Titanic
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Titanic

Site Information

Country: United Kingdom
State: Southampton
Location: 41° 43' 31" N - 49° 56' 49" W
Elevation: -3821m below sea level
Field Documentation Date(s): March 14th, 2008
Project Release Date(s): April 12th, 2012
Time Range: 1909 CE - 1912 CE
Era: Edwardian
Culture: British
Site Authority: RMS Titanic Inc.
world map with location

3D reconstruction model of the RMS Titanic

Site Description

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The remains of Titanic lie two miles deep at the bottom of the sea, entombed by the frigid waters of the north Atlantic, 380 miles southeast of Newfoundland. Until her April 14, 1912 sinking following a collision with an iceberg, Titanic was the biggest and most luxurious of the Olympic-class ocean liners built during the prosperous Edwardian era around the turn of the 20th century. She measured 882 feet and 9 inches in length, 92 feet and 6 inches in width, and had a height from water line to Boat Deck of 60 feet. At 46,328 gross tons, Titanic was slightly larger than her older sister ship Olympic (largely due to Titanic's added B Deck staterooms) and slightly smaller than her younger sister ship Britannic. Britannic was the last of the three ships of the class and tragically sank in 1916 during World War I following an impact with a mine. (Lynch/Marschall, Beveridge Vol. I).

Titanic's eight passenger decks were segregated into first, second, and third-class sections. The third-class sections were located on the lower decks (primarily E, F, and G). These sections were primarily adjacent to cargo holds, pantries, and engine casings, and were mostly occupied by poorer European emigrants en route to America. Third-class ticket holders made up the largest group of passengers aboard the ship on her fatal maiden voyage, and, along with the crewmembers, suffered a disproportionate percentage of the 1495 fatalities in the ship's sinking. (Encyclopedia Titanica).

Second-class cabins, which were the equal of first-class accommodations on many other ships, were adjacent to recreation areas and common rooms and located towards the stern on decks C, D, E, and F. The first-class cabins were located in the most luxurious sections of the ship, mostly on A, B, and C Decks, with some rooms on D and E Decks as well. The ship's first-class amenities included a specialty restaurant called the Café Parisien, two sunlit Verandah Cafés, numerous promenades, a swimming pool and a squash court, a gymnasium, a Turkish Bath, a smoking room, a reading and writing room, reception rooms, and two grand staircases. First-class accommodations were adorned with mahogany paneling and furniture, and on the maiden voyage were filled with some of the wealthiest people in the world. (Lynch/Marschall, Beveridge Vol. II).

Titanic boasted some technological advances of the period, including a 5 kW disc discharging wireless Marconi telegraph set. The ship was propelled by two bronze triple-blade wing propellers connected to two reciprocating four-cylinder, triple expansion steam engines, as well as a central four-bladed propeller connected to a single low pressure Parsons Turbine. Steam for the engines was produced by 159 coal-burning furnaces in 29 boilers, venting the byproducts of combustion through three of the four funnels (the fourth was largely decorative, although it did serve to vent the galleys and other areas). With this propelling machinery, a top speed of 23 knots was possible, and although not close to the speed attainable by the Cunard Line’s Lusitania and Mauretania, the Titanic was highly efficient in its consumption of fuel. (Lynch/Marschall, Beveridge Vol. I).

Titanic's collision with an iceberg resulted in a catastrophic buckling of the steel plates. The iceberg's brush with the ship on the starboard side resulted in damage to the hull over a length of 300 feet, causing flooding in five of the ship’s watertight compartments. The ship was only designed to remain afloat with the first four breached, and as the water continued to pour in, the ship was pulled down by the bow. As the ship sank, it broke into two pieces between the third and fourth funnels. The two pieces sank very differently. The bow landed intact and right side up while the heavier stern section landed with much of the shell plating torn off from both the effects of trapped air escaping under pressure during the descent and from the impact with the ocean floor. Today, the bow and stern of the wreck lay on the bottom of the North Atlantic half a mile apart, separated by a field of debris from the wreck and a large coal field created from the opening of the ship’s bunkers. No human remains were found when the ship was discovered, most likely having deteriorated by the 1940s along with the majority of the wood aboard the ship (uncoated pine disintegrated but woods such as teak, and some of the mahogany and oak that was painted or otherwise sealed remains in varying stages of decay). Interestingly, some clothes in near-perfect condition have been found within leather baggage. Generally, anything that was treated with chemicals or having natural oils was not eaten by micro-organisms. (Discovery Channel, Encyclopedia Titanica).
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Historic photograph of the First Class Lounge

History

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Construction of the RMS Titanic began on March 31, 1909 at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She was one of three large transatlantic liners commissioned at the time by the White Star Line, that were intended to be the biggest and most luxurious ships ever built. On May 31, 1911, her hull was launched, and the outfitting completed on March 31, 1912. Carrying the RMS (Royal Mail Ship) title, the ship began its maiden voyage on April 10, 1912 at Southampton, England, bound for New York under the command of Captain Edward J. Smith.

After stops at Cherbourg, France and Queenstown, Ireland to pick up more Passengers and mail, she continued toward New York with 2207 people aboard. The first-class section boasted 324 passengers including some of the most prominent and wealthy people in the world. These names included industrialist Benjamin Guggenheim, U.S. presidential aide Archibald Butt, Macy's department store owner Isidor Strauss and his wife Ida, journalist William Thomas Stead, silent film actress Dorothy Gibson, and many others. The passenger list also included Thomas Andrews, one of Harland & Wolff’s Managing Directors (and nephew of Harland & Wolff’s chairman William J. Pirrie) and White Star managing director J. Bruce Ismay. 277 second-class passengers, 708 third-class passengers, 885 crewmembers, and 13 postal clerks and musicians filled cabins on the lower decks.(Encyclopedia Titanica).

