The Aftermath of the RMS Titanic Disaster

Lady Duff-Gordon Tells Her Story at Titanic Inquiry.

Lady Duff-Gordon Tells Her Story at Titanic Inquiry. Top Left: Sir Cosmos Duff-Gordon left the Scottish Hall after denying the allegation that he opposed the suggestion to rescue the drowning. Top Center: Lady Duff-Gordon answering questions on the witness stand. Top Right: Lady Duff-Gordon and Sir Cosmos Duff-Gordon at the doorway, leaving the Titanic Inquiry for lunch yesterday. Bottom: Remarkable scene was witnessed at the Titanic Inquiry when Sir Cosmos and Lady Duff-Gordon gave evidence yesterday. The hall was packed. News of traditionally dressed women looked down from the galleries, and outbursts of applause were frequent when Lord Mersey stopped the council for the third-class passengers, Mr. Hartbloum, from putting what his Lordship considered were unfair questions to Sir Duff-Gordon. Daily Sketch, No, 908, Tuesday, 21 May 1912, p. 1. GGA Image ID # 110a96eac5

Picture, if you will, the World's most renowned ship was going to her doom in the darkness of the night, taking with her 1,635 passengers and crew with a mere 705 survivors. Public inquiries and investigations on both sides of the Atlantic culminated in new laws, making ocean-going travel safer. With the myth of the unsinkable ship debunked, the aftermath of the tragedy of the Titanic will live on for infinity.

Titanic: A Great Tragedy's Warning and Inspiration - 1912

Mr. J. Bruce Ismay, Chairman and Managing Director of the White Star Line.

Mr. J. Bruce Ismay, Chairman and Managing Director of the White Star Line. The Shipbuilder (Midsummer 1911) p. 2. GGA Image ID # 10b1ec3dc2

In its sacrifice of safety to speed and show, the sea's greatest catastrophe lays bare a weak spot in modern life; in moral heroism, the disaster reveals civilization's most exquisite flower.

We may blame the Titanic's brave captain for running at almost top speed in the region of icebergs of whose presence he had been thrice warned. Perhaps one may find that blame rests, too, on the managing director of the White Star company who was on board the ill-fated "unsinkable" ship.

We may also blame, and rightly, the steamship company which directly or inferentially encourages taking great chances to make record trips. We may hold the company responsible, likewise, for having only about one-third of the necessary lifeboat capacity, absurdly offering to the public unobstructed outlooks and promenades, swimming pools, squash courts, gymnasia, and other luxuries, in place of universal provision for the saving of life.

But, in justice, one should say that the White Star company has not sinned above its sister companies in these regards. In the building of the Titanic, it had scored on its competitors. Still, among all the leading companies, there has been a keen rivalry to possess vessels that spell the last word in size and luxury of appointments and clip hours, or even minutes, from transatlantic records.

Captain E. J. Smith, Commander of the Titanic, Who Went Down With His Ship.

Captain E. J. Smith, Commander of the Titanic, Went Down With His Ship. © Underwood & Underwood. Wreck and Sinking of the Titanic (1912) p. 00-c. GGA Image ID # 1102b58573

Yes, captains and steamship companies are responsible. But there is a third party to the case. And that is our speed-mad and luxury-loving age, which has demanded this sort of thing, and, when the risk has been carried through with success, has loudly applauded.

Time and again in our country, similar warnings have come to us when in railroad wrecks, the same demand for records has thrown safety to the breeze, entailing the sacrifice of a dozen or score of lives.

At what awful price has the tragedy of the sea taught the world that human cargoes are more sacred than luxurious vessels and record-breaking voyages.

The steamship companies have already agreed to a new "long" course farther south. We believe other reforms regarding sufficient lifeboats, speed, and luxury limitations, will follow.

Turning to the sinking of the great ship, we have a picture heartrending and infinitely sad, but a tale of voluntary renunciation and sacrifice, making an immortal contribution to the ideals of humanity.

No scene of martyrdom in the arena of long ago ever presented human nature in a nobler aspect than that shown as the Titanic's captain called out, "Women and children first!" in the main, every man on board, millionaire and stoker, first cabin and steerage, answering the call.

Whence came to this strange rule of the sea? No law prescribes it. No proud civilization of the past gave it birth. Even in many cultures today, the authoritarian rule is, "Men first, children next, women last."

Suggestions of the ideal may not be wholly lacking in other religions and civilizations. Still, the Christian faith and society inspire vicarious sacrifice, teaching that "the strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak."

The evolutionary hypothesis has been much modified since Darwin explained the history of the race by the "survival of the fittest." However, for many, the phrase still epitomizes their philosophy of life.

The Christian Gospel has never been so taught. And it takes a tragedy like this to show how great our age, universally decried as sordid and material, is permeated with Christianity's sacrificial ideals.

The common element in human life gives character its most valuable content. Everyone who went down with the ship died so that someone else might be saved. The Carpathia might have come back with a boat-load of men, with stories of women beaten and pushed from lifeboats, rafts, and children left on the foundering vessel.

Then would we have hung our heads in shame? But survivors tell a story of most exceptional heroism on the part of men and women as well—a tale which will make an immortal chapter in the literature of our common humanity and add precious treasure to the ideals of the race.

The RMS Titanic Inquiry in London - 1912

The British Method: The RMS Titanic Inquiry in London

The British Method: The RMS Titanic Inquiry in London. The Illustrated London News (25 May 1912) p. 782. GGA Image ID # 102e7668c7

Photos Top to Bottom, Left to Right:

  1. Those Appointed to Hold the British Inquiry into the Loss of the "Titanic": Lord Mersey, the Wreck Commissioner, and Assessors.
  2. The Procedure of the British Inquiry into the Loss of the "Titanic": A Witness Giving Evidence.
  3. The Inquiry in Full Swing: The Scene in the London Scottish Drill Hall, Showing a Model of the "Titanic."
  4. A Lookout Man Who Gave Evidence as to an Order from the Bridge Telling Him to Keep a Sharp Lookout for All Ice: Archie Jewell.
  5. The President of the "Titanic" Inquiry in This Country and the Secretary: Lord Mersey and His Elder Son, Captain the Hon. Charles Bigham.
  6. A Seaman Who Told How a Rush of Foreigners Was Stopped, and How Lifeboats Passed among Hundreds Op Dead Bodies: Joseph Scarrott.

The British Inquiry

The British Inquiry into the loss of the "Titanic" was opened on 9 May, in the London Scottish Drill Hall, at Buckingham Gate.

Lord Mersey, the Wreck Commissioner, appointed for the purpose, took the chair at eleven o'clock, accompanied by the Assessors—Rear-Admiral the Hon. S. A. Gough-Calthorpe, Professor Biles, Captain A. W. Clarke, Commander F. C. Lyon, and Mr. E. C. Chaston.

Concerning two of those whose portraits appear on this page, it may be said that, in the earlier stages of the proceedings, Archie Jewell, one of the lookout men of the "Titanic," who was in the crow's nest before the two men who were there at the time of the collision, gave evidence as to having received, by telephone from the bridge, the message. "Keep a sharp lookout for all ice, big and small," and said that he did not see any ice.

He also described various details of the disaster. On the same day, Seaman Joseph Scarrott told of how he helped in the launching of No. 14 lifeboat, stopped a rush of foreigners towards it, and saw the "Titanic" sink; and described how the lifeboat, with three others, passed amongst hundreds of dead bodies floating about.

Witnesses Called To Give Evidence on Titanic Disaster

Witnesses Called To Give Evidence on Titanic Disaster

Witnesses Providing Testimony on the Titanic Disaster. Pictured Above: Lady Duff-Gordon, Seaman George Symons, Fireman Charles Hendrickson, Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon, Fireman Samuel Collins, Seaman R. J. Horswell, Apprentice J. Gibson, Captain Stanley Lord, Witnesses from the "Californian," Officers and Men. The Insert Reads To Make Good Los of Kit, a Cheque for £5 Signed by Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon. The Illustrated London News (8 June 1912) p. 869. The Illustrated London News (8 June 1912) p. 869. GGA Image ID # 102e492c7e

Giving evidence before the British Commission inquiring into the loss of the "Titanic." George Symons, who was in charge of the boat in which Sir. Cosmo and Lady Duff-Gordon, amongst others, were passengers, said that he thought it would not be safe to go back to attempt to pick anyone out of the water and that no one raised a question in the boat about going back to the rescue.

Charles Hendrickson, a fireman, said that he had concluded that the boat should have gone back and that he was under the impression that Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff-Gordon prevented the lifeboat from returning. They, he alleged, protested against a return.

Facsimile of one of the seven checks said to have been given by Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon to the crew of the lifeboat in which he was saved from the Titanic.

A Piece of Documentary Evidence. Facsimile of one of the seven checks said to have been given by Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon to the crew of the lifeboat in which he was saved from the Titanic. The charge is made that this lifeboat left the ship early with a few rich passengers. It was called "the millionaires' special" by the other survivors. © "Newspaper Illustrations," London. The Literary Digest (25 May 1912) p. 1093. GGA Image ID # 1087436e11

Collins was also in the boat. Edward James Horswell said that he heard nothing about going back.

In the earlier stages of the Inquiry, James Gibson, an apprentice on the "Californian," said that, when on duty at twenty minutes past twelve on the night of the disaster, he saw a ship's light and saw a ship's light rockets fired.

Various other members of the "Californian's" crew and her master, Captain Stanley Lord, also gave evidence when the Court was seeking to establish whether the "Californian" was the vessel whose lights were seen by certain passengers and crew of the "Titanic "and whether the vessel which sent up rockets a few miles away in the ice-field in which the "Californian" spent the night of April 14-15 was the "Titanic."

Officers and Crew from the S.S. Californian Waiting to Give Testimony During the British Inquery to the Titahic Disaster.

Officers and Crew from the SS Californian Waiting to Give Testimony During the British Inquiry to the Titanic Disaster. The "Californian" group shows (from left to right): G. Glenn, fireman; W. Thomas, greaser; C. F. Evans, wireless operator: J. Gibson, apprentice; H. Stone, second officer; W. Ross, seaman; C. V. Groves, third officer; and G. F. Stewart, chief officer.The Illustrated London News (8 June 1912) p. 869-h. GGA Image ID # 105cbe0564

At the Toll of Death, the World Mourns - 1912

The Steamship-Owner Gambled with Death - but Death Held the Cards 

The Steamship-Owner Gambled with Death - but Death Held the Cards—Barclay in the Baltimore Sun. The Literary Digest (4 May 1912) p. 920-a. GGA Image ID # 103c61ea80

The appalling disaster of the Titanic's loss appeals to the sympathies of every man, woman, and child worldwide. A sacrifice to speed! In its stupendousness, it eclipses any maritime disaster on record, and we feel we would not be doing our duty if we did not make some mention of this terrible calamity.

We are sufficiently interested in this matter because people took motion pictures of its launching and sailing, and many cameras were ready to greet the boat when she came up New York Bay, but, alas! Man proposes, and Allah disposes.

It is with great regret to us that several of our friends have gone down in the ill-fated vessel. Notably and first in our mind is William T. Stead, the founder, and editor of the Review of Reviews.

It was only on Monday morning, just as we were preparing to leave town, that we dictated a letter to Mr. William E. Shaw, American editor of the Review of Reviews, asking him to arrange an interview with our friend, William T. Stead for Auld Lang Syne.

The news was a great shock to those who have known and worked with Mr. Stead. It was our province and pleasure to work with him in his psychical research studies, and many are the happy hours that we had spent in the seance room when he dictated the letters from Julia and others.

We better knew him, though, as the founder of the National Lantern Society in England, where he gave a helping hand to every aspiring lanternist (someone who operates a magic lantern) throughout the country. We were elected one of the officers of that society, and as long as he published the little paper on behalf of the Nationalists of England, we were regularly in touch with him by voice and pen.

Another good friend for whom there may yet be hope is the Rev. Dr. J. Stuart Holden of Glasgow, who was on his way here to address, with William T. Stead, the great Men and Religion Movement which has already started men thinking. We believe that a wonderfully good harvest will result from its work.

We were in hopes of meeting once more J. S. Holden, with whom we have stood on several platforms addressing the multitudes of England and Scotland. It is problematic that such men, who are a pride and a credit to the whole world, should be thus suddenly swept away in the vortex of the illimitable sea.

We trust, with other papers, that by raising our voice in protest that some arrangements more equitable for the safety of the passengers will be arranged for, and that the Northern passage will be tabooed in future during the winter months by every vessel passing between the ports of England and New York.

What is speed, what is a day, what is an hour, compared to eternity and the great sacrifice of human life for the sake of crowding a few extra minutes in arriving at the dock?

Craving News of RMS Titanic Passengers at White Star Offices

Crowds outside and inside of the White Star Line Offices Crave Any News about the Fate of Passengers.

Crowds outside and inside the White Star Line Offices Crave Any News about the Fate of Passengers. The Illustrated London News (4 May 1912) p. 659. © Bureau and L.N.A. GGA Image ID # 101e71c624

Top Photo

When the Line's Flags Were at Half-Mast after the Wreck of the "Titanic" and Great Loss of Life, There were Anxious Inquirers at the White Star Company's West-End Office in Cockspur Street.

Bottom Photo

After the Coming of the News That the "Titanic" Had Been in Disastrous Collision with an Iceberg: A News-Seeking Crowd outside the Leadenhall Street Office of the White Star Line, on 16 April.

As soon as the populous heard that the great White Star liner "Titanic" had been in collision with an iceberg, many relatives and friends of those aboard made haste to seek news.

Their anxiety was the more remarkable in that such reports, as arrived in the earlier hours of suspense, were not only meager but conflicting.

A ray of hope came when the wireless news stated that the liner was in tow, but this was dissipated by later messages, which reported a disaster so appalling in its magnitude that there has never been in like.

The first list of names of those saved came via Cape Race, whence it had been sent by wireless from the "Carpathia."

It is said that confusion in the spelling of names was due to interruption by amateur wireless operators.

Expert Opinions on What Happened - 1912

In all probability, according to The Scientific American, a massive, projecting, underwater shelf of the iceberg with which she collided tore open several compartments of the Titanic,

Is This What Happened? In all probability, according to The Scientific American, a massive, projecting, underwater shelf of the iceberg with which she collided tore open several compartments of the Titanic, the rent extending from near the bow to amidships. The energy of the blow, 1,161,000 foot-tons, was equal, it is estimated, to that of the combined broadsides of the battleships Delaware and North Dakota. © Scientific American. The Literary Digest (11 May 1912) p. 981. GGA Image ID # 10869441df

While it is well to adopt many of the precautions and devices suggested since the iceberg sent the Titanic to the bottom, we are reminded by no less an authority on ice than Robert E. Peary that, after all, for the modern transatlantic liner, "there is no certain protection against icebergs except to give the region where they may occur the widest berth."

And it likewise appears to Engineering News (New York) "that the first and most important lesson of the Titanic's loss is the need for moving the summer course of transatlantic steamers between North Atlantic ports and the English Channel ports farther south."

This, as our readers know, was done at once by the joint action of the steamship companies. In connection with a chart showing the various" 'lanes," Engineering News goes on to say:

"The position of the Titanic, as given in her calls for assistance by wireless, was Lat. 41° 46', Long. 50° 14'. It will be seen by referring to the chart that this was 14', or about 16 miles, south of the regular westbound summer route. The early reports that the Titanic was using the shorter northern or Winter way — was erroneous.

"The general position of the group of icebergs upon one of which the liner was wrecked is indicated on the chart. The iceberg symbols on the chart mark positions at which icebergs were sighted by different vessels in the few days immediately preceding and following the wreck.

For clearness, only a few of the numerous reports received at the New York Office of the United States Hydrographic Bureau are marked in the chart.

"One can trace the course of the group of bergs to the southward under the influence of the Labrador current utilizing the pilot charts issued monthly by the Hydrographic Office.

The Labrador current curves around the coast of Newfoundland and is believed to pass below the Gulf Stream. The ice brought shown by the current from the north is picked up by the Gulf Stream and carried slowly eastward, being at the same time rapidly melted as a general rule by the warmer water.

The speed of the Gulf Stream in this vicinity is only 15 or 20 miles per day. Slight variations in the flow of the two currents or differences in the character of the ice itself may account for the further progress of the ice southward in some years.

