50 Fascinating Facts on the Titanic–100 year Anniversary on 15th April 2012



  • No one ever claimed that the Titanic was “unsinkable”. The quote, “practically unsinkable” was taken out of context. In 1911, Shipbuilder magazine published an article describing the construction of the Titanic. The article stated that when the watertight doors were closed, the ship would be “practically unsinkable”.
  • Originally, a lifeboat drill was scheduled to take place on board the Titanic on April 14, 1912 – the day the Titanic hit the iceberg. However, for an unknown reason, Captain Smith canceled the drill. Many believe that had the drill taken place, more lives could have been saved.
  • Robertson wrote a novel called Futility. This fictitious novel was about the largest ship ever built hitting an iceberg in the Atlantic ocean on a cold April night. The fictional ship (named Titan) and the real ship Titanic were similar in design and their circumstances were remarkably alike. Both ships were labeled “unsinkable”.
  • From the time the lookouts sounded the alert, the officers on the bridge had only 37 seconds to react before the Titanic hit the iceberg. In that time, First Officer Murdoch ordered “hard a-starboard” (sharp left turn). He also ordered the engine room to put the engines in reverse. The Titanic did bank left, but it wasn’t quite enough.
  • Not only were there not enough lifeboats to save everyone on board, most of the lifeboats that were launched off the Titanic were not filled to capacity. For instance, the first lifeboat to launch, Lifeboat 7 from the starboard side) only carried 24 people, despite having a capacity of 65 (two additional people later transferred to Lifeboat 7 from Lifeboat 5). However, it was Lifeboat 1 that carried the fewest people – only seven crew and five passengers (a total of 12 people) despite having a capacity for 40.
  • Lillian Gertrud Asplund, the last American survivor of the Titanic tragedy, died in Massachusetts on May 6, 2006, at age 99. Her mother and a brother also survived, but her father and three other brothers perished. The last survivor, Millvina Dean, died on May 31, 2009, at age 97.
  • Eleanor Shuman, who was the inspiration for Kate Winslet’s Rose, died on March 7, 1998, at age 87.
  • Although most passengers had to share bathrooms (only the two promenade suites in first class had private bathrooms), third class had it rough with only two bathtubs for more than 700 passengers.
  • When the Titanic began sending out distress signals, the Californian, rather than the Carpathia, was the closest ship; yet the Californian did not respond until it was much too late to help. At 12:45 a.m. on April 15, 1912, crew members on the Californian saw mysterious lights in the sky (the distress flares sent up from the Titanic) and woke up their captain to tell him about it. Unfortunately, the captain issued no orders. Since the ship’s wireless operator had already gone to bed, the Californian was unaware of any distress signals from the Titanic until the morning, but by then the Carpathia had already picked up all the survivors. Many people believe that if the Californian had responded to the Titanic’s pleas for help, many more lives could have been saved.
  • The ship received information earlier regarding the presence of ice floes in the vicinity, yet continued to speed full throttle ahead towards tragedy.
  • Many Titanic survivor diaries were discovered and illustrated the despair involved with the Titanic
  • The death of Captain Edward Smith is a topic of debate; many think the Titanic could have been saved if he acted differently, some think not
  • Molly Brown was one of the most famous figures on the Titanic, the wife of a Colorado silver mine entrepreneur was the only woman to row a Titanic lifeboat to safety
  • One of the most famous stories was about a wealthy elderly couple name the Straus’. When Mrs. Straus learned men could not board the Titanic lifeboats, she opted to stay with her husband although she knew it meant certain death
  • The band really did keep playing as the ship sank
  • No other ocean liner at the time had enough lifeboats for all passengers.
  • Titanic was never claimed to be unsinkable by either Harland and Wolf nor White Star. The description “virtually unsinkable” was made by a ship building magazine
  • Among the property reported as lost on the Titanic were over 3000 bags of mail and an automobile.
  • Each first class passenger paid a whopping $4,350 for a parlor suite ticket and $150 for a berth ticket.
  • The ship contained a heated swimming pool, a first for any sailing vessel.
  • The ship was still so brand new when passengers boarded it on April 10, 1912 that the paint was still wet in some spots.
  • Of the 1517 people of perished in the sinking of the Titanic, only 306 bodies were recovered.
  • The largest percentage of survivors came from first class passengers.
  • Even though directions have been given for women and children to board the lifeboats first, a number of men were reported as survivors while a surprisingly large number of women and children perished in the disaster. Most of the women and children lost in the sinking came from second and third class.
