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10 Unbelievable Facts About the RMS Titanic

“God himself could not sink this ship!” The RMS Titanic was deemed to be the unsinkable ship, the most profound human creation ever made, and now is known as a great tragedy. Said tragedy had become a tale loved by everyone, as the story had been cleverly crafted into movies, the most popular being the Oscar-winning film directed by James Cameron. The Titanic was already a mind-blowing creation and a particularly exciting part of history, but there is still much more to know about this ship of dreams.

Her Maiden Voyage Lasted a Mere Four Days

The Titanic’s maiden voyage kicked off at noon of the 10th of April, in 1912, and four days and 11 hours later she struck an iceberg, bringing about her own demise. Within ten minutes of the collision 14 feet of icy Atlantic water poured into the front portion of the ship. Two hours and twenty minutes later the entirety of the Titanic was completely submerged. Approximately 1500 people who weren’t fortunate enough to make it onto a lifeboat began what would have seemed like the longest wait of their lives in the freezing Atlantic ocean until the Carpathia arrived the save them 2 hours later, only 705 of 1500 made it to safety.[1]

It Was Powered by 825 Tons of Coal Per Day

Thankfully for our Ozone layer, the voyage lasted only for a few days, but in total that means the Titanic required 3712.5 tons of coal for 4 and a half days. For the entire voyage, the Titanic had 6611 tons of coal stored away on the ship meaning about half was left to sit on the ocean floor. Another thing that also was left in the ocean was an approximate 100 tons of ash per 24 hours, a side effect that definitely would not slide in 2019.[2] What makes burning 825 tons of coal per day seem even more absorbed is that this copious amount of coal was shoveled by only 175 men. To put that into perspective, if each man shoveled an equal amount he would have shoveled 21.21 tons of coal himself. All together the shoveled the weight of 25 blue whales.[3]

The Man Who Spotted the Iceberg Too Late Was Ironically One of the Few Survivors

Frederick Fleet is the name of the man who was on duty in the crow’s nest the night the collision occurred; his job was to look for any obstructions in the water, in fact, he had even been reminded by the two men the relieved to keep a “sharp lookout for small ice.” One Fleet finally noticed the mass of ice in the water, he gave warning by ringing three bells, 37 seconds later he saw the iceberg scrape across the starboard side of the ship, though at the time he thought they had just missed.

He even was calm enough to finish the remainder of his shift, before he was pulled into the chaos of loading women and children into lifeboats, which is how he survived as he was assigned to be a sailor in charge of a boat due to his past experiences sailing.[4] Fleet’s late detection of the iceberg is often to blame for the sinking of the ship, even a hundred years later. In 2012, the 100th anniversary of the sinking, pranksters placed a pair of binoculars on top of his headstone, alongside the note “Sorry for bringing these 100 years too late.”[5]

To Build the Titanic in 2019, It Would Cost Roughly $225,152,080 USD

In 1912 the Titanic’s construction cost totaled around two million USD, that however is equivalent to a much larger sum in the value of today’s currency. How unfortunate would it have been to invest $225,152,080 into a ship that would sink 4 and a half days into its maiden voyage, talk about disappointment![3] These figures help to clarify exactly why the tickets were so outrageously expensive. In today’s currency third class tickets cost 1059 dollars, which explains why Jack was so ecstatic about winning the poker game I suppose, second class tickets sold for $1986 and first class sold for a minimum of $4370 USD. To book one of the four Parlour Suites, you would be set back a staggering $108,000.[6]

Despite Being So Expensive, Some Aspects Were of Cheap Construction and May Be the Cause of the Large Death Toll

Three million wrought iron rivets were used to hold the hull sections together are likely the reason why so nearly one thousand people met their end on April 12th. Tim Foecke, a metallurgist, conducted an investigation on the rivets that were brought to surfaces in a 2004 expedition, and it was determined that the wrought iron rivets contained “three times today’s allowable amount of slag (the glassy residue left behind after the melting of the iron ore)”. Because of this, the rivets were much more brittle, and less ductile then what is required in rivets being exposed to very cold, icy temperatures. So when the Titanic slammed into the iceberg, it is likely the brittle rivet heads broke off, allowing the fasteners to pop from their holes and allowing enough water into the ship to sink it in record time.

Two pieces of evidence greatly assist in proving this theory. Sonar mapping of the Titanic’s starboard side reveals the iceberg only inflicted 6 thin tears, with the total area open being only one square meter, which also contradicts and disproves the belief that the iceberg tore a 90-meter long gash into the ship. This largely points the reason for the ships sinking to the brittle, cheaply made rivets. The second piece of evidence that proves this theory is the Titanic’s sister ship, the RMS Olympic. In 1911 the Olympic collided with another ship, and dozens of holes were left in its hull where it’s clear the rivets had broken off.[6]

