Planning, Building, and Launching of the RMS Titanic

The RMS Titanic, photo taken during her sea trials circa 1912

The RMS Titanic, photo taken during her sea trials circa 1912. GGA Image ID # 103a5a990e

The keel of the Titanic was laid on March 31, 1909, and she was launched on May 31, 1911; she passed her trials before the Board of Trade officials on March 31, 1912, at Belfast, arrived at Southampton on April 4, and sailed the following Wednesday, April 10, with 2,208 passengers and crew, on her maiden voyage to New York.

She called at Cherbourg the same day, Queenstown Thursday, and left for New York in the afternoon, expecting to arrive the following Wednesday morning. But the voyage was never completed.

She collided with an iceberg on Sunday at 11.45 p.m. in Lat. 41° 46' N. and Long. 50° 14' W., and sank two hours and a half later; 815 of her passengers and 688 of her crew were drowned and 705 rescued by the Carpathia." Such is the record of the Titanic, the largest ship the world had ever seen.

Decks of the Titanic: Comprehensive Details - 1912

Plate 3: Plans for Boat Deck and Promenade Deck.

Plate 3: Plans for Boat Deck and Promenade Deck. The White Star Triple-Screw Steamers Olympic and Titanic. The Shipbuilder (Midsummer 1911) p. 120-121. GGA Image ID # 10e159037b

Extract from the Congressional Serial Set of 1912 - Loss of the Titanic that provides the reader with a thorough discussion of the ships' Water-Tight compartments and description of each deck along with accommodations on each deck.

Watertight Compartments - RMS Titanic

Table of the Titanic's Water-Tight Compartments

Table of the Titanic's Watertight Compartments. The Table Shows the Decks to Which the Bulkheads Extended, and the Number of Doors in Them. 1(a). There Was Another Watertight Door at the after End of the Water-Tight Passage through the Bunker Immediately Aft of D Bulkhead. This Door and the One on the D Bulkhead Formed a Double Protection to the Forward Boiler Room. 1(b). The Water-Tight Doors for These Bulkheads Were Not on Them but Were at the End of a Water-Tight Passage (About 9 Feet Long), Leading from the Bulkhead through the Bunker into the Compartment. GGA Image ID # 104bedf904

Contents of Watertight Compartments

Table of the Content of Each Water-Tight Compartment on the RMS Titanic

Table of the Content of Each Water-Tight Compartment on the RMS Titanic. (1) Length of Each Watertight Compartment in Fore and Aft Direction. (2) Not Used Except For Trimming Ship. The Table Shows the Actual Contents of Each Separate Watertight Compartment. The Compartments Are Shown in the Left Column, the Contents of Each Compartment Being Read Off Horizontally. The Contents of Each Watertight Compartment Are Separately Given in the Deck Space. GGA Image ID # 104c0b7869

The vessel was constructed under survey of the British Board of Trade for a passenger certificate, and also to comply with the American immigration laws.

Steam was supplied from six entirely independent groups of boilers in six separate water-tight compartments. The after boiler room No. 1 contained five single-ended boilers. Four other boiler rooms, Nos. 2, 3, 4, and 5, each contained five double-ended boilers.

The forward boiler room, No. 6, contained four double-ended boilers. The reciprocating engines and most of the auxiliary machinery were in a seventh separate water-tight compartment aft of the boilers; the low-pressure turbine, the main condensers, and the thrust blocks of the reciprocating engine were in an eighth separate water-tight compartment.

The main electrical machinery was in a ninth separate water-tight compartment immediately abaft the turbine engine room. Two emergency steam-driven dynamos were placed on the D deck, 21 feet above the level of the load water line.

These dynamos were arranged to take their supply of steam from any of the three of the boiler rooms Nos. 2, 3, and 5, and were intended to be available in the event of the main dynamo room being flooded.

The ship was equipped with the following:

  1. Wireless telegraphy.
  2. Submarine signaling.
  3. Electric lights and power systems.
  4. Telephones for communication between the different working positions in the vessel.  In addition to the telephones, the means of communication included engine and docking telegraphs, and duplicate or emergency engine-room telegraph, to be used in the event of any accident to the ordinary telegraph.
  5. Three electric elevators for taking passengers in the first class up to A deck, immediately below the boat deck, and one in the second class for taking passenger's up to the boat deck.
  6. Four electrically driven boat winches on the boat deck for hauling up the boats.
  7. Life-saving appliances to the requirements of the board of trade, including boats and life belts.
  8. Steam whistles on the two foremost funnels, worked on the Willett-Bruce system of automatic control.
  9. Navigation appliances, including Kelvin's patent sounding machines for finding the depth of water under the ship without stopping; Walker's taffrail log for determining the speed of the ship; and flash signal lamps fitted above the shelters at each of the navigating bridge for Morse signaling with other ships.

DECKS AND ACCOMMODATIONS

Boat Deck

Plate 3(a): Boat Deck Plan.

Plate 3(a): Boat Deck Plan. The Shipbuilder (Midsummer 1911) p. 120-121. GGA Image ID # 10e1a447c7

The boat deck was an uncovered deck, on which the boats were placed. At its lowest point it was about 92 feet 6 inches above the keel. The overall length of this deck was about 500 feet. The forward end of it was fitted to serve as the navigating bridge of the vessel and was 190 feet from the bow.

On the after end of the bridge was a wheel house, containing the steering wheel and a steering compass. The chart room was immediately abaft this.

On the starboard side of the wheel house and funnel casing were the navigating room, the captain's quarters, and some officers' quarters.

On the port side were the remainder of the officers' quarters. At the middle line abaft the forward funnel casing were the wireless-telegraphy rooms and the operators' quarters. The top of the officers' house formed a short deck.

The connections from the Marconi aerials were made on this deck, and two of the collapsible boats were placed on it.

Aft of the officers' house were the first-class passengers' entrance and stairways and other adjuncts to the passengers' accommodation below. These stairways had a minimum effective width of 8 feet.

They had assembling landings at the level of each deck, and three elevators communicating from E to A decks, but not to the boat deck, immediately on the fore side of the stairway.

All the boats except two Engelhardt life rafts were carried on this deck. There were seven lifeboats on each side, 30 feet long, 9 feet wide. There was an emergency cutter, 25 feet long, on each side at the fore end of the deck.

Abreast of each cutter was an Engelhardt life raft. One similar raft was carried on the top of the officers' house on each side. In all there were 14 lifeboats, 2 cutters, and 4 Engelhardt life rafts.

The forward group of four boats and one Engelhardt raft were placed on each side of the deck alongside the officers' quarters and the first-class entrance. Further aft at the middle line on this deck was the special platform for the standard compass.

At the after end of this deck was an entrance house for second-class passengers with a stairway and elevator leading directly down to F deck. There were two vertical iron ladders at the after end of this deck leading to A deck for the use of the crew.

Alongside and immediately for ward of the second-class entrance was the after group of lifeboats, four on each side of the ship. In addition to the main stairways mentioned there was a ladder on each side amidships giving access from the A deck below.

At the forward end of the boat deck there was on each side a ladder leading up from A deck with a landing there, from which by a ladder access to B deck could be obtained direct.

Between the reciprocating engine casing and the third funnel casing there was a stewards' stairway, which communicated with all the decks below as far as E deck.  Outside the deck houses was promenading space for first class passengers.

A Deck

Plate 3(b): First Class Promenade Deck A Plan.

Plate 3(b): First Class Promenade Deck A Plan. The Shipbuilder (Midsummer 1911) p. 120-121. GGA Image ID # 10e1866347

The next deck below the boat deck was A deck. It extended over a length of about 500 feet. On this deck was a long house extending nearly the whole length of the deck. It was of irregular shape, varying in width from 24 feet to 72 feet.

At the forward end, it contained 34 staterooms and abaft these a number of public rooms, etc., for first-class passengers, including two first-class entrances and stairway, reading room, lounge, and the smoke-room.

Outside the deck house was a promenade for first-class passengers. The forward end of it on both sides of the ship, below the forward group of boats and for a short distance farther aft, was protected against the weather by a steel screen, 192 feet long, with large windows in it.

In addition to the stairway described on the boat deck, there was near the after end of the A deck and immediately forward of the first-class smoke room another first-class entrance, giving access as far down as C deck.

The second-class stairway at the after end of this deck (already described under the boat deck) had no exit on to the A deck. The stewards' staircase opened onto this deck.

B Deck

Plate 4a: Deck Plans for Poop Deck, Bridge Deck B and Forecastle Deck.

Plate 4a: Deck Plans for Poop Deck, Bridge Deck B and Forecastle Deck. The White Star Triple-Screw Steamers Olympic and Titanic. The Shipbuilder (Midsummer 1911) p. 120-121. GGA Image ID # 10e7ecc537

The next lowest deck was B deck, which constituted the top deck of the strong structure of the vessel, the decks above and the side plating between them being light plating. This deck extended continuously for 550 feet. There were breaks or wells both forward and aft of it, each about 50 feet long.  It was terminated by a poop and forecastle.

On this deck were placed the principal staterooms of the vessel, 97 in number, having berths for 198 passengers, and aft of these was the first-class stairway and reception room, as well as the restaurant for first-class passengers and its pantry and galley.

Immediately aft of this restaurant were the second-class stairway and smoke room. At the forward end of the deck outside the house was an assembling area, giving access by the ladders, previously mentioned, leading directly to the boat deck. From this same space a ladderway led to the forward third-class promenade on C deck.

At the after end of it were two ladders giving access to the after third-class promenade on C deck. At the after end of this deck, at the middle line, was placed another second-class stairway, which gave access to C, D, E, F, and G decks.

At the forward end of the vessel, on the level of the B deck, was situated the forecastle deck, which was 125 feet long. On it were placed the gear for working the anchors and cables and for warping (or moving) the ship in dock.

Delivering One of the Fifteen Ton Anchors for the Titanic

Delivering One of the Fifteen Ton Anchors for the Titanic. Technical World Magazine (March 1911) p. 81. GGA Image ID # 104fdb85eb

At the after end; on the same level, was the poop deck, about 105 feet long, which carried the after warping appliances and was a third-class promenading space.

Arranged above the poop was a light docking bridge, with telephone, telegraphs, etc., communicating to the main navigating bridge forward.

C Deck

Plate 4b: Deck Plans for Shelter Deck C.

Plate 4b: Deck Plans for Shelter Deck C. The White Star Triple-Screw Steamers Olympic and Titanic. The Shipbuilder (Midsummer 1911) p. 120-121. GGA Image ID # 10e8cab74c

The next lowest deck was C deck. This was the highest deck which extended continuously from bow to stern. At the forward end of it, under the forecastle, was placed the machinery required for working the anchors and cables and for the warping of the ship referred to on B deck above. There were also the crew's galley and the seamen's and firemen's mess-room accommodation, where their meals were taken.

