Thursday, April 12, 2012

April 12, 1912

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The following two days aboard the Titanic were quiet.  According to Lawrence Beesley in The Loss of the S.S. Titanic It's Story and It's Lessons, "There is very little to relate from the time of leaving Queenstown on Thursday to Sunday morning.  The sea was calm, - so calm, indeed, that very few were absent from meals: the wind westerly and southwesterly, - "fresh" as the daily chart described it, - but often rather cold, generally too cold to sit out on deck or write, so that many of us spent a good part of the time in the library, reading and writing."

So today we will look at the ship itself, the "ship of dreams."  The Titanic was 882.5 feet long, approximately the size of two football fields.  She was 92.5 feet across, approximately the length of a basketball court.  From the bottom of the ship to the top of the funnels she was 175 feet tall, approximately the height of a 16 story building.  There were eight major deck levels, A through G which accounted for passenger and crew spaces.  Orlop deck was below G, where cargo and machinery were housed.

The maximum capacity the ship was designed for was 3,547, though on her maiden voyage she only carried 2,222 people.  The First Class accommodations included 39 suites (these cabins included five rooms - two bedrooms, two wardrobes, and a bathroom) and 350 regular cabins.  Second class could accommodate 550 passengers in either two or four berth rooms.  These rooms would have been comparable to first class on other liners (other than the Olympic, Titanic's sister ship).  The Third Class accommodations could house more than 1,000 people, with private rooms with two to six passenger berths.  This was unlike other liners where third class passengers would normally be housed in dormitory-style sleep quarters.  

If you traveled in First Class, you had access to numerous amenities.  One of the more unusual ones would be the swimming pool.  While today's cruise ships try to out-do themselves with the number of pools or the accessories at the pools, the Olympic and Titanic were the first ships to have pools.  The Titanic did have the first heated pool on an ocean liner.

The Titanic also boasted of a gymnasium equipped with the latest exercise equipment and her very own trainer available to assist those using the facility, a Mr. Thomas W. McCawley.  The gym had an electric camel, electric horse, cycles, and a rowing machine.  To use the facility one would purchase a ticket, at a shilling a piece, for one hour.  Using the gymnasium came down to gender - women from 9:00 a.m. until noon, gentlemen from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m., and children from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m.

The Titanic's gymnasium
 Mr. Thomas W. McCawley demonstrating the equipment.  
Photograph taken by Francis Browne.

One of Titanic's famous features is the 60 foot staircase.  But, not everyone could easily manage stairs.  For those individuals, there were three elevators directly next to the stairs to take passengers between the levels.  

A photograph of the elevators on the Olympic, Titanic's sister ship.
There may be no known photographs of the elevators.
In the early 20th century many of today's communication devices were just beginning to be developed.  One of the earliest is the telegraph.  In 1895, Guglielmo Marconi first invented the telegraph in Italy, then in 1896 he traveled to England where he received the first patent for wireless telegraphy.  He continued to make improvements and new inventions through the years.  On the Titanic, two Marconi operators who managed the equipment.  These two men were employed by the The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company, not the White Star Line.  Reports state a 10 word telegraph would cost a passenger $3.00 and ten cents for each additional word thereafter.

Only known photograph of the Marconi Telegraph room aboard the Titanic.  
Harold Bride, one of two Marconi operators on the Titanic.  Photograph taken by Francis Browne.


  1. I am loving these. Thanks for posting!

  2. Thanks for telling me. I thought I was scaring off the few people who read my blog. LOL!