Titanic Gazette Souvenir Shop

Titanic Gazette Souvenir Shop

Titanic Gazette Souvenir Shop

Wednesday, April 15, 3012

Welcome Aboard the Titanic Gazette!

The TITANIC was a ship; a ship of life, and a ship of death. A ship of dreams and a ship of luxury. The most famous and beautiful ship of all time. The largest ship in the world sailing in grandeur. A masterpiece of skill, architecture, and wealth. The safest ship in the world TITANIC with 2,000 staterooms and over 50 public rooms carrying 2,200 on board struck an iceberg God-made and sank with 1,500 innocent souls still on board. Thus the TITANIC, soon to be a thing of yesterday's fame and glory, went down into immortality. And there it shall remain in the hearts and minds of future generations. Here, you'll be able to explore the ship and meet the people that were on board.

I thank you for visiting this site in commemoration to those on board, and I hope you leave a comment on how I can improve or what I can add to this blog. Furthermore, please link your blog to mine. I wish that everyone knows the true stories about this disaster, and about the 'Ship of Dreams'.

For those of you on Facebook, feel free to join my Titanic Gazette fanpage:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=104185012946518 For those that have inquired about my ebooks/unit studies on the Titanic, I have 2 of them. One is a FULL version and can last over a year long period. It covers every single thing you can think of about the Titanic and has activities, books and info for everyone, but for schools, K-12. Here's the link to download it: Titanic Full version. For those not wanting to spend as much of an indepth time as the full version, can use the "mini" version that can be done over a period of several weeks. Here's that link: Titanic Mini Unit

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Titanic: The New Evidence

Just before New Year, various media stations advertised an upcoming documentary with "new" evidence for a coal bunker fire theory called "Titanic: The New Evidence."  The coal bunker fire on the Titanic was an actual event that we've known about since the disaster.  But years ago, a theory came out that the fire caused damage which caused the Titanic to sink.

Coal bunker fires were not uncommon at the time and the only way to get them out was to empty out the coal chute.  It started in Belfast, but since they didn't have the manpower at the time, they were unable to get it out until they were staffed up in Southampton.  As soon as the voyage was underway, they began to attempt to get it out.  Since Boiler Room No. 1 was not in use, stokers assigned to that area were reassigned to getting the fire out in Boiler Room No. 5.  They had between 8 and 10 men working shifts the entire time to get it out with a hose spraying water in the hopes of controlling the fire and/or speeding up the process of getting it out.  By Saturday April 13th, they were able to empty the chute.  When they got the fire out, Lead Fireman Barrett who was supervising reported it to Chief Engineer Bell.  Bell said to leave it alone because the builder's men wanted to inspect it.  By "builder's men," he meant the Guarantee Group which was a group of men that built the Titanic in Belfast and were selected to join Chief Designer Thomas Andrews on her maiden voyage to makes sure things went smoothly and make notes about how they could improve the next ship.  From what Fireman Charles Hendrickson said, the bulkhead was warped.  While it's unclear what the Guarantee Group thought of the bulkhead since none of them survived the sinking, it seems they weren't too concerned because Hendrickson was ordered to brush it off and rubbed black oil on it to make it look more ordinary.  On the evening of April 14, the Titanic struck an iceberg and the impact extended past Boiler Room No. 6 into the coal bunker for Boiler Room No. 5.  

Now let's get to the documentary.  The first bit of evidence is one of the newly discovered Kempster photographs of the Titanic which you can view below.    
Photo credit:  http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/02/europe/titanic-fire-new-picture/

As you may be able too see, there is a smudge on the hull just above the waterline.  The documentary claimed it was just outside of Boiler Room No. 5/6.  Some people have said the smudge is more adjoining the 3rd class accommodations.  The photograph was taken either just before or just after the fire started.  I am no expert, but I believe it would have taken a longer lasting blaze to cause that.

The host and proponent for this theory, Senan Malony, then brought up Fireman John Dilley's account which he gave and was published in a newspaper on April 27, 1912.  Newspapers weren't known for reporting what witnesses said and were known to exaggerate on details.  The account had several errors which makes the account not too reliable.  Even still, that was the account that was used since it talked about how the captain and crew tried to keep the fire a secret from the passengers.  In response to that, one has to ask why the passengers would need to know at all.  Plus, we know that the Guarantee Group which were technically passengers on board were made aware of the fire.  