At 11:40pm on the freezing cold, calm, and clear night of April 14, lookouts Reginald Lee and Fredrick Fleet spotted an iceberg directly in Titanic's path. Captain Smith had received iceberg warnings over the wireless the last few days, and altered the ship's course slightly to the south, though now it was clear that the course had not been shifted enough. First Officer Murdoch immediately ordered a turn to port and then a stop on all engines. However, large ships like Titanic were not designed to turn rapidly. The ship was not able to clear the iceberg resulting in a scrape along the hull on the starboard side.

After the ship stopped, Captain Smith ordered an inspection below decks. Just before midnight, it became apparent the Titanic would sink within a few hours. Shortly after, a distress call was sent out and lifeboats were readied. Many passengers were initially reluctant to leave Titanic, believing the ship unsinkable. The reluctance was compounded by the passengers' fear of being separated due to the "women and children first" policy that the crew were enforcing (men were generally allowed aboard the lifeboats only as crew or oarsmen.) The trim of the ship became more pronounced only after most of the lifeboats had left, causing panic among the remaining passengers. Sadly, Titanic only had 20 lifeboats -- more than the British Board of Regulations called for at the time, yet with a total capacity of only 1178 persons - well below the number of people aboard. (Lord). The staircases on A through D decks led directly to the Boat Deck, making it easy for first and second-class passengers to make it to the lifeboats. The more isolated third-class passengers and sleeping crew members on the lower decks found access more difficult; this difficulty was added to by crew members waiting for instructions to let people from the lower decks go up to the Boat Deck. The confusion on board further compounded the tragedy as not all of the lifeboats departed with a full complement of passengers. As an example, one of the boats designed to hold 40 people left the ship with only 12 aboard. (Encyclopedia Titanica, Lynch/Marschall).

By 2:05 AM, all lifeboats save two had been launched and the entire bow was submerged. By 2:10 AM, the stern rose from the water (possibly after the keel broke apart amidships) and the Boat Deck sank up to the waterline. At this point, the large number of people still on deck were scrambling towards the highest point afloat - the stern section. As the stern rose straight up in the air, the ship broke in two pieces, and the bow sank. This was followed a few seconds later, at 2:20 AM, by the stern descending vertically into the sea. In all, 1495 people perished, many of them dying of hypothermia in the freezing water after failing to reach a lifeboat (Discovery Channel, Encyclopedia Titanica). Among the victims were 123 first-class passengers, 159 second-class passengers, all the postmen and musicians (who continued to play as the ship sank to try and instill a sense of calm), 673 crew members, and 527 third-class passengers, many of whom were still below in the lower decks.(Encyclopedia Titanica).

Despite the fact that many of the lifeboats were well below capacity, only one returned to search for survivors. The lifeboat returned well after most people in the water had succumbed to the freezing temperatures; only five survivors were found, two of which eventually perished in the lifeboat (Lord). The closest ship to respond to Titanic’s distress signal was the RMS Carpathia, which was 58 miles away at the time and took four hours to reach Titanic, arriving at daybreak. The Carpathia picked up the lifeboats with a total of 712 people and took them to New York, while the SS Californian, SS Virginian, and SS Minia steamed to the site of the sinking to look for any additional survivors. None were found. Instead, they found light flotsam from the boat such as paper, pillows, and linens, and scores of bodies floating in the frigid waters. Most of these were identified and taken to Nova Scotia for burial. The last survivor of the Titanic disaster was British resident Millvina Dean, who was two months old at the time of the sinking and who passed away in 2010 at the age of 98. (Encyclopedia Titanica, Lord).

Due to an error in the initial distress report of the latitude and longitude of where Titanic sank, the remains of the wreck remained lost for over seven decades as legends surrounding the ship grew in the popular consciousness. In 1985, explorers and oceanographers Jean-Louis Michel and Dr. Robert Ballard located the wreck 22 miles from its originally reported location. Until this time, it was not known for certain if the ship broke in half; its discovery uncovered that fact as well as allowing for sonar studies of the wreck. These studies showed that the ship did not suffer a large gash from the iceberg as originally believed, but instead suffered damage from the steel plates of the hull buckling and separating along a narrow line from the effects of the sideswipe. In the decades since her discovery, most of the non-structural artifacts in the debris field and items lying loose on the hull have been removed from the wreck site by salvagers, primarily RMS Titanic Inc. (a subsidiary of Premier Exhibitions Inc.), who were awarded salvor-in-possession of the wreck by a US District Court in 1994 and have kept the rights despite several court challenges. Since its discovery, there have been numerous calls for Titanic's preservation, but submersible tourism and salvage operations (which have experienced a significant jump since the release of the international blockbuster TITANIC in 1997) continue to the present day.(Discovery Channel, Lynch/Marschall).

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Project Narrative

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Filmmaker James Cameron, director of the two highest-grossing movies of all time (1997's Titanic and 2010'sAvatar), has had a love of the RMS Titanic and its tragic story since childhood. In August 1995, Cameron gathered a crew of experts to journey to the North Atlantic and document the wreckage of the RMS Titanic in preparation for his soon-to-be made epic blockbuster Titanic. This task was facilitated by the use of the manned submersibles Mir 1 and Mir 2, launched from the Russian ship Akademik Mstislav Keldysh, the largest research vessel in the world. This underwater footage was used to haunting effect in the feature film, but more importantly, it served to stoke Cameron's interest in the ship's wreckage, its deteriorating condition, and the mysteries it still held. The feature film Titanic, released in late 1997, was both a critical and commercial success, and soon became the highest grossing film of all time. Meanwhile, various salvage operations were rapidly picking the real-life ship clean of many of its features and inflicting damage to its remaining intact structures. A concerned Cameron decided to conduct several more research trips to the ocean floor. Cameron wanted to more thoroughly document the remains of the Titanic before its inevitable collapse into a heap of scrap metal (Discovery Channel).

