The Titanic article

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R.M.S Titanic


Titanic was part of the Olympic-Class trio of liners for the White Star Line, with the intention of beating the Cunard Line's Lusitania and Mauretania in size and luxury.  There was no intention of attempting to wrest the Blue Ribbon from the MauretaniaTitanic was built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and launched on May 31, 1911.  Due to mishaps in the Olympic's early voyages, work was delayed on the Titanic on two different occasions. 

The Titanic differed from the Olympic in a number of ways, based on the experience on the Olympic's maiden voyage.  First off, the deck space was considered rather excessive, and thus more rooms could be created in this space.  This is why the Titanic had higher gross tonnages than the Olympic, and why the Titanic B-deck windows are irregularly spaced compared to Olympic, which were evenly spaced.  Furthermore, the Olympic's forward A-deck was the subject of more spray than intended.  As a result of this, the Titanic's forward A-deck was fitted with screens to prevent the passengers from experiencing this spray.

On April 10, 1912, the Titanic began her maiden voyage, from Southampton to New York, via Cherbourg, France, and Queenstown, Ireland.  Captain Edward J. Smith, formerly the captain of the Olympic, would be her master on this voyage.  At the time of her maiden voyage, a coal strike was in progress, and as a result, there was a shortage of coal, which liners like Titanic consumed by the hundreds of tons per day.  In order to allow the Titanic to depart with full bunkers, other IMM ships were laid up, and their coal was transferred to the Titanic.  Their passengers were also transferred to Titanic.

As the Titanic was leaving Southampton, suction from her propellers caused the New York, which was laid up in order for her coal to power Titanic, to begin drifting, enough to where her mooring lines snapped.  She started drifting towards the Titanic's stern.  It appeared that a collision was imminent, but then at the last possible moment, a burst on the Titanic's starboard propeller pushed the New York away from the Titanic, allowing for the tugboats to get hold of New York, and move her away from the Titanic.

On April 14, just before midnight, the lookout on the Titanic spotted an iceberg dead ahead.  He rang his warning bell, and telephoned the bridge.  Upon the answer of the call, the lookout told the officer, "Iceberg right ahead!"  His warning was answered by a polite thank you.  The wheel was ordered hard-a-starboard, but it was not enough.  Instead of a head-on collision, which the Titanic could have almost certainly survived (note this situation in the collision between the Stockholm and the Andrea Doria), she hit the iceberg at a glancing blow, popping rivets and buckling hull plates in the process.  It was not the fabled huge 300-foot gash that was believed to have sunk the Titanic.  In fact, a gash of that size and length in the Titanic's hull would have brought her to the bottom faster than the Lusitania, which took only twenty minutes to sink.

When Captain Smith learned of the collision with the iceberg, he sent for the ship's designer, Thomas Andrews.  After a tour below decks to inspect the damage, the outlook was grim, as Andrews told Captain Smith, "I give her an hour, maybe two.  Not much more."  Despite the claims that she was unsinkable (though White Star had never made any such claims), the Titanic was heading to the bottom.

This left Captain Smith in a rather uncomfortable predicament.  The Titanic's sixteen regulation lifeboats and four collapsible lifeboats could only hold about half of the ship's passengers.  However, the evacuation still proceeded, with the order of "women and children first", as the ship was slightly listing, and the tilt of the decks grew steeper and steeper...

By 2:20 AM, all of the lifeboats were gone.  As the ship continued to sink at the head, the stern began to rise out of the water.  At that point, the power on the ship finally failed, and everything went dark.  Soon after this, the sound of everything that was not bolted down on the ship moving towards the bow was heard.  This consisted of pianos, furniture, equipment, people, even some of the boilers, perhaps, though this is in question.

After this, another, different kind of sound came across the ocean.  This was a booming, cracking kind of sound.  What this sound ended up being was the Titanic actually physically breaking in two between her third and fourth funnels.  After breaking, the bow section went under, but the stern section lingered for a little while, before it headed to the bottom as well.  Over 1,500 people died with the Titanic that night.

Later, as dawn came, the Carpathia, which had responded to the Titanic's distress call, came on the scene.  Titanic's 705 survivors were brought aboard, and given accommodation on the Carpathia, and headed for New York.  The captain of Titanic's sister ship, Olympic, had offered to render assistance, but was asked not to by the White Star Managing Director Bruce Ismay, because it would not be good for the passengers to see a carbon copy of the ship that they were just on that had gone under.