Another point Senan made was that the warping of the steel was severe and the company just quickly covered it up.  He conveniently did not mention the fact the Guarantee Group inspected it or how the surviving firemen with one exception who saw the damage didn't believe the damage had an impact on the ship's sinking.  The only exception was the John Dilley account which again should be taken with a grain of salt.  

The one that really grabbed headlines was the claim that the Titanic was pushed passed the brink of no return because of the warping.  As said above, the warping was not that severe.  People today do not give the Titanic's steel and rivets enough credit.  Design flaws are extremely popular when it comes to the Titanic.  The fact was that she was built with adequate materials for the time period.  In the future, I have no doubt they will find design flaws in how we build things today.  According to Mark Chirnside who is one of the foremost historians on the physical aspects of the Titanic, that is very unlikely.  

Finally, I would like to address the claims that the White Star Line tried to cover up the coal bunker fire in America and that Lord Mersey tried to cover it up in the British Inquiries.  It is true that White Star Line chairman J. Bruce Ismay attempted to get the crew back to England before they could testify in America.  But I seriously doubt he would attempt to cover up a coal bunker fire which by the admission of Lead Fireman Frederick Barrett was not uncommon.  Ismay had other motives including avoiding a lengthy inquiry and probably trying to put the matter behind him as fast as he could for the good of the surviving crew and the company.  Regarding the claim Lord Mersey intentionally covered it up, Barrett and Hendrickson were both asked at the British Inquiries if the fire influenced the sinking and both said no.  Lord Mersey therefore likely deemed it as a good enough answer for them to move forward and focus on the actual events on the sinking.  

In conclusion, "Titanic: The New Evidence" took the coal bunker fire which was controlled and taken care of and completely blew it out of proportion into a bigger, more sinister tale through grand assumptions and cherry picking certain things in survivors' accounts to support the theories and claims.  This theory isn't even new.  It was first suggested years ago and was discredited.  It has been resurrected with a new bow on top and branded as new.  Discoveries regarding the Titanic sell headlines and this theory has sadly been picked up by nearly every major news organization without them even making the attempt to verify the truth of the claims.

If you want to read the accounts, here is a link to the accounts of the coal bunker fire.


If you wish to view the documentary, you can watch it here:


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Voyage On The Titanic's Older Sister

Below are images of the 1st class interiors of the RMS Olympic which were published in a brochure in 1927.  Going through it, one can imagine living in 1927 and considering going on an ocean voyage.  Although the Olympic was at that point old compared to her rivals, she still remained the flagship of the White Star Line.  The Olympic was the Titanic's older and virtually identical sister ship.  There were a few differences in exteriors and interiors, but they were overall very similar.  It is because of the Olympic that we are able to more easily imagine what it was like to be in the Titanic's luxurious appointments.  For those of you who cannot read the small letters in the pictures, I have attempted to transcribe them as exact as I can.  The spelling and grammar are as they were in the brochure.

THE main staircase on the "Olympic" is particularly fine and truly a supreme piece of artistic workmanship, rising in graceful curves, its balustrade supported by light scroll work of iron, with occasional touches of bronze in the form of flowers and foliage.

The principal characteristics of the Reception Room are dignity and simplicity.  The white ceiling and walls, and the large leaded glass windows, producing a very light and pleasant affect.

THE Lounge is a magnificent apartment, large, with tall, finely-proportioned windows on either side.  The room is decorated in the style in vogue during the reign of Louis XV and is a popular resort for bother ladies and gentlemen.

THE "OLYMPIC'S" Smoking Room is an unusually handsome apartment, the walls being panelled in the finest mahogany, relieved by the white plaster decorations of the ceiling, whilst the upholstery of the armchairs and divans has been carried out with artistic affect combined with luxurious comfort.  