In 2001, Cameron returned to the wreck of the Titanic with a team of historical and marine experts to film a new documentary about the ship and its current condition. Two small, maneuverable robotic submersibles, Jake and Elwood, were designed specifically for the task of providing access to areas of the ship which had not been seen since the time of its sinking. Launched from the Mir craft and tethered by fiber optic cable providing video feed, these submersibles produced a great deal of footage that became the main focal point of the 2003 documentary Ghosts of the Abyss, narrated by actor Bill Paxton and released by Disney. Ghosts of the Abyss also used newly-perfected 3D cameras, footage from Mirs 1 and 2, CGI, historical documents and photographs to produce a thorough portrait of the Titanic's short existence, sinking, and its present condition on the North Atlantic seabed. Repeated sojourns into the ship's interior provided a great deal of new insights, and many previously-inaccessible areas of the wreck were explored (Internet Movie Database www.imdb.com ).

In June 2005, Cameron again returned to the Titanic, this time with four new robotic submersibles known as X-Bots. These tiny 13-by-24-by-13 inch motorized cameras were the smallest deep sea wreck-penetrating vehicles ever designed. The footage captured was used in the Discovery Channel special Last Mysteries of the Titanic, which included some live footage broadcast as the submersibles explored many more previously inaccessible areas of the wreck such as the Turkish Baths. This is assumed to have been Cameron's last journey to the wreck for documentation purposes, and collected an enormous corpus of information that would have otherwise been lost to the ship's deterioration (Discovery Channel).

An important element of the 2005 expedition included the creation of an image database, which was tasked to the project’s archaeologists, Michael Arbuthnot and Emily Jateff-Hunter. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Arbuthnot had followed CyArk's progress to digitally preserve heritage sites for several years. Believing strongly in CyArk's mission and the need to preserve the newly acquired data from the Titanic expedition, Arbuthnot proposed that CyArk serve as the archive for the Titanic Database. Recognizing the value of his recently acquired dive footage to the Titanic experts and the public, James Cameron agreed to donate the footage to CyArk for the creation of the Titanic Database Project within the CyArk archive. The Titanic Database Project enlisted the help of many experts throughout the Titanic community to develop supplemental materials to accompany the dive footage in the archive. Together with historical photos, documents, and 3D renderings of the ship, these video segments provide a valuable and unique insight into a historical landmark of tremendous public significance.
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Historic photograph of A-Deck's First Class Smoking Room on Olympic (the Titanic's sister ship), which is nearly identical to the one on Titanic

Preservation

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The wreckage of the RMS Titanic split during the sinking into its bow and stern portions, which today lie over 1900 feet (600 meters) from each other, and 12,467 feet (3800 meters) from the surface. Although the wreck of the Titanic, particularly the bow section, was in fairly pristine condition upon its discovery in 1985, scientists (including Robert Ballard, discoverer of the wreck) believe that increasing tourism and salvage operations have resulted in an advanced rate of decay. In the last 25 years of salvage operations and visits, the ship has experienced the total collapse of its Crow's Nest, Captain's Cabin, Forward Mast, and Poop Deck. Rusticles, visually similar to icicles except made of five types of rust microbes, have multiplied rapidly over the past decade. This process has been accelerated by the consistent disturbance of bottom sediment from tourists and salvage operations. Ecological changes in the biology of sea life around the now-over fished Grand Banks area where the wreck is located have likely contributed to the recent explosion of rusticles. The decline in larger predatory species targeted by commercial fisheries is linked to the increase of small marine life (plankton) in the waters above, which in turn effects the microbial growth below (Discovery Channel) .

In 1996, rates of microbial decay caused the estimated destruction of up to 200 pounds of iron per day from the ship's bow. Studies two years later indicated as much as a threefold increase in decay, coinciding with an increase in tourism and salvage operations following the release of the 1997 blockbuster film Titanic. In 2002, pirates used robotic submersibles to loot artifacts from the wreck without permission from the salvors-in-possession of the wreck, causing significant damage to the bridge. Gashes in the hull are growing at an increasing rate, and many of the rooms have collapsed in the last few years, including the gymnasium. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that the ship will completely collapse in on itself in 50 years or less. Various attempts at international legislation have been passed in the interest of safeguarding the Titanic as a memorial site, but natural and human processes continue to take their toll on the wreck. (Discovery Channel).
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Area Descriptions

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A-Deck
Deck A Aft
Deck A Forward
Room A 07
Room A 11
Room A 16 & 20
Room A 21
Room A 31
The Grand Staircase
B-Deck
Deck B Forward
Rooms B 52, 54 & 56
Deck B Stern
Boat Deck
Boat Deck Aft
Boat Deck Forward
Captain's Rooms
Marconi Room
Wheel House
C-Deck
Deck C Bow
Cabins C 55 & 57
Rooms C 62 & 64
Deck C Stern
D-Deck
Deck D Aft
Deck D Forward
Room D 40
E-Deck
Deck E Bow
Room E 03
Room E 38
Room E 50
Deck E Stern
F-Deck
Deck F Bow
Turkish Baths
Deck F Stern
Room F 02
G-Deck
Deck G Bow
Deck G Stern
Orlop Deck
Orlop Deck Bow
Orlop Deck Stern
Tank Deck
Tank Deck Bow
Tank Deck Stern

A-Deck

A-Deck Description:

The Promenade, or A-Deck, was located directly below the Boat Deck and was home to many of the ship's most extravagant features. The Veranda and Palm Court were here, along with both First-Class Staircase Entrances, Smoking Room, (women's) Reading and Writing Room, and Lounge. All of the cabins on the A-Deck were First-Class and located within the forward Bow section. A Deck contained 34 staterooms: with odd-numbered rooms (A1-A35) on the starboard side of the vessel, and even-numbered rooms (A2-A34) on the port side of the vessel.


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Deck A Aft

Deck A Aft Description:

The stern area of the A Deck was full of First-Class amenities, including the (men's) Smoking Room, the Lounge, the Veranda and Palm Court, and the smaller of the two First-Class entrance stairways. There were no cabins in the A-Deck's Stern area.


