The first plans to build the Titanic started in 1907. Bruce Ismay, the director of the White Star Line, and William James Pirrie, the director of the ship-yard Harland and Wolff, decided to build three ships, named the Olympic-class. The ships would have to pass over the Atlantic Ocean with the speed of approximately 21 knots. The original design of the three ships was from William James Pirrie, but the definitive version came from three naval architects named Alexander Carlisle, Edward Wilding and Thomas Andrews.
The White Star Line built the ships, because they wanted to compete with another shipping company, the Cunard Line. The Cunard Line had two ships, the Lusitania and the Mauretania. These ships were the biggest ships of the world and the White Star Line wanted to exceed them. They had to come with bigger ships and the Olympic-class was the solution. The White Star Line could build the Titanic, because they were funded by the company of J.P. Morgan.
The first ship from the Olympic-class that was built was the Olympic. On the 31th of March 1909 on the ship-yard of Harland and Wolff in Belfast the construction of the Titanic began. Almost all the ships of the White Star Line were built on that ship-yard. On the 31th of May 1911 the Titanic was launched.
An important part of the Olympic-class was the luxury. A few of the cabins were furnished by the Dutch furnish company H.P. Mutters en zoon from The Hague.
The Titanic was a Royal Mail Ship (RMS), because the three ships of the Olympic-class were also used for transport overseas. When the Titanic sank the mail went down with it.
Construction of the Titanic
The construction of the Titanic began on 31 March in 1909. First some technical facts about the Titanic:
The Titanic was 269,04 metres long
The Titanic was 28,19 metres wide
The Titanic was 56 metres high
The Titanic was 10,54 deep
The Titanic weighed over 46,328 tons
It took the shipbuilders of Harland and Wolff approximately 26 months to build the Titanic. The process to build the Titanic was almost the same as the Olympic. The constructing of the Titanic started as a floating box with the keel as a backbone and the ship was formed by the ribs. The ship had a double bottom from 1.6 metres deep. There were 300 frames from approximately 20 metres long. They stopped at the bridge deck and were covered with steel plates. This formed the outer skin of the ship. The 2000 steel plates were 1.8 metres wide and 9.1 metres long. The plates were held together with over three million iron and steel rivets. They were hammered in by hand of fitted by using hydraulic machines.
During the construction of the Titanic, 246 injuries were recorded, 28 of them were severe and eight people died working on the ship and in the workshops. Constructing a ship was a difficult and dangerous job and safety precautions at the shipyard from Harland and Wolff were at minimum.
After the Titanic was launched on 31 May 1911 the ship was towed to a fitting-out berth. In the next year the Titanic got het engines, funnels and her interior.
The interior of the Titanic was divided into sixteen compartments and these compartments were divided by fifteen bulkheads. Eleven watertight doors could seal off the compartments if it was necessary. The interior of the Titanic was very simple. On top of the ship you had the Promenade and Boat Deck. They were both 150 metres long. Above the decks there were four funnels, but only three had a real function. The fourth funnel was a dummy and was only installed to make look the Titanic more impressive.
In an enclosure you can see the construction of the Titanic.
The Titanic on the shipyard of Harland and Wolff
Could the disaster be prevented or be less disastrous by acting differently from the captain or crew before, during or after the collision with the iceberg?
In this sub question I’m going to take a closer look to the deeds the crew made after the sailor in the crow’s nest saw the iceberg till the Carpathia picks up the survivors. I take a closer look to how the crew could have acted better, but also what the crew did good and saved human lives.
At 23:40 Frederick Fleet saw the iceberg appear right in front of the Titanic. He rang the alarm bell three times and he called the bridge to report the iceberg. First Officer Murdoch had seen the iceberg too and had ordered to that the ship had to be steered around the iceberg. The engines had to be put in reverse. But it was too late. The iceberg was to close.
Did first Officer Murdoch reacted well and was steering the ship around the iceberg a good idea? I don’t think so. The iceberg was to close and the Titanic was hit at the side. If four compartments were flooded the Titanic could stay floated, but five compartments were hit. If the crew had just stopped the engines en had put it in reverse and let the ship clash with the iceberg with the front of the ship. It would be a big collision, but only the front of the ship would be broken and maybe two or three compartments would be damaged. The ship could have stay floated for days and all the passengers could all have been saved.
