A variation of the old message-in-a-bottle that shipwrecked sailors toss to the outside world is a system devised by two American Merchant Marine Captains for sending passenger and crew mail ashore. “Via Pickle Bottle” is the rubber stamp used by Captain O.H. Martinson, master of the S.S. Mexico, and “Via Sea Jug Post” is the cachet printed on envelopes mailed by Captain C. C. Milbury, “Postmaster” of the M.V. Arizona Sword.
Here’s how letters are mailed: when a ship is passing several miles east of Miami, mail is collected and put into an empty one-gallon pickle jar, or large glass jar. It is ballasted with a handful of cement so that it floats upright. Capped by a water-tight wooden cover with an eighteen-inch flagstaff fastened to it, the jar starts its drift shoreward, flying the flag with the legend “U.S. Mail” printed on it. Inside the jar, along with the letters, the captain places a silver dollar or a few packs of cigarettes for the finder. First class postage stamps are affixed to each envelope.