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Deck A Forward

Deck A Forward Description:

Towards the exclusive environs located on the Bow of the A-Deck was the First-Class Reading and Writing Room, three Elevators, the First-Class cabins and restrooms, and the Grand Staircase. All of the First-Class cabins were large staterooms; the maritime equivalent to penthouse suites in a luxury hotel. Most First-Class staterooms on the Titanic were in a variety of Neo-Classical styles, outfitted with a lavatory sink, dutch doors that connected to neighboring rooms, a dressing table, a heater, a wardrobe, a finely upholstered brass bed, and a sofa berth for an extra passenger, surrounded by hardwood fixtures and trim all around. These were occupied by some of the richest people in the world at the time of the disaster.


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Room A 07

Room A 07 Description:

Room A 07 was located to starboard, next to a staircase going between decks. It was occupied by Mr. James Clinch Smith, a 56 year-old Long Island resident who boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg. The final moments of J. Clinch Smith's life aboard Titanic are immortalized in his friend Archibald Gracie's popular book Titanic: A Survivor's Story.


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Room A 11

Room A 11 Description:

Room A 11 was occupied by Miss Edith Louise Rosenbaum (AKA Edith Russell), of Cincinatti, Ohio, a 33 year old socialite who had been in Paris to report on spring fashions. From a letter posted in Queenstown, Edith wrote to her secretary in Paris that she had a premonition of trouble in her opulent surroundings, which she described as impressive but 'monstrous' in their excessiveness. As Room A 11 was to starboard, Miss Rosenbaum saw the iceberg glide by her window, and strongly felt both impacts from it. She escaped the Titanic on lifeboat 11, having lost all of her valuable possessions onboard save for her lucky ceramic pig; she had attempted to secure insurance before the journey and was refused on the grounds that the ship was purportedly 'unsinkable'. Edith Rosenbaum died in 1975 in London at the age of 98 after an illustrious life, which included a stint as the world's first female war correspondent during WWI.


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Room A 16 & 20

Room A 16 & 20 Description:

Fashion designer Lady Duff Gordon (age 45) and her husband, aristocrat Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon (age 49), occupied rooms A-16 and A-20. They both escaped aboard Lifeboat 1, and were the only passengers called to testify in British hearings on the disaster.


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Room A 21

Room A 21 Description:

Room A 21 was occupied by John Bertram Brady. Mr. Brady lived in Washington State. He was returning from a vacation in Europe and booked passage on Titanic. He did not survive the sinking.


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Room A 31

Room A 31 Description:

Mr. Henry Blank occupied stateroom A 31, located in from starboard towards the middle of the ship, near the women's lavatories and the elevators. This room was lighted and ventilated from the Boat Deck above as well as having all the other amenities of Titanic's First-Class cabins. Mr. Henry Blank was a 39 year old jeweler from New Jersey. Soon after he and his two card-playing companions felt the shuddering impacts and discovered they were from an iceberg, they went to investigate on the lower decks; seawater flooding the squash courts on Deck F left no doubt in their minds that the ship would sink. As a result, Henry Blank was one of the first people into the first lifeboat, number 7, which left the ship around an hour after the iceberg struck. As few people were on deck to evacuate at this point, Lifeboat number 7 was not filled to capacity and had more men on it (15 out of 26) than later boats, which adhered more strictly to the 'women and children first' policy. Henry Blank's wife never let him travel without her on an intercontinental journey again.


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The Grand Staircase

The Grand Staircase Description:

This is the forward first class, or Grand Staircase, as viewed from A Deck. Designed by Aldam Heaton and Co. Harland and Wolff's interior design firm; the staircase was carved of oak, with balustrades of wrought iron and gilt bronze, topped by a wrought iron and glass dome. In this image, you can see a carved oak clock at the head of the stairs. A rendition of Honor and Glory Crowning Time is carved around the clock face. At the base of the stairs stands a statue of a bronze cherub holding a lamp.
The Grand Staircase extended from the Boat Deck down to E Deck, and the Turkish Baths, creating a path for first class passengers to traverse the ship without interaction with second or third class passengers. Today, the Grand Staircase is devoid of dome, stairs or balustrades. An open shaft, it is now one of the only points of entry into Titanic.


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B-Deck

B-Deck Description:

The Bridge, or B Deck, was as opulent as the A Deck. It was home to the highest concentration of First-Class cabins and suites aboard the ship. Also located on the B Deck were the exclusive A La Carte Restaurant and Cafe Parisien, the Second-Class Smoking area, and extensive First- and Second-Class Promenades. Far aft on the stern end of the ship was the Third-Class Poop Deck, affording these passengers some outside deck space.


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Deck B Forward

Deck B Forward Description:

The forward area of B Deck was dominated by First-Class Staterooms and Suites. All of these were outfitted in the tasteful elegance of Neo-Classic styles and included modern amenities such as electric Gimbal lamps, table fans, and electric fan ventilation to bring in air from outside; the most exclusive suites had their own private promenades. The individual cabins of suites were connected by Dutch doors that provided wealthy families easy access to the quarters of their children and servants; with the private promenades and room service provided upon request, these families could theoretically spend the entire journey secluded in the privacy of their exclusive suites.


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Rooms B 52, 54 & 56

Rooms B 52, 54 & 56 Description:

Joseph Bruce Ismay was the managing Director of the White Star Line and President of the International Mercantile Marine Company, the owners of Titanic. In his position as an executive of these companies, Joesph Ismay was a strong advocate for expanded size and luxury aboard modern ocean liners such as the Titanic and Olympic, a design choice that often came at the expense of speed and maneuverability - factors that may have played a role in the Titanic's sinking. Mr. Ismay was 50 years old when he boarded the Titanic for her maiden Transatlantic voyage. He was rescued aboard Collapsible C.