"The ice this year is farther south than it has been during a long period of years, and on 16 April, the transatlantic lines announced an agreement, in consequence of the reports as to where in the Atlantic, to shift the established routes to bring them 60 or 70 miles farther south in the vicinity where the Titanic met icebergs.

Repositioning Steamship Routes

Three days later, on 19 April, an agreement was effected between the steamship lines and the United States Hydrographic Office, moving the routes some 100 miles farther south still to the position indicated on the chart reproduced herewith. The chart also shows the former routes, established in 1898. The new routes are about 175 miles longer than the former summer routes."

Chart of the North Atlantic Showing the New Summer Routes for Steamships.

Chart of the North Atlantic Showing the New Summer Routes for Steamships. Inter Routes of German and French Lines Are Not Shown. The Turning Points Are the Same as for the English Lines. Small Open Circles indicate these Points. Shaded Spots show the position of Icebergs. © Engineering News. The Literary Digest (11 May 1912) p. 982. GGA Image ID # 1086b494ee

The sinking of the Titanic has convinced many that there is no such thing as "the unsinkable ship." Yet, The Scientific American would remind us, "the ship's company who set sail from Southampton on the first and last voyage of the world's greatest vessel" had "many good reasons" for believing that she was unsinkable.

The Purported Strength of Construction

To begin, we read a carefully prepared article in this authoritative weekly: "The ship's floor was of exceptional strength and stiffness. Keel, keelson, longitudinal, and inner and outer bottoms were of weight, size, and thickness exceeding any previous ship.

The floor was carried well up into the sides of the vessel. In addition to the conventional framing, the hull was stiffened by deep web frames — girders of enormous strength — spaced at frequent and regular intervals throughout the whole length of the vessel.

Tying the ship's sides together were the deck beams, ten inches in depth, covered, a floor above the floor, with unbroken steel decks. Additional strength was afforded by the thick longitudinal bulkheads of the coal bunkers, which extended in the wake of the boiler-rooms, and, incidentally, by their watertight construction, served, or instead, because of the loss of the ship, we should say it did as it was intended to do, to prevent water, which might enter through a rupture in the ship's outer shell, from finding its way into the boiler-rooms.

"As further protection against sinking, the Titanic was divided by fifteen transverse bulkheads into sixteen separate watertight compartments. They were so proportioned that the sea might have flooded any two of them without endangering the flotation of the ship.

"Furthermore, all the multitudinous compartments of the cellular double bottom and all the sixteen main compartments of the ship were connected, through an elaborate system of piping, with a series of powerful pumps whose collective capacity would suffice to delay the rise of water in the holds significantly, due to any of the ordinary accidents of the sea involving a rupture of the hull of the ship.

"Finally, there was the security against foundering due to vast size—a safeguard which might reasonably be considered the most effective. For it is certain that, with a given amount of damage to the hull, the flooding of one compartment will affect the stability of a ship in the inverse ratio of her size— or, should the watertight doors fail to close, the ship will stay afloat for a length of time approximately proportional to her size."

How Lifeboats For All Could Be Carried

How the Steamship Lines Could carry Lifeboats For All. On the Left, the Boat Deck of the Titanic Showing 20 Lifeboats Carrying About 1,000 Passengers. On the Right, the Plan of Boat Deck Showing Suggested Accommodations for 56 Boats Carrying About 3,100 Passengers. © Scientific American. The Literary Digest (11 May 1912) p. 982. GGA Image ID # 1086a1115f

Speed and the Iceberg

Therefore, "unsinkable she was by any of the seemingly possible accidents of wind and weather or deep-sea collision." Bow on, and "under the half-speed called for by careful seamanship," she would probably have survived even a head-on collision with an iceberg. But there was one peril against which she was as helpless as the smallest of coasting steamers— "the long, glancing blow below the waterline, due to the projecting shelf of an iceberg."

Nevertheless, this writer emphasizes, "had the Titanic been running under a slow bell, she would probably have been afloat today." Even that deadly underwater blow, we are told, "would scarcely have been fatal had the ship been put, as she should have been, under half speed."

In that case, "the force of the reactive blow would have been reduced to one-quarter." To quote the following explanation:

"The energy of a moving mass increases with the velocity's square. The 60,000-ton Titanic, at 21 knots, represented the energy of 1,161,000 foot-tons. At 10 knots, the Titanic would have reduced her power to 290,250 foot-tons.

Think of it, that giant vessel, rushing on through the ice-infested waters, was capable of striking a blow equal to the combined broadsides of the twenty 12-inch guns of the USS Delaware and USS North Dakota, each of whose guns developed 50,000 foot-tons at the muzzle!

"Newton's first law of motion 'will be served." "But had the speed been only one-half and the energy one fourth as great, the force might have well deflected the ship from the iceberg before more than two or three of her compartments had been ripped open; and with the water confined to these, the powerful pumps could have kept the vessel afloat for many hours, and surely until a fleet of rescuing ships had taken every soul from the stricken vessel."

This writer has no patience with the contention that a ship like the Titanic can't carry lifeboats enough for all on board. He has studied the problem and presented its solution in the accompanying diagram.

In its editorial summing up the "Lessons of the Titanic's Loss," The Army and Navy Journal (New York) makes special mention of these: the value of the life-raft, the need for more competent seamen, better appliances for launching boats, "a steam- or gasoline-propelled pinnace," and search-lights.

It also calls attention to a letter from Admiral Robert E. Peary. In Admiral Peary's opinion:

"A powerful search-light would greatly assist in determining the presence of icebergs in a ship's course in clear weather" but would be useless in a fog.

Large icebergs, he says, are easily located and avoided. but "the most dangerous ice menace to a steamer is the last remaining fragment of a berg, usually a mass of dense translucent ice, hard as a rock, almost entirely submerged, absorbing the color of the surrounding water, and almost invisible, even in broad daylight, until close aboard."

A steel passenger ship, striking one of these "growlers," would likely have "her bilge torn open from bow to quarter. For our huge modern steel steamships, traveling at high speed and intensely vulnerable to puncture, there is no absolute protection against icebergs except to give the region where they may occur the widest berth."

Lewis Nixon, the shipbuilder, believes that some of the difficulties in providing a sufficient number of lifeboats are real, but he suggests life-rafts and a detachable deck.

Admiral F. E. Chadwick, in a letter to the New York Evening Post, also recommends the raft. He discusses the question of the Titanic's size, speed, and construction but concludes thus:

"Certainly, her size had nothing to do with her loss, and her speed was less than that of some others.  She was lost by unwise navigation—by running at full speed, though so amply forewarned, into a dangerous situation that the Titanic might have easily avoided. Any ship driven at such speed onto a berg of such character would have torn her bottom to pieces. This is a fundamental, sad, and important fact. It accounts for everything."

Fruits of the Titanic Disaster - 1913

One Lesson The Titanic Taught -- The Double Hull.

One Lesson The Titanic Taught -- The Double Hull. On the left is the construction of the Imperator's double hull, a feature of her two sister ships. On the right, designers put new inner skin in the RMS Olympic, the sister ship to the Titanic, at over $1,000,000. The Literary Digest (26 April 1913) p. 937. GGA Image ID # 1088bb8198

THE TRAGIC MEMORIES invoked last week on the first anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic raise the question: To what extent, in these twelve months, have governments and steamboat companies applied the lessons driven home by that appalling disaster?

While some editors detect a tendency on the part of the public to forget those lessons and to relax the pressure of its demand for reforms, all agree that ocean travel is safer today because of that terrible sacrifice of 1,503 men, women, and children in the icy waters of the North Atlantic in the early morning of 14 April 1912.

"The comparative safety of those who now go upon the sea in the great liners is the service done for them by the 1,500 souls lost with the Titanic," says the Springfield Republican, and in the Brooklyn Eagle, we read:

"Some good comes out of every great calamity, and some good has come out of this. We have abandoned as a fallacy the theory of the unsinkable ship. The preaching of many marine architects in favor of the double hull would not in a dozen years have carried the conviction at once brought home to shipbuilders when the full story of the wreck became known.

The agitation of legislative "reformers' all over the world would not have forced owners to increase their equipment of lifeboats and life-rafts so promptly as they increased it without compulsion when the Titanic tragically demonstrated the need for the increase.

Marconi himself could not have argued so forcefully for the perfection of wireless service at sea as did the want of a perfected system on ships that answered the Titanic's call for help. If the catastrophe of 14 April 1912 is recalled with grief for those who perished bravely and uncomplainingly, people will also remember that the dead died not in vain."

Perhaps the most crucial development in steamship building since the loss of the Titanic, says the New York Times, has been the double-skinned steamship, the ship within a ship, with transverse bulkheads extending between skins to the upper deck.

The new Hamburg-American liner Imperator, the largest vessel afloat, was designed and built on this principle, while the White Star liner Olympic, originally built with a single hull, has been reconstructed at the cost of a million and a quarter dollars, the principal change being the addition of inner skin.

Another result of the Titanic disaster, says The Times, has been to check the speed mania that had taken possession of both the traveling public and the steamship companies.

Moreover, an ice patrol has been established on the North Atlantic steamship lanes, the lifesaving equipment of the liners has been increased, and in some cases, two or more captains have been allotted to each ship so that the safety of the passengers shall not depend upon the judgment and alertness of an overworked officer.

The Imperator, for example, carries a commodore and three staff captains, one of whom will always be on the bridge. In the New York World, Mr. George Uhler, Supervising Inspector-General of the United States Steamboat Inspection Service, bears witness as follows to the increased precautions against disaster at sea:

"Since the Titanic went down, I have inspected many transatlantic liners, and I know of my knowledge that nearly every steamship landing at the port of New York now carries a sufficient number of lifeboats and rafts to care for every passenger on board in case these boats were called into use.

I also know that the officials of the major lines have cut down the number of passengers to be carried to fulfill promises made regarding a sufficient number of lifeboats for passengers and crew.

"It is likewise true that every large steamship now carries two wireless operators, one of whom shall be on duty constantly. As to the number of drills participated on by the crew, I also know that the companies are doing everything in their power to have the crew members so trained that all lifeboats and rafts may be adequately staffed and operated in cases of emergency. How frequently these drills take place, I cannot state.

"Before the Titanic disaster, the question of boatage was regulated by the ship's tonnage, without regard for the number of the passengers. That has been changed; the number of boats now depends solely on the number of persons carried. I may add that every American vessel engaged in overseas trade is equipped with boats and rafts to accommodate every person on board.

"In the lake, bay, and sound trade, passenger vessels are required to have lifeboats and rafts for all passengers only between 15 May and 15 September, the season when the passenger-carrying trade is greatest. During other seasons, they must have boats for but 60 percent of their passenger capacity. This is sufficient, for our coastwise passenger trade in the winter months is very light."

On 23 July 1912, the United States Congress passed a law forbidding any passenger ship, American or foreign, carrying fifty or more passengers, to leave any American harbor without a wireless apparatus capable of transmitting and receiving messages a distance of one hundred miles, with an auxiliary power-plant sufficient to operate it for four hours if the primary machinery is disabled. No less than two skilled men to send messages.

In July of this year, an International Maritime Conference is expected to assemble in London to bring about an international agreement "for a system of reporting and disseminating information relating to aids and perils to navigation, the establishment of lane routes to be followed by the transatlantic steamers," and other matters affecting the safety of ocean travelers. Says The Times:

"Within the year, so many measures have been taken to guard against a repetition of this disaster that we may be sure that that type of disaster will not be repeated. No ship in the plight of the Titanic will be lost again under similar conditions."

Ice in the Sea Lanes Sailed by the Titanic - 1912

A Ship Might Just as Well Strike a Rock: A Giant Iceberg, Akin to That Which Caused the Sinking of the RMS Titanic.

A Ship Might Just as Well Strike a Rock: A Giant Iceberg, Akin to That Which Caused the Sinking of the RMS Titanic. The Illustrated London News (4 May 1912) p. 633. GGA Image ID # 1011862e22

Dr. H. R. Mill, interviewed by the "Chronicle "after the "Titanic" disaster, said: "A certain amount of help in detecting the approach of icebergs is given by observing the temperature of the sea.

As a rule, on the ordinary Transatlantic steamers, the sea-water temperatures are taken at intervals of two hours. But with a high-speed vessel, such gaps are of comparatively little value in providing a warning.

I am not aware whether, on these fast steamers, the temperature observations are taken very frequently, but it would be obvious prevention to do so.

These icebergs are usually comparatively small so far as area is concerned. Still, they are of great height and extend to an enormous depth below the water to have tremendous momentum. A ship might just as well strike a rock."

The White Foe: Ice in the Sea-Lane Sailed by the "Titanic."

Akin to That Which Gave the RMS Titanic Her Death-Blow: An Iceberg. Which Was Probably Part of the Ice-Field Encountered by the Ill-Fated Vessel.

Akin to That Which Gave the RMS Titanic Her Death-Blow: An Iceberg. Which Was Probably Part of the Ice-Field Encountered by the Ill-Fated Vessel. Photographed from the SS Tunisian a Few Days before the Disaster. The Illustrated London News (11 May 1912) p. 699. © Illustrations Bureau. GGA Image ID # 1012190da2

Passengers on a Steamer Looking at an Ice-Field

In the Neighbourhood of the RMS Titanic's Collision with an Iceberg: Passengers on a Steamer Looking at an Ice-Field. The Illustrated London News (11 May 1912) p. 699. © Fridoline. GGA Image ID # 1012220fab

It is a matter of common knowledge that the RMS Titanic's death blow had been dealt with her by an iceberg, and it is but natural under the circumstances that the ship's officers should have much discussed the ice in the sea lane she followed.

In the earliest stage of the Senatorial Inquiry, Mr. Bruce Ismay said. "We were on the southern route, "the extreme southern route,"; and, further. "It is absolutely and unqualifiedly false that I ever said that I wished that the Titanic should make a speed record or increase her daily runs.

As I have already testified, I deny having said to any person that we would increase our speed to act out of the ice zone or any words to that effect. at no time did the Titanic attain her full speed during the voyage."

The ice drifts in the North Atlantic are a great menace to shipping, and it is asked is there a track outside the ice limit which Transatlantic liners can take?

The answer would seem to be "No" to act beyond even the average, as opposed to the abnormal limit, which would mean an impossibly wide detour south, an impossibly significant loss of time.

After the disaster, and given the unusual ice position this year, it was decided, very wisely, to change the track of several vessels.

In the Sea-Lane the "Titanic " Sailed: Icebergs off Newfoundland.

In the Sea-Lane, the "Titanic" Sailed: Icebergs off Newfoundland. The Illustrated London News (4 May 1912) p. 660. Photographs by Holloway; Map by Courtesy of the "Daily Mail." GGA Image ID # 1012a8fccc

Images, Top to Bottom, Left to Right:

  1. From the Foot of an Arctic Glacier: An Iceberg off ST. John's. Newfoundland.
  2. Eight-Ninths of It Submerged; How an Iceberg Floats.
  3. Result of a Land Glaciers Calving: An Iceberg off ST. John's. Newfoundland.
  4. A Grave Menace to Shipping: An Iceberg on the High Seas.
  5. The Scene of the Disaster to the "Titanic": The Field. Ice and Iceberg Limits and the Approximate Positions of Various Vessels.
  6. Weathered by Sun and Rain: An Iceberg off the Entrance to ST, John S Harbour.
  7. Off the Labrador Coast: A Great Berg.
  8. Off the Labrador Coast: Floating Ice.
  9. With a Steamship beneath Its Great Arch: A Huge Berg.
  10. With an Arch: An Iceberg Photographed off ST. John's, Newfoundland.

"The great bergs broke off the feet of Arctic glaciers and floating south in the Arctic current till they meet the Gulf Stream are not commonly expected to cross the path of Transatlantic travel before summer, and it may be that the icebergs now reported off Newfoundland are the Laggards of last year's crop. entangled and frozen up in the flow."

We quote the "Times." which continues: "At any rate, a great ice-field with many icebergs has been obstructing the Westbound Transatlantic sea-lane off the Newfoundland Grand Banks for the past week. Ships' captains estimate its length at 70 miles, with a breadth of 35 miles.

Mr. J. H. Welsford, the Liverpool shipowner who traveled on board the SS Carmania… stated that he had never seen the ice so far south as on his last voyage and in such great bulk.

There were numerous 'growlers '-- large icebergs that had melted on top until their upper surfaces were almost awash—bad or failing light was challenging to discern."

