Monday, October 26, 2009

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Few Known Facts About TITANIC | The Ship Of Dreams

Titanic was a British passenger ship that struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912. The disaster occurred on the liners first voyage, from Southampton, England, to New York City. The Titanic sideswiped the iceberg at about 11:40 p.m. on April 14. The impact caused a number of small cracks and failed riveted seams in the ship's hull.

Seawater flooded through the bow of the ship. About 2.1/2 hours later, the vessel broke in two and sank. The Titanic carried enough lifeboats for only about half of its approximately 2,200 passengers and crew. The first rescue ship to reach the site, the British liner Carpathia, arrived about 4:00 a.m. and picked up 705 survivors, most of whom were women and children. A total of 1,517 people died in the disaster.

The Titanic Captain, Edward J. Smith, went down with his ship.
The Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ocean liner of its time. It displaced (moved out of place) more than 53,000 metric tons of water and measured 269 meters in length. Many people believed the ship was unsinkable because its hull was divided into 16 watertight compartments. Even if 2 of those compartments flooded, the ship could still float.

As a result of the collision with the iceberg, 6 compartments initially flooded. In 1985, a team of French and American scientists led by Robert D. Ballard of the United States and Jean-Louis Michel of France found the wreckage of the Titanic. The ship lay in two sections about 650 kilometres southeast of Newfoundland at a depth of about 3,800 meters.

For years, people thought that the Titanic sank because the iceberg cut a huge gash in its hull. But the wreck showed no sign of a gash. A study of steel samples from the ship concluded that the hull was made of a steel that became brittle in the frigid North Atlantic waters and fractured easily during the collision. Inquiries have also shown that the Titanic was traveling too fast for an area where there was danger of icebergs.

John Jacob Astor (1864-1912), great-grandson of the family's founder, managed property, wrote science-fiction, and invented various devices, including an improved marine turbine and a bicycle brake. He built the Astoria section of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, and also the Knickerbocker and St. Regis hotels. He died in the sinking of the liner Titanic.

Astor was born in Rhinebeck, New York, U.S.A. After the collision, most passengers were not aware that the ship was going to sink. Determined to avoid a panic, Captain Smith instructed crew members to calmly inform the passengers to put on their lifejackets and report to the boat deck. Many were told that entering the boats was merely a precaution, and they would return to Titanic by morning. These reassuring words persuaded many reluctant wives to leave their husbands and board the lifeboats. Third class passengers were not even advised to report to the boat deck. They were simply assembled below and told to await instructions. It was commonly reported that, most likely in an effort to manage the crowd, many staircases and passageways leading from lower sections of the ship were locked off, thus preventing escape to all but the most intrepid. (Since there was virtually no testimony taken from third class passengers in either of the two official investigations of the disaster, these reports did not come to public attention until years later.) One steward, John Hart, escorted two groups of third class women and children up through the tortuous route from the base of the third class stairwell to the boat deck. Aside from Hart¹s heroic efforts, the third class passengers were left to find their own way, and most of them did not succeed.

The band played light, cheerful music as the ship sank.
There were actually two bands on Titanic, the standard 5-piece group, plus a special 3-piece string ensemble (violin, cello and piano) that played in the reception room outside the Palm Court and Cafe Parisien. The musicians were technically traveling as second class passengers - the bizarre result of a labor dispute - but they were effectively members of the crew. At the Captain's request, the musicians assembled on deck and played upbeat music to help keep people calm and avert panic as the lifeboats were being loaded. Two of the popular tunes recalled by survivors were "Alexander's Ragtime Band" and "Autumn." Numerous people recounted that the band played until very shortly before the ship went down, although one survivor, Col. Archibald Gracie, said they laid down their instruments at about 1:50 AM. None of the musicians survived the tragedy.

Titanic was never christened.
When the bare hull was completed, an enormous ceremonial event was held on May 31, 1911 at the Belfast shipyards of Harland & Wolff. Titanic had been built in a special slip employing the largest gantry in the world. The river had been dredged to accommodate the deep drafts of Titanic and Olympic . About 100 members of the press were present, many of whom had been brought to Belfast from England on a steamer specially chartered for the occasion by White Star Line.

Along with dignitaries such as J.P. Morgan (who owned White Star Line), J.Bruce Ismay (White Star's Managing Director and son of its founder) and Lord Pirrie (partner in Harland & Wolff), thousands of people came out to see the great ship slide down the ways. But there was no christening, no bottle of champagne smashed against her bow. White Star did not customarily indulge in such old-fashioned and superstitious practices. J. Bruce Ismay pressed a button, the electric rams shoved the 26,000 ton hull and, sliding on 23 tons of tallow, train oil and soft soap, Titanic slid into the harbor. Powered by her weight alone, she attained a speed of 12 knots, equal to the top cruising speed for many of the steamers that then worked the North Atlantic.

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