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Deck B Stern

Deck B Stern Description:

The stern area of the B Deck had First-Class Suites amidships around the staircase, bordering First-Class sitting rooms and the reception area for two exclusive restaurants named A La Carte (located to Port) and Cafe Parisien (located to Starboard with expansive windows looking out over the sea). Bordering these restaurants were the Second-Class Smoking Room and Promenades. Additionally, far aft on the Stern end of the ship was the Third-Class Poop Deck. This area afforded these passengers some outside deck space including benches and room for games, though they had to share the deck with cargo and mooring machinery. The B Deck's far aft stern area was also the location for the aft docking bridge, an elevated platform that functioned like a miniature Wheelhouse/Bridge that included a telephone, telegraphs, a wheel, and other technologies used to assist in docking the Titanic.


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Boat Deck

Boat Deck Description:

The RMS Titanic's Boat Deck was the uppermost deck of the ship. Much of it was open to passengers for promenading and leisure. Dividing the deck along much of its length were deckhouses constructed around the boiler and machinery casings, as well as raised roofs over the several First Class public rooms located on the deck below. The majority of the ship’s ventilators were located here as well, but owing to the use of Sirocco fans to assist with moving air, Titanic’s Boat Deck was not obstructed with the typical unsightly forest of ventilation heads prominent on so many other ships of the period. Also conspicuous by their absence were the huge cowls which delivered air to the forced-draft systems in the boiler spaces of ships like Cunard’s Mauretania. A large continuous deck area, sheathed in yellow pine, extended along both sides of the ship and around the after end of this deck. The raised roofs of the First Class Reading and Writing Room and the First Class Lounge, which extended upward through the Boat Deck by several feet, were also sheathed over in yellow pine, and provided space for deck games. The majority of the Boat Deck space was reserved for First Class passengers, while a smaller area aft was reserved exclusively for Second Class passengers. In addition, the engineers and officers each had their own areas reserved exclusively for them; the latter space also served as a natural barrier which prevented uninvited ‘visitors’ from wandering forward onto the Bridge. As the height of the Boat Deck above the water afforded commanding views in all directions, it was the natural location for the Navigating Bridge and Wheelhouse. These were located at the very forward end of the deck, adjoining the forward end of the deckhouse that also housed the Chart Room and other related spaces, the Officers’ Quarters, the Marconi rooms, six First Class staterooms, the First Class Gymnasium and the forward First Class Entrance. Other deckhouses, some of which surrounded the bases of the funnels themselves, held the Officers’ Mess, Tank Rooms, Engineers’ Smoke Room, and forward Second Class Entrance. The skylights enclosing the domes above both First Class staircases were also situated here – the after one at deck level, and the forward one located on top of the deckhouse roof over the First Class Entrance hall. The light and air shafts above the Reciprocating and Turbine Engine Rooms terminated here as well at the roof level of the deckhouses surrounding them; the former was capped by a skylight while the latter opened into the base of the No.4 Funnel. Flanking both sides of the Boat Deck were the ship’s 30ft main lifeboats and 25ft emergency cutters.


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Boat Deck Aft

Boat Deck Aft Description:

The Boat Deck further towards the stern contained the Second-Class Entrance, an elevator, engine casings and the tank rooms, the First-Class Smoking Area's raised roof, and eight lifeboats, as well as the Second-Class and Engineers' Promenades with areas for deck games.


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Boat Deck Forward

Boat Deck Forward Description:

The Boat Deck was centered around the Wheelhouse/Bridge on the bow, which included the officers' quarters, Marconi Radio room, and telephone station connecting different parts of the ship. Surrounding these structures were the First-Class Entrance Grand Staircase, the Gymnasium, the Officers' Mess Hall, the First-Class Lounge's raised roof platform with Compass Platform, and twelve lifeboats, as well as the First-Class and Officers' Promenades.


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Captain's Rooms

Captain's Rooms Description:

Edward John Smith, captain of the RMS Titanic at the time of its sinking, is a much-debated figure in scholarship and folklore about the sinking. He was 62 years of age and born in Stoke-On-Trent, England; his first ship's command was for White Star Lines (Titanic's parent company) in 1887 and he was considered to be the most popular amongst the White Star captains. On April 14, the night of the ship's sinking, Captain Smith was the guest of honor at a dinner party held by George Widener for the cream of society represented in the ship's manifest; prior iceberg warnings gave the Captain cause to excuse himself early and head to the bridge. Arriving there at 8:55pm, he found only one message pertaining to iceberg dangers in their lane, though a number had been transmitted to the ship and not communicated to the bridge. Captain Smith met with Second Officer Herbert Lightoller and briefly discussed the situation, then excused himself to go to bed at 9:20pm. He was alerted by the ship's collision with the iceberg at 11:40pm and went to the bridge, where he was briefed on the situation by First Officer Murdoch and set off on an inspection. This inspection gave the Captain cause to immediately prepare the lifeboats. He did not, however, give the order for them to be loaded and lowered; for this the Captain was surprisingly indecisive and had to be prodded by Lightoller. He went down with the ship, and was last seen in the bridge area. His body was never recovered. Much debate has centered on to what degree Captain Smith's decisions played a role in the sinking.


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Marconi Room

Marconi Room Description:

The Marconi room was the operating room of Titanic's Marconi Wireless System, likely manned by ship's radio operator Jack Phillips. The Marconi Wireless was a radiotelegraph system that was growing into wider use on transatlantic ship voyages; it enabled ships, trains, and other mobile craft to communicate while in motion and sans the network of cables and poles required for telegraph or telephone service. Though Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of the Marconi Wireless and co-recipient of the 1909 Nobel Prize in physics, was not the first to transmit wireless radio signals in this manner, he was the most commercially-successful, and was responsible the wider dissemination of wireless systems into the mainstream. Marconi was hailed as a hero for his device's role in alerting nearby ships to the disaster on the Titanic, but the system's commercial nature may have also played a role in a series of poor decisions that led to the tragedy. On the night of Titanic's sinking, incoming messages from another ship warning of icebergs in the ship's path were brushed aside by the operators, as their primary duty was to relay paid messages from and to passengers on the ship. After the iceberg was hit, the two Marconi operators changed their perceptions on this duty, and began to relay distress calls to other ships in the vicinity. Senior operator Phillips ran the radio while Junior operator Harold Bride ran messages back and forth to Captain Edward Smith; they remained at the wireless until the power went out.