  • Sadly, Captain Smith had made plans to retire after seeing the Titanic safely across the Atlantic on her maiden voyage.
  • It cost $7,500,000 to build the Titanic.
  • It took three years to fully construct the ship.
  • Among the provisions when the Titanic set sail in Southampton, England were 40,000 eggs, 75,000 pounds of fresh meat and 1,000 bottles of wine.
  • The “steerage” passengers were not locked belowdecks or denied access to the lifeboats and many of them survived. Twice as many men from third class survived as did men from second class and the survival rate of third class women was almost twice that of first class men.
  • Many of the lifeboats launched with empty seats (some with more than half the seats empty) because of the lunacy of the “women and children first” custom (there was no such law, rule or regulation in effect then or ever – thank the troops aboard HMS Birkenhead and Rudyard Kipling for that myth). Many refused to believe the ship was actually going to sink and chose to stay aboard until a rescue ship arrived. Many passengers did not speak English and couldn’t understand the instructions given them, thus they didn’t get to the correct lifeboat stations in time. Many steerage passengers arrived at the lifeboat stations after the boats had been launched because of the distance the had to travel and because, in many cases, they chose to take the time to gather up their luggage and demanded to be allowed to take it with them and refused to board without it. Even so, 36% of third class passengers survived, including 52% of the children, 46% of the women and 16% of the men.
  • RMS stands for Royal Mail Steamer. RMS, in formal terms, means “Royal Merchant Ship”. However, the dual meaning was also “Royal Mail Steamer”, because the Titanic carried mail under the auspices of His Majesty’s postal authorities. At that time, all ships, military and civilian, that were under the British flag carried the distinction of “R.M.S.” This, in effect, gave the ship the protection of the British Crown. An attack on an R.M.S. was considered an attack on the crown and an act of war.
  • Two dogs were among the Titanic survivors.
  • There were no cats on the Titanic. Cats were often brought on ships as a form of good luck. They also controlled rodents.
  • The Titanic is about as long as the Empire State building is tall.
  • The Tower Bridge, located in London England, is approximately the same length and height as the Titanic.
  • Originally, the Titanic’s design only included 3 funnels (smokestacks). The aftmost funnel (towards stern) was added to make the Titanic look more impressive-it gave the feeling of “power and grace”. It only functioned as an air vent.
  • It was customary to break a bottle of champagne on the bow of a boat when launched. The Titanic launching did not include the traditional bottle-breaking.
  • Many of the passengers were not originally suppose to be traveling on the Titanic. Due to a strike, coal was in short supply. This shortage threatened Titanic’s maiden voyage and forced the White Star Line to cancel travel on the Oceanic and Adriatic and transfer their passengers and coal stocks to the Titanic.
  • There were 13 couples on board celebrating their Honeymoons.
  • At the time, Titanic’s whistles were the largest ever made and the whistles could be heard from a distance of 11 miles.
  • The Titanic used 14,000 gallons of drinking water every 24 hours.
  • Coal consumption per day: 825 tons.
  • Carried 20 lifeboats and 3560 life jackets. The life jackets were made of canvas and cork.
  • More than 3 million rivets were used to build the Titanic.
  • In a test done to determine stopping distance, the Titanic was accelerated to 20 knots and then the engines were reversed at full power. The distance required to stop the Titanic was about half a mile.
  • The lookouts in the crow’s nest did not have binoculars. Having binoculars might have prevented the Titanic tragedy.
  • The Titanic sank 2 hours and 40 minutes after hitting the iceberg.
  • It probably took Titanic about 15 minutes to sink to her final resting place on the ocean floor. That means that Titanic sank at a rate of 10 miles per hour (or 16 km per hour).
  • The Titanic hit the iceberg on the starboard (right) side of the bow. It has been speculated that the Titanic may have suffered only minor damage and minimal loss of life had it hit the iceberg head-on. It has also been suggested that the Titanic may have completely avoided colliding with the iceberg had the bridge not requested that the engines be reversed (“Full Astern”), prior to steering the ship to the left (“Hard-a-starboard”). This action would have decreased the forward momentum of the Titanic causing it to turn at a slower rate.
  • July and August are the only two months the weather permits expeditions to the Titanic wreck site.

Categories: Current Affairs

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4 replies

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  2. lol there was a lot of beer and wine on the ship

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