Except for the inquiries into the disaster, that was the end of the Titanic until 1985, when her remains were discovered by a joint French-American expedition, headed by Dr. Robert Ballard.  In 1986, a second expedition was made to the Titanic using the submersible Alvin, and the remotely operated vehicle, Jason Jr.  This expedition documented the entire wreck on film, as well as much of the debris field.

Subsequent expeditions have brought artifacts up from the wreck scene, a controversial act in itself.  Some people are fine with the idea of bringing up artifacts - one survivor was given her father's pocket watch, which was recovered.  Others feel as I do,  it is akin to grave-robbing.

Whatever the stand on the raising of artifacts may be, the Titanic is on the bottom, and there she will stay.  How long she will remain with us has yet to be seen, as marine growth and the like continue to consume her hull.  Hopefully, she will remain with us, two and a half miles beneath the sea, for a very long time.

The Decks

Passenger accommodation The internal structure of Titanic comprised ten decks. In accordance with the usual maritime practice, to avoid possible confusion on board, the passenger decks were also designated alphabetically A, B, C, D, E, F an d G, with "A" representing the Boat deck. The decks were:

  • Boat Deck (A)
  • Promenade Deck (B)
  • Bridge Deck (C)
  • Shelter Deck (D)
  • Saloon Deck (E)
  • Upper Deck (F)
  • Middle Deck (G)
  • Lower Deck
  • Orlop Deck
  • Tank Deck

The passenger accommodation and public areas were located on the Promenade, Bridge, Shelter, Saloon, Upper, Middle and Lower decks, with the remaining three decks being occupied by crew quarters, cargo, stores and machinery compartments. The Boat and Promenade decks were above the moulded or shaped structure of the ship and did not extend for the complete length of the other superstructure decks due to additional space being necessary for machinery requirements and cargo loading facilities. Having a length of 500ft, these two uppermost decks were only 50ft shorter than the superstructure and enhanced the vessel's profile by providing a tiered appearance. The first deck to occupy the complete length of the superstructure was the Bridge deck, which extended for a length of 550ft. Forward and aft of this deck, and on the same level but interrupted by the cargo hatches, were the Forecastle and Poop decks. The Forecastle deck was 106ft long, and the Poop deck was 128ft long. First class passengers were accommodated on the five levels from the Upper to the Promenade decks; second class passengers had their accommodation on the Middle, Upper and Saloon decks; while third class passengers were to be found on the Lower deck forward and the Middle, Upper and Saloon deck aft. The cost of travelling on the Titanic varied widely according to the type of passage chosen. At the top end, the most expensive suite cost £870one way across the Atlantic. The lowest-priced first class passage - accommodation in a four-berth cabin without meals - cost £23. The cost of a steerage, or third class, passage was £7 10s one way, but it included all meals. For this fare the passenger got a bunk in a dormitory of up to eight people.


Titanic statisitics


Built by

Harland and Wolff, Belfast, Ireland

Hull Number


British Board of Trade Registry Number






Height from keel to bridge


Gross Tonnage

46,328 tons

Number of Decks

9 - Boat Deck, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, Orlop Deck

Watertight Compartments


Number of Engines

3 - Two reciprocating 4-cylinder, triple expansion, direct action, inverted engines and one Parsons (low pressure) turbine


Reciprocating - 30,000 hp at 75 rpm
Parsons turbine - 16,000 hp at 165 rpm

Number of Boilers


Number of Propellers

3 - Center: 16' and Left/Right Wings: 23'


20 Total
2 "Emergency Boats", Capacity 40
14 Regular Wooden, Capacity 65
4 Collapsible, Capacity 47

Total Lifeboat Capacity


People Rescued from Titanic Lifeboats


Ship Capacity (passengers and crew)

Over 3,000

Souls On-Board April 14, 1912

Approximately 2,228


Edward J. Smith

Chief Officer

Henry F. Wilde

First Officer

William M.Murdoch

Second Officer

Charles H. Lightoller

Third Officer

Herbert J. Pitman

Fourth Officer

Joseph G. Boxhall

Fifth Officer

Harold G. Lowe

Sixth Officer

James P. Moody