This is just one of the theories about the way the Titanic hit the iceberg. First Officer Murdoch had only seconds to think about how to prevent the collision. He reacted fast and he must have thought that the Titanic could be steered around the iceberg. Sadly the iceberg was to close and the Titanic went to fast.
The moment the Titanic collided with the iceberg captain Smith was sleeping. He woke up and knew that something was wrong, so he walked to the bridge. One of the designers of the Titanic, Thomas Andrews, knew something was wrong too. He went to the bridge as well. He took the blueprints with him. When he heard which compartments were damaged he knew that the Titanic was sinking. Captain Smith gave order to prepare the lifeboats and he went to the wireless operators. He told them to send out the message “CQD”, the distress signal. He also ordered that everyone had to put on a life jacket. An hour after the collision the first lifeboat was launched. Captain Smith ordered that woman and children had to go first.
Captain Smith on the Olympic of Titanic
Captain Smith operated very well. He followed the regular procedure and made sure the passenger didn’t panic. The passengers were very calm and didn’t saw the seriousness from the collision. That worked adversely, because people didn’t want to put on a life jacket and didn’t want to go with the lifeboats. This took a lot of time and lives were spilled.
When all the lifeboats were gone the panic started. The crew couldn’t do anything anymore. A lot of them had already left the ship, because they needed to sail with the lifeboats. The Titanic went down and the passengers were left in the ice cold water. One boat went back, but they waited too long. It was smart that they didn’t go back immediately, because the people would have pulled the lifeboat over. He waited until the screaming almost stopped, but he had to sail back and that took longer than he thought. When he came to the place of disaster most of the people already died from hypothermia, cardiac arrest or drowning.
If he had gone back sooner more lives could have been saved. It is a misjudge that was fatal for a lot of people.
What happens from the moment the Titanic collides with the iceberg till the moment the Titanic hits the bottom of the ocean?
At 23:40 on the 14th of April Frederick Fleet sees the iceberg and a few minutes later the Titanic hits the iceberg. Five compartments were damaged and the water rises fast. The Titanic had waterproof bulkheads that went up till the water line. The bulkheads stopped at the boiler room and the engine room. The Titanic had also doors that divided the ship in twelve compartments. The problem was that only twelve of the thirty doors were automatic and could be closed with a push on a button on the bridge. The other eighteen doors had to be closed by hand.
Immediately after the collision the water floated into the Titanic and there originate a lot of pressure on the front side of the ship. At one o’clock the bulkhead between boiler room five and six breaks down from the huge pressure of the water. From this point the water flows even faster into the ship. At 01:45 the name ‘Titanic’ disappears under water and the water floats over the bow. At 02:05 the water reaches the promenade deck and a few minutes later the power goes down. At 02:10 the water in the prow causes the hull from the ship to start cracking. The prow from the Titanic is sinking deeper into the water. The stern gets lifted up into the air more and more. At 02:18 the stern makes an angle of 45 degrees and the Titanic breaks in half between the third and fourth chimney. The prow starts sinking to the bottom of the ocean. The stern of the Titanic falls back on the water. At 02:20 the stern starts filling up with water and stands upright in the water. Two hours and forty minutes after the collision with the iceberg the Titanic disappears into the Atlantic Ocean. The stern falls back on the water and the front side disappears under water.
The bow started sinking sooner than the stern of the Titanic. The bow lands six hundred meters of the central wreck side. The stern sunk spinning around its axis and felt down on the bottom of the ocean turned from the prow.
A Part of the simulation that David Cameron made with National Geographic about the sinking of the Titanic.
What kind of theories are there about the disaster with the Titanic?
When the Titanic was sinking the passengers were ordered to go to the boat deck. To make the passengers feel safe the band started playing on the boat deck. Led by Wallace Hartley they played songs to calm down the people. The band played till the Titanic sunk and all the eight bandsmen went down with the Titanic. The musicians are seen as heroes, because of their braveness that night.