The RMS Titanic sank after a collision with an iceberg between Sable Island, Nova Scotia, and Cape Race, Newfoundland. She was fourteen miles south of the possible range of ice fields when the disaster occurred.

Lessons from the Titanic Disaster

The Titanic as She Left Southampton, Starting on Her First and Last Voyage.

The "Titanic" as She Left Southampton, Starting on Her First and Last Voyage. This Reproduction and That of the "Carpathia," Below, Are Made to Scale, Showing the Comparative Sizes of the Ships. © American Press Association. Popular Mechanics Magazine (June 1912) p. 803-a. GGA Image ID # 1081375cf4

The Carpathia, the Rescue Ship That Picked up 705 Survivors

The "Carpathia," the Rescue Ship That Picked up 705 Survivors. © Underwood & Underwood. Popular Mechanics Magazine (June 1912) p. 803-b. GGA Image ID # 10819126d6

The "Titanic" catastrophe teaches no new lesson regarding man's fallibility. It simply furnished another example of the well-established principle that if in the conduct of any enterprise, an error of human judgment or faulty working of the human senses involves disaster, sooner or later, the tragedy comes.

Reviewing the past, it is easy to see that the long-established passage lanes of the Atlantic involved a danger of just such an accident. From the point of view of safety, it was an error of judgment to give them such a northerly location.

Looking backward, it seems an error of judgment of the captain of the "Titanic" to risk passage near the ice. It seems practically inevitable that he did not for one moment think he was running any material risk of accident to his vessel, much less risk of destruction. That gallant officer and gentleman went down with his ship to honorable death, and one can never tell his story.

The fact that he was not on the bridge at the time of the collision is powerful evidence that he thought his course would have cleared the bergs whose position had been reported to him. Picked captains of Atlantic liners cling to the bridge to exhaustion whenever they consider the circumstances to involve the slightest danger to the ship.

If Captain Smith erred, it was the error of a captain whose record and the experience were of the best. We need not expect to secure greater safety by better captains, and without speculating on matters involving personnel and discipline, let us now consider issues of the material. The most salient fact is that if the "Titanic" had carried more boats or several life rafts in addition to her lifeboats, many more lives would have been saved.

Boat-Deck Plan of the "Titanic," Showing How Lifeboats Were Located, 60 Feet above the Water.

Boat-Deck Plan of the "Titanic," Showing How Lifeboats Were Located, 60 Feet above the Water. There Were 16 Large Boats, to Be 8wung out by the Davits before Lowering, and Two Sea Boats, Already Swung out and Ready for Instant Use in Case of Man Overboard or Other Emergency. There Was Room for More Boats on This and Other Decks of the Liner. Popular Mechanics Magazine (June 1912) p. 806-a & 807-a. GGA Image ID # 1082947e52

It also appears that two more boats were carried over the officers' quarters, on at least one that was not lowered but floated away when the "Titanic" sank.

There was room for many more boats. The deck plan above shows space between the two groups of lifeboats where ten more could have been carried.

Moreover, we learn from the description of the ship published in various technical papers nearly a year ago that the designers fitted each pair of the davits installed to handle two boats.

So that as regards space, there was room to install some 52, instead of 16, large lifeboats, making in all 56 instead of 20, and there is no difficulty from top-heaviness in the way of carrying the more significant number.

The boat equipment on board appears to have complied with the minimum requirements of the English Board of Trade, the responsible governmental authority in this connection. It seems practically inevitable that governments will promptly change regulations all over the world, and the lifeboat equipment of these large vessels should undoubtedly be increased to provide boat accommodations for every soul allowed on board.

Snapshot Taken by a Passenger on Board the RMS Carpathia Showing the Ice Field into Which the RMS Titanic Ran Causing the Greatest Marine Tragedy in History.

Snapshot Taken by a Passenger on Board the RMS Carpathia Showing the Ice Field into Which the RMS Titanic Ran Causing the Greatest Marine Tragedy in History. © 1912 Underwood & Underwood. Popular Mechanics Magazine (June 1912) p. 797. GGA Image ID # 1080141eff

The RMS Titanic, When It Sank, Was in 41° 46 Min. N. Lat., 50° 14 Min. W. Long., Approximately the Same Latitude as New York and Madrid.

The RMS Titanic, When It Sank, Was in 41° 46 Min. N. Lat., 50° 14 Min. W. Long., Approximately the Same Latitude as New York and Madrid. The Distances of Other Vessels in the Vicinity from the Ill-Fated Ship at the Time She First Flashed Distress Signals Were: SS California, about 10 Miles; SS Mt. Temple, 20 Miles; SS Frankfort, 40 Miles; SS Carpathia, 58 Miles: SS Niagara, 75 Miles: SS Virginian, 120 Miles; SS Baltic, 100 Miles; And SS Olympic, about 250 Miles. Popular Mechanics Magazine (June 1912) p. 799. GGA Image ID # 1080c2bc2d

There is a great opportunity here for international, and it is very desirable that not only requirements for the safety of passengers, but tonnage rules, berthing requirements of steerage passengers, etc., should be internationally standardized.

The fact that under the circumstances, more boats would have saved many more lives from the "Titanic" and that she could have carried about three times as many lifeboats as she had should not blind our eyes to the fact that lifeboats are, after all, a very inefficient device for saving life from a sinking vessel.

If the "Titanic" had carried 56 lifeboats, it is not likely that the crew would have launched nearly all of them. One of the 20 she did carry was not launched at all, being inconveniently stowed.

The crew was new to the ship and had been inadequately trained with boat drills. Still, on the other hand, the conditions were exceptionally favorable, there being an unusually smooth sea and a little list of the vessel at any time.

Had there been any seaworthy of the name, the role of survivors would have been short indeed. The difficulty of launching lifeboats is increased enormously by a very moderate sea, and the chance of living in them after launching is very much reduced.

Properly built boats with air tanks would not sink, but if overloaded and inadequately staffed, most passengers would succumb very soon. A lifeboat that would carry 50 or 60 persons in smooth water could not take nearly so many in rough water.

The area in plan of the large lifeboats of the "Titanic" was near 200 sq. ft. Imagine some (60 persons crowded upon a rectangular platform of this area, say 12 by 18 ft., and one can form some idea of the conditions existing in a "Titanic" lifeboat loaded to capacity.

Twenty years ago, a lifesaving appliance needed not only to keep afloat but be able to make progress to port. No matter how much improved, lifeboats will probably always be inefficient as lifesaving appliances for the mammoth steamers of today. Something different is needed.

It was not sufficient to rely upon the chance of being picked up. Even if a sizeable Atlantic steamer were sunk without reporting her distress by wireless, the survivors could depend upon a quick search for them. Thanks to the wireless that is all changed now.

After the loss of the "Bourgoyne" from a collision in 1898, a prize was offered by the heirs of one of those lost for the best device for lifesaving, resulting in many suggestions. However, nothing appealed to steamship owners as commercially practicable.

The Ocean Passengers by John T. McCutcheon

The Ocean Passengers by John T. McCutcheon in the Chicago Tribune. The Men Who Used to Be First to Rush down to Have the Purser Assign Good Seats at the Tables Will Hereafter First Rush up and Have the Boat Steward Assign Their Seats in the Lifeboats. © 1912 by John T. McCutcheon. Popular Mechanics Magazine (June 1912) p. 807-a. GGA Image ID # 108385a363

There will be a flood of suggestions due to the "Titanic" disaster. A favorite idea is a refuge deck or similar device that all hands repair when the ship begins to sink and floats cheerfully away as the boat takes its last plunge.

The idea is not so easy to carry out as to conceive, but there seem no insuperable mechanical difficulties. The bug-a-boo that there is an irresistible suction when a ship goes down has been pretty well disposed of for the present by the stories of the "Titanic" survivors.

Steamship companies would be reluctant to go to any great expense in this connection not forced upon them. Not that the companies are inhuman—far from it. But they are engaged in a business where competition is keen. When the human managers have satisfied the requirements of the governmental authorities and the insurance companies, they feel they have done all that can be expected.

The governmental authorities are supposed to look out for the lives of passengers, and the insurance companies, who stand to lose if a ship is lost, are believed to insist upon requirements that will reduce the chance of such loss to a minimum.

As illustrating the conservatism of managers of Atlantic lines, one may recall that vessels carrying cattle from America to England were fitted with bilge keels to reduce rolling long before the practice became common upon passenger vessels.

One of the Electrically Operated, Double-Cylinder, Watertight Doors

One of the Electrically Operated, Double-Cylinder, Watertight Doors in the Forward Bulkheads of the "Titanic," Which Were Closed from the Bridge. Popular Mechanics Magazine (June 1912) p. 798. GGA Image ID # 1080a486c9

Money is lost when cattle are damaged by heavy rolling, but when passengers lose their appetites from the exact cause, the expense of the line is lessened.

When the rumors of the "Titanic's" sinking were yet unconfirmed, the company officials came out boldly with the statement that she was unsinkable.

Since then, there have been claims substantially to the effect that no pains or expenses were spared to make her safe, that the naval architect can produce no safer vessel, and that the only safety lies in avoiding the possibility of collision with- icebergs.

It is perfectly accurate that steamer lanes from the United States should avoid the vicinity of icebergs, but there are essential ports that ships cannot reach without some risk of encountering bergs.

Moreover, derelicts, though not nearly as numerous as formerly, are not unknown, and a collision with a derelict may be as dangerous as one with an iceberg.

Finally, collision with another vessel is dangerous, especially in a fog. So it seems worthwhile to consider whether the naval architect's resources regarding safety in connection with the collision were exhausted on the "Titanic."

The broadside elevation of the vessel indicating positions of decks and watertight bulkheads, shows that she had an enormous reserve buoyancy or volume above the water line.

Incidentally, one will notice that the "upper deck" is not the highest deck, and the fourth smokestack is not a smokestack at all but a ventilator from the engine rooms.

The watertight bulkheads are all transverse and all join the outer skin. It is an elementary principle of safety with such an arrangement that bulkheads must be so close together that two adjacent compartments may be flooded simultaneously without danger to the vessel.

This is a minimum requirement, and a colliding vessel may strike just at a bulkhead and throw open two compartments at once to the sea.

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 "Titanic" had only a single skin on her sides above the double bottom. Experience with large steel vessels colliding with the bottom has demonstrated the tremendous protective value of the double bottom fitted on such ships.

If the ship's designers had carried up the inner bottom skin on the sides of the "Titanic," it would have much improved the protection against a collision with icebergs.

One would have probably obtained the best possible protection along this line by carrying the coal in fore and aft bunkers against the side of the ship, with watertight longitudinal wing bulkheads separating the bunkers from the boiler rooms.

Longitudinal bulkheads have been adopted on the fastest vessels crossing the Atlantic today. The additional protection afforded against collisions penetrating the outer skin is evident. The same idea is readily applied forward of the boiler space where protection is most needed.

Longitudinal wing bulkheads have some objections as ships having them will list when damaged, but with vessels having significant freeboard, the list need not be dangerous. A bulkhead does not confine the water after a collision because it is marked "W. T." (watertight) on the plans.

Section of Large Liner with Longitudinal Bulkheads

Section of Large Liner with Longitudinal Bulkheads. Popular Mechanics Magazine (June 1912) p. 804-b. GGA Image ID # 1081fb580b

To fulfill the ship's purpose, it must be built so that it holds up against the pressure of the water without severe leakage and has no holes in it. If it has doors, they must be closed.

At the bottom of the "Titanic," there were doors in practically every bulkhead. They were ordinarily worked by hand, but in an emergency, a magnet energized by pressing a button on the bridge released a friction clutch and allowed the door to drop, thus closing by its weight.

The dropping or "guillotine" type of door is favored today by very few naval architects as against those operated positively by hydraulic or electric power.

A serious objection to doors that close suddenly upon remote operation appears to be based upon ineradicable characteristics of human nature.

The people who use the doors object to being cut in two, and dropping doors are very apt to be wedged or propped open so they cannot be closed suddenly and unexpectedly.

While exact information about the damage done is not available, we may speculate without much danger of exaggerating it.

A ship's officer saw water very soon after the collision in the compartment next forward of the forward boiler compartment, and firemen were driven from their quarters— two compartments forward of this— by encroaching water. This water may have found its way from the vicinity of the boiler-room bulkhead through the firemen's tunnel.

Broadside Elevation of the Vessel, Indicating Positions of Decks and Water Tight Bulkheads

Broadside Elevation of the Vessel, Indicating Positions of Decks and Water Tight Bulkheads, Illustrating the Necessity of Carrying Bulkheads to Upper Decks, and Showing How Flooding of Compartments Forward of Boiler Rooms Would Bring the Head down so That Water Would Flow over Bulkheads into Other Compartments, Sinking Being Inevitable. The Titanic Was 882 Feet 6 Inches Long: 92 Feet 6 Inches Beam; 46,328 Tons Register and Had Accommodations for 3,500 People as Passengers and Crew. She Was the Largest and Most Luxurious Ocean Steamship Ever Built, with 11 Decks and 15 Watertight Bulkheads. The Distance from the Bottom of Her Keel to the Top of the Captain's House Was 105 Feet 7 Inches. Popular Mechanics Magazine (June 1912) p. 806-b & 807-b. GGA Image ID # 1082ea705f

Assuming that the ship was originally at the water line shown in the illustration above—34 ft. draft—and that the vessel lost all buoyancy forward of the forward boiler compartment, the new line of flotation, which the ship would assume would be approximately AB in the illustration above.

One will observe that this is above the top of the bulkhead at the forward end of the boiler room, which extends to the so-called "upper deck" only. Hence the water would find its way aft on the upper deck and flood other compartments from above, the sinking of the ship from the position AB being inevitable.

There seems little doubt from statements of the survivors that all compartments forward of the for-ward boiler-room bulkhead were pierced below water.

If we assume a loss of all buoyancy in the forward boiler-room compartment and the compartments forward, the new line would be approximately CD in the illustration above, or the water would be nearly 20 ft. over the top of the bulkhead next abaft the damaged portion.

Of course, without detailed plans of the ship, the water lines after damage, in the illustration above, have been estimated by roughly approximate methods only.

Still, after making all allowances, it is evident that the "Titanic" would have been much safer if her watertight bulkheads forward had extended to the shelter deck, or even the saloon deck, like the bulkheads aft.

In estimating water lines AB and CD in the illustration above, we assumed that the water between bulkheads found its way freely through decks. It does not appear from the description of the "Titanic" that one made a unique endeavor to secure a horizontal watertight subdivision. From statements of the survivors, it seems that water found its way up freely through the usual deck openings.

If the vessel had been completely flooded below, forward of the boiler rooms, but with a watertight deck at the water line so that no water could pass up, the new flotation line would have been approximately EF in the illustration above.

Even with the forward boiler compartment flooded, the new line with a watertight deck would have been a little below AB instead of in the position CD.

This shows how beneficial horizontal watertight division forward would have been. With a tight deck at the waterline forward and tight bulkheads of adequate strength running, some to the shelter deck and some to the saloon deck, the "Titanic" could have had every compartment below the water from the bow to and including the forward boiler room, thrown open to the sea yet would have been perfectly safe.

In war vessels horizontal, the watertight subdivision is much used. It appears strange that so little use is made of it in passenger vessels with significant freeboard, as it is particularly adapted to add to the safety of such vessels.

With a complete watertight deck at the waterline, strong enough to stand the pressure from underneath of 30 ft. of water or so, and with all openings that could not be closed watertight trunked around to a suitable height, every compartment of the "Titanic" below water could have been thrown open to the sea. The vessel would have floated, the watertight deck forming a new bottom.

While a watertight deck with the qualities indicated would present difficulties in design and construction, it is well within the naval architect's and shipbuilder's capacities. A vessel so constructed with suitable bulkheads might, with justice, be claimed to be unsinkable by any sea danger. We might borrow a name from man-of-war practice and call it a protective deck.

There is one more matter. Suppose, in the illustration above, the area of the rudder of the "Titanic" below the waterline is measured. In that case, one will find it to be about 1/75 of the area below the water line of the whole longitudinal section of the ship. If anything, this is larger than the average ratio for merchant ships, which usually runs from 1/80 to 1/100.

But experience with vessels of war has shown that rudders can be made 1/40 of the longitudinal section, this being good man-of-war practice. In other words, men-of-war use rudders twice as large as fitted on merchant vessels of the same size. The turning powers of merchant ships would be enormously increased if they carried rudders twice as large.

