The 112-year-old message read: “This is to certify that this wall was built by two bricklayers from Newark, N.J., by the names of William Hanly and James Lennon, members of No. 3 of the B.M.I.U. of America.” The acronym apparently represents the “Bricklayers and Masons’ International Union.”


Kanaby gave the note to the university whose authorities valued it as a meaningful historical artifact. Officials from MSU are searching for the men’s descendants and plan on putting the message with the bottle remains on display at the University.