Titanic’s popular and well-respected bandleader, Wallace Hartley, was no stranger to the oceans, or the big liners that crossed them, having previously bandleader on the rival Cunard line’s quadruple-funnelled sister ships Lusitania and Mauretania, but the lure of playing on the biggest and the most decedent ship in the world, and playing to the richest and most distinguished passengers on the North Atlantic run all helped to convince him that the change would be for the good, plus there was a pay rise to consider to. Wallace and the other band members were travelling as second class passengers and weren’t seen as members of the crew of the Titanic. They worked for the company C.W. & F.N. Black from Liverpool and the White Star Line had hired them to play on the Titanic.
One of the mysteries of the Titanic is what song the band played when the Titanic sunk. The survivors of the disaster all tell different songs, like “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”, “In the Shadows” and “Song d’Automne’. The song “Nearer, My God, To Thee” is the most popular song. We have to accept that we will never know what song the band played. You also can ask yourself the question if it was even possible that the band played if you look at the way the Titanic went down.
In the night the Titanic sunk all the eight band members lost their lives. Almost two weeks after the disaster, Wallace Hartley’s body was found in the Atlantic Ocean. His Body arrived in Liverpool on the 12th May and on the 18th May he was buried in Colne. On his funeral an orchestra played “Nearer, My God, To Thee”. The music is carved into his crave stone together with a violin. At the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool the eight heroic band members have a tablet in their memorial.
The tablet in memorial of the band at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool.
The kidnapped children
Another remarkable story is the story about a father who kidnapped his children, Michel Marcel Navratil Jr. and Edmond Roger Navratil, and wanted to move to New York with them. At the night of the collision he brought his children to lifeboat D. He himself wasn’t allowed to go with them and two strange women took over the children. Later the oldest child remembered that he his father had said to him that their mother would take care of him. The father, Michel Navratil, died that night and his body was later found in the Atlantic Ocean. The mother of the children didn’t know her children were on the Titanic. After the arrival in New York no one claimed the children and the White Star Line took photos of them in order to find relatives. The photos of the children were spread and the mother of the children saw her children in the newspaper. She contacted the White Star Line and she sailed to New York on costs of the White Star Line. She went back with the children on the Oceanic and went home to France.
Michel Navratil Jr. was born on the June 12th in 1908. He died on the January 30th in 2001. He was the last male survivor of the disaster with the Titanic when he died. Edmond Navratil was born March 5th in 1910 and he died in 1953.
Michel Jr. and Edmond were the sons of a Slovak immigrant, Michel Navratil and their Italian mother, Marcelle Caretto. Their parents divorced in the beginning of 1912 and Marcelle got the custody of the children. Marcelle gave Michel permission to have the children with Easter and Michel took advantage of that. He decided to take the children to the United States and after a short stay in Monte Carlo he travelled to England and went on board of the Titanic. Michel Navratil Sr. travelled under the name of “Louis M. Hoffman” and he registered his sons as “Loto” and “Louis”. He told the other passengers he was a widower.
Michel Navratil lived a happy life after the disaster. He studied philosophy and married in 1933. He became a professor at the University of Montpellier. He claimed that his philosophical thinking was strongly influenced by the loss of his father and the disaster with the Titanic when he was so young. In 1996 he went back on a cruise to the place where the Titanic sunk and in the same year he visited his father’s grave. The last years of his life he lived in Montpellier and he died at the age of 92.
Edmond Navratil became an architect and interior designer and got married. During World War 2 he fought with the French Army. He was captured as a prisoner of war, but he escaped from the camp. After the war his health suffered and he died at the age of 43
Mr and Mrs Straus
“We have live together for many years. Where you go, I go.” Those are the famous words of Ida Straus. She gave up her life to die with her husband, Isidor Straus. He was the co-owner of the Macy’s department store. On the night of the sinking of the Titanic Mr and Mrs Straus were standing nearby lifeboat number 8. The officer in charge of the lifeboat asked if they wanted to come with, but Isidor Straus refused. He didn’t wanted to go as long there were women and children on the ship. He wanted that his wife entered the lifeboat, but she refused and spoke her famous words. Her words were witnessed by passengers who were already in lifeboat number 8 and other passengers who were also standing on the boat deck.