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Wheel House

Wheel House Description:

Located at the very forward end of the deck with the Navigating Bridge, the Wheel House was regarded as the main control center for the ship.

The exposed Wheel House could have been closed off from inclement weather by use of special boards that attached vie slip bolts to the head beam.


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C-Deck

C-Deck Description:

As with the decks above it, the Shelter, or C Deck, was dominated by First-Class Suites amidships going towards the bow. At the far end of the bow was located the Crew's Galley, the Seamen's Mess, and the Firemen's Mess, all fully separated from the First-Class Suites. Back towards the stern, amidships also held the First-Class Barbershop and the Maid's/Valet's Saloon, surrounded by First-Class accommodations. Second- and Third-Class recreation areas were located aft towards the stern, separated fully from the First-Class areas. The Second-Class covered promenades and Library were here, while further astern were the Third-Class Smoking and General Rooms (lounge).


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Deck C Bow

Deck C Bow Description:

First-Class Suites and Staterooms dominated the bow section of the Shelter (C Deck). Located slightly to starboard near the Grand Staircase was the Purser's Office, a suite of offices dedicated to the ship's business affairs including telegraph services, tickets for onboard amenities such as the Turkish Baths, and stewardship of checked baggage. All the way fore on the Shelter's bow was located the Crew's Galley, the Seamen's Mess, and the Firemen's Mess, all fully separated from neighboring First-Class suites.


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Cabins C 55 & 57

Cabins C 55 & 57 Description:

On the Titanic, 67-year-old Isidor Straus and his wife Ida occupied Cabins C 55-57 along with their manservant John Farthing and Ida's newly employed maid Ellen Bird. Isidor and Ida both died in the sinking of the Titanic. As a merchant, Straus worked his way up from relative poverty as an emigrant to the United States from Bavaria, and eventually became owner of Macy and Co. in 1896. He was also a congressman from New York from 1895-1897.


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Rooms C 62 & 64

Rooms C 62 & 64 Description:

Colonel JJ Astor (age 48 at the time of the sinking) was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Spanish American War. He came from a high profile family, was an author, inventor, entrepreneur and one of the richest men on the ship. He occupied cabins C-62, C-63, and C-64 with his young, newlywed wife Madeline Force and several domestic servants. As the ship sank, Astor ridiculed the passengers boarding the lifeboats, insisting that the Titanic was safer. Eventually he realized that the ship was sinking and helped his wife to board a lifeboat, which he then requested to board himself but was told that women and children were being evacuated first. Astor died in the sinking.


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Deck C Stern

Deck C Stern Description:

The center of the ship was dominated on the Shelter (C Deck) by First-Class Suites, and was also home to the First-Class Barbershop (to port) and the Maid's/Valet's Saloon (to starboard). Second- and Third-Class recreation areas were located towards the stern, past amidships' First-Class Suites and fully separated from them. The Second-Class Library, surrounded by promenades, was distinct onboard in that it was decorated in the American Colonial Adams style rather than one of the European Neo-Classical styles the rest of the ship was decorated in; a great many of the postcards that were postmarked from Titanic were written in this room. Far astern, past the Third-Class Promenade, were the Third-Class Smoking and General Rooms (the lounge). These rooms were paneled and framed in oak and pine, with slatted teak benches and chairs. Most of the Third-Class passengers were a diverse group of European immigrants heading towards a new life in America, and the White Star Line made a decision to not upholster these rooms in soft fabrics as it was feared that lice would proliferate amongst the poverty-stricken multitude.


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D-Deck

D-Deck Description:

The D Deck, or Saloon, was where First-Class passengers initially entered the ship upon ascending its gangplank. This deck showed a greater diversity of class-organized cabin assignments than the upper decks, though the Second- and Third-Class areas continued to be fully separated from First-Class areas. Amidships in the D Deck, literally at the center of the boat, was dominated by the expansive First-Class Dining Saloon and Reception Area. Adjoining this to aft were the First- and Second-Class pantries and galleys, with the Second-Class dining saloon directly aft from these, followed by Second-Class Cabins and then Third-Class areas at the far astern end of the ship. Over fore to the bow side were some large First-Class Staterooms, followed by open space areas for Third-Class passengers, then the Firemen's Quarters at the far Bow terminus.


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Deck D Aft

Deck D Aft Description:

The enormous and opulent First-Class Dining Saloon was directly in the center of the ship, between the second and third funnel casings, and was modeled in the Jacobean style. It featured elegant decor and the use of modest-sized tables with armchairs, a clear break with past maritime dining saloons that used long, bench-like tables with swiveling chairs bolted to the deck. Further aft were the First- and Second-Class Galleys, covering acres of deck space with 19 ovens and numerous specialized pantries; these Galleys were set up to prepare at least 62,000 meals during the Titanic's maiden voyage. The Hospital area was also located to port from the Galleys. Following this area astern was the Second-Class Dining Saloon, designed to hold 394 passengers in a more traditional swivel-chair/long-table arrangement, albeit with very attractive oak paneling and good-quality tableware. Further aft past this area were the first Second-Class Cabins on the ship, which had single-tiered beds, and at the terminus of the stern were a few Third-Class Cabins with double-tiered bunk beds.


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Deck D Forward

Deck D Forward Description:

The horseshoe-shaped Reception Room was the room First-Class passengers initially found themselves in upon climbing the gangplank and entering the ship. It was, along with the neighboring First-Class Dining Saloon, the literal center of the Titanic both socially and structurally, and provided the smoothest ride on the entire ship. A double row of portholes, filtered through a series of prisms, helped disperse sunlight throughout the Reception Room. Further to the fore were some of the most opulent First-Class Staterooms aboard the ship, followed by (and fully-separated from) a Third-Class open space area and bar, finally terminating in the Firemen's Quarters at the bow end.