A UNIQUE feature, which appeals to the discerning traveller, is the a la carte restaurant, under the management of the Company, where passengers may take their meals at fixed charges as shown on the bill of fare issued from day to day, an allowance being made off the ocean rate if the passage is taken entirely without meals in the regular Dining Saloon.  Similar facilities are provided in the a la carte restaurant on the "MAJESTIC."  

THE Verandah Cafe is situated just aft of the Smoking Room, and gives the benefit of an uninterrupted sea-view which passengers can enjoy without exposure, and where light refreshments can be obtained at all times.

THE "OLYMPIC'S" Gymnasium is equipped with every modern appliance dear to the heart of the athlete, including cycling, rowing, weight-lifting and ball-punching apparatus, as well as many other appliances typical of outdoor sports.

THE majority of the bedrooms are fitted with bedsteads instead of the usual sleeping berths, and in the suite rooms these bedsteads are in many cases 4 feet in width.

PERHAPS one of the most striking features of the ship are the Suite Rooms, of which there are an unusually large number, decorated in different styles and periods.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

How To Be A Titanic Collector

After having my collection displayed at my local library, I thought it would be great to give you some pointers on how to create a Titanic collection.  If you're like me and you don't have much money to spend on Titanic items, I hope this will help you.

1.  Do Research
Doing research is imperative and highly recommending.  If you believe you are buying a genuine item related to the Titanic, make sure you know how to tell fakes from originals.  With the boom of Titanic interest has come a lot of forgeries and people hoping to make money off others believing they will be owning a genuine piece of history.  Also, doing research will help you realize the more affordable items out there.  Many items with connections to the Titanic disaster are owned/sold by people who don't realize what they have.  It is also a good idea to look at some items you desire and find out what they generally go for.  That way, you'll be able to recognize when you're getting a good deal and when something is overpriced.

2.  Have A Purpose
If you want to collect anything with the name "Titanic" on it, be my guest.  But I would recommend having a purpose.  Some love collecting White Star Line dishes, 1st edition books by survivors, items from the body recovery in the Titanic's aftermath, Titanic-related postcards and images, Titanic movie props, and even tacky Titanic items.  Whatever it is, it is a good idea to find a niche.  Mine is a bit more broad.  I love collecting items that will help tell the story of the Titanic voyage, disaster, and aftermath.  Things that connect people to the different stages of her life are my passion.  Whatever your passion is, I recommend that you pursue it.  Also, it is a good idea to think about why you are collecting.  Are you collecting things to collect dust in your own home?  Or are you collecting so that you can eventually display your things for others' enjoyment as well as your own.  Considering that may be a factor in what you're willing to spend and what you're trying to get.

3.  Replicas Or Originals?
It is a good idea to know what you're looking for.  For instance, my White Star Line china are replicas.  However, I do plan to replace them with original china from the White Star Line in the future.  For the moment though, the replicas work well.  They get the point across in showing the different patterns used in each class.  Replicas are also much cheaper in regards to china and silverware than the originals which make them great for someone like me with a small budget and/or someone wanting to throw an authentic Titanic dinner party.  This thought process is useful in many areas.  Books are another example.  Original 1st editions of books by survivors can go for a lot of money.  But if you are only wanting to read them to increase your knowledge, then cheaper reprints are more ideal.

4.  Know Where To Look
Ebay is a great place to find good deals if you know what you're looking for and have a good idea of how to tell fakes from originals, but here are some other sites that you may also find helpful.


If you have any other questions, just ask.  You can always comment or reply here and I will get back to you as I can.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Huge New Dock At Southampton

The August 19, 1911 edition of the magazine called "Scientific American Supplement" gives an interesting look into the building of the White Star Line berth in Southampton.  When the Olympic and her twin sister ship Titanic were being built, it was realized that the docks in Southampton and New York for the White Star liners weren't big enough to accommodate the ships.  The article below described and talked about the docks in Southampton and what a huge undertaking it was to get it done.  Interestingly, that dock is still in use today and serves some of the largest ocean liners in the world.  In the article, I have transcribed it as exactly as I can and have kept the grammar, spelling as it was written.