Ida and Isidor were last seen standing on the boat deck arm in arm. The body of Ida was never found and the body of Isidor is buried in the Bronx, New York City. On his gravestone stands a memorial for his wife.
Ida Straus was born as Rosalie Ida Blun on February 6th in 1849 in Worms, Germany. She immigrated to the United States together with her six brothers and sisters and parents. In 1871 she married Isidor Straus. Isidor Straus was born in Rhenish Bavari on February 6th 1845. He also immigrated to the United States with his family. He was a businessman and worked for several companies in his career. After the Civil War he moved to New York and in 1896 he became the owner of the Macy’s department store. Between 1895 and 1897 he served as a congressman for the New York State. Ida and Isidor Straus had seven children.
The story of Mr and Mrs Straus was told immediately after the RMS Carpathia arrived in New York City. Survivors told the reporters about the loyalty of Mrs Straus to her husband and that she sacrificed her life for him. Ida Straus died at the age of 63 and Isidor Straus at the age of 67 in the Atlantic Ocean.
Isidor and Ida Straus
What are the stories of the people who survived the disaster with the Titanic?
The unsinkable Molly Brown
Margaret “Molly” Brown was an American socialite who became famous after she survived the sinking of the Titanic and her brave attitude in lifeboat no. 6 to return to look for survivors. After her death she became famous as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”.
Margaret Tobin was born in Hannibal, Missouri on the 18th July 1867. She had two brothers and one sister. Her parents had been widowed young. That is why she also had two half-sisters form the previous marriages of her parents. At the age of 18 she moved to Leadville, Colorado and started working in a department store. She met James Joseph Brown and married him in 1886. They had two children: Lawrence Palmer Brown and Catherine Ellen Brown.
Margaret was a helpful woman. She helped in soup kitchens to help poor families and she helped to establish the “National American Suffrage Association” in Colorado. In 1894 the family Brown moved to Denver and Margaret became a member of the “Denver Woman’s Club”. The organisation had the mission to improve women’s lived by providing education and philanthropy. Margaret became a society lady and helped with the establishing the first juvenile court in the United States, helped poor children and did fund-raising.
Margaret was first class passenger on the Titanic. The night the Titanic sunk, Margaret helped other people to board the lifeboats and she left the Titanic in Lifeboat no. 6. After the Titanic disappeared in the ocean Margaret wanted the lifeboat to go back to safe people from the ice cold water. Robert Hichens, the crewman in charge of lifeboat no. 6, didn’t want to go back, because he was scared the people would swamp the boat.
After she survived the sinking of the Titanic she became well-known and she used her notoriety to help promote issues like: the right of workers and woman, education for children, the commemoration of the bravery by the men aboard the Titanic and many more. During World War 1 she helped wounded American and French soldiers and she worked with the American Committee for Devastated France to rebuild parts of France that were destroyed. She got an award for good citizenship during the war and her activism in America. When she was older, she became an actress. She died October 26th 1932 at the age of 65. She is buried next to James Joseph Brown in Westbury, New York.
Margaret “Molly” Brown is now seen as a heroine for helping with the evacuation and her efforts in lifeboat no. 6 to go back and search for survivors.
Margaret “Molly” Brown
The guard on the quarter-deck that men forgot to warn
George Thomas Rowe was a 32 year old man and at the night of the collision he had the guard on the quarter-deck. He had to measure the speed of the Titanic and give the information to the bridge and report it in a logbook. He also had the task to watch the surrounding, like a man overboard or something like that.
His shift started at eight o’clock till twelve. He stood alone on the deck and it was freezing. At ten o’clock he reported the speed to the bridge and everything went alright. But at the end of his shift he felt the ship shacking and he saw the iceberg. He looked down at the ship, but he couldn’t see any damage so he went back to his place and waited for his replacement. But the replacement never came and it became colder. An hour later he saw, to his great surprise, a life boat drifting by. He called the bridge to tell them about the life boat and then he heard that the Titanic was sinking.