The "Titanic," with greater turning power, might have avoided the collision, as in her case, the distance between safety and destruction was apparently but a few feet.

Except for her unwieldiness, the big ship, properly built, is safer against every danger than a small ship, and with rudders as large as can be fitted, the 1,000-ft. a ship of the near future need be but little more unwieldy than the 500-ft., a small-ruddered ship of a few years ago. Of course, larger rudders would involve a higher first cost and a higher cost of operation.

Constructing the Double Bottom of the Titanic at the Harland & Wolff Yards

They were constructing the Double Bottom of the "Titanic" at the Harland & Wolff Yards, Belfast, Ireland, Looking Aft. The Ice tore this Steel Bottom as Though It Had Been Paper. Popular Mechanics Magazine (June 1912) p. 805-a. GGA Image ID # 10823fe2c5

In conclusion, it would seem that the lessons impressed upon us by the "Titanic" disaster in seeking greater safety upon larger passenger vessels are:

  1. As an immediate measure, sufficient lifeboats should be carried for all souls on board, but a combination of lifeboats and large unsinkable self-launching life rafts would be better.
  2. The radio-telegraphic equipment and operation should be such that vessels near each other should always be able to communicate.
  3. Longitudinal watertight wing bulkheads, or the equivalent, should be fitted.
  4. Transverse watertight bulkheads should extend to the highest continuous deck as regards several at each end, and several that come next should extend to the next deck below.
  5. A stout and reliably watertight deck should be fitted in the vicinity of the water line or a little above it.
  6. Rudders should have about double the areas now commonly fitted on merchant vessels, with adequate power and speed operating gear.

The Arrival of the Carpathia in New York Harbor with Survivors of the Titanic

The Arrival of the "Carpathia," in New York Harbor, with Survivors of the "Titanic," Showing the Lifeboats of the Latter Slung from the Davits. This Photograph was taken from a Tug, with Hundreds of Pounds of Powder Being Used. © Underwood and Underwood. Popular Mechanics Magazine (June 1912) p. 805-b. GGA Image ID # 108292d164

D. W. TAYLOR, Naval Constructor, U. S. Navy - Naval Constructor David Watson Taylor, U.S. N., is regarded as one of the world's foremost authorities on ship construction. He has the unusual distinction of having been graduated by two of the greatest naval schools — the U. S. Naval Academy and the Royal College at Greenwich, England — after having made the highest marks in his examinations that had ever been attained by a student in the history of either institution.

Life-Saving Craft Aboard Ocean Liners - 1912

Pictorial from The Illustrated London News demonstrates the role of lifeboats on the Titanic and other ships of that era, along with the effects of shortchanging passengers with too few lifeboats.

Boats Carried, and Boats Needed to Save All: Vital Figures.

Liners and Their Life-Saving Craft before the Disaster

Liners and Their Lifesaving Craft before the Disaster: White Boats to Represent the Number of Persons for Whom Boats Were Carried; Black to Represent the Boats Required for the Ships' Full Complements. The Illustrated London News (11 May 1912) p. 689. GGA Image ID # 100814f3ab

As noted, the white boats indicate the number of passengers for whom lifesaving craft, etc., were provided; the black boats indicate the number of those who have to be provided if arrangements were made for all.

Thus the "Titanic" had twenty boats capable of holding 1178, while she was certified to carry 3547 passengers and crew. one should understand that every vessel shown above takes lifesaving craft over that required by the Board of Trade regulations, amongst other things, life-belts, and lifebuoys.

Thus, no blame can attach to them; and now, given fresh experience, it is inevitable that every line will increase the number of its boats, etc. Some, indeed, have already done so.

The figures given above are those supplied by the Board of Trade. By the time they are published here, one will have likely made alterations in many instances.

Again, too, one should say that boats do not represent the only lifesaving devices — the "Titanic" also had, for example, 3560 life-belts and forty-eight lifebuoys.

The Boats the Titanic Carried and Those She Might Have Carried

The Boats the "Titanic" Carried and Those She Might Have Carried: The Ill-Fated Liner's Boat-Deck as Planned and as It Was at the Time of the Disaster. The Illustrated London News (11 May 1912) p. 691. GGA Image ID # 10086f3baa

Fitting-Up a Collapsible Boat Aboard the Olympic.

The Lesson Learnt after the Greatest Maritime Disaster: Fitting-Up a Collapsible Boat Aboard the Olympic. The Illustrated London News (11 May 1912) p. 691. GGA Image ID # 1008a4f2da

A paper read at Glasgow some while ago contained the following: "The two White Star Liners, the 'Titanic' and 'Olympic'. . . are also to be fitted with this same type of double-acting davits [the Welin Quadrant Davit]. Each vessel will carry sixteen sets, enough davits to handle thirty-two lifeboats.

All inboard boats on these ships are extra boats, fitted in addition to the regulation complement." The "Titanic" was so fitted, that is to say, it could have carried thirty-two lifeboats instead of the sixteen she did carry under davits.

Four collapsible were added to the liner's lifesaving craft when White Star Line decided not to have the inboard lifeboats in addition to those under davits, which, it must be said, complied fully with the Board of Trade regulations.

The diagram shows the boats carried under davits in white, which might have been brought in addition and handled by the same davits in black.

Orders have now been given that, Board of Trade Regulations notwithstanding, no ship of the International Mercantile Marine Company, which includes the White Star Line, the American, the Red Star, Dominion, Leyland, and Atlantic Transport, shall go to sea without boats and rafts for the whole of the passengers and crew. Other companies are following suit.

As It Should Be on Every Liner: Life-Boat Drill on a Steam-Ship

As It Should Be on Every Liner: Life-Boat Drill on a Steam-Ship. The Illustrated London News (11 May 1912) p. 698. GGA Image ID # 1008b55b11

Top Row:

  • Boat-Drill on a Liner: Crews, Each Including a Cook, Lined up by the Sides of the Boats Allotted to Them Ready to Man Them at the Word of Command.
  • The Alarm Sounding the Bugle-Call for the Crews to Muster and Man Their Boats.
  • Practice in Life-Saving on a Liner: Crews Swinging Life-Boats out from the Davits Preparatory to Lowering Them to the Water.

Middle Row

  • With Her Crew in Their Cork Jackets: A Boat Swinging from the Davits. Half—Way Towards the Water
  • Nearing the End of Boat Drill, Hauling a Boat up a Liner's Side
  • A Boat Safely on the Water

Bottom Row

  • Beginning to Swing Boats out for Lowering.
  • Putting on Cork Jackets before Manning the Boats.

Taking the "Titanic" disaster as a text, but, of course, without definite knowledge as to what happened, there are those who suggest that on some passenger-carrying vessels, at all events, far too little attention is paid to boat-drill.

They state further that on particular liners, there is a considerable lack of seamanship among the men who, because of the nature of the vessels on which they sail, are attendants rather than seamen in too many cases.

Dealing with this subject, Mr. Gerard Fiennes, writing in the "Pall Mall Gazette," says: "It is absurd to suppose that the same degree of discipline and training can exist in the mercantile marine as in the Navy.

If the call comes to take the crew off a stricken warship, there are only disciplined men to be dealt with. On board the liner, there is a crowd of first, second, and third-class passengers subjected to no discipline.

On board a liner, even if lifeboats are sufficient, and if a certain amount of boat drill, more or less superficial, takes place, none of the passengers are told off to particular boats. It is terrific, under the circumstances, that the crew got so many as 700 safely away from the 'Titanic.'.

Next to the sufficiency of the boats carried in point of number, the most critical matter is that there should be sufficient officers and an adequate number of seamen to staff them."

The Saving of the 705: Uncrowded Lifeboats of the "Titanic"

Photographs, Taken by a Passenger on the "Carpathia," Reproduced by Courtesy of "Collier's Weekly."

Survivors Aboard a Collapsible from the Titanic, the Boat Being Rowed Slowly Towards the Carpathia, Immediately before the Rescue of the Passengers.

Survivors Aboard a Collapsible from the "Titanic," the Boat Being Rowed Slowly Towards the "Carpathia," Immediately before the Rescue of the Passengers. The Illustrated London News (18 May 1912) p. 734. GGA Image ID # 1008b6f007

Drawing Alongside the Carpathia to Be Picked Up, Survivors of the Titanic Disaster, Mostly Women, in One of the Ill-Fated Liner's Less Crowded Life Boats.

Drawing Alongside the "Carpathia" to Be Picked Up, Survivors of the "Titanic" Disaster, Mostly Women, in One of the Ill-Fated Liner's Less Crowded Life Boats. The Illustrated London News (18 May 1912) p. 734. GGA Image ID # 10091c4c07

A "Carpathia" steward describing the rescue of "Titanic" survivors to the "Times." said of the coming of the first boat of passengers: "Just as it was about a half-day, we came upon a boat with eighteen men in it, but no women. It was not more than a third filled. Between 8:15 and 8:30, we got the last two boats, crowded to the gunwale. Almost all the occupants were women."

The work of getting the passengers over the side of the "Carpathia" was attended by the most heartrending scenes. Mr. Kuhl of Nebraska said: "Dawn was breaking when the Carpathia's passengers were awakened by the excitement of coming upon a fleet of lifesaving boats. The babies were crying, many of the women were hysterical while the men were stolid and speechless."

Saved by "SOS" - "Titanic" Survivors in the Life-Boats.

Saved by S.O.S. Titanic Survivors in the Life-Boats.

Saved by SOS. "Titanic" Survivors in the Life-Boats. The Illustrated London News (18 May 1912) p. 735. GGA Image ID # 100a01e0ea

The "Carpathia" arrived on the scene of the "Titanic" disaster in answer to the wireless distress-signal "SOS" not in time to see the end of the great liner, but in time to pick up her boats and take the 705 survivors to New York.

A "Carpathia" passenger, describing the rescue to the "Times," said: "I went up onto the deck and found that our vessel had changed her course. The lifeboats had been sighted and began to arrive one by one.

There were sixteen of them in all. The transfer of the passengers was soon being carried out.

It was a tragic sight. Ropes were tied around the waists of the adults to help them in climbing up the rope ladders. The little children and babies were hoisted onto our deck in bags. Some boats were crowded, but a few were not half full.

There were husbands without their wives, wives without their husbands, parents without their children, and children without their parents, but there was no demonstration, and no sob was heard. They spoke scarcely a word. and seemed stunned by the shock of their experiences."

Drawn from Material Supplied by Mrs. Cornell, a Survivor.

The Crew and Passengers of One of the Titanic’s Life-Boats after the Disaster.

A Seaman, a Foreigner — and Women: The Crew and Passengers of One of the "Titanic's "Life-Boats after the Disaster. Drawn from Material Supplied by Mrs. Cornell, a Survivor. (Proof of the Discipline Aboard the Sinking "Titanic": A Boat 'Load of Women.) The Illustrated London News (18 May 1912) p. 754. GGA Image ID # 100a0cd3ea

Passengers on the Boat-Deck of the Titanic in Cork Harbor.

Passing Boats in Which Survivors of the Disaster Subsequently Escaped: Passengers on the Boat-Deck of the "Titanic" in Cork Harbor. The Illustrated London News (4 May 1912) p. 635. GGA Image ID # 1007f31e01

The Ill-fated "Titanic" left Southampton on her disastrous maiden voyage to New York at noon on 10 April and first crossed to Cherbourg, where some passengers came on board.

She then proceeded to Queenstown, in Cork Harbour, another port of call for American mall steamers. She arrived there shortly before noon on the 11th and left at 1:30, having on board 316 saloon passengers, 279 in the second class, 698 in the steerage, and a crew of 903.

The above photograph was taken while the vessel lay in Cork Harbour and shows some of the passengers who were destined, three days later, to undergo such terrible experiences. On the left may be some of the ship's boats where survivors escaped.

Responsibility for the Titanic Disaster - 1912

Mr. Joseph Bruce Ismay - President of the International Mercantile Marine Company

Mr. Joseph Bruce Ismay - President of the International Mercantile Marine Company, testified before the investigation committee. He declares the wreck of the Titanic has taught him a lesson. The Literary Digest (4 May 1912) p. 917. © Underwood & Underwood. GGA Image ID # 103a71ff4f

While a particular element of mystery must always shroud the loss of the Titanic, while specific facts are known only to the dead Captain and first officer, and while others are hidden forever in her rent hull two thousand fathoms deep, much also is being cleared up by the patient and thorough investigation, and, the press is sifting these facts and placing the blame.

The world wants to know where to put the responsibility; it would have correct false rumors; it would have all told that would help make ocean travel safer.

So a committee of the United States Senate is hearing testimony from survivors and officials of the White Star Line, and a similar inquiry is to be instituted by the British Government.

As the passengers, officers, and members of the crew tell their following stories and answer the searching questions of the investigators, the horror of the Titanic's sinking, it is remarked, only increases. At the same time, the needless loss of life becomes more and more apparent.

Back at high speed in an ice-infested sea and back of the lack of lifeboats, there was another reason, daily becoming more apparent to the press. Which to the New York Tribune is the only theory upon which the various elements of the disaster are explicable.

This is that passengers, proprietors, and officers alike were obsessed with the infatuation that the ship was unsinkable. The safety of the modern all-steel liner, with her watertight compartments, had kept the British Board of Trade content with an inadequate life-saving requirement.

The owners of the Titanic had been content with complying with the law, though it meant refuge for less than half of those on board. Because, as Captain Rostrom of the Carpathia crisply puts it, the Titanic was supposed to be a lifeboat herself.

And the alleged lack of vigilance before the collision, the failure to fill the lifeboats to their capacity, the holding back the news of the ship's loss—all are ascribed to this persistent and fatal belief that she was unsinkable.

As the Army and Navy Journal (New York) remarks: Out of the fabric of its delusion and hope, the public created the unsinkable boat and confided itself blindly to it despite warnings that even a child might have listened to.

The Helmsman —Johnson in the Philadelphia North American.

The Helmsman—Johnson in the Philadelphia North American. The Literary Digest (4 May 1912) p. 921-b. GGA Image ID # 103a800831

But people are not content with knowing what is responsible. Responsibility is personal, we are reminded, and the question is, Who? And two persons are named: Captain Smith and J. Bruce Ismay.

The Captain went down with his ship, and many are inclined to cover him with the mantle of charity and remember only his heroic end. But the Albany Journal and the New York Times are among the papers which can not absolve Captain Smith from blame.

Says The Times: Ice was in plain sight, floating ice and bergs. Not only that, but Captain Smith had received at least three warnings by wireless messages that icebergs were in his path—from the Touraine, the Amerika, and the Mesaba. He had acknowledged with thanks the Mesaba's warning that dead ahead of him lay much heavy-packed ice and great numbers of bergs. Yet straight into the jaws of destruction, he steamed at high speed.

The company is by no means to be absolved. Undoubtedly, the Captain was aware of a desire on the company's part for a short voyage. It would please the passengers and bring trade to the line.

But no orders from the company compel, and its desires should not persuade a captain to steam through a field of icebergs at 21 knots an hour. The responsibility of the wreck rests upon the Titanic's Captain directly and secondarily upon the owners.

Though The Times gives the White Star Line, or the International Mercantile Marine Company which controls it, a secondary responsibility, most of its contemporaries assign it the first, and some the only, place among the guilty.

Captain Rostrom, they recall, admitted when questioned that under the law, a captain's control over his ship is absolute, and then he added: But suppose we get orders from our boat owners to do a certain thing. We are liable to dismissal if we do not execute that order.

Captains should use the utmost care, but the Springfield Republican observes that they should also bring their boats' speed and regularity or give place to a more competent man.

Under this pressure, felt if not admitted, a commander must often be obliged to take risks not less real because intangible. Though expensive, speed is safe enough; what is extremely dangerous is the demand for speed combined with a high degree of regularity.

A captain ought to be free and, in theory, to use his best judgment, even if a four-day crossing should be stretched out to a fortnight.

Special reasons for desiring a quick and splendid run on the Titanic's maiden trip are found daily in the company's financial condition.

International Mercantile Marine bonds, notes The Republican, have paid interest charges, but investors in the company's preferred and common shares have never had a dividend.

The White Star Line's common stock sold as low as 5 (par value 100) and the preferred stock at 26 before the Titanic disaster. Reorganization is said to be imminent.

