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A research paper I did for school.
The RMS Titanic
Deemed safe and unsinkable—the Titanic, the largest and most luxurious ship of its time, stole the attention of the world and replaced it with remorse, when it struck an iceberg in the Atlantic and sank, killing over 1500 passengers. In this essay, you will read about the construction of the titanic, it’s numerous staff members who kept her going, her schedule and a timeline of its sinking. You will also read about the aftermath, the new safety regulations imposed after the disaster, and a book called “The Wreck of the Titan”, which is a story uncannily similar to the sinking of the Titanic.
The White Star line was interested in building a new ocean liner that would compete with its rival, the Cunard Line. Harland and Wolff was commissioned to build the new ship, the Titanic. The ship was designed to be the largest of its time and most luxurious, since the White Star Line knew they could not compete with speed. Her construction began with the laying of the keel on March 31st 1909. Next the frame was put in place, and the hull was constructed around it, using hull plates about one inch thick.
When completed, the Titanic was 882 feet in length and 175 feet high from her keel to her smokestacks. Her total tonnage was 45,324 tons. Its carrying capacity was 3547 passengers, but only had twenty lifeboats, which could only carry 1178 people. In total, the ship weighed in at about 66,000 tons. In order to carry this massive weight, the Titanic was powered by 29 boilers and 159 furnaces. Only three of her smokestacks actually emitted smoke; the rear one was added for show. There were sixteen “watertight” compartments that could individually sealed by remote in case of a leak. Ironically the ship was advertised to be very safe because of this.
A large, diverse workforce of 899 crew members were needed to tend to its 1300 passengers. Many jobs the crew members had included: barbers, bakers, scullions, cooks, stokers, fireman, and mailroom staff (The Titanic had a contract with the British Royal Mail Service, hence being titled RMS. There were 17 female stewardesses who served—all of which survived because of the women and children first policy. Edward Smith was the captain of the ship, and had a handful of officers who were in charge of every aspect of life on the Titanic.
The ship had a busy schedule but was never completed. On Wednesday April 10th, the RMS Titanic carried her first load of passengers. The ship was already docked at Southampton. At 8 o’ clock, the whole crew was gathered on the ship for general inspection. Two of the lifeboats were lowered into the water to be checked. At 9:30am, the third and second class passengers arrived at Southampton from a boat train, and at 11:30, the first class arrived on a separate boat train. All the passengers boarded the ship in separate entrances based on class. Once onboard, the passengers were given a quick medical examination to check for infectious diseases. Meanwhile 7 million pieces of mail were brought on the cargo hold.
After all the passengers and cargo boarded, the Titanic set off. An accident was nearly avoided; backwash form the ship’s propellers caused the SS New York to swing into the Titanic, narrowly missing by four feet. Tug boats came to the scene and pushed the ships in the right direction.
The Titanic then traveled through the English Channel to pick up more passengers from the French port of Cherbourg, and to let off a few “cross-channel” passengers. At 8:00pm, the ship left Cherbourg and reached Queenstown around 11:30am the next day. Here the Titanic received more passengers. The ocean liner departed from Queenstown at 1:30 pm, and continued her destination to New York. On Friday evening, April 14, the titanic received numerous iceberg warnings from different ships. Some messages were ignored and never made it to the bridge.
Here is a detailed timeline describing the sinking of the Titanic, written in narrative form, and told from the viewpoint of a fictional person: “I was standing on the deck looking out into the sea at 11:40. Someone yelled from the mast, “Iceberg dead ahead!” I looked behind myself and saw the iceberg. The iceberg seemed to grow as we neared it. Then the ship turned hard left, but it wasn’t hard enough, because I then heard what sounded like a “titanic” finger dragging itself in a line across the hull. I was frightened at first, but I thought it was no big deal, since the Titanic’s hull was an inch thick. I also thought that even if the hull was pierced, one of the compartments would be sealed. I just stood on deck for twenty minutes, until I heard “Everyone to the lifeboats! Women and children first!” I got to the edge of the deck and got on one of the lifeboats as it was lowered into the water at 12:45. After the lifeboat was lowered, we rowed away from the ship. Then I heard a large snap as I saw the Titanic snap in half. Two minutes later, she sunk.”
The disaster shocked the world; in response, many new safety improvements were enacted, and people blamed each other back and forth for the cause of the disaster. The white star was very worried about its reputation. They claimed that 826 people survived as opposed to 706 according to the US senate. The White Star Line renamed the Gigantic to the Britannic, to avoid reference to its sister ship, the Titanic. Many people blamed the sinking of the Titanic on the White Star line. Some of the accusations were: the Titanic was made out of substandard steel, it was traveling to fast, and the quartermaster turned the wheel the wrong way at a crucial moment.
Naval safety improvements were made to prevent any future disasters. All ships were and still are required to have enough life boats to accommodate all passengers. Ice patrol was invented (now the US Coast Guard). All ships were required to have “round-the-clock wireless service”, and all ships were required to slow down at night in an area where an iceberg was reported.
A book was released decade earlier about a ship named the Titan, bearing many eerie similarities to the Titanic disaster. The book was about a ship that was 800 feet long (the Titanic was 882 feet long) that sunk in the North Atlantic Ocean just like the Titanic, and was deemed unsinkable just like the Titanic. The Titan had high causalities because it did not have enough life boats just like the Titanic did.
Johnston, Paul F. "Titanic." World Book Student. World Book, 2014. Web. 6 May 2014.
"Titanic Interactive." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 06 May 2014.
Adams, Simon. Titanic. New York, NY: DK Pub., 1999. Print.
Cunard, Chris. "Titanic." - Chris' Cunard Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2014.
Ward, Greg. The Rough Guide to the Titanic. London: Rough Guides, 2012. Print. Rough Guides.
Titanic Timeline - A Timeline of the Titanic Sinking (About.com 20th Century History)
"The Novella That Predicted the Wreck of the Titanic." Io9. N.p., n.d. Web. 13
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(This post was last modified: 05-22-2014 11:12 AM by DeadorAlive.)