The bridge asked him to go search for the torch lilies and he tried to make contact with the unknown ship. At 1:25 Captain Smith ordered him to take the command over lifeboat C and he left the Titanic. He survived the disaster with the Titanic.
Why did people write so much about the sinking of the Titanic, while many greater maritime disasters have taken place?
If you say Titanic everyone knows where you’re talking about. If you watch National Geographic on the 14th of April you’ll see all kind of documentary’s about the Titanic. Even after hundred years the sinking of the Titanic is a well-known disaster. Immediately in 1912 everyone was aware of what happened with the Titanic. Why did write so much about the sinking of the Titanic?
I think you can give lots of reasons why Titanic is a well-known maritime disaster. First of all Titanic was called ‘the unsinkable ship’. People thought that there was knowledge enough about the oceans and the ships that it was impossible. When the Titanic sunk it was a big shock.
The Titanic was the biggest moving object that was built by human hands in that time. The Titanic was considered as majestic, because of its greatness and its luxury from the first and second class. A lot of rich people went on the maiden voyage from the Titanic. It was the biggest passenger ship in that time and that made the Titanic special.
Another reason why the sinking of the Titanic is a well-known disaster is that more people could have survived if there were more lifeboats. A lot of the passenger died in the ice cold water and a small percentage survived. The lifeboats were crucial and there weren’t enough lifeboats to safe all the passengers.
The collision from the Titanic with the iceberg could have been prevented. Captain Smith was warned by other ships that there were a lot of ice bergs in the area, but wanted that the Titanic kept sailing with the same speed. Later people said that Bruce Ismay ordered Captain Smith to do that, because he wanted to set a new record. There were enough warnings for Captain Smith, but he ignored them. I think that this makes the sinking of the Titanic more tragic.
The sinking of the Titanic isn’t the biggest maritime disaster that took place, but it’s a really tragic one. A lot of movies have been made and a lot of books have been written about the sinking of the Titanic. We won’t forget the sinking of the Titanic.
What was built in Belfast to honour the Titanic?
Belfast is the place where the Titanic was built. To honour the Titanic there is an impressive building with a museum about the Titanic in it. The construction started in May 2009 and on 31th March 2012 the building opened its doors. The museum is a real Titanic Experience. The museum has nine galleries with special effects and full-scale reconstructions.
The building of Titanic Belfast is impressive. The unique architectural design was influenced by several maritime themes, including ice crystals, ships’ hulls and the insignia of the White Star Line. Eric Kuhne and Mark Evans are the main architects, but they had help from Todd Architects. The ideas about the concept came from Anne Lucas and she had help from Kay Elliot Architects. They all made the building special from the inside, but also from the outside.
Titanic Foundation Limited is the owner from the building. In partnership with Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour Commissioners, Northern Ireland Tourist Boars and Titanic Quarter Limited the building has been funded.
At Titanic Belfast you can start in Belfast with the construction of the Titanic and walk through all the steps the Titanic made.
In the early 20th Century, Belfast had the greatest boom in its history. Belfast was the global leader in engineering, ship-building and linen manufacturing. The shipyard from Harland and Wolff was the largest shipyard in the world. The exhibition will learn the visitors about the industries in Belfast and the innovations that led to design of the RMS Titanic
To enter the shipyard visitors will pass through the original Harland and Wolff shipyard gates to continue their journey. To build the Titanic, and the Olympic, the shipyard needed two new bigger slipways. These slipways were built during the second half of 1908, named the “Arrol Gantry”. To continue to the next step, visitors need to climb on a replica of one of the pillars of the Arrol Gantry. From there, they can go aboard of the Shipyard Ride, an electronic dark ride that used special effects, animations and full-scale reconstructions to recreate the reality of shipbuilding in the early 1900s.
The launch of the Titanic
On the 1st of May 1911 the Titanic was launched with approximately 100.000 people on the side line. The Titanic Experience shows the visitors through a window with glass containing electrodes an enormous view down the actual slipways.
The RMS Titanic was the most elegant and luxurious ship in the world. The ship had the best food, furnishing and fittings. The gallery shows the visitors with help from models and exhibits the interior of the Titanic. It includes replicas of the first, second and third class cabins. You can walk through the dining areas and the ship’s engine rooms which includes the finest details.