The Wall Street Journal confirms these statements, remarking upon a movement to stimulate speculation in the stock. Part of the campaign plan was alleged to be a movement to interest the public on the successful maiden trip of the Titanic. Such plans miscarried.

The Eternal Collision —Macauley in the New York World.

The Eternal Collision —Macauley in the New York World. The Literary Digest (4 May 1912) p. 921-a. GGA Image iD # 103ac3fcc9

The criticisms of J. Bruce Ismay, the responsible head of the White Star Line and the company owning it for saving his own life, have been stilled somewhat by sworn testimony justifying his act. However, there is still an inclination to make him a scapegoat.

Senator Smith's insistence on keeping him in this country to give testimony concerning the disaster is one of the matters to call forth caustic comments from the British press on the conduct of the Senatorial investigation. The Hearst papers, the Philadelphia North American, and other journals see his presence on the Titanic as proof of his authority there.

At least, thinks the Baltimore News, his word would weigh with the Captain, who told him of one of the iceberg warnings, so that The News finds it difficult to believe that one word of caution from Mr. Ismay to the effect that the Titanic would better come into New York behind schedule time than to hit an iceberg would not have been taken even by the most autocratic Captain as a hint not to be disregarded.

Mr. Ismay's statement is at least clear and consistent. But other papers are beginning to agree with the Louisville Courier-Journal that something is to be said for him. He says in part:

When I boarded the Titanic at Southampton on 10 April, I intended to return by her. I had no intention of remaining in the United States at that time. I came merely to observe the new vessel, as I had done in the case of other ships of our lines.

I was a passenger during the voyage and exercised no greater rights or privileges than any other passenger. I was not consulted by the commander about the ship, course, speed, navigation, or conduct at sea. All these matters were under the exclusive control of the Captain.

I saw Captain Smith only casually, as other passengers did. Captain Smith or any other person never consulted me, nor did I make any suggestions to any human being about the ship's course.

The only information I ever received on the ship that other vessels had sighted ice was by a wireless message from the Baltic.

If the information received had aroused any apprehension in my mind—which it did not —I should not have ventured to suggest to a commander of Captain Smith's experience. The responsibility for the navigation of the ship rested solely with him.

Everybody learns by experience, observes Mr. Ismay. He believes that in this crisis, the steamship owners of the world have realized that too much reliance has been placed on watertight compartments and wireless telegraphy and that they must equip every vessel with lifeboats and rafts sufficient to provide for every soul on board and adequate men to handle them.

They have learned, too, that there are at present no such things as unsinkable ships. As the first result of this lesson, Mr. Ismay has ordered that all vessels belonging to the International Mercantile Marine Company shall be fully equipped with lifeboats. In announcing this decision, he says:

I am candid to admit that until I had experience in a wreck, I never fully realized the inadequacy of the rules of our and other lines concerning preserving life in case of an accident in mid-ocean. I had gone along like the rest of the steamship men on the theory that our ships were unsinkable.

I determined to do this irrespective of any present or future laws on the subject, either in this country, in England, Holland, or in any other foreign countries touched by the lines of the International Mercantile Marine Company.

I will see to it that not only every passenger but every crew member on any ship of the White Star, the American, and all other lines of the International Mercantile Marine shall in the future be as safe as possible in case of another accident.

The Steamship-owner Gambled with Death - But Death held the cards

The Steamship-owner Gambled with Death - But Death held the cards —Barclay in the Baltimore Sun. The Literary Digest (4 May 1912) p. 920-a. GGA Image ID # 103c61ea80

We are not waiting to comply with the law merely. We will disregard technicalities and give the amplest and complete protection to human life, irrespective of all legal requirements.

In the future, there will never arise a condition in which there is no room for everybody in the lifeboats or on the unsinkable pneumatic life-rafts that are not even capable of being upset in rough weather.

Similar action has been taken by other steamship lines so that the New York Sun thinks it safe to say that never before in the history of the mercantile marine of any nation have life-saving appliances aboard a ship been brought to their maximum efficiency so quickly as has been done by all countries since the Titanic disaster taught its tragic lesson.

Immediately after the first report of the accident to the Titanic, the steamship companies conferred with the United States Hydrographic Office, and all captains were instructed to take a new southern route, which was intended to bring them many miles south of the iceberg zone, though adding 200 miles to the westbound course.

Moreover, notes The Sun, the ships are going out equipped with more lifeboats than ever before, and these boats are ready for service.

A remarkable instance of the effect of the Titanic's loss was the mutiny of the crew of her sister ship, the Olympic, because of the firemen's distrust of the collapsible boats furnished to complete her equipment, causing the scheduled trip from Southampton to New York to be abandoned last week.

In addition to the steps taken by the shipping companies, Great Britain, the United States, and other maritime Powers, we rear, will make their respective regulations stricter and enforce more careful inspection.

An international conference which will recommend uniform legislation on the problem of ensuring the safety of steamers and on similar matters is to be held shortly.

The Moving Finger Writes, And. Having Writ, Moves On.

The Moving Finger Writes, And. Having Writ, Moves On. (Life Saving Appliances Were Inadequate —Ireland lo the Columbus Dispatch. The Literary Digest (4 May 1912) p. 920-b. GGA Image ID # 103c9aff7e

While it is universally acknowledged that one valuable lesson taught by the Titanic disaster is the priceless worth of wireless communication at sea, it is no less generally felt that the wireless system has fallen short of its possibilities from lack of systematized organization and cooperation, as the Baltimore Sun puts it, in connection with the recent disaster.

True, the Carpathia heard the distress call, but only because the single operator had postponed his usual hour of retirement by chance. Another ship that might have come up in time to save all the passengers failed to receive the call from the Titanic because the operator was asleep. Hence, there is a strong demand for some regulation providing wireless outfits on freight and passenger steamers and requiring every passenger boat to carry two operators.

Then, too, the confusion regarding the messages from the Carpathia, other vessels, and stations on shore, accusations of holding up messages, and refusals of operators on rival lines to communicate courteously with each other bring forth such indignant editorial comments as this in the New York World:

One reform made mandatory by the Titanic disaster is the immediate systematization of wireless communication at sea and its regulation in the public interest. Out of the revelation of lax and chaotic wireless communication methods on the ocean should come a reform which must secure its stricter regulation for the public benefit under international agreements providing for its more responsible control.

Meanwhile, the Senate's committee is carrying on a thorough investigation. It comprises Senators Smith of Michigan, Chairman; Perkins of California; Bourne of Oregon; Burton of Ohio; Fletcher of Florida; Simmons of North Carolina; and Newlands of Nevada.

The purpose of the inquiry, according to Senator Smith, is to get all facts bearing upon this unfortunate catastrophe that we can obtain. The detention of Mr. Ismay and officers and members of the crew of the Titanic, which has been criticized in England, is thus explained by Senator Smith:

From the beginning, we have planned to obtain the testimony of citizens or subjects of Great Britain temporarily in this country. The committee will pursue this course until we conclude it has obtained all accessible and valuable information for a proper understanding of this disaster.

Members of the committee, particularly Mr. Smith, are criticized because of their unfamiliarity with things. The British press sneers at them and expresses surprise that the Senate did not leave such things to a committee of experts. Some of this harsh criticism our press finds to be deserved.

The Springfield Republican's Washington correspondent admits that the investigation is ludicrous and that the committee chairman, in particular, shows "remarkable persistence and fertility in asking ignorant questions.

The Senate's hasty action in starting the investigation, which began the morning after the Carpathia reached New York, has been condemned by the English press and by speakers in the House of Commons.

But our papers praise such timeliness, and it will, thinks the New York American, spur the English themselves to quicker and more resolute action than they otherwise would have been likely to take.

The further assertion that the United States Senate has no right to conduct such an inquiry about the disaster that had occurred on a British ship on the high seas is thus answered by the New York Tribune.

The Titanic inquest is being held here because, as one of the members of Parliament suggested yesterday, many American citizens lost their lives in the disaster. Nor can there be any valid denial of the right of this Government to investigate the equipment and conduct of foreign ships which seek the use of its ports and the patronage of its citizens and, in so doing, to ask questions of any of the alien owners and officers of those ships whom it may happen to find within its jurisdiction.

Scientific Aftermath of the Titanic Disaster - 1912

Questions in applied science, especially in engineering, suggested by phases of the Titanic disaster, continue to agitate the scientific press, both here and abroad.

Foremost among these are questions connected with the vessel's structure and the arrangement and efficiency of the bulkheads that were supposed to render her unsinkable.

Some of the chief engineering aspects of the disaster are discussed in the leading article in Engineering (London). Questions that press for immediate discussion and settlement are the effect of center-line or longitudinal wing bulkheads.

Such has apparent advantages but has imperfect stability under disastrous conditions. The effect of impact on the superstructure of huge ships is another point that Engineering thinks will have to be considered.

There are now usually two or three decks above the molded structure in such ships. As the boats and launching gear are carried on these decks, they might be damaged under such conditions. Would inertia have effects similar to those experienced in railway collisions, in which the carriage's body is driven from the underframe?

It is pretty evident, thinks The Engineering Record (New York, 20 April) that the enormous inertia of such a great vessel contributed to her destruction.

A leading article in The Engineer (London) is also devoted to the loss of the Titanic. It raises other questions, particularly regarding arrangements for securing watertight subdivision, comprising not only the number and disposition of bulkheads but also the height to which they extend and the water-tightness of the deck at their upper extremity.

Henry R. Towne, President of the Yale and Towne Manufacturing Company, suggests safety pontoons for ocean vessels. He wrote to the New York Times on the subject (25 April) and followed up this first suggestion with an article in Engineering News (New York, 2 May).

A Life-Raft to Form Part of the Deck.

A Life-Raft to Form Part of the Deck. This device proposed by the London Sphere would ordinarily be part of the deck, but in case of a wreck, it would float oft as a raft holding hundreds of passengers and crew. © London Sphere. The Literary Digest (25 May 1912) p. 1096. GGA Image ID # 1087a33f99

Mr. Towne's pontoons would be independent structures built on deck to float off if the vessel should sink. A single one might be large enough to hold 1,000 persons. He writes:

Experience has shown that the modern large steamship, when fatally injured, sinks slowly. This would afford ample time to assemble the passengers and crew in the pontoons (except possibly a portion of the crew, which might be assigned to lifeboats as scouts) and close the doors and port holes. It also implies that each pontoon, as it became immersed, would automatically release itself and float away.

In designing a new ship, the incorporation of safety pontoons would involve no difficulties and probably would entail little, if any, additional cost. In the case of many, if not all, existing vessels, it would be possible to remodel their upper works to incorporate these pontoons if this change were deemed advisable.

The interior of each pontoon would be as available for everyday uses as the present superstructure of the ship, which it would replace, and a reasonable amount of interior decoration could be adopted without impairing the efficiency of the pontoons for their ultimate purpose in case of disaster.

In a heavy sea, the hatches on the deck or roof of the pontoon would need to be closed. Still, in a calm or smooth sea, if protected by proper combings, one could open them, and at times the occupants of the pontoon could safely emerge upon the upper deck, which, of course, would be surrounded by a proper railing. Including the emergency power equipment provision for moderate interior lighting would be possible.

The pontoon would thus be simply an isle of safety, in or on which the passengers and crew could remain during the few hours which elapse before assistance, at which point lifeboats would transfer them to the rescuing ship or ships.

In a later issue (9 May), the same paper calls attention to the fact that the watertight bulkheads on the Titanic were so constructed that the margin of safety was very slight, the top of the after bulkheads being only just above the water-line:

As the filling of some of the compartments would raise the water-line on the hull, it is evident that the margin of safety obtained by bulkhead division is soon exhausted.

It is of much interest to note that the American Line steamer New York, although built twenty-four years ago, has all her bulkheads carried up to a deck that is 14 to 15 feet above the vessel's waterline. In contrast, some of the ships built in recent years have their bulkheads carried to a deck only 10 feet above the waterline.

The New York was designed at a time and under conditions when shipowners very much desired a provision of safety against collision. Each compartment of the vessel was self-contained.

Special attention is devoted to the electric-engineering side of the disaster by The Electrical World (New York, 27 April). This paper notes that two deductions stand out: the importance of constant wireless watch on board large steamers and maintaining incandescent lighting on large vessels under all emergency conditions.

It goes on:

It was my great good fortune that the single operator carried on the Carpathia happened to catch the Titanic's signal of distress. Onboard small ships, the expense of wireless watch-and-watch becomes excessive, but this expense is well warranted on large boats.

Closer communication between the wireless room and the navigation room than now ordinary would also seem warranted to avoid unnecessary loss of time in carrying emergency signals to the officer in charge.

Regarding lighting, it appears it was fortunately capable of being maintained on the ill-fated Titanic until only a few moments before her funnels were submerged and long after the water had reached the engine room on the injured side of the ship.

It is supposed that this was due to the continuation of the generating-plant operation on the uninjured side. If the ship had been plunged into darkness early in the history of the accident, the confusion and terror would probably have been beyond the power of the officers and men to control so that what will ever stand out in history as an international triumph might have become an international disgrace.

It is, therefore, worth considering whether a storage-battery plant for keeping the principal incandescent lamps lighted for several hours in an emergency might not well be installed on all large passenger steamers.

The stimulative effect of adequate artificial lighting, in sudden night emergencies, on intelligence and nerve is a factor in certain classes of illuminating engineering that one cannot ignore.

In addition, the writer believes everything points to the absolute necessity of controlling power to regulate wireless telegraphy. He says:

Dreadful as was the loss of life, it is not unlikely that without wireless calls for help, which brought a quick response, there might not have been a single survivor left to tell the story of the Titanic's recklessness and tragic end.

A few hours more and toughening sea and increasing cold might have completed the grim list of the dead. Still, the experience of the next twenty-four hours showed only too plainly that, without the most rigorous regulation, wireless telegraphy might prove powerless to bring help in time.

A Route That Will Defy The Icebergs. The Proposed Hudson Bay Route to Europe. Dotted with Bcrgs and Shrouded in Fog.

A Route That Will Defy The Icebergs. The Proposed Hudson Bay Route to Europe. Dotted with Bcrgs and Shrouded in Fog. © Engineering News. The Literary Digest (25 May 1912) p. 1097. GGA Image ID # 10881b7ac3

The experience of the Carpathia and the shore stations showed constant interference from chattering plants in every direction. Had the Titanic struck a derelict or run down another steamer near enough in-shore to have fallen within the range of this interference, it is very doubtful whether one could have made out her plight and position so that help might have reached her in time to save the boats.

The main thing is to keep so close a hand on stations of every kind that, when the hour of need comes, one can stop all interference at a minute's notice, and the severest penalties should be prescribed and inflicted for the sending of false messages.

The dreadful experience suffered by those who had friends on board the Titanic and believed them saved by a miracle until the terrible news leaked out should never be repeated.

Perhaps in carelessness, fear, or greed, someone sent false messages of rescue. If proper regulation had been passed, such a person should serve a long term in Federal prison.

Mr. Hudson Maxim, who is an expert authority on the impact of a projectile on its target, gives in Hearst's Magazine (New York) the following exciting estimate of the terrific force of the blow when the ship met the berg:

Assuming that the Titanic weighed, with load, about 50,000 tons, and considering that when she struck the iceberg, she was traveling at a speed of nearly eighteen knots, she was moving forward at a velocity of, say, about thirty-two feet a second—or about the rate which a falling body acquires at the end of the first second.

The Titanic struck with force as great as though one had dropped her upon the ice from a height of sixteen feet. Consequently, she struck that iceberg with the energy of impact roughly fifteen times 50,000 tons, or 750,000 foot-tons. This was equal to power sufficient to lift the battleship Oregon bodily to a height of about seventy-five feet.

The crushing shock upon her was, therefore, as great as though she were standing on end, bow upward, and the battleship Oregon dropped upon her bow from a height of seventy-five feet.

This is taking into account only the momentum of the vessel and nothing for the great thrust of the propellers under her enormous horsepower to follow up the initial impact.

If the Titanic was very likely going at full speed, she very possibly rammed the iceberg with the force of 1,500,000 foot-tons. This would be energy sufficient to lift the battleship Oregon bodily to a height of nearly a hundred and fifty feet, more than enough to melt ten tons of cast iron and equal a blow of thirty twelve-inch projectiles striking her how at once.