At the after end of the forecastle, at each side of the ship, were the entrances to the third-class spaces below. On the port side, at the extreme after end and opening onto the deck was the lamp room.

The break in B deck between the forecastle and the first-class passenger quarters formed a well about 50 feet in length, which enabled the space under it on C deck to be used as a third-class promenade.

This space contained two hatchways, the No. 2 hatch, and the bunker hatch. The latter of these hatchways gave access to the space allotted to the first and second class baggage hold, the mails, specie and parcel room, and to the lower hold, which was used for cargo or coals. Abaft of this well there was a house 450 feet long and extending for the full breadth of the ship.

It contained 148 staterooms for first class, besides service rooms of various kinds. On this deck, at the forward first class entrance, were the purser's office and the inquiry office, where passengers' telegrams were received for sending by the Marconi apparatus.

Exit doors through the ship's side were fitted abreast of this entrance. Abaft the after end of this long house was a promenade at the ship's side for second-class passengers, sheltered by bulwarks and bulkheads.

In the middle of the promenade stood the second-class library. The two second-class stairways were at the ends of the library, so that from the promenade access was obtained at each end to a second-class main stairway.

There was also access by a door from this space into each of the alleyways in the first class accommodation on each side of the ship and by two doors at the after end into the after well. This after well was about 50 feet in length and contained two hatchways called No. 5 and No. 6 hatches.

Abaft this well, under the poop, was the main third-class entrance for the after end of the vessel leading directly down to G deck, with landings and access at each deck. The effective width of this stair way was 16 feet to E deck. From E to F it was 8 feet wide. Aft of this entrance on B deck were the third-class smoke room and the general room.

Between these rooms and the stern was the steam steering gear and the machinery for working the after-capstan gear, which was used for warping the after end of the vessel. The steam steering gear had three cylinders. The engines were in duplicate to provide for the possibility of breakdown of one set.

D Deck

Plate 4c: Deck Plans for Saloon Deck D.

Plate 4c: Deck Plans for Saloon Deck D. The White Star Triple-Screw Steamers Olympic and Titanic. The Shipbuilder (Midsummer 1911) p. 120-121. GGA Image ID # 10e8d3c105

The general height from D deck to C deck was 10 feet 6 inches, this being reduced to 9 feet at the forward end, and 9 feet 6 inches at the after end, the taper being obtained gradually by increasing the sheer of the D deck. The forward end of this deck provided accommodation for 108 firemen, who were in two separate watches.

There was the necessary lavatory accommodation, abaft the firemen's quarters at the sides of the ship. On each side of the middle line immediately abaft the firemen's quarters there was a vertical spiral staircase leading to the forward end of a tunnel, immediately above the tank top, which extended from the foot of the staircase to the forward stokehole, so that the firemen could pass direct to their work without going through any passenger accommodation or over any passenger decks.

On D deck abaft of this staircase was the third class promenade space which was covered in by C deck. From this promenade space there were 4 separate ladderways with 2 ladders, 4 feet wide to each.

One ladderway on each side forward led to C deck, and one, the starboard, led to E deck and continued to F deck as a double ladder and to G deck as a single ladder.

The two ladderways at the after end led to E deck on both sides and to F deck on the port side. Abaft this promenade space came a block of 50 first-class staterooms. This surrounded the forward funnel.

The main first-class reception room and dining saloon were aft of these rooms and surrounded the No. 2 funnel. The reception room and staircase occupied 83 feet of the length of the ship.

The dining saloon occupied 112 feet and was between the second and third funnels. Abaft this came the first-class pantry, which occupied 56 feet of the length of the ship. The reciprocating engine hatch came up through this pantry.

Aft of the first-class pantry, the galley, which provides for both first and second class passengers, occupied 45 feet of the length of the ship. Aft of this were the turbine engine hatch and the emergency dynamos. Abaft of and on the port side of this hatch were the second-class pantry and other spaces used for the saloon service of the passengers.

On the starboard side abreast of these there was a series of rooms used for hospitals and their attendants.

These spaces occupied about 54 feet of the length. Aft of these was the second-class saloon occupying 70 feet of the length. In the next 88 feet of length there were 38 second-class rooms and the necessary baths and lavatories.

From here to the stern was accommodation for third-class passengers and the main third-class lavatories for the passengers in the after end of the ship.

The water-tight bulkheads come up to this deck throughout the length from the stern as far forward as the bulkhead dividing the after boiler room from the reciprocating engine room. The water-tight bulkhead of the two compartments abaft the stem was carried up to this deck.

E Deck

Plate 4d: Deck Plans for Upper Deck E.

Plate 4d: Deck Plans for Upper Deck E. The White Star Triple-Screw Steamers Olympic and Titanic. The Shipbuilder (Midsummer 1911) p. 120-121. GGA Image ID # 10e941bfce

The water-tight bulkheads, other than those mentioned as extending to D deck, all stopped at this deck. At the forward end was provided accommodation for three watches of trimmers, in three separate compartments, each holding 24 trimmers.

Abaft this, on the port side, was accommodation for 44 seamen. Aft of this, and also on the starboard side of it, were the lavatories for crew and third-class passengers; further aft again came the forward third-class lavatories.

Immediately aft of this was a passageway right across the ship communicating directly with the ladderways leading to the decks above and below and gangway doors in the ship's side. This passage was 9 feet wide at the sides and 15 feet at the center of the ship.

From the after end of this cross passage main alleyways on each side of the ship ran right through to the after end of the vessel. That on the port side was about 8 ½ feet wide. It was the general communication passage, for the crew and third-class passengers and was known as the working passage.

In this passage at the center line in the middle of the length of the shin direct access was obtained to the third-class dining rooms on the deck below by means of a ladderway 20 feet wide. Between the working passage and the ship's side was the accommodation for the petty officers, most of the stewards, and the engineers' mess room.

This accommodation extended for 475 feet. From this passage access was obtained to both engine rooms and the engineers' accommodation, some third-class lavatories and also some third-class accommodation at the after end. There was another cross passage at the end of this accommodation about 9 feet wide, terminating in gangway doors on each side of the ship.

The port side of it was for third-class passengers and the starboard for second class. A door divided the parts, but it could be opened for any useful purpose, or for an emergency. The second-class stairway leading to the boat deck was in the cross passageway.

The passage on the starboard side ran through the first and then the second-class accommodation, and the forward main first-class stairway and elevators extended to this deck, whilst both the second class main stairways were also in communication with this starboard passage.

There were 4 first-class, 8 first or second alternatively, and 19 second-class rooms leading off this starboard passage. The remainder of the deck was appropriated to third-class accommodation. This contained the bulk of the third-class accommodation. At the forward end of it was the accommodation for 53 firemen constituting the third watch.

Aft of this in three water-tight compartments there was third-class accommodation extending to 147 feet. In the next water-tight compartment were the swimming bath and linen rooms.

In the next water-tight compartments were stewards' accommodation on the port side, and the Turkish baths on the starboard side.  The next two water-tight compartments each contained a third-class dining room.

The third-class stewards' accommodation, together with the third class galley and pantries, filled the water-tight compartment. The engineers' accommodation was in the next compartment directly alongside the casing of the reciprocating engine room. The next 3 compartments were allotted to 64 second-class staterooms. These communicated directly with the second-class main stairways.

The after compartments contained third-class accommodation. All spaces on this deck had direct ladderway communication with the deck above, so that if it became  necessary to close the water-tight doors in the bulkheads an escape was available in all cases. On this deck in the way of the boiler rooms were placed the electrically driven fans which provided ventilation to the stoke holes.

G Deck

The forward end of this deck had accommodation for 15 leading firemen and 30 greasers. The next water-tight compartment contained third-class accommodation in 26 rooms for 106 people.

The next water-tight compartment contained the first-class baggage room, the post-office accommodation, a racquet court, and 7 third class rooms for 34 passengers. From this point to the after end of the boiler room the space was used for the between deck bunkers.

Alongside the reciprocating engine room were the engineers' stores and workshop. Abreast of the turbine engine room were some of the ship's stores. In the next water-tight compartment abaft the turbine room were the main body of the stores.

The next two compartments were appropriated to 186 third-class passengers in 60 rooms; this deck was the lowest on which any passengers or crew were carried.

Titanic Outboard Profile, Boat Deck and Orlop Deck Plans

Titanic Outboard Profile, Boat Deck and Orlop Deck Plans. International Marine Engineering (May 1912) p. 199. GGA Image ID # 1050d41670

Below G deck were two partial decks, the orlop and lower orlop decks, the latter extending only through the fore peak and No. 1 hold; on the former deck, abaft the turbine engine room, were some storerooms containing stores for ship's use.

Below these decks again came the inner bottom, extending fore-and-aft through about nine-tenths of the vessel's length, and on this were placed the boilers, main and auxiliary machinery, and the electric-light machines. In the remaining spaces below G deck were cargo holds or 'tween decks, seven in all, six forward and one aft.

The firemen's passage, giving direct access from their accommodation to the forward boiler room by stairs at the forward end, contained the various pipes and valves connected with the pumping arrangements at the forward end of the ship, and also the steam pipes conveying steam to the windlass gear forward and exhaust steam pipes leading from winches and other deck machinery.

It was made thoroughly water-tight throughout its length, and at its after end was closed by a water-tight vertical sliding door of the same character as other doors on the inner bottom.

Special arrangements were made for pumping this space out, if necessary. The pipes were placed in this tunnel to protect them from possible damage by coal or cargo, and also to facilitate access to them.

On the decks was provided generally, in the manner above described, accommodation for a maximum number of 1,034 first-class passengers, and at the same time 510 second-class passengers and 1,022 third class passengers.  Some of the accommodation was of an alternative character and could be used for either of two classes of passengers.

In the statement of figures the higher alternative class has been reckoned. This makes a total accommodation for 2,506 passengers. Accommodation was provided for the crew as follows: About 75 of the deck department, including officers and doctors, 320 of the engine room department, including engineers, and 544 of the victualing department, including pursers and leading stewards.

Access of passengers to the boat deck

The following routes led directly from the various parts of the first-class passenger accommodation to the boat deck: From the forward ends of A, B, C, D, and E decks by the staircase in the forward first-class entrance direct to the boat deck.

The elevators led from the same decks as far as A deck, where further access was obtained by going up the top flight of the main staircase. The same route was available for first-class passengers forward of midships on B, C, and E decks.

First-class passengers abaft midships on B and C decks could use the staircase in the after main entrance to A deck, and then could pass out onto the deck and by the midships stairs beside the house ascend to the boat deck.