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Room D 40

Room D 40 Description:

Dr. Henry William Frauenthal, an orthopedic surgeon and expert in chronic joint diseases, occupied cabin D-40 in First Class with his newlywed wife Clara; his brother was also aboard. Frauenthal was 51 years old at the time of the sinking, and he, his wife, and brother all escaped aboard Lifeboat 5. During the escape, a large man leaped aboard and landed upon Clara, breaking several of her ribs.


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E-Deck

E-Deck Description:

The Upper (E) Deck was filled mainly with passenger cabins and crew's quarters, as well as the Second-Class Barbershop and the Engineers' Mess. First-, Second-, and Third-Class all had areas on the Upper Deck, with some mixing between the First- and Second-Class areas and the Second- and Third-Class areas though none between First- and Third-Class; doors found in the walls separating the First- and Third-Class areas did provide access from First-Class into Third-Class areas, but did not open from the Third-Class side.


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Deck E Bow

Deck E Bow Description:

The bow side of the Upper (E) Deck was mainly composed of First Class Suites to port, Third-Class Cabins and service crew quarters to starboard, and seamen's and trimmers' quarters at the fore. Most of the service quarters were standard maritime-style arrays of tiered bunks in large open berths with a minimum of privacy; the managing heads of services generally had private quarters adjoining their employees' open berths.


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Room E 03

Room E 03 Description:

Frederick Dent Ray was 32 years old at the time of Titanic's maiden voyage, he lived in Reading, England. As a saloon steward, Mr. Ray waited tables and generally saw to the saloon; he slept in Room 3 on E-Deck with 27 others. On the night of the sinking, his shift ended at 9pm and he went to his bunk. He was awakened by the Titanic's collision with an iceberg, but believed it was something wrong with the engine room and began to drift back to sleep; two stewards soon came in and told everyone to get to lifeboats. At this point, many of the passengers were still showing resistance to boarding the lifeboats. After assisting recalcitrant passengers into Lifeboats 9 and 11, Mr. Ray boarded the half-full Lifeboat 13. As the boat was lowered into the water, a wrapped infant was tossed down to Ray, who caught the child and brought it to safety.


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Room E 38

Room E 38 Description:

Major Archibald Willingham Butt (age 45) was an influential military aide to Presidents Taft and Theodore Roosevelt. He began his career as a journalist and ended up serving as a lieutenant during the Spanish-American war in the Philippines and Cuba. His later career as a military adviser and aide to two quarreling presidents (Roosevelt and Taft) caused him great mental stress, and he boarded the Titanic for a six-week sojurn to Europe with diplomat Francis Millit. Butt stayed in cabin E 38, and died in the sinking.


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Room E 50

Room E 50 Description:

Mr. George Achilles (age 25) and Mrs. Dorothy (age 21) Harder were first-class passengers aboard the Titanic, residing in Cabin E 50 and paying 55 English Pounds each for their tickets; they were rescued in Lifeboat 5. George testified in the Senate committee inquiry into the sinking, but was mostly silent on the disaster for the rest of his life; adult men who survived the Titanic bore a stigma for surviving when so many women and children did not. Sallie Beckwith (age 46) was also a first-class passenger (Cabin D-35) who was rescued in Lifeboat 5 along with her husband Richard and daughter Sallie.


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Deck E Stern

Deck E Stern Description:

The stern side of the Upper (E) Deck was composed mainly of Second-Class Cabins, some Third-Class Cabins, musicians' quarters, cooks' and waiters' quarters, and a few services including the Second-Class Barbershop. Second-Class cabins on the Titanic were roughly equal to First-Class accommodations on slightly older ships, with two or four berths built into the walls and separated by curtains, with fabric patterns of dated types from the turn of the century, but still elegant in style. All Second-Class Cabins had a washbasin affixed to a mahogany cabinet and shared bathrooms in close proximity.


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F-Deck

F-Deck Description:

The Middle (F) Deck was home to the First-Class Turkish and Swimming Baths, a large complex on the bow side amidships to port. The Observation Deck for the First-Class Squash Court was also located on the Middle Deck afore towards the bow. Directly amidships was the Third-Class Dining Saloon, divided into fore and aft sections, while further aft was the dog kennels, the engineers' quarters, then more Second- and Third-Class Cabins.


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Deck F Bow

Deck F Bow Description:

Going before beyond the Third-Class Dining Saloon, to port, were the First-Class Turkish and Swimming Baths, a large complex that included a saltwater swimming pool, steam rooms, dressing booths, showers, a cooling room, and a massage room, all accessible for the price of one dollar, if you were a First-Class passenger. The Observation Deck for the First-Class Squash Court was also located further before towards the bow. Third-Class accommodations surrounded these First-Class recreation facilities, all securely separated from each other.


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Turkish Baths

Turkish Baths Description:

The First-Class Turkish and Swimming Baths were a large complex that included a saltwater swimming pool, steam rooms, dressing booths, showers, a cooling room, and a massage room '€“ all accessible for the price of one dollar, if you were a First-Class passenger.


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Deck F Stern

Deck F Stern Description:

Amidships, divided fore and aft by a watertight bulkhead, was the Third-Class Dining Saloon. It was designed in traditional style with a swivel-chair/long-table arrangement and a capacity of 473, sparsely decorated and enameled white. The food, however, was hearty and plentiful, and was probably some of the best food many emigrant passengers had ever eaten. Further astern were Second- and Third-Class cabins, none with portholes on the Middle Deck as it was beneath the water line.