The Titanic - A Poem by Brand Whitlock

Photograph shows Brandon Whitlock, U.S. Ambassador to Belgium from 1914 to 1921 with his wife Ella (Brainerd) Whitlock

The photograph shows Brandon Whitlock, U.S. Ambassador to Belgium from 1914 to 1921, with his wife Ella (Brainerd) Whitlock. Library of Congress LC-DIG-ggbain-20423. GGA Image ID # 101e58f7ff

Brand Whitlock (4 March 1869 – 24 May 1934) was an American journalist, attorney, politician, Georgist, four-time mayor of Toledo, Ohio, and author of numerous articles and books. He wrote this poem (edited) following the RMS Titanic Disaster on 15 April 1912.

"AND THIS," the dark Ironic Spirit mocked
As it beheld the proud new lofty ship
Upon its westering way across the sea,
"This is thy latest, greatest miracle,
The triumph of thy science, art and all
That skill thou'st learned since forth the Norsemen fared
Across these waters in their cockle shells,
In dodging back and forth 'twixt storm and sea,
Until at last, in this thy masterwork,
Thou'dst go in safety and pride and boast
Meanwhile of thy unparalleled achievement,
Thy victory o'er my wanton will and whim!
Ho, Little Man, behold! I'd not waste e'en
A disruption on thy paragon, but thus,
Upon its first glad, confident adventure,
With but a cast-off fragment of my store
Of power—thus to the bottom of the seas
Forever, with this thy latest marvel
And with thee! Ho! Ho!

The awful laugh
Rang through the dreadful reaches of the Void.
But lo! The calm and all-sufficient answer
Of our brave Northern race! With lips
Drawn tight, they look with clear, dry eyes on doom,
And so confront the end, there is the night
That was to have for them no pitying dawn.
(Their kind alone of all intelligence
Feels pity.)

- "The women and the children first.
We stay."

No cry, no whimpering, and there,
Up there, upon the dark, mysterious bridge,
The grizzled Captain, chief of all those victims
Of Its sublime, stupendous, bitter joke,
But the exemplar of that race which knows
How to aspire, achieve, and dare Its wrath,
And in the hour of failure, how to die.

About the Author

Brand Whitlock (4 March 1869 – 24 May 1934) was an American journalist, attorney, politician, Georgist, four-time mayor of Toledo, Ohio, elected on the Independent ticket; ambassador to Belgium, and author of numerous articles and books, both novels and non-fiction. (Wikipedia)

The Titanic Horror - April 1912

View of the RMS Titanic, 15 Minutes Before She Sank.

View of the RMS Titanic, 15 Minutes Before She Sank. The Illustrated London News (18 May 1912) p. 748-749. GGA Image ID # 1011850432

The Titanic horror fills everyone with an indescribable sadness. In recent years, hardly any great calamity has been so startling or exemplified so thoroughly that we are in death amid life.

Imagination runs rife, and the scenes that picture themselves on the tablets of our minds are almost too terrible to describe.

Here was the last word in boat construction, a masterpiece from every standpoint—size, convenience, equipment, luxury, and safety. With apparently every known device for protection against every force of the sea, if there was ever an unsinkable boat, the Titanic was the one.

Representing the length and breadth of man's latest knowledge of shipbuilding, the current estimate of this magnificent vessel's fitness to triumph over every danger is shown by the fact that the White Star Line insured it to the full extent of its enormous value at the lowest rate ever given a transatlantic steamer.

Manned as she was by officers and seamen picked for their ability and experience, had anyone suggested the possibility of her going to the bottom of the sea in less than three hours, he would have been laughed to scorn. And this by those considered the most critical, most discriminating experts on insurance in the world! Proudly we put out this superb floating hotel to sea.

Does the Titanic sink? The largest, most durable, staunchest, most elegant ship in the world? Worth over 7,000,000 dollars, with a cargo reaching well over 3,000,000 dollars, a crew of over 900 trained followers of the sea, and a passenger list of nearly 1,500, including many of the leading men and women of two continents, such a boat sink? Impossible.

Even the idea was ridiculous. And so the ship sped along. Making splendid time and with every promise of a quick, delightful trip, one can easily imagine the general admiration felt for the beauties and comforts of this tremendous ship and the satisfaction that arose from having had the good luck of being with the Titanic on her maiden voyage.

Good luck! What a mocker Fate truly is! With her thousands of twinkling lights, a happy crowd on the deck or in the cabins, and hundreds sleeping with all the confidence that they would have had in their own homes, the hand of destiny suddenly struck without an instant's warning.

With hardly a perceptible shock owing to her enormous size and weight, she received her death blow, and probably a large part of her supposedly impregnable double bottom of steel was cut away as with a knife, opening bulkheads and in an instant rendering useless all her elaborate defense against the sea.

For nearly an hour, hardly anyone except possibly the ship's officers suspected danger. Even when the orders to put on life preservers and embark on women and children went forth, one considered the whole thing somewhat of a lark.

Few were delighted at the break in the monotony and eagerly welcomed the situation as an experience to remember. Without a single doubt, hundreds of people went down sleeping peacefully in their cabins with never a warning of their fate.

But soon, unmistakable evidence of the seriousness of affairs became apparent to those on deck, and they knew a terrible truth. The Titanic, the unsinkable boat—the ten-million-dollar floating palace—with her population larger by far than most of the towns and villages of Great Britain or America—was doomed—she was going down!

Confusion Must-Have Reigned

Confusion must have reigned for a few moments. Here were men and women, wealthy and famous, with everything to make life sweet. Husbands were speeding home to expectant families, wives looking forward to a return to their husbands and homes.

Here were men of great affairs, captains of enterprise with thousands in their service. But instantly, one lost all proportions. In that last short period, men and women were divested of every material value, and rich, powerful, and famous were thrown back to just human beings.

Some unquestionably believed it impossible for the Titanic to sink and, secure in their confidence, preferred to remain on board rather than risk their lives in the lifeboats.

But many knew the truth and left a picture of heroism to the world that time can never destroy. Men whose lives and manner of living had been far removed from hardship or conditions ordinarily looked upon as developing fortitude and courage took their stand side by side with soldiers and sailors trained to meet death bravely.

With sublime heroism in its renunciation of self, husbands and fathers kissed their loved ones goodbye and, with brave smiles on their faces, watched them row away.

No one can read the accounts of the survivors without swelling with pride that manhood and womanhood can ring so true at the supreme moment.

Tears of sadness will fill our eyes, voices will break, and anguish almost overpowers us. However, still, there is an exaltation, a sense of inspiration, that comes from thinking of the nobility of the Titanic's heroes that cannot help but lift and buoy us up in the face of this greatest calamity of modern times.

Let no carping critic of humanity croak again that the flower of chivalry is dead, that men have grown weak, or our civilization has destroyed that courage and bravery.

Let no pessimist tell us the world is going to the bad, that men and women have lost their instincts of honor and self-denial through the struggle for wealth and position.

Let no one say that humanity has lost any part of its nobility or strength as the years have passed.

No, when the traducer of humanity tells us that the days of heroism, devotion, and unselfish love are no more, we have only to point to the Titanic and that last scene that will never be blotted from the memory of man—a great ship—the largest in the world—going down, hundreds waving goodbye and throwing kisses to their loved ones, while the band with unbelievable fortitude was playing that grandest of hymns, Nearer, My God to Thee!

In the dark of night, with all the depressing effects of severe cold, over 1,500 souls met their end and went forth to meet their God. The picture of that tragic moment is the beggar's description. No words can do it justice, and every one of us must shape it for ourselves in our consciousness.

But terrible indeed as the disaster indeed was and empty as it leaves the world and countless families, humanity cannot fail to gain from the chastening effect it must have on every sentient being and the aspiration that every true man must feel that his end shall be as near as possible to that of those who died like men.

As we bring this to a close, we cannot refrain from quoting a verse from Abraham Lincoln's favorite poem, which has always been in the writer's mind since we received the fatal news.

"O, why should the spirit of mortal be proud
Like a swift, fleeting meteor—a fast-flying cloud,
A flash of the lightning—a dash of the wave,
Man passes from life to his end in the grave."

What is the lesson?

What is the lesson? This is, after all, a significant problem. Without a doubt, we have grown arrogant from our progress. We have felt ourselves conquerors of the sea and the elements with our monster ships.

We have magnified our pigmy strength and minimized the enormous powers of nature. In our rush and hustle, we have sacrificed safety for speed.

Restlessness and impatience have controlled us. We have subordinated care and precaution for haste and hurry. Without sense or judgment, we have made foolish drafts on luxury, excitement, and sensational.

And now, when we have to pay, and the collector appears—we find that it is Death! Is it not time to call a halt, to alter our ideas and readjust our values? Is not safety preferable to size and speed? Is it not infinitely preferable to reach our destination a few hours later—but with life and limb intact?

Are four-day boats, eighteen-hour trains, and countless things of the same character worth the price we are paying?

As Charles M. Hays, a great railroad man and one of the Titanic's heroes, said only a few hours before his death. Some great disaster will surely come if the fearful attempts at haste and speed are not curbed.

Little did he know the prophetic character of his remark. The Titanic was sacrificed to false values, the exaltation of size, speed, luxury, and everything appealing to humanity's love for beauty and greatness at the expense of safety and sensible precaution.

Dashing onward at 21 knots (about 26 miles), the danger of icebergs though fully recognized, was never heeded, and we never slackened her pace.

She was to get in on time. Secure in her great size and with blind confidence in her power to triumph over every accident, lifeboat equipment for less than one in three of her passengers and crew was provided.

To reduce the distance and reach her destination quicker, she followed a course known to have its constant dangers of icebergs and floes. Admitting that she was in the usual lane of steamship travel, the fact remains that it was not the safest.

And so we are brought face to face with the grim truth that not the shipbuilders, not the White Star management, not the Captain or his assistants are to blame except incidentally for this awful catastrophe.

The culprits are the people who have encouraged these things and forced their adoption by turning their backs on the cautious and conservative and patronizing only the swiftest, most daring, and most spectacular. Big business is bound to give the people what they want.

If a premium in the form of patronage is given to safety, conservative methods, and common sense, the public will get just these things. But we have given our support and encouragement to the risky, the daring, and the sensational.

Consequently, we the masses are culpable and common decency should make us realize it. We have ignored the substance for the shadow, and it is cruelly wrong to curse and condemn those who have given us what we wanted.

It is only human nature to make someone the goat, but is this fair? Is it right to make those who do our bidding —the officials and subordinates—bear the burden of our indifference or neglect?

Indeed not, and that spirit we proudly call the American spirit of fair play should enable us to be just and generous in this hour of anguish and remorse.

Let us investigate and study the situation in all its aspects and seek as honest, thoughtful men to reach conclusions and decisions that shall correct conditions and prevent a repetition.

But let us take a lesson from our dead heroes and, with respect for their nobility and unselfishness, refrain from making the small, petty mistake of condemning anyone—or any group of men—without the fullest hearing and consideration for their actual responsibility.

In other words, here is the moment for humanity to rise to new heights of fairness, justice, and generosity. We owe it to our dead—but above all to our manhood and womanhood.

The psychology of courage is interesting, but the manifestation of this mental attribute is so interwoven with other spiritual or psychic forces that it is tough to place it and give it its actual value.

Plenty of facts show that courage or bravery in the face of sudden or violent death is most uncertain. Many men who have lived lives and given sufficient reason to lead us to anticipate their highest courage have proven to be the veriest cowards in the end.

On the other hand, plenty of those whose character, temperament, and environment have led them to appear weak, vacillating, and shameful met their fate with the most sublime and splendid courage in the crisis.

Bravery is a most uncertain quantity and can never be predicated on an individual's usual mental qualities or customs. Love, pride, trust in God, the psychology of the moment, the surroundings, the physical condition, and many other factors are all woven into the fabric of courage and heroism, just like fear, despair, lack of control, and some of the same factors that under certain conditions give rise to courage, will cause the most arrant cowardice. No man knows just how he will act at such times until they come.

We all certainly hope we can have the curtain run down at the close and leave behind as clean, noble, and uplifting a scene as that enacted by so many men as the Titanic made her last plunge.

Medical men, with few exceptions, have always died well. The doctors on the Titanic seem to have been faithful to the best traditions of our profession. And after all that is said or done, can one have a better or more beautiful epitaph than Death found him unafraid?

But we who live have our work before us, and this calamity emphasizes certain vital features. The medical profession strives with all its strength and knowledge to save and prolong life.

Does it not behoove us while we drive back the hordes of disease to devote more thought and time to pointing out and urging greater efficiency in preventing needless accidents?

In other words, what is the good of saving countless lives from disease if they are only going to be sacrificed to the Moloch of carelessness and industrial negligence? In all sincerity, we believe medical men should give this matter more thought and devote more attention to arousing humanity from its indifference or ignorance of the physical danger.

The Titanic Tragedy - 1912

The RMS Titanic Ready for Her First, and Last, Voyage

The RMS Titanic Ready for Her First and Last, Voyage. The Literary Digest (27 April 1912) p. 867. GGA Image ID # 1084c9f3c4

There are tears for the dead, pity for the bereaved, and pride in the heroic victims of the Titanic disaster. Still, there is some pretty stern comment, too, on the fact that in this year 1912, the greatest of all ships, the unsinkable Titanic, should, upon her maiden voyage, carry down to Death 1,635 men and women while but 705 were rescued from a calm sea on a starlit night.

The dramatic circumstances and the long death roll, including many of the world's most honored names, make this the greatest ocean tragedy of modern times, perhaps of all time.

But the fact that stands out in the minds of those who have been called upon to discuss it during the past days is that the sacrifice of life was needless, wanton, wholly avoidable, and many an editorial on the loss of the Titanic bears the brief caption: MURDER.

In the turmoil of protest and denunciation, two questions press relentlessly for an answer.

First: Why was the Titanic driving ahead practically full speed along a dangerous course through icefields after receiving repeated warnings of nearby bergs?

Then: why was this mighty vessel allowed to start across the Atlantic with so few lifeboats that less than half of those on board could have been saved even if proper arrangements had been made for launching and operating the boats?

The answer found by the daily press to the first question is that this steamship company, like its competitors and with the acquiescence of the traveling public, put speed before safety.

And they point to this statement of the Titanic's quartermaster, who was at the helm at the time of the wreck: We were crowding her to the limit. We sealed on every ounce of steam, and she was under orders from the general officers of the line to make all the speed of which she was capable.

We had made 565 miles that day and were tearing along at twenty-one knots when we struck the iceberg. The officers were striving to live up to the orders to smash a record.

Guardian Angel of the Sea Pays Tribute to Martyred Heroes.

Guardian Angel of the Sea Pays Tribute to Martyred Heroes. The toll for the Brave! The Brave That Are No More! All Sunk Beneath the Wave, Fast by Their Native Shore! - Cowper. © Bushnell 1912. Wreck and Sinking of the Titanic (1912) p. 10. GGA Image ID # 108998cc7f

Captain Smith of the Titanic, who went down with his ship, admitted her inadequate life-saving equipment while she still was under construction. He attributed this to the belief of the owners and designers that the boat, because of her size, strength, and watertight compartments, was practically unsinkable and that, in any case, she could keep afloat until her wireless outfit should bring help.

But an observant editor who picked up a White Star Line folder in a streetcar found this list of luxuries provided on the Titanic a scathing piece of reading:

  • Sports decks and spacious promenades
  • Commodious staterooms and apartments en suite
  • Cabins deluxe with bath
  • Squash-racquet courts
  • Turkish and electric bath establishments
  • Salt-water swimming-pools
  • Glass-enclosed sun parlors
  • Veranda and palm courts
  • Louis XVI restaurants
  • Grand dining-saloons
  • Electric elevators

That is, in providing excessive luxury, we sacrificed necessary safety. So it is asserted on every hand, and this statement from an explanation made by a White Star Line official after the loss of the Republic three years ago is now found very significant.

Luxuries of Modern Travel -- But Not Enough Lifeboats.

Luxuries of Modern Travel -- But Not Enough Lifeboats. © Montreal Herald. The Literary Digest (4 May 1912) p. 925. GGA Image ID # 10868883f9

It is a well-known fact that a steamship in passenger service can't carry enough lifeboats to accommodate all hands at once. If we did this, so much room would be utilized for lifeboats that passengers would have no space left on deck. The ships would carry the necessary number of lifeboats at the cost of many present comforts of our patrons.