They could also use the stewards' staircase between the reciprocating-engine casing and Nos. 1 and 2 boiler casing, which led direct to the boat deck. This last route was also available for passengers on E deck in the same divisions who could use the forward first-class main stairway and elevators.

Second-class passengers on D deck could use their own after stairway to B deck and could then pass up their forward stairway to the boat deck, or else could cross their saloon and use the same stairway throughout.

Of the second-class passengers on E deck, those abreast of the reciprocating-engine casing, unless the water-tight door immediately abaft of them was closed, went aft and joined the other second-class passengers.

If, however, the water-tight door at the end of their compartment was closed, they passed through an emergency door into the engine room and directly up to the boat deck by the ladders and gratings in the engine-room casing.

The second-class passengers on E deck in the compartment abreast the turbine casing on the starboard side, and also those on F deck on both sides below could pass through M water-tight bulkhead to the forward second-class main stairway.

If this door were  closed, they could pass by the stairway up to the serving space at the forward end of the second-class saloon and go into the saloon and thence up the forward second-class stairway.

Passengers between M and N bulkheads on both E and F decks could pass directly up to the forward second-class stairway to the boat deck.

Passengers between N and O bulkheads on D, E, F, and G decks could pass by the after second-class stairway to B deck and then cross to the forward second-class stairway and go up to the boat deck.

Third-class passengers at the fore end of the vessel could pass by the staircases to C deck in the forward well and by ladders on the port and starboard sides at the forward end of the deck houses, thence direct to the boat deck outside the officers' accommodation.

They might also pass along the working passage on E deck and through the emergency door to the forward first-class main stairway, or through the door on the same deck at the forward end of the first-class alleyway and up the first-class stairway direct to the boat deck.

The third-class passengers at the after end of the ship passed up their stairway to E deck and into the working passage and through the emergency doors to the two second class stairways and so to the boat deck, like second-class passengers.

Or, alternatively, they could continue up their own stairs and entrance to C deck, thence by the two ladders at the after end of the bridge onto the B deck and thence by the forward second-class stairway direct to the boat deck.

Crew

From each boiler room an escape or emergency ladder was provided direct to the boat deck by the fiddleys, in the boiler casings, and also into the working passage on E deck, and thence by the stair immediately forward of the reciprocating-engine casing, direct to the boat deck.

From both the engine rooms ladders and gratings gave direct access to the boat deck.

From the electric engine room, the after tunnels, and the forward pipe tunnels escapes were provided direct to the working passage on E deck and thence by one of the several routes already detailed from that space.

From the crew's quarters they could go forward by their own staircases into the forward well and thence, like the third-class passengers, to the boat deck.

The stewards' accommodation being all connected to the working passage or the forward main first-class stairway, they could use one of the routes from thence.

The engineers' accommodation also communicated with the working passage, but as it was possible for them to be shut between two water-tight bulkheads, they had also a direct route by the gratings in the engine-room casing to the boat deck.

On all the principal accommodation decks the alleyways and stairways provided a ready means of access to the boat deck, and there were clear deck spaces in way of all first, second, and third class main entrances and stairways on boat deck and all decks below.

Description of the RMS Titanic - 1912

The Biggest Ship in the World Which Met Disaster on Her Maiden Voyage

The Biggest Ship in the World Which Met Disaster on Her Maiden Voyage: The £1.500.000 White Star Liner “Titanic” Leaving Southampton for Her First Trip to New York. The Illustrated London News (4 May 1912) p. 656-657. GGA Image ID # 106319cf3e

Extracts from the Congressional Serial Set from 1912, Loss of the Titanic report that provided essential details about the ownership, operation, and construction of the steamship.

THE WHITE STAR LINE

The Titanic was one of a fleet of 13 ships employed in the transport of passengers, mails, and cargo between Great Britain and the United States, the usual ports of call for the service in which she was engaged being Southampton, Cherbourg, Plymouth, Queenstown, and New York.

The owners are the Oceanic Steam Navigation Co. (Ltd.), usually known as the White Star Line, a British registered company, with a capital of £750,000, all paid up, the directors being Mr. J. Bruce Ismay (chairman), the Right Hon. Lord Pirrie, and Mr. H. A. Sanderson.

The company are owners of 29 steamers and tenders; they have a large interest in 13 other steamers, and also own a training sailing ship for officers.

All the shares of the company, with the exception of eight held by Messrs. E. C. Grenfell, Vivian II. Smith, W. S. M. Burns, James Gray, J. Bruce Ismay, H. A. Sanderson, A. Kerr, and the Right Hon. Lord Pirrie, have, since the year 1902, been held by the International Navigation Co. (Ltd.), of Liverpool, a British registered company, with a capital of £700,000, of which all is paid up, the directors being  Mr. J. Bruce Ismay (chairman), and Messrs. H. A. Sanderson, Charles F. Torrey, and H. Concannon.

The debentures .of the company, £1,250,000, are held mainly, if not entirely, in the United Kingdom by the general public.

The International Navigation Co. (Ltd.), of Liverpool, in addition to holding the above-mentioned shares of the Oceanic Steam Navigation Co. (Ltd.), is also the owner of:

  1. Practically the whole of the issued share capital of the British & North Atlantic Steam Navigation Co. (Ltd.), and the Mississippi & Dominion Steamship Co. (Ltd.), (the Dominion Line).
  2. Practically the whole of the issued share capital of the Atlantic Transport Co. (Ltd), (the Atlantic Transport Line).
  3. Practically the whole of the issued ordinary share capital and about one-half of the preference share capital of Frederick Leyland & Co. (Ltd.), (the Leyland Line).

As against the above-mentioned shares and other property, the International Navigation Co. (Ltd.) have issued share hen certificates for £25,000,000.

Both the shares and share lien certificates of the International Navigation Co. (Ltd.) are now held by the International Mercantile Marine Co. of New Jersey, or by trustees for the holders of its debenture bonds.

THE STEAMSHIP "TITANIC

The Titanic was a three-screw vessel of 46,328 tons gross and 21,831 net register tons, built by Messrs. Harland & Wolff for the White Star Line service between Southampton and New York.

She was registered as a British steamship at the port of Liverpool, her official number being 131,428. Her registered dimensions were:

Table of Registered Dimensions of the RMS Titanic

Table of Registered Dimensions of the RMS Titanic. GGA Image ID # 104b3a8d78

The propelling machinery consisted of two sets of four-cylinder reciprocating engines, each driving a wing propeller, and a turbine driving the center propeller. The registered horsepower of the propelling machinery was 50,000.

The power which would probably have been developed was at least 55,000.

Structural arrangements.—The structural arrangements of the Titanic consisted primarily of:

  1. An outer shell of steel plating, giving form to the ship up to the top decks.
  2. Steel decks.—These were enumerated as follows:

Table of Structural Arrangements of the RMS Titanic

Table of Structural Arrangements of the RMS Titanic. GGA Image ID # 104ba135a1

C, D, E, and F were continuous from end to end of the ship. The decks above these were continuous for the greater part of the ship, extending from amidships both forward and aft.

The boat deck and A deck each had two expansion joints, which broke the strength continuity. The decks below were continuous outside the boiler and engine rooms and extended to the ends of the ship.

Except in small patches none of these Decks was water tight in the steel parts, except the weather deck and the orlop deck aft.

  1. Transverse vertical bulkheads.—There were 15 transverse water tight bulkheads, by which the ship was divided in the direction of her length into 16 separate compartments. These bulkheads are referred to as "A" to P," commencing forward.

The water-tightness of the bulkheads extended up to one or other of the decks D or E; the bulkhead A extended to C, but was only water tight to D deck.

The position of the D, E, and F decks, which were the only ones to which the water-tight bulkheads extended, was in relation to the water line (34 feet 7 inches draft) approximately as follows :

The Position of Titanic's Water-Tight Bulkheads on Decks D, E, and F in Relation to the Water Line

The Position of Titanic's Water-Tight Bulkheads on Decks D, E, and F in Relation to the Water Line. GGA Image ID # 104ba69415

These were the three of the four decks which, as already stated, were continuous all fore and aft. The other decks, G and orlop, which extended only along a part of the ship, were spaced about 8 feet apart.

The G deck forward was about 7 feet 6 inches above the water line at the bow and about level with the water line at bulkhead D, which was at the fore end of boilers.

The G deck aft and the orlop deck at both ends of the vessel were below the water line. The orlop deck abaft of the turbine engine room and forward of the collision bulkhead was water tight.

Elsewhere, except in very small patches, the decks were not water tight. All the decks had large openings or hatchways in them in each compartment, so that water could rise freely through them.

There was also a water-tight inner bottom, or tank top, about 5 feet above the top of the keel, which extended for the full breadth of the vessel from bulkhead A to 20 feet before bulkhead P, i. e., for the whole length of the vessel except a small distance at each end.

The transverse water-tight divisions of this double bottom practically coincided with the water-tight transverse bulkheads; there was an additional water-tight division under the middle of the reciprocating engine-room compartment (between bulkheads K and L).

There were three longitudinal water-tight divisions in the double bottom, one at the center of the ship, extending for about 670 feet, and one on each side, extending for 447 feet.

All the transverse bulkheads were carried up water-tight to at least the height of the E deck. Bulkheads A and B, and all bulkheads from K (90 feet abaft amidships) to P, both inclusive, further extended water-tight up to the underside of D deck. A bulkhead further extended to 0 deck, but it was water-tight only to D deck.

Bulkheads A and B forward, and P aft, had no openings in them. All the other bulkheads had openings in them, which were fitted with water-tight doors. Bulkheads D to O, both inclusive, had each a vertical sliding water-tight door at the level of the floor of the engine and boiler rooms for the use of the engineers and firemen.

On the Orlop deck there was one door, on bulkhead N, for access to the refrigerator rooms. On G deck there were no water-tight doors in the bulkheads. On both the F and E decks nearly all the bulkheads had water-tight doors, mainly for giving communication between the different blocks of passenger accommodation.

All the doors, except those in the engine rooms and boiler rooms, were horizontal sliding doors workable by hand, both at the door and at the deck above.

There were 12 vertical sliding water-tight doors which completed the water-tightness of bulkheads D to O, inclusive, in the boiler and engine rooms. These were capable of being  simultaneously closed from the bridge. The operation of closing was intended to be preceded by the ringing from the bridge of a warning bell.

These doors were closed by the bringing into operation of an electric current and could not be opened until this current was cut off from the bridge. When this was done the doors could only be opened by a mechanical operation manually worked separately at each door.

They could, however, be individually lowered again by operating a lever at the door. In addition, they would be automatically closed, if open, should water enter the compartment.