The Fourth Smokestack Was Just for Looks

The RMS Titanic consisted of 4 large smokestacks which became an iconic characteristic of its image. However, only three of the four funnels were functional and were actually connected to the furnaces below. The fourth smokestack provided some ventilation but essentially was in place to create a pleasant symmetry. The passengers, however, weren’t aware that the funnel wasn’t being used, which led to an unsettling controversy. As the ship was leaving its last port of call in, passengers boarding claimed they saw a ghastly creature was a blackened face staring back down at them from the funnel- some called the creature death himself, others called it a bad omen. Either way, it left passengers unsettled and even caused some passengers not to board, which I suppose would make the face more of a good omen. As the passengers weren’t aware the funnel was just for looks, they didn’t even consider the possibility that it was just a stoker that had climbed to the top to get some air, or even take a look at the view for one last time. He wasn’t the face of death, he was just covered head to toe in coal dust.[7]

The Titanic’s Baker Was a Hero Three Times as the Ship Was Sinking

Charles Joughin was the head baker for the RMS Titanic, and on the night of the tragedy played a somewhat helpful role. He awoke the entire crew of the ship in disarray, clearly cracking under pressure, so Joughin took the opportunity to step up and help out as best he could have. He ordered that 50 loaves of bread were to be given to the lifeboats being sent out away from the wreck full of women and children, hoping that in this time of despair full stomachs might bring some comfort. After this, he calmly and collectedly returned to his room for a moment of peace and to pour himself a drink. Providing a source of support for the scared and traumatized victims wasn’t Joughins only act of heroism that night.

After he has finished his drink, he had gone above to find his designated seat on one of the lifeboats, but rather than sitting down and going out to safety he gave up his place and instead helped several women and children were loaded into the boats safely. Remaining calm even though he gave up his only real assurance of his safety, he returned to his room for yet another drink, because any courage, liquid or not, undoubtedly would have helped in some way. Once he has finished his last drink the ship has begun to tilt drastically, and all of the lifeboats had already been deployed, so rather than accepting his fate, Joughin displayed yet another heroic act, throwing over deck chairs into the icy water of the Atlantic.

He did this in the hope that some of the people unfortunate enough to not have a spot on a lifeboat would be more likely to survive with something to hold onto. At this point Joughin didn’t just jump into the ocean, hoping it all would work out, he went to the kitchen to sort out yet another drink, and this is when he heard the horrible sound of the “unbreakable” RMS Titanic snapping in two. After downing his drink, he clung to the rail and supposedly wondered what his next move would be. Unfortunately, his only option was to succumb to the icy cold water and to keep his head above water, which due to his life at sea he did for the full two and a half hours. He came out of the water unscathed bar from swollen feet and claimed he treaded water the whole night. For most of the survivors, the thought of going anywhere near the ocean ever again was ludicrous, but for our hero Joughin he later joined the Navy during World War I, to which he also came out unscathed. He lived a ripe life until the age of 78.[8]

A Movie About the Tragedy Was Released in Less Than a Month

Just 29 days after the event a film, “Saved From the Titanic” was released, staring young actress Dorothy Gibson, who actually did survive the Titanic. At the time Gibson was one the highest paid actresses, so when the film company, Éclair Moving Picture, that she was signed too got wind that Gibson had survived and was just pulled off the boat, they wasted no time. Just a few days after exiting the lifeboat Gibson was signed up to be the film’s star and was even credited as a co-writer though this likely meant she divulged her memories from the event and someone else wrote them up.

The film incorporated Gibson’s memory of the event, she recalled that she was one of the first people to get onto the lifeboat, in fact, her boat, named number 7, was actually the first boat to sail from the wreck. On top of incorporating her memory, news film, photos, and anything the company could get their hands on that was of the Titanic was used, they even convinced Gibson to wear the exact same outfit she wore the night the ship went down. It is no wonder she broke down numerous times during filming. The film added a fictional element to the story, Gibson played a girl who was traveling home from studying abroad, eager to once again be in the arms of her love, Jack. The film also only took seven days to film and ran for 10 minutes which is typical for films of the time.[9]

It Took 73 Years for the Wreck to Be Found

The Titanic may have been the largest, moving construction ever built at the time it sunk, but finding the shipwreck was similar to finding a needle in a haystack, not impossible but painstakingly painful. The search began almost immediately after the event, but it was not found until 1985, with Robert Ballard to thank. Ballard was a deep-sea explorer who was on a separate mission to find two submarines for the US Navy, during this mission he has a revelation that wrecks would leave a trail of debris behind them as the current moved the wreck of the ship. As finding the Titanic was his lifelong dream, he asked and was granted permission to form the Navy to have 12 days to look for the wreck. 12 days to search an areas fives times the size of New York, and with the help of a Sonar, a deep sear vehicle called Argo, and a lot of patience, Ballard found the trail and followed it until he struck gold.[10]

Approximately 6000 Artifacts Have Been Recovered From the Wreck

From being found in 1985, to 2004, there were seven research and recovery expeditions conducted which resulted in thousands of artifacts being recovered. It is incredible that after a 73 year wait of finding the shipwreck, that any of the treasures are still in considerably decent condition, as the bottom of the ocean is a very hostile environment for human-made objects, so it is essential that as many items are recovered in a timely fashion to ensure the physical memory is allowed to remain alive. Items that were recovered ranged from a 15 ton portion of the hull of the ship to a one-half inch marble.[11]

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