The Titanic's reign as queen of the seas, the biggest and finest ship afloat, lasted just five days. She sailed from Liverpool on Wednesday, 14 April, on her maiden voyage, with an impressive list of passengers who looked forward to a week of pleasure surrounded with every comfort and luxury.

On the following Sunday evening, she was 400 miles off Cape Race. The sea was smooth, the sky clear. Despite repeated warnings of icebergs from other vessels and the presence of much-floating ice, she was steaming ahead at a speed of probably 21 knots.

Toward midnight, an iceberg was seen ahead. It was too late to slow down or turn aside. But the ship was swerved slightly from its course and struck the berg with a glancing blow, possibly sliding up on a submerged portion of it. The shock was not violent, but the Titanic sent wireless calls for help, and the passengers were called on deck.

The officers soon found that an iceberg ripped out the side and bottom of the ship and that it was simply a question of how long her pierced air-compartments and leaking bulkheads would keep the Titanic afloat.

Stories followed, except in their general outline and unanimous tribute to the heroism of the officers and male passengers aboard the Titanic, conflict somewhat widely. The New York papers gave prominence to the detailed, coherent, and consistent tale of Mr. R. W. Daniel, one of the survivors on the day after the Carpathia arrived in the harbor with her pitiful load.

After striking the iceberg, the Titanic went on for about a mile before coming to a stop, says Mr. Daniel. The passengers, assembled on the deck, were at first calm, being assured that the Titanic was unsinkable, and when, a little later, they were ordered to the lifeboats, many refused to go, feeling safer on the great ship.

Destruction of the Titanic.

Destruction of the Titanic. Wreck and Sinking of the Titanic (1912) p. 34. GGA Image ID # 108a4f13cf

To quote at some length from Mr. Daniel's statement, as it appears in the columns of the New York Evening Post:

  • I learned later that there was a conflict in orders when the lifeboats were filled. On the starboard side, husbands were ordered to enter the smaller craft with their wives. On the port side, husbands were driven back, the order being women and children first. That explains why so many men survived.
  • In many instances, within the range of my vision, wives refused point-blank to leave their husbands. I saw crew members tear women from men's arms and throw them over the side of lifeboats. Mrs. Isidor Straus clung to her husband, and none could force her from his side.
  • Fully two hours elapsed between the Titanic striking the berg and her foundering. Not until the last five minutes did the awful realization come that the end was at hand.
  • Deck after deck was submerged. There was no lurching, no grinding or crunching. The Titanic simply settled. I was far up on one of the top decks. Two minutes before the final disappearance of the ship, I jumped.
  • About me were many others in the water. My bathrobe floated away. It was icily cold. I struck out at once. Before the last, I turned. My first glance took in the people swarming the Titanic's decks.
  • Hundreds were standing there, helpless to ward off the approaching Death. I saw Captain Smith on his bridge. My eyes seemingly clung to him. The deck from which I had leaped was immersed; the water had risen slowly and was now to bridge. Then it was at Captain Smith's waist. I saw him no more. He died a hero.
  • The bow of the Titanic was far beneath the surface. To me, only her four monster funnels and the two masts were now visible. It was all over in an instant. The Titanic's stern rose entirely out of the water. Up it went, thirty, forty, sixty feet into the air, then, with her body slanting at an angle of 45 degrees, slowly, the Titanic slipped out of sight. There was very little suction.
  • Until I die, the cries of those wretched men and women who went down clinging helplessly to the Titanic's rail will ring in my ears. Groans, shrieks, and almost inhuman sounds came across the water.
  • I turned and swam. When I pulled into the lifeboat, it was an hour later, but I knew nothing. The water was numbing me. Only the preserver about my body saved my life.
  • This sturdy swimmer is one of many to declare that had the steamship company provided proper life-saving devices, not a soul on board would have been lost.
  • The Titanic simply lay on the water, settling slowly. The sea was calm. Boats and rafts were put overboard without difficulty until there were no more.

The Carpathia, summoned by wireless, as were other ships too far away to be of service, reached the spot about daylight and rescued those aboard the 16 boats still afloat and a few from rafts.

Some of the Distinguished Victims: W. T. Stead, Francis D. Millet, Major Archibald Butt, John Jacob Astor, and Isidor Straus

Some Distinguished Victims include W. T. Stead, Francis D. Millet, Major Archibald Butt, John Jacob Astor, and Isidor Straus. The Literary Digest (27 April 1912) p. 866. GGA Image ID # 1084a54b26

Among the dead are such well-known men as John Jacob Astor, Isidor Straus, William T. Stead of the English Review of Reviews, President C. M. Hays of the Grand Trunk Railroad, F. D. Millet, the artist; Jacques Futrelle, novelist; Henry B. Harris, theatrical manager; Major Butt, President Taft's military aid; J. B. Thayer, vice-president of the Pennsylvania Railroad; Benjamin Guggenheim, George D. Widener, and W. A. Roebling, 2d.

Many rescued women are widows; several, like Mrs. Astor, are brides of a few months. The presence of a few men among the survivors is readily accounted for by the need for strong arms to row the boats and such circumstances as those noted by Mr. Daniel.

But the fact that Mr. J. Bruce Ismay, managing director of the White Star Line, was saved in a lifeboat is something which leads even so careful a paper as The Wall Street Journal to inquire: Is there any passenger who should not have found a place in the lifeboats before the greatest or least official of the line?

The further inference by many that Mr. Ismay was responsible for urging the Titanic to such excessive speed does not increase their very slight feeling of charity toward him. Though he was initially denounced as a coward by the more radical press, we later gave space to his concise account of the circumstances of his departure.

Excerpts from Mr. Ismay's statement before the United States Senate Investigating Committee in New York:

The lifeboat was there, and the crew had loaded a certain number of the women. The officer called out to any other women who might be on the deck to come. There were no other passengers, men or women, on the deck, so I got in. That is all there is to it.

Perhaps some of us have smiled inwardly at the church prayer for someone's preservation from the dangers of the sea and conduct in safety to the haven where he would be, like an old-fashioned petition in these days of rapid ocean transit.

But we now know, as the Chicago Tribune remarks, that perfect safety in ocean travel is fiction at a high cost. The Titanic disaster reminds the Baltimore Sun that despite all our progress, perils still exist and that before the forces of untamed nature, man is often as helpless as an infant.

The iceberg, others tell us, is still the tremendous unconquered peril of the North Atlantic. When the unsinkable ship meets the irresistible iceberg, she meets the same fate as does the fisherman's dory.

But the generality of editors, though they admit the dangers of a season when the ice has come south farther and sooner than usual, can see but little excuse therein for the loss of the Titanic.

Map Showing Place of Disaster.

Map Showing Place of Disaster. Wreck and Sinking of the Titanic (1912) p. 106. GGA Image ID # 108c85c368

True, icebergs are dangerous, but peril should not be invited by rushing ahead at night through such perilous sea lanes at high speed after repeated warnings. Nothing but speed madness, they say, can account for it, nothing but the insistence of the company's officials that they should break a record on her maiden voyage.

This, we are told, made the experienced navigator in command take chances and so end an honorable and efficient career by going down with his ship and two-thirds of the passengers entrusted to his care.

Heedless of warnings, indifferent to disaster, the White Star officials raced with Death, and Death won, is the way the New York American puts it.

Other papers in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington put the responsibility squarely up to the company, as does the New York World, which adds that "the public that has encouraged and inflamed this speed madness must share the blame.

And the New York Commercial asks its readers not to blame steamship owners too severely without considering what is permitted to go on every day on shore.

Furthermore, according to all the accounts of the wreck, a sufficient number of lifeboats, adequately equipped and with a ship's crew drilled in their use, could have saved practically every person on board the Titanic.

And there is a brief editorial paragraph in the New York Herald which sums up an opinion held in nearly every newspaper office where the press wires have carried the news of the Titanic's loss. Says the Herald: Had this latest expression of mercantile naval construction been supplied with fewer fol-de-rols, such as gymnasiums, swimming tanks, and other non-essentials to safety at sea, more boats and life-rafts could have been carried—and every life has been saved under the conditions that prevailed when the Titanic received her death blow.

It is abundantly evident to the New York Evening Post that on both sides of the ocean, public opinion is fastening upon the deficiency of lifeboats as the one great lesson of neglect bitten in by the awful loss of life on the Titanic.

Or, as the Newark News and New York Sun regard the lesson thus taught the world, it is, to quote the New York paper, the need for an international system of inspection and equipment and uniform requirements as to lifeboats and life-rafts in sufficient number for all on board—every passenger, every officer, every member of the ship's force.

It is to be noted in this connection that Congress is now investigating the loss of the Titanic, that the British Parliament will do likewise, and that several measures have been proposed in each body looking to stricter requirements and more careful inspection.

As for suggestions to prevent the repetition of such sea tragedies as the sinking of the Titanic, their name is legion. Powerful searchlights, geophones, micro thermometers, and other devices to detect the presence of icebergs are endorsed by their inventors and others.

There is the idea of a scout boat to go ahead of the great steamship, as a pilot locomotive is sometimes sent ahead of its special train. One newspaper strongly urges the Government or International Patrol of the North Atlantic during the dangerous season. Another would have all liners cross in pairs, near enough so that one could render assistance if the other met with a mishap.

Life-Saving Appliances Were Inadequate.

Life-Saving Appliances Were Inadequate. © Columbus Evening Dispatch. Wreck and Sinking of the Titanic (1912) p. 310. GGA Image ID # 109540d739

A striking article, written some time ago for The Navy (Wash) by Captain E. K. Roden, has been widely quoted by the press since the loss of the Titanic. The writer asserts that improvements in safety appliances on passenger ships are not keeping pace with the growing demand for luxury and comfort in ocean travel. Shipping men have been quoted saying that these luxuries are offered because the public demands them. No, replies the New York Evening Post.

Each line seeks to outdo the other in new and original features so that their press agents may have more to talk about and that the newspapers will give more space to descriptions of the extraordinary success they have attained in duplicating on the ocean all the features of the most luxurious modern hotels. Then they forget to make a few thousand dollars of expenditure necessary to buy sufficient lifeboats and rafts but tell us that it is all the public's fault!

In the same editorial, The Evening Post points out some good results likely to come from this horror—every humanitarian advance in the history of shipping the world over has been purchased by suffering or loss of life. Not in the history of shipping only, says the Philadelphia North Americans.

It took horror heaped upon horror to establish the aggression upon existing property rights which lay in denying to capital the freedom of investment in hotels and tenements without fire escapes. The Titanic disaster meant the end of allowing unsinkable ships to sail with one-third of the proper number of lifeboats.

On the Titanic, on General Slocum, as in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, on railroads that fail to provide safety appliances, and in factories where the workers are regarded as the cheapest raw material, the system is the same—gambling with human life for dollar profit.

Titanic - A Sacrifice to Speed! - 1912

Coverage of the Titanic Illustration from the Cover of the Moving Picture News.

Coverage of the Titanic Illustration from the Cover of the Moving Picture News. The Insert Text Reads The Titanic: The Animated Weely's photographers were rushed to the scene in tugs immediately on receiving news of the disaster. The Moving Picture News (27 April 1912) Front Cover. GGA Image ID # 1013d586d2

At the Toll of Death, the World Mourns

The appalling disaster of the Titanic's loss appeals to the sympathies of every man, woman, and child worldwide. A sacrifice to speed! In its stupendousness, it eclipses any maritime disaster on record, and we feel we would not be doing our duty if we did not make some mention of this terrible calamity.

We are sufficiently interested in this matter because people took motion pictures of its launching and sailing, and many cameras were ready to greet the boat when she came up New York Bay, but, alas! Man proposes, and Allah disposes.

William Thomas Stead

William Thomas Stead, Founder and Editor of the Review of Reviews, ca 1910.

William Thomas Stead, Founder and Editor of the Review of Reviews ca 1910. GGA Image ID # 1012e588d1

It is with great regret to us that several of our friends have gone down in the ill-fated vessel. Notably and first in our mind is William T. Stead, the founder, and editor of the Review of Reviews.

It was only on Monday morning, just as we were preparing to leave town, that we dictated a letter to Mr. William E. Shaw, American editor of the Review of Reviews, asking him to arrange an interview with our friend, William T. Stead for auld lang syne.

The news was a great shock to those who have known and worked with Mr. Stead. It was our province and pleasure to work with him in his psychical research studies, and many are the happy hours that we had spent in the seance room when his staff dictated the letters from Julia and others.

We better knew him, though, as the founder of the National Lantern Society in England, where he gave a helping hand to every aspiring lanternist throughout the country. We were elected one of the officers of that society, and as long as he published the little paper on behalf of the Nationalists of England, we were regularly in touch with him by voice and pen.

Rev. Dr. J. Stuart Holden

White Star Line Agent Insert Accompanied the First Class Ticket for Rev. J. Stuart Holden for Titanic's Maiden Voyage

White Star Line Agent Insert Accompanied the First Class Ticket for Rev. J. Stuart Holden for Titanic's Maiden Voyage. White Star Line/Rev. J. Stuart Holden. GGA Image ID # 1013039b0d

Another good friend for whom there may yet be hope is the Rev. Dr. J. Stuart Holden of Glasgow, who was on his way here to address, with William T. Stead, the great Men and Religion Movement which has already started men thinking. We believe that a wonderfully good harvest will result from its work.

We were in hopes of meeting once more J. S. Holden, with whom we have stood on several platforms addressing the multitudes of England and Scotland.

Note from GG Archives: The Rev. Dr. J. Stuart Holden of Glasgow could not use his first-class ticket when his wife became ill the day before the doomed ocean liner was due to make its maiden voyage from Southampton on 10 April 1912. His ticket is likely the only surviving ticket for that voyage.

It is problematic that such men, who are a pride and a credit to the whole world, should be thus suddenly swept away in the vortex of the illimitable sea. We trust, with other papers, that by raising our voice in protest that some arrangements more equitable for the safety of the passengers will be arranged for, and that the Northern passage will be tabooed in future during the winter months by every vessel passing between the ports of England and New York.

What is speed, what is a day, what is an hour, compared to eternity and the great sacrifice of human life for the sake of crowding a few extra minutes in arriving at the dock?

The Titanic Story Unfolding at a Newspaper - 1912

Anxious Relatives and Friends Seeking News at the White Star Line Offices

Anxious Relatives and Friends Seeking News at the White Star Line Offices. New York American (17 April 1912) p. 6-7. GGA Image ID # 10399d555c

The scene in a metropolitan newspaper office following the receipt of the first news of the Titanic disaster, as graphically portrayed by an editor of a New York morning paper, illustrates the conditions under which important information, received late, is hurried into print.[1] The account, in part, is as follows:

At 1:20 a.m. Monday, 15 April, [1912], the cable editor opened an envelope of the Associated Press that had stamped on its face Bulletin. This is what he read:

Cape Race, N. F., Sunday night, 14 April. — At 10:25 tonight, the White Star Line steamship Titanic called C. Q. D. to the Marconi station here and reported having struck an iceberg. The steamer said that it required immediate assistance.

The cable editor looked at his watch. It was 1:20 and lacked just five minutes of the hour when the mail edition went to press.

Boy! he called sharply.

An office boy was at his side in a moment.

Send this upstairs; tell them the head is to come; double column and say to the night editor to rip open two columns on the first page for a one-stick dispatch of the Titanic striking an iceberg and sinking.

Everyone in the office was astir in a moment and came over to see the cable editor write on a sheet of copy paper the following head [which he indicated was to be set up in this form]:


Boy, he called again, but it was unnecessary — a boy in a newspaper office knows what's news the first time he sees it. Tell them that's the head for the Titanic.

Then he wrote this telegraphic dispatch briefly, and as he did so, he said to another office boy at his side: Tell the operator to shut off that story be is taking and get me a clear wire to Montreal.

This is what he wrote to the Montreal correspondent, probably at work at his desk in a Montreal newspaper office at that hour:

Cape Race says the White Star liner Titanic struck an iceberg, is sinking and wants immediate assistance. Rush every line you can get. We will hold open for you until 3:30.

Give that to the operator and find out if we caught the mail on that Titanic dispatch, he said quickly to the boy. In a moment, the boy returned. O. K. on both, he said.