This operation was done in each case by means of a float, actuated by the water, which was in either of the compartments which happened to be in the process of being flooded.

There were no sluice valves or means of letting water from one compartment to another.

The Machinery of the Titanic - 1912

From the Congressional hearings, the description of the machinery provides information on the reciprocating engines, turbine, boilers, auxiliary and main steam pipes, condensing plant and pumps, bilge and ballast pumps, and other essential machinery, presented for non-engineers.

22-Ton Turbine Propellor on the RMS Titanic

22-Ton Turbine Propellor on the RMS Titanic. The Universal Engineer (December 1911) p. 412. GGA Image ID # 104ff0403b

The propelling machinery was of the combination type, having two sets of reciprocating engines driving the wing propellers and a low-pressure turbine working the center propeller.

Steam was supplied by 24 double-ended boilers and 5 single-ended boilers, arranged for a working pressure of 215 pounds per square inch.

The turbine was placed in a separate compartment aft of the reciprocating-engine room and divided from it by a water-tight bulkhead.

Boilers on the RMS Titanic

Boilers on the RMS Titanic. The Truth About the Titanic (1913) p. 52. GGA Image iD # 1055386319

The main condensers, with their circulating pumps and air pumps, were placed in the turbine room. The boilers were arranged in six water-tight compartments, the single-ended boilers being placed in the one nearest the main engines, the whole being built under board of trade survey for passenger certificate.

Reciprocating Engines

View of the Starboard Reciprocating Engines on the RMS Titanic.

View of the Starboard Reciprocating Engines on the RMS Titanic. It may be stated that both triple screw steamers Titanic and Olympic have propelling plants consisting of reciprocating engines and a low-pressure steam turbine. The two sets of reciprocating engines, one driving each wing shaft are of the four crank triple type and are arranged to work at 215 pounds per square inch and to exhaust at 9 pounds absolute. The International Steam Engineer (November 1911) p. 744. GGA Image ID # 1055751ec4

The reciprocating engines were of the four-crank triple-expansion type. Each set had four inverted, direct acting cylinders, the high-pressure having a diameter of 54 inches, the intermediate pressure of 84 inches, and each of the two low-pressure cylinders of 97 inches, all with a stroke of 6 feet 3 inches.

The valves of the high-pressure and intermediate cylinders were of the piston type, and the low-pressure cylinder had double-ported slide valves, fitted with Stephenson link motion. Each engine was reversed by a Brown type of direct-acting steam and hydraulic engine.

There was also a separate steam-driven high-pressure pump fitted for operating either or both of the reversing engines. This alternative arrangement was a stand-by in case of breakdown of the steam pipes to these engines.

Turbine

The low-pressure turbine was of the Parsons reaction type, direct coupled to the center line of shafting and arranged for driving in the ahead direction only. It exhausted to the two condensers, placed one on each side of it. A shut-off valve was fitted in each of the eduction pipes leading to the condensers.

An emergency governor was fitted and arranged to shut off steam to the turbine and simultaneously change over the exhaust from the reciprocating engines to the condensers, should the speed of the turbine become excessive through the breaking of a shaft or other accident.

Boilers

All the boilers were 15 feet 9 inches in diameter, the 24 double-ended boilers being 20 feet long, and the single-ended 11 feet 9 inches long. Each double-ended boiler had six and each single-ended boiler three furnaces, with a total heating surface of 144,142 square feet and a grate surface of 3,460 square feet.

The boilers were constructed in accordance with the rules of the board of trade for a working pressure of 215 pounds per square inch. They were arranged for working under natural draft, assisted by fans, which blew air into the open stokehold.

Auxiliary Steam Pipes

The five single-ended boilers and those in boiler rooms Nos. 2 and 4 had separate steam connections to the pipe supplying steam for working the auxiliary machinery, and the five single-ended boilers and the two port boilers in boiler room No. 2 had separate steam connections to the pipe supplying steam for working the electric-light engines.

A cross connection was also made between the main and auxiliary pipes in the reciprocating-engine room, so that the auxiliaries could be worked from any boiler in the ship. Steam pipes also were led separately from three of the boiler rooms (Nos. 2, 3, 5) above the water-tight bulkheads and along the working passage to the emergency electric-light engines placed above the load line in the turbine room. Pipes were also led from this steam supply to the pumps in the engine room, which were connected to the bilges throughout the ship.

Main Steam Pipes

There were two main lines of steam pipes led to the engine room, with shut-off valves at three of the bulkheads. Besides the shut-off valves at the engine-room bulkhead, a quick acting emergency valve was fitted on each main steam pipe, so that the steam could at once be shut off in case of rupture of the main pipe.

Condensing Plant and Pumps

There were two main condensers, having a combined cooling surface of 50,550 square feet, designed to work under a vacuum of 28 inches with cooling water at 60° F.

The condensers were pear shaped in section and built of mild steel plates. Four gun-metal centrifugal pumps were fitted for circulating water through the condensers. Each pump had suction and discharge pipes of 29-inch bore, and was driven by a compound engine.

Besides the main sea suctions, two of the pumps had direct bilge suctions from the turbine room and the other two from the reciprocating-engine room. The bilge suctions were 18 inches diameter. Four of Weir's "Dual" air pumps were fitted, two to each condenser, and discharged to two feed tanks placed in the turbine engine room.

Bilge and Ballast Pumps

The ship was also fitted with the following pumps : Five ballast and bilge pumps, each capable of discharging 250 tons of water per hour; three bilge pumps, each of 150 tons per hour capacity.

One ash ejector was placed in each of the large boiler compartments to work the ash ejectors, and to circulate or feed the boilers as required. This pump was also connected to the bilges, except in the case of three of the boiler rooms, where three of the ballast and bilge pumps were placed.

The pumps in each case had direct bilge suctions as well as a connection to the main bilge pipe, so that each boiler room might be independent. The remainder of the auxiliary pumps were placed in the reciprocating and turbine engine rooms.

Two ballast pumps were placed in the reciprocating-engine room, with large suctions from the bilges direct and from the bilge main. Two bilge pumps were also arranged to draw from bilges. One bilge pump was placed in the turbine room and one of the hot salt-water pumps had a connection from the bilge main pipe for use in emergency.

A 10-inch main ballast pipe was carried fore and aft through the ship with separate connections to each tank, and with filling pipes from the sea connected at intervals for trimming purposes. The five ballast pumps were arranged to draw from this pipe. A double line of bilge main pipe was fitted forward of No. 5 boiler room and aft of No. 1.

General

Funnels of the RMS Titanic, One Installed, One on a Rail Car

Funnels of the RMS Titanic, One Installed, One on a Rail Car. The Universal Engineer (December 1911) p. 418. GGA Image ID # 10502e45f1

There were four elliptical-shaped funnels; the three forward ones took the waste gases from the boiler furnaces, and the after one was placed over the turbine hatch and was used as a ventilator. The galley funnels were led up this funnel. The uptakes by which the waste gases were conveyed to the funnels were united immediately above the water-tight bulkhead which separated the boiler rooms.

All overhead discharge from the circulating pumps, ballast pumps, bilge pumps, etc., were below the deep load line, but above the light line.

The boilers were supported in built steel cradles and were stayed to the ship's side and to each other athwart ships by strong steel stays. Built steel chocks were also fitted to prevent movement fore and aft.  Silent blow-offs from the main steam pipes were connected direct to both condensers.

The Master of Wireless - Guglielmo Marconi

Signor Guglielmo Marconi - the Scientist Whose System of Telegraphy Brought Help to the Titanic and News of the Appalling Disaster That Overtook Her.

Signor Guglielmo Marconi - the Scientist Whose System of Telegraphy Brought Help to the Titanic and News of the Appalling Disaster That Overtook Her. The Illustrated London News (4 May 1912) p. 639. GGA Image ID # 10145c39a9

So necessary has wireless telegraphy become to passenger-carrying vessels that there has already been passed in the United States a law making it compulsory for all American passenger steamers, and all ships carrying passengers from the United States to have a wireless installation, if more than fifty persons, including the crew, are carried.

Similar legislation has been adopted by France concerning subsidized ships. But Italy, Spain, and by New Zealand, Great Britain has only moved in the matter to the extent that, in 1910, Sir Edward Sassoon introduced a Bill providing that wireless telegraphy should be obligatory on the part of all passenger-steamers,

The congested state of business in the House at the time caused this to get no further than the first reading.

Signor Guglielmo Marconi, the world-famous electrical engineer whose wireless-telegraphy system has proved of such enormous value, was born at Bologna on April 23, 1874.

In 1905, he married the Hon. Beatrice O'Brien, daughter of the 14th Baron Inchiquin. It was in 1899 that he established wireless communication between France and England.

Since then his "wireless" has worked many wonders. Recently, the rise in Marconi shares has been a feature of Stock Exchange business.

Marconi Demonstrating Apparatus He Used in His First Long Distance Radio Transmissions in the 1890s.

Marconi Demonstrating Apparatus He Used in His First Long Distance Radio Transmissions in the 1890s. The Transmitter Is at Right, the Receiver with Paper Tape Recorder at Left. Published in Lfe Magazine 31 December 1900. GGA Image ID # 10ea764d9b

The Marconi Wireless in North America

MARCONI WIRELESS TELEGRAPH CO. OF AMERICA. Incorporated Nov 22, 1899,
in New Jersey, to operate wireless telegraphy in the United States and dependencies, under the Patents of Guglielmo Marconi and Prof. Flemming (both of London), Thos. A. Edison, of West Orange, N. J., and Prof. Michael Idvorsky Pupin, of Columbia University, New York.

MARCONI WIRELESS TELEGRAPH CO. OF CANADA. Incorporated Aug 13, 1903.
in Canada, to operate in Canada under the patents of Guglielmo Marconi. Operates about 40 land stations in Newfoundland, Labrador, East Coast and St. Lawrence under subsidy from the Canadian and Newfoundland Governments; also direct transatlantic wireless telegraph services.

The company operates sixty land stations throughout the United States of America and has equipped over 500 American merchant steamships.

Sectional View of the RMS Titanic - 1912

The Biggest Ship in the World Shown in Section

The Ill-Fated Titanic, Which Now Lies Under Two Miles of Water Between Sable Island and Cape Race: The Biggest Ship in the World Shown in Section. Drawn by W. B. Robinson, by Courtesy of the White Star Line. The Illustrated London News (4 May 1912) p. 654-655. GGA Image ID # 1062b66a2e

As we note elsewhere in this number, and. as of course, all the world knows, the great White Star liner ‘Titanic,’ which left Southampton on Wednesday, April 10, on her maiden voyage to New York, came into collision with an iceberg between Sable Island and Cape Race at 10.25 pm. on the Sunday night American time, which on the Atlantic, is four hours slow on Greenwich time .