Titanic left Belfast at 8pm on April 2nd 1912 and sailed to Southampton. In Southampton most of the passengers went aboard and the Titanic sailed to Cherbourg and Queenstown before setting sail across the Atlantic Ocean. In the gallery the visitors discover what life was actually like on board of the Titanic.
On April 14th at 11.40pm the Titanic hit an iceberg at almost full speed, which created a hole from 90 metre below the waterline. Two and a half hours later, the Titanic sank into the Atlantic Ocean. In this gallery the horror and heroism in the final hours of the Titanic are shown to the visitors with help from sound and lighting.
The sinking of the Titanic was investigated by the land which built the ship, Great Britain, and the land that owned the ship, America. The investigators examined how and why the disaster happened and searched for someone to blame. In the gallery all the information from the investigators and the reporters are brought together.
Myths and Legends
This gallery shows the visitors the stories, legends, fantasies and media reports that originated around the Titanic with help from interactive touch screens.
The Titanic Experience also had as gallery where you can visit and explore the wreck of the Titanic. Dr. Robert Ballard described the wreck September 9th, 1985 like this:
”The Titanic lies now in 13,000 feet of water on a gently sloping Alpine-looking countryside overlooking a small canyon below. Its bow faces north and the ship sits upright on its bottom with its mighty stacks pointed upward. There is no light at this great depth and little life can be found. It is a quiet and peaceful place – and a fitting place for the remains of this greatest of sea tragedies to rest. Forever may it remain that way. And may God bless these now-found souls.”
In 1985, Dr. Robert Ballard and Jean-Louis Michel discovered the place where the Titanic landed on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Dr. Robert Ballard is an American oceanographer and Jean-Louis Michel a French diving engineer. They found the Titanic four kilometres below sea level. The gallery “Titanic Beneath” shows the visitors the footage of the wreckage of Dr. Ballard himself and the visitor can explore every detail of the Titanic on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
What kind of plan has the Australian millionaire, Clive Palmer, to build a replica of the Titanic?
We already know that a lot of people are fascinated about the Titanic. Clive Palmer is a business man, made billions of money and is fascinated about the Titanic too. In April 2012 this year he announced his plans to build a replica of the Titanic.
#29 Clive Palmer
Clive Palmer was born the 26th March in 1954 in Williamstown, Australia. He currently lives on the Sovereign Islands on the Gold Coast, Australia. He is married and has three children. He is the owner of “Mineralogy”, a company that has been engaged for over 20 years in the exploration and development of mineral resources. Clive Palmer bought several companies: Waratah Coal in 2008, Queensland Nickel and Palmer Nickel and Cobalt Refinery in 2009. He also bought the football club “Gold Coast Unites” in 2008.
Clive Palmer is not only a business man, but he is concerned with politics too. He was the spokesman of the National Party of Australia during the state selection in 1986. In November 2012 he announced that he was considering starting a new political party “United Australia Party”, because he was resigned from the Liberal National Party. Clive Palmer owns luxury resorts on the Sunshine Coast and Port Douglas Queensland too. He also does charity work and on the 4th of March he was named as a “National Living Treasure” by the New South Wales Branch of the National Trust of Australia.
In January 2012 Clive Palmer was the 29th on the list of Australia’s 40 Richest.
Titanic II will be a replica of the RMS Titanic. Clive Palmer said he wants the ship to be as similar to the original Titanic in design and specifications, but with modern technology. The ship will be built in China by CSC Jinling Shipyard. “It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic but of course it will have state-of-the-art 21st Century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems,” he said in a statement.
In late 2016 the ship has to cross the Atlantic Ocean just like the Titanic. Titanic II will sail to Southampton where it will start its maiden voyage to New York.
Building a replica of the Titanic is a new investment for Clive Palmer and he plans to build a fleet of luxury liners. He drew a lot of attention to himself with announcing his plans to build a replica of the well-known RMS Titanic. A lot of people are interested to sail on the Titanic II on its maiden voyage and there are a lot of bookings. Clive Palmer asked Jame