The city editor took it off, who had just put on his coat before going away for the night. The night city editor, at the head of the copy desk, where all the local copy (as a reporter's story is called) is read, and the telegraph editor stood together, joined later by the night editor, for the mail edition had left the composing room for the stereotypers and then to the pressroom and from thence to be scattered wherever on the globe newspapers find readers.

The Titanic staff was immediately organized, for, at that hour, most of the staff were still at work. The city editor took the helm.

Get the papers for 11 April — all of them, he said to the head office boy, and then send word to the art department to Suit everything to make three cuts, which I shall send right own.

Then to the night city editor: Get up a story of the vessel itself; some of the stuff they sent us the other day that we did not use, and I ordered it in the envelope. Flay up the mishap at the start. Get up a passenger list story and an obituary of Smith, her commander.

There was no mention of Smith in the dispatch, but city editors retain such things in their heads for immediate use, which probably explains in a measure why they hold down their job; also having, one might add, executive judgment, which is sometimes right.

Assign somebody to the White Star Line and see what they've got.

The night city editor returned to the circular table where the seven or eight men who read reporters' copy were gathered.

Get up as much as possible from the Titanic passenger list. She is sinking off Newfoundland, he said briefly to one.

And to another: Write me a story of the Titanic, the new White Star liner, on her maiden voyage, telling of her mishap with the SS New York at the start.

And to another: Write me a story of Captain E. J. Smith.

Then to a reporter sitting idly about: Get your hat and coat quickly; go down to the White Star Line office and telephone all you can about the Titanic sinking off Newfoundland.

Then to another reporter: Get the White Star Line on the phone and find out what they've got of the sinking of the Titanic. Find out who is the executive head in New York, his address, and his telephone number.

And in another part of the room, the city editor said to the office boy: Get me all the Titanic pictures you have and a photo or cut of Captain E. J. Smith.

Two boys instantly went to work, for the photos of men are kept separate from the photographs of inanimate things. The city editor selected three:

Tell the art department to make a three-column cut of the Titanic, a two-column of the interior, and a two-column of Smith.

In the meantime, the Associated Press bulletins came in briefly.

The cable editor sent the story paragraph by paragraph to the composing room. What was going on upstairs, everyone knew. They were sidetracking everything else, and the copy cutter in the composing room was sending out the story it takes, as they are called, of a single paragraph to each compositor. His blue pencil marked each piece of copy with a letter and number so that when the dozen or so men setting up the story had finished their work, they might put the story together consecutively.

Tell the operator, repeated the cable editor to the office boy to duplicate that dispatch I gave him to our Halifax man. Get his name out of the correspondents' book.

Who wrote that story of the RMS Carmania in the icefield? Said the night city editor to the copy-reader who handled the homecoming of the Carmania, which arrived Sunday night and the story of which was already in the mail edition of the paper before him. He called the reporter to his desk. The copy-reader told him.

Take that story, the night city editor, and give us a column. Don't rewrite the story; add paragraphs here and there to show the vast extent of the icefield. Make it a straight copy so that nothing in that story will have to be reset. You have just thirty minutes to catch the edition. Write it in twenty.

Get the passenger lists of the Olympic and the Baltic, was the assignment given to another reporter, all alert waiting for their names to be called, every man awake at the switch.

In the meantime, the story from the Montreal man was being ticked off; on another wire, Halifax was coming to life.

Men said the city editor. We have just five minutes left to make the city [edition]. Jam it down tight.

Already the editor had made the three cuts. The telegraph editor was handling the Montreal story, his assistant the Halifax end, and the cable editor was still editing the Associated Press bulletins and writing a new head to tell the rest of the story that the additional details brought. The White Star Line man had a list of names of passengers of the Titanic and found that they numbered 1300 and that she carried a crew of 860.

In the meantime, proofs of all the Titanic matter that had been set were coming to the desk of the managing editor, in charge overall but giving special attention to the editorial issue. All his suggestions went through the city editor and down the line, but he went from desk to desk overlooking the work.

Time's up, said the city editor; but before he finished, the cable editor cried to the boy: Let the two-column headstand and tell them to add this head:

At 12:27 this Morning, Blurred Signals by Wireless Told of Women Being Put off in Lifeboats — Three Lines Rushing to Aid of 1300 Imperiled Passengers and Crew of 860 Men.

Did we catch it? Asked the cable editor of the boy standing at the composing-room tube.

We did, he said triumphantly.

One big pull for the last edition, men, said the city editor. Let's beat the town with a complete paper. We are going in at 3:20.

The enthusiasm was catching fire. Throughout the office, it was a chaos of noise — clicking typewriters, clicking telegraph instruments. Telephone bells ringing added to the whistle of the tubes that lead from the city room to the composing room, the press room, the stereotype room, and the business office, the latter, happily, not in use, but throughout the office, men worked; nobody shouted, no one lost his head; men were flushed, but the cool, calm, deliberate way in which the managing editor smoked his cigar helped much to relieve the tension.

Three-fifteen, men, said the city editor, admonishingly; every line must be up by 3:20. Five minutes more.

The city editor walked rapidly from desk to desk.

All up, said the night city editor, and three minutes to spare.

At the big table stood the city editor, cable editor, night city editor, and managing editor. They were looking over the completed headline that should tell the story to the world.

I guess that will hold 'em, said the city editor, and the head went upstairs.

The men waited about and talked and smoked. Bulletins came in but with no essential details. Going to press at 3:20 meant a wide circulation. At 4:30, the Associated Press sent Good-night, but at that hour, the presses had been running uninterruptedly for almost an hour.

[1] Telling the Tale of the Titanic, by Alex. McD. Stoddart; The Independent, 2 May 1912.

The Tragedy of the Titanic And Its Lesson - 1912

The RMS Titanic 1912

The RMS Titanic 1912. GGA Image ID # 105441494e

This largest ship in the world was 882 feet 6 inches long, 92 feet 6 inches in breadth, and had four funnels, each 81 feet 6 inches above the boat deck. There were 11 steel decks and 30 watertight bulkheads.

The Titanic was launched in Belfast on 31 May 1911. The registered tonnage was 45.000 and the actual displacement 66.000. There were accommodations for 2,500 passengers and a crew of 860. The approximate cost was $7.500.000.

The sinking of the transatlantic liner Titanic with more than 1500 of her passengers and crew was one of the most appalling disasters in the entire history of man's contact with the sea.

Undoubtedly, in the number and eminence of its victims, it was the worst calamity ever befell sea-borne passenger travel.

The RMS Titanic as She Lay in Belfast Harbor After Launching. The First Photograph Taken of the Great Liner.

The RMS Titanic as She Lay in Belfast Harbor After Launching. The First Photograph Taken of the Great Liner. The American Review of Reviews (May 1912) p. 549. © American Press Association, New York, 1911. GGA Image ID # 10541b4135

Sunday, 14 April 1912

The White Star liner Titanic, the largest vessel afloat, fitted with all the comfort and luxury that money and modern invention could devise and equipped with devices that her builders boasted made her unsinkable on her maiden voyage from Liverpool. At the same time, about 1000 miles southeast of Halifax and 500 miles south of Newfoundland, on Sunday night, 14 April, collided with an iceberg and four hours later sank to the bottom.

In response to her wireless message for help flashed to Cape Race, Newfoundland, and from there, sent to all the neighboring stations and vessels, many steamers at once rushed to find her.

The Rescue Ship RMS Carpathia Arrives

At daybreak on Monday, the Cunard liner Carpathia arrived at the scene of the disaster and picked up twenty boatloads of survivors, numbering about 700.

Captain Smith, his chief officers, and many passengers eminent in art, letters, finance, the church, public life, and society perished. Most of these survivors were women and children. The stringent law of the sea and Anglo-Saxon chivalry demanded that it be women and children first.

When the other ships, which had responded to the signals for help, arrived upon the scene, they found, so they reported, nothing but wreckage and ice. These are the bare facts of this appalling tragedy.

From the testimony of the survivors who reached New York on the Carpathia on 18 April, it is evident that the Titanic, rushing at a speed of 23 knots, was side-swiped by an immense iceberg, the edge of the berg, according to one vivid account, entering the port bow of the ship and gouging out her side like a gigantic can-opener.

Safety and Precautions Taken

The most extraordinary precautions are taken on the modern ocean liners against disaster from a collision. There are safeguards also against icebergs, the chief one being the submarine thermometer which notes any sudden temperature change. This instrument will detect an iceberg ten miles distant.

This has been an abnormal year for icebergs. Referring to the disaster of the Titanic, Sir Ernest Shackelton, the Antarctic explorer, stated that this has been particularly true regarding the downward drift of ice from the North. Sir Ernest explains that the great danger is not from those extending high above the water but from the almost submerged bergs.

Remember that a polar iceberg is seven-eighths below water and one-eighth above. When a high one topples over in getting into a warmer current, it is practically all submerged and is as dangerous to a vessel going at high speed as a submerged rock.

Where the Titanic Sank

Map Showing Where The RMS Titanic Sank on 15 April 1912

Map Showing Where The RMS Titanic Sank on 15 April 1912. (The broken lines indicate how the other steamers answered the wireless calls for help). The American Review of Reviews (May 1912) p. 551. © New York Times. GGA Image ID # 105425a1c3

The reports indicate that the Titanic sank at 41.46 North and 50.14 West latitudes. This is a little above the latitude of New York (400 45') and, therefore, about 1600 miles almost due east.

Immediately after the news of the disaster had reached New York and London, the managers of the great transatlantic steamship companies announced an immediate change in the eastern course for vessels crossing the Atlantic.

Wireless telegraphy was the means of saving the 800 passengers who lived to tell the tale. The presumption is that ships in the area would have rescued everybody on board if anyone of the responding vessels had been within two hours steaming distance of the Titanic when her operator sent out her first call for help.

The operator at Cape Race, Newfoundland, at once spread the news to all the vessels, which his charts and records told him were in the vicinity of the doomed ship.

The Illusion of Safety Through Technology

The world had come to believe that the tremendous modern ocean liners, with their watertight compartments and the rigid discipline and vigilance of the officers and crew, were practically secure against destruction, even after the most violent shock.

Responsibility for the Disaster

Captain Smith of the Titanic was striving to make the first voyage of his new ship noteworthy for speed. Until all the facts are known, it is not only fair but reasonable to withhold judgment about this disaster's responsibility. Specific facts must be admitted, however, and certain inferences are fair.

He had been warned by a French liner the day before and by a Hamburg-American liner less than two hours before the collision that several large icebergs were in that part of the ocean to which his ship was rushing at a speed of more than twenty miles an hour.

The Titanic's Captain, one of the most experienced in transatlantic travel, did not, apparently, even avoid the region of the icebergs. He steered directly through it at a speed of which the crushing of his ship's frame to the extent that sent her to the bottom in four hours is conclusive evidence.

One of the United States revenue cutter service engineers estimates that, at half speed, the impact of the Titanic against the iceberg must have been equal to a broadside of 30 twelve-inch projectiles or the concentrated fire of three such dreadnaughts as the USS Florida.

One cannot deny that we must lay some blame for the terrific speed and insufficient attention to safety devices on modem steamships at the door of the traveling public itself.

The companies comply with the law, inadequate as it is proven to be. The indictment of the public's part in the responsibility is well put in the words of Stanley Bowdle, a marine engineer and member of the Ohio Constitutional Convention, who characterizes the loss of life on the Titanic as a sacrifice to degenerate luxury.

International Regulations

In advocating international legislation to regulate the speed and safety equipment of ocean-going passenger vessels, Mr. Bowdle says: The speed of this vessel on its first trip, with but partially tried-out machinery, was criminal.

Its criminality is relieved only by the fact that the passengers using such degenerate vessels demand and enjoy such speed. It is asserted that a sufficient number of lifeboats to carry an average passenger list is unnecessary and could not be maintained.

This is absurd since the great deck room allows tennis courts and golf links. Such steamers are degenerate in size, foolish in enjoyment, and criminal in speed.

While it may be that the Titanic's equipment of lifeboats, life rafts, and life preservers was technically within the requirements of the law, it is pretty evident that it is not a safe thing for any vessel to undertake an ocean voyage with safety appliances that can, under no circumstances, provide for more than one-third of the number of human souls she carries.

The survivors are almost precisely one-third of those on board the ill-fated vessel. We must infer that the remainder went to their death because there was no adequate provision for their safety.

Late last summer, a heated debate took place in the British Parliament over a bill proposing to compel the White Star Line to provide enough lifeboats and rafts on each of its ships to carry all its passengers and crew, but, said the dispatch, the pressure was brought to bear so that the bill was pigeonholed.

The Myth of the Unsinkable Ship

Experts on shipbuilding are now telling us that an unsinkable ship is impossible. There ought to be an investigation by the United States Government of this terrible calamity, which has brought to a watery grave, two miles below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean 1500 human beings and $15,000,000 worth of property.

Resolutions have been introduced in both Houses of Congress, calling for a rigorous investigation. Demand also has been made in the House of Representatives at Washington and in the House of Commons at London for some action by the next Hague Conference, which shall result in the agreement upon a lifeboat code and a treaty of uniform observance binding upon every contracting-power.


"A Great Tragedy's Warning and Inspiration," in Leslie's Weekly, Vol. CXIV, No. 2956, 2 May 1912, p. 503.

"At the Toll of Death – The World Mourns," in The Moving Picture News, New York: The Cinematograph Publishing Company, Vol. V, No. 16, 20 April 1912, p. 6.

"Craving News of 'Titanic' Passengers: At White Star Offices," in The Illustrated London News, New York: The International News Company, Vol. 50, No. 1304, Saturday, 4 May 1912, p. 659.

"Science and Invention: Experts on the 'Titanic' Wreck," in The Literary Digest, New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, Vol. XLIV, No. 19, Whole No. 1151, 11 May 1912, p. 981-983.

"Fruits of the 'Titanic' Disaster," in The Literary Digest, New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, Vol. XLVI, No. 17, Whole No. 1201, 25 April 1913, p. 937-938.

Image # 1007f31e01: Excerpt from "Our Notebook," The Illustrated London News, New York: The International News Company, Vol. 50, No. 1304, Saturday, 4 May 1912.

Other images and text: Boats Carried and Boats Needed to Save All: Vital Figures (p.689 Image # 100814f3ab); Boats: Those The "Titanic" Carried and Might Have Carried (p. 691); As It Should Be On Every Liner: Life-Boat Drill On A Steam-Ship (p. 698); in The Illustrated London News, New York: The International News Company, Vol. 50, No. 1305, Saturday, 11 May 1912.

Other Images and Text: The Saving of the 705: Uncrowded Life-Boats of the "Titanic." Image # 1008b6f007 p. 734; Image # 10091c4c07 p. 734; and Saved by S.O.S. "Titanic" Survivors in the Life-Boats. Image # 100a01e0ea p. 735 from The Illustrated London News, New York: The International News Company, Vol. 50, No. 1306, Saturday, 18 May 1912.

"Responsibility for the 'Titanic' Disaster," in The Literary Digest, New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, Vol. XLIV, No. 18, Whole No. 1150, 4 May 1912, p. 917-920.

"Scientific Aftermath of the 'Titanic' Disaster," in The Literary Digest, New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, Vol. XLIV, No. 21, Whole No. 1153, 25 May 1912, p. 1096-1097.

D. W. Taylor, "Lessons from 'Titanic' Disaster," in Popular Mechanics Magazine, Vol. 17, No. 6, June 1912, p. 797-808.

"The Titanic," in Collier's: The National Weekly, New York: F. F. Collier & Son, Incorporated, Publishers, Vol. XLIX, No., 7, Saturday, 4 May 1912, p. 7.

"The Titanic Horror," in American Medicine, New York: American-Medical Publishing Company, Complete Series, Vol. XVIII, No. 4, New Series, Vol. VII, No. 4, April 1912, p. 179-182.

"Topics of the Day: The Titanic Tragedy," in The Literary Digest, New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, Vol. XLIV, No. 17, Whole No. 1149, 27 April 1912, p. 865-869.

"At the Toll of Death -- The World Mourns," in The Moving Picture News, New York: The Cinematograph Publishing Company, Vol. V, No. 16, Saturday, 20 April 1912, p. 6.

Willard Grosvenor Bleyer, Ph.D., Newspaper Writing and Editing: Handling a Big Story, Boston-New York-Chicago: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1913, p. 12-15.

"The Tragedy of the 'Titanic'" In American Review of Reviews, Volume XLV, No. 5, New York, May 1912, Page 549-551.

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