That the vessel was the largest in the world, we have already said, and various illustrations of her palatial appointments will be found elsewhere in this number. Here may be given a few additional facts.

The liner's rudder, which had a length of 78 feet 8 inches’ and a width of 15 feet 3 inches, weighed 101 1/4 tons. The center bower-anchor weighed 15 1/2 tons, and each of the side anchors 8 tons: the wire rope of the center bower-anchor had a breaking-strain of 290 tons and was 175 fathoms in length.

The ship had ten decks named (from the bottom upwards) lower orlop, orlop, lower, middle, upper, saloon. shelter, bridge, promenade, and boat. The bridge-deck extended for a length of 550 feet amidships: the promenade and boat decks were over 500 feet long.

For first-class passengers there were thirty suite-rooms on the bridge-deck and thirty-nine on the shelter-deck, so arranged that they could be let in groups. In all there were 350 first-class rooms. 100 of which were single-berth rooms.

There was accommodation for over 750 first-class passengers, over 550 second-class, and over 1100 third-class. Accommodation for the captain and officers was on the boat-deck, as were the rooms for the Marconi installation.

Amongst the vessel's special features were private promenade-decks, a gymnasium, a Turkish bath, a swimming-bath, and a squash-racquets court, with a spectators' gallery.

Wednesday's news was that of the 2196 souls aboard the vessel at the time of the disaster only 868 had been saved: and there was little hope of better reports.

Ship's Directory of the RMS Titanic

Deck Plans of Boat Deck and Decks A-D of the RMS Titanic Including Placement of Lifeboats With You Are Here Insert

Deck Plans of Boat Deck and Decks A-D of the RMS Titanic Including Placement of Lifeboats With You Are Here Insert. (Insert Added for Illustration Purposes). GGA Image ID # 1109100e02

Getting around the Titanic for both passengers and crew was not an easy task, While the large staff and separate class accommodations and public rooms help to divide the ship up rather nicely, it still took some luck and skill to make your way around the first few days of the voyage.

Ship's Directory (A-Z)

  • À la Carte Restaurant (1st): Bridge Deck B, Aft
  • Baggage Room: Orlop Deck Fore
  • Boiler Rooms: Lower Deck G, Amidships, Orlop Deck, Amidships, and Tank Top
  • Cabins (1st): Saloon Deck D, Amidships
  • Cabins (2nd): Upper Deck E and Middle Deck F, Aft and Upper Deck E, Amidships
  • Cabins (3rd): Saloon Deck D, Fore; Upper Deck E, Fore; Middle Deck F, Fore
  • Cabins and Staterooms (1st): Shelter Deck C, Amidships
  • Café Parisien (1st): Bridge Deck Aft
  • Cargo Rooms: Orlop Deck, Fore and Aft
  • Crew's Mess: Shelter Deck C, Fore and Amidships
  • Dining Room (2nd): Saloon Deck D, Aft
  • Dining Saloon (1st): Saloon Deck D, Amidships
  • Dining Room (3rd): Middle Dick F, Amidships
  • Electric Baths (1st): Middle Deck F, Fore
  • Engine Rooms: Lower Deck G, Fore, Orlop Deck Aft, and Tank Top
  • Enquiry Office: Shelter Deck C
  • Forecastle Deck (Crew): Bridge Deck B
  • General Room (3rd): Shelter Deck C, Aft
  • Gymnasium (1st): Boat Deck, Amidships
  • Hospital: Saloon Deck D
  • Kitchen Galleys: Saloon Deck D, Aft
  • Library (1st): Deck A Adjacent to the Main Lounge
  • Library (2nd): Shelter Deck C, Aft
  • Lifeboats: Boat Deck
  • Lounge (1st) Promenade Deck A, Amidships
  • Maids and Valets Dining Saloon: Deck C, Fore
  • Mail Room: Orlop Deck, Fore
  • Officer's Bridge: Boat Deck, Fore
  • Open Space (3rd): Saloon Deck D, Fore
  • Palm Courts (1st): Promenade Deck A, Aft
  • Physicians and Surgery: Deck C
  • Post Office: Lower Deck G, Aft
  • Post Office and Wireless Operators Dining Saloon: Deck C Fore
  • Promenade (1st): Boat Deck, Amidships
  • Promenade (2nd):  Boat Deck Aft
  • Promenade on the Poop Deck (3rd): Bridge Deck, Aft
  • Purser's Office (1st): Shelter Deck C, Amidships
  • Purser's Office (2nd): Upper Deck E, Aft
  • Reading and Writing Room (1st): Promenade Deck A, Fore
  • Reception Room (1st): Saloon Deck D, Amidships
  • Smoking Room (1st): Promenade Deck A, Aft
  • Smoking Room (2nd): Bridge Deck, Aft
  • Smoking Room (3rd): Shelter Deck C, Aft
  • Squash Court (1st): Lower Deck G, Aft
  • Storage Rooms: Lower Deck G, Fore
  • Suites and Cabins (1st): Bridge Deck, Amidships
  • Swimming Pool (1st): Middle Deck F, Amidships
  • Turkish Baths (1st): Middle Deck F, Amidships
  • Verandah Café (1st): Promenade Deck A, Aft

Note: The Poop Deck was an exposed deck that formed the roof of Shelter Deck C

Structure of the RMS Titanic - 1912

Titanic Outboard Profile, Boat Deck and Orlop Deck Plans

Titanic Outboard Profile, Boat Deck and Orlop Deck Plans. International Marine Engineering (May 1912) p. 199. GGA Image ID # 1050d41670

Topics covered in this article include a discussion of the structure, water-tight subdivision, water-tight doors, side doors, accommodation ladder, masts and rigging, life-saving appliances, pumping arrangements, electrical installation, electric heating and power and mechanical ventilation, wireless telegraphy, and more.

Structure

The vessel was built throughout of steel and had a cellular double bottom of the usual type, with a floor at every frame, its depth at the center line being 63 inches, except in way of the reciprocating machinery, where it was 78 inches.

For about half of the length of the vessel this double bottom extended up the ship's side to a height of 7 feet above the keel.

Forward and aft of the machinery space the protection of the inner bottom extended to a less height above the keel. It was so divided that there were four separate water-tight compartments in the breadth of the vessel.

Before and abaft the machinery space there was a water-tight division at the center line only, except in the foremost and aftermost tanks. Above the double bottom the vessel was constructed of the usual transverse frame system, reinforced by web frames, which extended to the highest decks.

At the forward end the framing and plating was strengthened with a view to preventing panting and damage when meeting thin harbor ice.

Beams were fitted on every frame at all decks from the boat deck downward. An external bilge keel about 300 feet long and 25 inches deep was fitted along the bilge amidships.

The heavy ship's plating was carried right up to the boat deck, and between the C and B decks was doubled. The stringer or edge plate of the B deck was also doubled. This double plating was hydraulic riveted.

All decks were steel plated throughout.

Fig. 44: Sections Through Boiler Rooms Nos. 1 and 2.

Fig. 44: Sections Through Boiler Rooms Nos. 1 and 2. The Shipbuilder (Midsummer 1911) p. 45. GGA Image ID # 10bcc0b520

The transverse strength of the snip was in part dependent on the 15 transverse water-tight bulkheads, which were specially stiffened and strengthened to enable them to stand the necessary pressure in the event of accident, and they were connected by double angles to decks, inner bottom, and shell plating.

The two decks above the B deck were of comparatively light scantling, but strong enough to insure their proving satisfactory in these positions in rough weather.

Water-Tight Subdivision

Electrically Operated Bulkhead of the General Type Installed on the Titanic.

Electrically Operated Bulkhead of the General Type Installed on the Titanic. Scientific American (27 April 1912) p. 380c. GGA Image ID # 10a419ff45

In the preparation of the design of this vessel it was arranged that the bulkheads and divisions should be so placed that the ship would remain afloat in the event of any two adjoining compartments being flooded and that they should be so built and strengthened that the ship would remain afloat under this condition.

The minimum freeboard that the vessel would have in the event of any two compartments being flooded was between 2 feet 6 inches and 3 feet from the deck adjoining the top of the water-tight bulkheads.

With this object in view, 15 water-tight bulkheads were arranged in the vessel. The lower part of C bulkhead was doubled and was in the form of a cofferdam.

So far as possible the bulkheads were carried up in one plane to their upper sides, but in cases where they had for any reason to be stepped forward or aft, the deck, in way of the step, was made into a water-tight flat, thus completing the water-tightness of the compartment.

In addition to this, G deck in the after peak was made a water-tight flat. The orlop deck between bulkheads which formed the top of the tunnel was also water-tight.

The orlop deck in the forepeak tank was also a water-tight flat. The electric-machinery  compartment was further protected by a structure some distance in from the ship's side, forming six separate water-tight compartments, which were used for the storage of fresh water.

Where openings were required for the working of the ship in these water-tight bulkheads they were closed by water-tight sliding doors which could be worked from a position above the top of the water-tight bulkhead, and those doors immediately above the inner bottom were of a special automatic closing pattern, as described below. By this subdivision there were in all 73 compartments, 29 of these being above the inner  bottom.

Plate 1: Cofferdam Bulkhead Salvage Pumps for a Large Ship.

Plate 1: Cofferdam Bulkhead Salvage Pumps for a Large Ship. Arranged for Electric Motor or Vertical Steam Turbine Drive. Longitudinal Secion on Left; Transverse Section shown on Right. How to Save a Big Ship from Sinking (1915) p. 24. GGA Image ID # 10e998eb91

Water-Tight Doors

Fig. 21: Double Cylinder Watertight Door.

Fig. 21: Double Cylinder Watertight Door. The Shipbuilder (Midsummer 1911) p. 26. GGA Image ID # 10b623f05f

The doors (12 in number) immediately above the inner bottom were in the engine and boiler room spaces. They were of Messrs. Harland & Wolff's latest type, working vertically.

The doorplate was of cast iron of heavy section, strongly ribbed. It closed by gravity and was held in the open position by a clutch which could be released by means of a powerful electromagnet controlled from the captain's bridge.

In the event of accident, or at any time when it might be considered desirable, the captain or officer on duty could, by simply moving an electric switch, immediately close all these doors.

The time required for the doors to close was between 25 and 30 seconds. Each door could also be closed from below by operating a hand lever fitted alongside the door.

As a further precaution floats were provided beneath the floor level, which, in the event of water accidentally entering any of the compartments, automatically lifted and thus released the clutches, thereby permitting the doors in that particular compartment to close if they had not already been dropped by any other means.

These doors were fitted with cataracts, which controlled the speed of closing. Due notice of closing from the bridge was given by a warning bell.