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Room F 02

Room F 02 Description:

Room F 02 contained the famous 'orphans of the titanic'. The boys were French brothers Michel (age 4) and Edmond Navratil (age 2). To board the ship, their father (who had kidnapped the boys from his estranged wife) assumed the name Louis Hoffman and used their nicknames, Lolo and Mamon. They stayed in room F 02 under their father's alias. The children were rescued aboard Collapsible D while their father perished in the sinking. As neither child could speak English, they were dubbed the 'orphans of the titanic' and temporarily housed by fellow survivor Miss Margaret Hayes until they could be identified. Mme Navratil saw their pictures in the paper and was brought to New York by White Star Line, where she was reunited with her sons on May 16.


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G-Deck

G-Deck Description:

The Lower (G) Deck was primarily a mechanical deck, with amidships dominated by boiler room casings and coal bunkers, as well as the engine room casings. At both the stern and bow it served as a cargo deck, including refrigerated food storage and First-Class Baggage, and also held some Third-Class Cabins far astern. On the bow end were Third-Class Open Berths, the Post Office, and the First-Class Squash Court.


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Deck G Bow

Deck G Bow Description:

Going fore past the boilers would bring one to the Squash Court and Post Office, followed by the First-Class Baggage area and Third-Class Open Berths, where single men traveling in Third-Class were sequestered far from the females and children located aft in the stern. The Squash Court, which included an Observation Deck on the Middle (F) Deck above, was one of the first passenger areas on the Titanic that began to take on water after the iceberg fatally damaged the ship. The Post Office was soon flooded as well; as the ship was sinking, the five postal workers onboard personally dragged 200 bags of registered mail to the upper decks in an effort to save them. All five of these postal workers lost their lives in the ship's sinking.


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Deck G Stern

Deck G Stern Description:

Going aft past the engine room casings, the stern of the Lower (G) Deck on Titanic was taken up by cold storage for food items and a section of Third-Class Cabins. In general, Titanic's Third-Class Cabins were significantly nicer than those found on most other ships. They included heat and electric lighting, unusual luxuries to many of the emigrants using these quarters in 1912. Proper beds and mattresses were provided, with blankets and pillows (no linens), as well as washbasins. All were outfitted with double berth bunks holding up to six passengers, with single women and families occupying cabins in aft while single men were located to fore in the bow. All offered access to centrally-located water closets, though for bathing there was only one bathtub each for the men and the women. Many poor European citizens of this period unfortunately believed that bathing would make one more vulnerable to consumption (Tuberculosis), and so did not bathe regularly.


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Orlop Deck

Orlop Deck Description:

The Orlop Deck, located below the G Deck, was home to the Titanic's Boiler Rooms, as well as the Turbine Engine Casing and Reciprocating Engine Casing. Towards the stern it also held the majority of the ship's cold storage and the wine/spirits room, while towards the bow it held First- and Second-Class Baggage, the mail room, and other cargo.


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Orlop Deck Bow

Orlop Deck Bow Description:

The Bow of the Orlop Deck was given over to cargo and baggage of many types, from parcels and mail (the RMS designation stands for Royal Mail Service) to baggage to motor cars.


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Orlop Deck Stern

Orlop Deck Stern Description:

The refrigerated rooms located to aft on the Orlop Deck were attenuated to different temperatures for different types of foodstuffs, from beef to fruit to tobacco to champagne. This refrigeration was drawn from copper pipes that would circulate chilled brine from the engine room in greater or lesser quantities depending on the temperature needed. The switchboard platform, which controlled electrical circuits for the ship's dynamos, was also located astern on this deck.


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Tank Deck

Tank Deck Description:

In the bowels of the Titanic lay the Tank Deck. The ship's Boiler Rooms were located here amidships going both fore and aft, mainly towards the bow. Further to aft were the Engine Rooms with their engineers' workshops, and all the way towards the stern were the fresh water tanks used to produce the steam that drove the propellers of the ship.


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Tank Deck Bow

Tank Deck Bow Description:

159 coal-burning furnaces and 29 boilers were divided into the six Boiler Rooms amidships here, fueled by 6000 tons of coal hand-shoveled by the 'black gang' of firemen. Massive, watertight steel doors sealed the compartments from each other. Stoking indicators, timed by an electro-mechanical device, would sound an alarm every seven minutes to indicate which furnace was in need of fresh coal. All the way fore in the Bow were the firemen's passages and hatches, leading above decks to their quarters and coal reserves.


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Tank Deck Stern

Tank Deck Stern Description:

Titanic had three huge steam engines, one Turbine Engine for the massive central propeller and two Reciprocating Engines for the wing propellers. All three of the engine rooms were located to aft on the Tank Deck. The Turbine Engine Room was replete with engineers' workshops and the central power station for the entire ship. Fresh water tanks located further astern would be heated to provide steam for the propellers. Both of the steam engines were reversible, while the Turbine Engine was not - a fact that played into the ship's demise when it failed to fully reverse course upon encountering the iceberg.


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References:

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  1. Beveridge, Bruce (2008). Titanic, The Ship Magnificent Volume I: Design and Construction. The History Press:Charleston (SC)
  2. Beveridge, Bruce (2008). Titanic, The Ship Magnificent Volume II: Interior Design and Fitting Out. The History Press:Charleston (SC)
  3. Broad, William J. (1997). Toppling Theories, Scientists Find 6 Slits, Not Big Gash, Sank Titanic. From the New York Times, April 8, 2004, p. C1.
  4. Discovery Channel (2005). Last Mysteries of the Titanic. Online at YourDiscovery.com.
  5. Encyclopedia Titanica (1996-2010). RMS Titanic facts and history. Online at Encyclopedia-Titanica.org.
  6. Lord, Walter (1955). A Night To Remember. Henry Holt:New York.
  7. Lynch, Don and Marschall, Ken (2003). Ghosts of the Abyss: A Journey Into the Heart of the Titanic. Madison Press:Toronto
  8. Nichol, Mark (1994-2007). Titanic and Other White Star Line Ships. Online database at Titanic-WhiteStarShips.com.
  9. Titanic Legend. La storia del Titanic. Online at www.titaniclegend.it

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