A ladder or escape was provided in each boiler room, engine room, and similar water-tight compartment, in order that the closing of the doors at any time should not imprison the men working therein.

The water-tight doors on E deck were of horizontal pattern, with wrought-steel  doorplates. Those on F deck and the one aft on the Orlop deck were of similar type, but had cast-iron doorplates of heavy section, strongly ribbed.

Each of the between-deck doors, and each of the vertical doors on the tank top level could be operated by the ordinary hand gear from the deck above the top of the watertight bulkhead, and from a position on the next deck above, almost directly above the door.

To facilitate the quick closing of the doors, plates were affixed in suitable positions on the sides of the alleyways, indicating the positions of the deck plates, and a box spanner was provided for each door, hanging in suitable clips alongside the deck plate.

Ship's Side Doors

Large side doors were provided through the side plating, giving access to passengers' or crew's accommodation as follows:

  • On the saloon (D) deck on the starboard side in the forward third-class open space, one baggage door.
  • In way of the forward first-class entrance, two doors close together on each side.
  • On the upper (E) deck, one door each side at the forward end of the working passage.
  • On the port side abreast the engine room, one door leading into the working passage. One door each side on the port and starboard sides aft into the forward second-class entrance.
  • All the doors on the upper deck were secured by lever handles and were made water-tight by means of rubber strips. Those on the saloon deck were closed by lever handles but had no rubber.

Accommodation Ladder

One teak accommodation ladder was provided and could be worked on either side of the ship in the gangway door opposite the second-class entrance on the upper deck (E).

It had a folding platform and portable stanchions, hand rope, etc. The ladder extended to within 3 feet 6 inches of the vessel's light draft and was stowed overhead in the entrance abreast the forward second-class main staircase. Its lower end was arranged so as to be raised and lowered from a davit immediately above.

Masts and Rigging

The vessel was rigged with two masts and fore and aft sails. The two pole masts were constructed of steel and stiffened with angle irons. The poles at the top of the mast were made of teak.

A lookout cage, constructed of steel, was fitted on the foremast at a height of about 95 feet above the water line. Access to the cage was obtained by an iron vertical ladder inside of the foremast, with an opening at C deck and one at the lookout cage. An iron ladder was fitted on the foremast from the hounds to the masthead light.

Plate 2: Bulkhead Salvage Pumps for a Large Liner or War Ship.

Plate 2: Bulkhead Salvage Pumps for a Large Liner or War Ship. Arrangement of Expulsor Pumps. Longitudinal Secion on Left; Transverse Section shown on Right. How to Save a Big Ship from Sinking (1915) p. 25. GGA Image ID # 10e9d45a81

Life-Saving Appliances

Life buoys —Forty-eight, with beckets, were supplied, of pattern approved by the board of trade. They were placed about the ship.

Life belts —Three thousand five hundred and sixty life belts, of the latest improved overhead pattern, approved by the board of trade, were supplied and placed on board the vessel and there inspected by the board of trade. These were distributed throughout all the sleeping accommodation.

Some of the Titanic’s Lifeboats on the Deck of the Carpathia

Some of the Titanic’s Lifeboats on the Deck of the Carpathia. Harper's Weekly (27 April 1912) p. 36a. GGA Image ID # 109dd0500d

Lifeboats —Twenty boats in all were fitted on the vessel, and were of the following dimensions and capacities:

  • Fourteen wood lifeboats, each 30 feet long by 9 feet 1 inch broad by 4 feet deep, with a cubic capacity of 655.2 cubic feet, constructed to carry 65 persons each.
  • Emergency boats:
  • One wood cutter, 25 feet 2 inches long by 7 feet 2 inches broad by 3 feet deep, with a cubic capacity of 326.6 cubic feet, constructed to carry 40 persons.
  • One wood cutter, 25 feet, 2 inches long by 7 feet 1 inch broad by 3 feet deep, with a cubic capacity of 322.1 cubic feet, constructed to carry 40 persons.
  • Four Engelhardt collapsible boats, 27 feet 5 inches long by 8 feet broad by 3 feet deep, with a cubic capacity of 376.6 cubic feet, constructed to carry 47 persons each.

Or a total of 11,327.9 cubic feet for 1,178 persons.

The lifeboats and cutters were constructed as follows: the keels were of elm. The stems and stern posts were of oak. They were all clinker built of yellow pine, double fastened with copper nails, clinched over rooves.

The timbers were of elm, spaced about 9 inches apart, and the seats pitch pine, secured with galvanized-iron double knees. The buoyancy tanks in the lifeboats were of 18 ounce copper, and of capacity to meet the board of trade requirements.

The lifeboats were fitted with Murray's disengaging gear, with arrangements for simultaneously freeing both ends if required. The gear was fastened at a suitable distance from the forward and after ends of the boats, to suit the davits. Life fines were fitted round the gunwales of the lifeboats. The davit blocks were treble for the lifeboats and double for the cutters.

They were of elm, with lignum vitae roller sheaves, and were bound inside with iron, and had swivel eyes. There were manila rope falls of sufficient length for lowering the boats to the vessel's light draft, and when the boats were lowered, to be able to reach the boat winches on the boat deck.

The lifeboats were stowed on hinged wood chocks on the boat deck, by groups of three at the forward and four at the after ends. On each side of the boat deck the cutters were arranged forward of the group of three and fitted to lash outboard as emergency boats.

They were immediately abaft the navigating bridge. The Engelhardt collapsible lifeboats were stowed abreast of the cutters, one on each side of the ship, and the remaining two on top of the officers' house, immediately abaft the navigating bridge.

The boat equipment was in accordance with the board of trade requirements. Sails for each lifeboat and cutter were supplied and stowed in painted bags.

Covers were supplied for the lifeboats and cutters, and a sea anchor for each boat. Every lifeboat was furnished with a special spirit boat compass and fitting for holding it; these compasses were carried in a locker on the boat deck. A provision tank and water beaker were supplied to each boat.

Compasses -— Compasses were supplied as follows:

  • One Kelvin standard compass, with azimuth mirror on compass platform.
  • One Kelvin steering compass inside of wheelhouse.
  • One Kelvin steering compass on captain's bridge.
  • One light card compass for docking bridge.
  • Fourteen spirit compasses for lifeboats.

All the ships' compasses were lighted with oil and electric lamps. They were adjusted by Messrs. C. J. Smith, of Southampton, on the passage from Belfast to Southampton and Southampton to Queenstown.

Charts — All the necessary charts were supplied

Distress Signals — These were supplied of number and pattern approved by Board of Trade— i. e., 36 socket signals in lieu of guns, 12 ordinary rockets, 2 Manwell Holmes deck flares, 12 blue lights, and 6 lifebuoy lights.

Pumping Arrangements

Midship Section of the Titanic, Showing Single Skin above Double Bottom, and Absence of Longitudinal Bulkheads

Midship Section of the "Titanic," Showing Single Skin above Double Bottom, and Absence of Longitudinal Bulkheads. Popular Mechanics Magazine (June 1912) p. 804-a. GGA Image ID # 10819412ed

The general arrangement of piping was designed so that it was possible to pump from any flooded compartment by two independent systems of 10-inch mains having cross connections between them.

These were controlled from above by rods and wheels led to the level of the bulkhead deck. By these it was possible to isolate any flooded space, together with any suctions in it.

If any of these should happen accidentally to be left open, and consequently out of reach, it could be shut off from the main by the wheel on the bulkhead deck. This arrangement was specially submitted to the Board of Trade and approved by them.

The double bottom of the vessel was divided by 17 transverse water-tight divisions, including those bounding the fore and aft peaks, and again subdivided by a center fore-and-aft bulkhead, and two longitudinal bulkheads, into 46 compartments.

Fourteen of these compartments had 8-inch suctions, 23 had 6-inch suctions, and 3 had 5-inch suctions connected to the 10-inch ballast main suction; 6 compartments were used exclusively for fresh water.

The following bilge suctions were provided for dealing with water above the double bottom, viz, in No. 1 hold two 3 ½ inch suctions, No. 2 hold two 3 ½ inch and 2 3-inch suctions, bunker hold, two 3 ½ inch and two 3-inch suctions.

The valves in connection with the forward bilge and ballast suctions were placed in the firemen's passage, the water-tight pipe tunnel extending from No. 6 boiler room to the after end of No. 1 hold.

In this tunnel, in addition to two 3-inch bilge suctions, one at each end, there was a special 3^inch suction with valve rod led up to the lower deck above the load line, so as always to have been accessible should the tunnel be flooded accidentally.

  • In No. 6 boiler room there were three 3 ½ inch, one 4 ½ inch, and two 3-inch suctions.
  • In No. 5 boiler room there were three 3 ½ inch, one 5-inch, and two 3-inch suctions.
  • In No. 4 boiler room there were three 3 ½ inch, one 4 ½ inch, and two 3-inch suctions.
  • In No. 3 boiler room there were three 3 ½ inch, one 5-inch, and two 3-inch suctions.
  • In No. 2 boiler room there were three 3 ½ inch, one 5-inch, and two 3-inch suctions.
  • In No. 1 boiler room there were two 3 ½ inch, one 5-inch, and two 3-inch suctions.
  • In the reciprocating engine room there were two 3 ½ inch, six 3-inch, two 18-inch, and two 5-inch suctions.
  • In the turbine engine room there were two 3 ½ inch, three 3-inch, two 18-inch, two 5-inch, and one 4-inch suctions.
  • In the electric engine room there were four 3 ½ inch suctions.
  • In the storerooms above the electric engine room there was one 3-inch suction.
  • In the forward tunnel compartment there were two 3 ½ inch suctions.
  • In the water-tight flat over the tunnel compartment there were two 3-inch suctions.
  • In the tunnel after compartment there were two 3 ½ inch suctions.
  • In the water-tight flat over the tunnel after compartment there were two 3-inch suctions.

from “How to save a big ship from sinking – p 92

Main drive centrifugal bulkhead salvage pumps for large ships with bulkhead forming one side of pumps and pipes

Electrical Installation

Fig. 126: Main Feeder Swichboard

Fig. 126: Main Feeder Swichboard. The Shipbuilder (Midsummer 1911) p. 112. GGA Image ID # 10dd72f3e9

Main Generating Sets —There were four engines and dynamos, each having a capacity of 400 kilowatts at 100 volts and consisting of a vertical three-crank compound-forced lubrication enclosed engine of sufficient power to drive the electrical plant. The engines were direct-coupled to their respective dynamos.

These four main sets were situated in a separate water-tight compartment about 63 feet long by 24 feet high, adjoining the after end of the turbine room at the level of the inner bottom.

Steam to the electric engines was supplied from two separate lengths of steam pipes, connecting on the port side to the five single ended boilers in compartment No. 1 and two in compartment No. 2, and on the starboard side to the auxiliary steam pipe which derived steam from the five single-ended boilers in No. 1 compartment, two in No. 2, and two in No. 4.  By connections at the engine room forward bulkhead steam could be taken from any boiler in the ship.

Auxiliary Generating Sets-—In addition to the four main generating sets, there were two 30-kilowatt engines and dynamos situated on a platform in the turbine engine room casing on saloon deck level, 20 feet above the water line. They were the same general type as the main sets.

These auxiliary emergency sets were connected to the boilers by means of a separate steam pipe running along the working passage above E deck, with branches from three boiler rooms, Nos. 2, 3, and 5, so that should the main sets be temporarily out of action the auxiliary sets could provide current for such lights and power appliances as would be required in the event of emergency.

Electric Lighting —The total number of incandescent lights was 10,000, ranging from 16 to 100 candlepower, the majority being of Tantallum type, except in the cargo spaces and for the portable fittings, where carbon lamps were provided. Special dimming lamps of small amount of light were provided in the first-class rooms.

Electric heating and power and mechanical ventilation

Fig. 128: Electric Heater

Fig. 128: Electric Heater. The Shipbuilder (Midsummer 1911) p. 113. GGA Image ID # 10de3c34fc

Altogether 562 electric heaters and 153 electric motors were installed throughout the vessel, including six 50-hundredweight and two 30-hundredweight cranes, four 3-ton cargo winches, and four 15-hundredweight boat winches. 

There were also four electric passenger lifts, three forward of the first-class main entrance and one in the second-class forward entrance, each to carry 12 persons.

Fig. 135: Loud-Speaking Telephone

Fig. 135: Loud-Speaking Telephone. The Shipbuilder (Midsummer 1911) p. 117. GGA Image ID # 10df4cc8bd

Telephones —Loud speaking telephones of navy pattern were fitted for communication between the following:

  • Wheelhouse on the navigating bridge and the forecastle.
  • Wheelhouse on the navigating bridge and the lookout station on the crow's nest.
  • Wheelhouse on the navigating bridge and the engine room.
  • Wheelhouse on the navigating bridge and the poop.
  • Chief engineer's cabin and the engine room.
  • Engine room and Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 stokeholds.

These were operated both from the ship's lighting circuit, through a motor generator, and alternatively by a stand-by battery, which by means of an automatic switch could be introduced in the circuit should the main supply fail.

There was also a separate telephone system for intercommunication between a number of the chief officials and service rooms, through a 50-line exchange switchboard.

Fig. 136: Telephone Exchange Switchboard

Fig. 136: Telephone Exchange Switchboard. The Shipbuilder (Midsummer 1911) p. 118. GGA Image ID # 10df529f1e

A number of the pantries and galleys were also in direct telephonic communication.

Wireless Telegraphy

The wireless telegraphy system was worked by a Marconi 5-lalowatt motor generator. The house for the Marconi instruments was situated on the boat deck close to the bridge.

There were four parallel aerial wires extended between the masts, fastened to light booms; from the aerials the connecting wires were led to the instruments in the house.

There were two complete sets of apparatus, one for the transmitting and one for receiving messages, the former being placed in a sound-proof chamber in one corner of the wireless house.

There was also an independent storage battery and coil, in event of the failure of the current supply, which came from the ship's dynamos.

Submarine Signaling —The Submarine Signal Co.'s apparatus was provided for receiving signals from the submarine bells. Small tanks containing the microphones were placed on the inside of the hull of the vessel on the port and starboard sides below the water level, and were connected by wires to receivers situated in the navigating room on the port side of the officer's deck house.

Various —The whistles were electrically actuated on the Willett Bruce system. The boiler-room telegraphs, stoking indicators, rudder indicators, clocks and thermostats were also electrical. The water-tight doors were released by electric magnets.

Emergency Circuit —A separate and distinct installation was fitted in all parts of the vessel, deriving current from the two 30-kilowatt sets above mentioned, so that in the event of the current from the main dynamos being unavailable an independent supply was obtainable.

Connected to the emergency circuit were above 500 incandescent lamps fitted throughout all passenger, crew, and machinery compartments, at the end of passages, and near stairways, also on the boat deck, to enable anyone to find their way from one part of the ship to the other.

The following were also connected to the emergency circuit by means of change-over switches: Five are lamps, seven cargo and gangway lanterns, Marconi apparatus, mast, side, and stern lights, and all lights on bridge, including those for captain's, navigating, and chart rooms, wheelhouse, telegraphs and Morse signaling lanterns, and four electrically-driven boat winches.

These latter, situated on the boat deck, were each capable of lifting a load of 15 hundredweight at a speed of 100 feet per minute.

Ventilating —There were 12 electrically-driven fans for supplying air to the stokeholds, 6 electrically-driven fans for engine and turbine room ventilation. There were fans for engine and boiler rooms.

Titanic - A Floating Palace - 1912

The Palatial Appointments of the Ocean Liner Titanic, Sunk After Collision with an Iceberg.

The Palatial Appointments of the Ocean Liner Titanic, Sunk After Collision with an Iceberg. The Illustrated London News (4 May 1912) p. 651, GGA Image ID # 1014778103

Top Row

  1. The Captain of the Ill-Fated "Titanic”: Captain E. J. Smith (Commander. R.N.R.). Formerly of the "Olympic."
  2. As in a Great Hotel: The Parisian Café of the "Titanic."
  3. On the Worlds Biggest Ship: The Promenade Deck of the "Titanic."
  4. Keeping Fit Aboard the Floating Palace: Cycling in the Liner’s Gymnasium.

Middle Row

  1. Luxury Aboard the Great Liner: The Cooling - Room of the Vessels Turkish Bath.
  2. In a Private Ocean-Trip Suite; The Four-Post Bedstead of One of the Two £670 Sets of Apartments.

Bottom Row

  1. For Those Who like Exercise in the Water: A Swimming-Bath Aboard the "Titanic."
  2. The Exercise - Room Aboard the Vessel: The Gymnasium. Showing Various Appliances.
  3. A Part of One of the Two. £870 Suites: A Private Promenade Deck.
  4. The Most Important Point Aboard the "Titanic": The Bridge.

Captain Edward John Smith Who Went Down with His Ship

Captain Edward John Smith Who Went Down with His Ship. The Literary Digest (27 April 1912) p. 865. GGA Image ID # 1084643a7b

The Titanic's Café Parisien Before Climbing Plants Were Added to Its Trellised Walls.

The Titanic's Café Parisien Before Climbing Plants Were Added to Its Trellised Walls. Robert John Welch (1859-1936), official photographer for Harland & Wolff. Published 1 March 1912. GGA Image ID # 10ead481d4

The Spacious Promenade Deck of the Ill-Fated Titanic

The Spacious Promenade Deck of the Ill-Fated Titanic. © Underwood & Underwood, NY. The Independent (2 May 1912). p. 937. GGA Image ID # 10a19e36da

Keeping Fit Aboard the Floating Palace: Cycling in the Liner’s Gymnasium.

Keeping Fit Aboard the Floating Palace: Cycling in the Liner’s Gymnasium.The Illustrated London News (4 May 1912) p. 651-652, GGA Image ID # 10eb2b4eb2

Fig. 87: Cooling Room of the Turkish Baths.

Fig. 87: Cooling Room of the Turkish Baths. The Shipbuilder (Midsummer 1911) p. 82. GGA Image ID # 10c6693d96

First Class Swimming Pool on the Titanic.

First Class Swimming Pool on the Titanic For Those Who like Exercise in the Water: A Swimming-Bath Aboard the "Titanic." The Illustrated London News (4 May 1912) p. 651-652, GGA Image ID # 10eb38abb8

The First Class Gymnasium on the Titanic

The First Class Gymnasium Located Just Aft of the Forward Grand Staircase Along the Starboard Side of the Boat Deck. Public Domain Image. GGA Image ID # 10ebeecdca

Entrance to a Private Promenade Deck from First Class Parlor Suite - A Part of One of the Two. £870 Suites.

Entrance to a Private Promenade Deck from First Class Parlor Suite - A Part of One of the Two £870 Suites. The Illustrated London News (4 May 1912) p. 651-652, GGA Image ID # 10ebcccd33

View of the Bridge of an Ocean Liner

View of the Bridge of an Ocean Liner. The Unsinkable Titanic (1912) p,. 47. GGA Image ID # 1075684a1d

The "Titanic" was designed to accommodate 3,500 passengers and crew, and to seat 550 first-class passengers, 400 second-class, and 500 third-class at dinner at the same time.

She was given a length overall of 882 ft. 6 in. a breadth overall of 92 ft. 6 in., a height from the bottom of the keel to top of captain's house of 105 ft. 7 in., eleven steel decks, and fifteen watertight bulkheads, while it was claimed for her that she was unsinkable.

Speaking of this to the “Evening News," a representative of Messrs. Harland and Wolff said that all the beams, girders, and stanchions "in the "Titanic’s" framework were specially forged and constructed, the deck and shell-plating were of the heaviest caliber, so as to make the hull a monument of strength."

The article continues: “The "Titanic’s" transverse bulkheads number fifteen ... The builders state that any two of these compartments might be flooded without in any way involving the safety of the ship. Relative to the closing of watertight doors, the official description issued by the White Star Line when the "Titanic" was launched states these are electrically controlled.

Those giving communication between the various boiler-rooms and engine-rooms are arranged on the drop system— Harland and Woltt's special design.

Each door is held in the open position by a friction clutch, which can be instantly released by means of a powerful electric magnet controlled from the captain's bridge, so that in the event of accident the captain can, by simply moving an electric switch, instantly close the doors throughout, practically making the vessel unsinkable.

Precaution floats are provided beneath the floor level which, in the event of water accidentally entering any of the compartments, automatically lift, and thereby close, the doors opening into that compartment if they have not already been dropped by those in charge of the vessel.

A ladder or escape is provided in each boiler-room, engine-room, and similar watertight compartments, in order that the closing of the doors at any time should not imprison the men, though the risk of this is lessened by electric bells placed in the vicinity of each door, which rings prior to their closing, and thus gives warning to those below."

The vessel cost about a million and a half at least, and according to some estimates, nearly a million and three quarters.

The “ Titanic," the biggest liner in the world, could only be described by that most hackneyed of expressions, "floating palace,“ for she was designed to be nothing less.

Those who built her gave her, amongst other things, a splendidly equipped gymnasium, swimming-baths, Turkish and electric baths, a squash-racquets court, restaurants and cafés, hundreds of radiators and real coal fires: suite-rooms of many styles and periods, including Queen Anne, old and modern Dutch, Georgian, Louis XV and Louis XVI; and further, facilities for what have been called "private ocean trips "—i.e.. two suites of rooms, each with a private fifty-foot-long promenade deck, let at £870 for the voyage. In addition, may be mentioned electric lifts.

The cost of the vessel has been estimated at £1,500,000 but it is probable that was nearer £1,750,000. As we note above, the "Titanic" was 682 ft. 6 in. long, as is the “Olympic."

Her gross tonnage was 46,382 tons; her displacement 60,000 tons.

Wireless Telegraphy Used in the Era of Titanic - 1912

As Aboard the Wrecked Titanic: The Wireless-Telegraphy Room of an Atlantic Liner.

As Aboard the Wrecked Titanic: The Wireless-Telegraphy Room of an Atlantic Liner. The Illustrated London News (4 May 1912) p. 653. GGA Image ID # 10144bcca0

Had it not been for wireless telegraphy, it is more than likely that the disaster to the "Titanic" would not have been known for a considerable time, and that fewer of her passengers would have been saved: thus “wireless" adds another to its triumphs.

It first came into great prominence in such matters when the White Star liner "Republic“ was in collision with the "Florida," for the lives of some 700 people were saved by the arrival of the "Baltic" and the "Lorraine," which raced to the scene of the mishap in answer to the distress signal "C. Q. D." flashed by the "Republic's" Marconi-operator, Jack Binns.

A more recent case was that of the P. and O. steamer "Delhi," which sent wireless messages to Gibraltar when she was wrecked: and there have been numerous others.

British Post Office Engineers Inspect Marconi's Radio Equipment During a Demonstration on Flat Holm Island, 13 May 1897.

British Post Office Engineers Inspect Marconi's Radio Equipment During a Demonstration on Flat Holm Island, 13 May 1897. The transmitter is at centre, the coherer receiver below it, and the pole supporting the wire antenna is visible at top. CC Cardiff Council Flat Holm Project. GGA Image ID # 10e9f6911c

The CQD Signal Was Predecessor to the SOS

As we note elsewhere in this number, "S.O.S." (. . .- - -. . .) has been substituted for “C.Q.D." as the latter set of letters was confused with other code signals. "C.Q.D." used to be interpreted by the operators as "Come Quick Danger" "S.O.S." they interpret as "Saving of Souls."

The range of the "Titanic's" wireless apparatus was 500 miles in the daytime: 1500 miles at night.

Her calls for aid were sent out by the wireless operator, Mr. Jack Phillips

Origin of the SOS Call

Magnetic Detector by Marconi Used During the Experimental Campaign Aboard a Ship in Summer 1902

Magnetic Detector by Marconi Used During the Experimental Campaign Aboard a Ship in Summer 1902, exhibited at the Museo nazionale della scienza e della tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci of Milan. Alessandro Nassiri for Museo nazionale scienza e tecnologia L. da Vinci - Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia "Leonardo da Vinci". GGA Image ID # 10ea6f703a

WHAT do the letters SOS used by ships at sea as a distress call stand for? That is the question which I have been asked a thousand times, says Jack Binns in the New York Tribune.

The answer to it is simple enough, but given the general aptitude to assign a catchphrase to any arbitrary group of letters, a simple explanation will not suffice the average person.

In this case, the letters are associated with the cry "Save our souls!" as far as the public is concerned, while the call CQD, which it superseded, meant "Come quick, danger!" to the layman.

As a matter of cold fact, neither of these two phrases is correct. Unfortunately, it is the truth that both groups of letters were adopted as a matter of expediency and not because of their peculiar susceptibility to dramatic interpretation.

The original CQD was arrived at by the normal process of evolution in the detail work of communication, while SOS was an arbitrary adoption of the first international radiotelegraph convention.

The story of the distress call has never been adequately told, and because of the large number of questions that have been raised on this point, I am going to outlines in this article the history of the important calls.

When wireless telegraphy was first placed into commercial use, the ordinary telegraph and cable systems had been in operation several years and had reached a high state of development.

The operation of the latter systems was governed by an international convention which periodically laid down rules to meet necessary operating requirements.

Among these rules was a series of double letter symbols which were used by operators to facilitate the working of special circuits, and these symbols invariably incorporated the letter Q because it is one of the least used letters in the alphabet, and in the Continental code its dots and dashes are distinctive. In these various groups, there was the signal CQ.

This was used on telegraph lines where more than one station was on the line, and it meant that the operator sending the call wanted every station along the line to listen in to what he was about to say.

Now, most of these operating symbols were adopted by Marconi's new company when it began commercial operation at sea in the year 1902. The call CQ particularly adapted itself to wireless use, because any ship hearing the call would answer and thus establish communication with the vessel making the call.

As the system gradually developed there were several minor emergency calls made, and it was quickly observed that the call CQ was not of sufficient distinction for emergency purposes.

As a result of these experiences the following general order, known as "Circular No. 57," was issued by the Marconi company on January 7, 1904:

"It has been brought to our notice that the call 'CQ' (all stations) while being satisfactory for general purposes, does not sufficiently express the urgency required in a signal of distress.

"Therefore, on and after February 1, 1904, the call to be given by ships in distress or in any way requiring assistance, shall be 'CQD.'

"This signal must on no account be used except by order of the captain of the ship in distress, or other vessels or stations transmitting the signal on account of the ship in distress.

"All stations must recognize the urgency of this call and make every effort to establish satisfactory communication with the least possible delay.

"Any misuse of the call will result in instant dismissal of the person improperly employing it."

This is the exact wording of the famous general order as issued. The original is now framed and exhibited as part of the extensive archives of the Marconi company. It was superseded in July 1908, by the adoption of the call SOS as a distress signal by the International Radio-Telegraphic Convention, which sat in Berlin.

As this convention was not ultimately ratified by all of the nations represented for at least a year, the call CQD remained in force sufficiently long enough to be used in the first significant sea disaster where wireless played an important part.

The call SOS is purely arbitrary in its grouping of letters and was chosen because of the unusual combination of dots and dashes which make it distinctive above all other calls. It consists of three dots, space, three dashes, space, and three more dots.

Bibliography

Decks of the Titanic -- Comprehensive Details

Extract from the Congressional Serial Set of 1912 - Loss of the Titanic that provides the reader with a thorough discussion of the ships' Water-Tight compartments and description of each deck along with accommodations on each deck.

"Annex to the Report: I) Description of the Ship: Water-Tight Compartments," and "Decks and Accommodation," in Loss of the Steamship Titanic: Report on a Formal Investigation into the Circumstances Attending the Foundering on April 15, 1912 of the British Steamship Titanic, of Liverpool, after Striking Ice in or near Latitude 41° 46' N., Longitude K 50° 14' W., North Atlantic Ocean, Whereby Loss of Life Ensured, p. 13-23.

Description of the RMS Titanic

Extracts from the Congressional Serial Set from 1912, Loss of the Titanic report that provided essential details about the ownership, operation, and construction of the steamship.

"Annex to the Report: I) Description of the Ship," in Loss of the Steamship Titanic: Report on a Formal Investigation into the Circumstances Attending the Foundering on April 15, 1912 of the British Steamship Titanic, of Liverpool, after Striking Ice in or near Latitude 41° 46' N., Longitude K 50° 14' W., North Atlantic Ocean, Whereby Loss of Life Ensured, p. 7-13.

The Machinery of the Titanic

From the Congressional hearings, the description of the machinery provides information on the reciprocating engines, turbine, boilers, auxiliary and main steam pipes, condensing plant and pumps, bilge and ballast pumps, and other essential machinery, presented for non-engineers.

Congressional Serial Set 1912 – Loss of the steamship “Titanic” Presented by Mr. Smith of Michigan  - August 20, 1912 -  p. 574.

The Master of Wireless - Guglielmo Marconi

So necessary has wireless telegraphy become to passenger-carrying vessels that there has already been passed in the United States a law making it compulsory for all American passenger steamers, and all ships carrying passengers from the United States to have a wireless installation, if more than fifty persons, including the crew, are carried.

"Saver of Hundreds of Lives: The Master of Wireless," in The Illustrated London News, New York: The International News Company, Vol. 50, No. 1304, Saturday, 4 May 1912, p. 639.

Moody's Manual of Railroad and Corporation (1918) p. 439, 1029.

Sectional View Of the RMS Titanic - 1912

That the vessel was the largest in the world, we have already said, and various illustrations of her palatial appointments will be found elsewhere in this number. Here may be given a few additional facts.

"The Great Vessel, Which Sank, With Fearful Loss of Life. On The 6th Day of Her Maiden Voyage: Her Internal Economy." in The Illustrated London News, New York: The International News Company, Vol. 59, No. 1504, 4 May 1912, p. 654-655.

Ship's Directory - A to Z

Getting around the Titanic for both passengers and crew was not an easy task, While the large staff and separate class accommodations and public rooms help to divide the ship up rather nicely, it still took some luck and skill to make your way around the first few days of the voyage.

You Are Here -- Ship's Directory -- RMS Titanic, 1912. GG Archives Ephemera Collection.

Structure of the RMS Titanic - 1912

Topics covered in this article include a discussion of the structure, water-tight subdivision, water-tight doors, side doors, accommodation ladder, masts and rigging, life-saving appliances, pumping arrangements, electrical installation, electric heating and power and mechanical ventilation, wireless telegraphy, and more.

Congressional Serial Set 1912 – Loss of the steamship “Titanic,” Loss of the steamship Titanic - Presented by Mr. Smith of Michigan  - August 20, 1912 -  p. 571

Titanic - A Floating Palace - 1912

The "Titanic" was designed to accommodate 3,500 passengers and crew, and to seat 550 first-class passengers, 400 second-class, and 500 third-class at dinner at the same time.

"'S.O.S! S.O.S! S.O.S!' The Palatial Appointments of the Liner 'Titanic,' Sunk After Collision With an Iceberg," in The Illustrated London News, New York: The International News Company, Vol. 50, No. 1304, Saturday, 4 May 1912, p. 650-651. Photographs by Central Illustrations Bureau.

Wireless Telegraphy Used in the Era of Titanic - 1912

Had it not been for wireless telegraphy, it is more than likely that the disaster to the "Titanic" would not have been known for a considerable time, and that fewer of her passengers would have been saved: thus “wireless" adds another to its triumphs.

"S.O.S.—“ Saving of Souls “: Wireless the Alarm-Giver.," in The Illustrated London News, New York: The International News Company, Vol. 50, No. 1304, Saturday, 4 May 1912, p. 653.

Jack Binns, “Origin of the SOS Call,” in Radio World, New York: Hennessy Radio Publication Corporation, Vol. III, No. 16, Whole No. 70, 28 July 1923, p. 21.

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