The advent of the White Star liners, and the pending new German liners which are to exceed the "Olympic" in dimensions and which are to make Southampton a port of call, has resulted in great activity and enterprise at the British port named to provide docking accommodations for these leviathans.  When the White Star vessels were projected the London and South Western Railway, which owns the Southampton Docks, at once took steps to complete a huge deep water dock as Southampton is the terminal point of this steamship company.  Every effort was made to complete the work in time for the arrival of the "Olympic," but it was realized as a hopeless task, in view of the dock's dimensions, so the existing Trafalgar Dock was enlarged for the purpose.  Owing to the energy with which the new basin has been pushed forward it will be available in the near future.  The dock itself is a parallelogram with a length of 1,700 feet by 400 feet wide.  The water depth at low water spring tides is 40 feet and at high tides 53 feet.  There is no entrance to the lock, but the largest vessels afloat for the near future, will be able to lie in this basin at any state of the tide without danger of touching the bottom.  Five vessels of the largest dimensions can berth on either side, while a short vessel can be alongside the small end berth.  
  The dock is surrounded with the quay walls constructed entirely of Portland cement concrete, and four large steel freight sheds are to be provided, the first for the "Olympic" berth being completed.  The shed is 640 feet long by 120 feet wide, and has an annex 60 x 60 feet for baggage and dock gear.  Accommodation for passengers is also provided.  There is a balcony along the front side on which passengers land from the vessel, communicating with the floor of the building by two wide staircases.  The train receives passengers on the opposite or land side, the customs' examination being carried out on benches near this side within easy reach of the train.  The communication between the vessels' decks and the landing balcony will be effective by means of movable bridges.  The quay is being equipped with the latest type of appliances for the expeditious handling of freight and baggage and when completed it will be one of the best equipped and most up-to-date docks in the world.
  The construction of the dock, which has occupied about 3 1/2 years,  has been carried out by the engineering firm Tepham Jones & Railton, Limited, under the supervision of Mr. F. E. Wenterworth Shields, the resident engineer, to whom we are indebted for these details and accompanying illustrations.  Before the work was commenced the site comprised for the most part bare mudland facing the River Test.  A chalk bank separated the waterway from this flat, but as this was not completely watertight the whole area was flooded daily at high tide. The first task was to make this barrier absolutely watertight by means of a sheeting of timber piles along the toe of the bank, and covering the slope with stone pitching grouted with cement.
  Excavation to a depth of 30 feet below quay level was then carried forward by means of steam shovels, which removed about 5,000 cubic yards of spoil per day.  Any water which found its way through the bank by soakage was led to a special sump whence it was ejected by electrically operated centrifugal pumps.  The spoil removed was for the most part taken out to sea and dumped, but a certain quantity was used for raising the mud flats in the vicinity.  
  To facilitate the removal of the spoil to the barges a large stage 350 feet long by 40 feet high was built out over the River Test.  This stage formed the summit of a long incline which led from the heat f the dock where the steam shovels filled the ballast cars.  The latter when laden were drawn up the incline by a rope railway and there tipped, the contents falling into the steam hoppers lying alongside the stage.  All this excavated material had to be carried to the far end of the Isle of Wight, a distance of 25 miles, before a dumping ground could be found which was deep enough not to be choked by dredgings.  When the steam shovels had excavated the earth to the depth of 30 feet, timbered trenches were sunk in which the foundations of the quay walls were laid.  These trenches were about 43 feet wide by 45 feet deep, the bottom being about 75 feet below the quay level.  Massive concrete walls of Portland cement, mixed by special machinery, were built in these trenches, and by the mixing machine used for this portion of the week had a capacity of 1,000 cubic yards per day.  Considerable difficulties were encountered in making these trenches as underground water found its way into making the excavations and various expedients had to be resorted to in order to overcome these floodings.  When the walls had reached the quay level dry material area the dock accommodation and facilities were built.  A portion of the wall at the outer end of the dock, and one of the outside quays, were not built by open excavation, but timber trenches were sunk from the quay level.  The trenches in these cases were 45 feet wide by 75 feet deep in places, and were fine examples of heavy timbering.  When the walls had been raised in this manner the inclosing bank at the entrance of the dock was cut through, permitting the water to enter, the excavation of the remaining portion of the floor of the dock being completed by bucket ladder dredgers.  The excavation of the channel and turning basin outside the dock was carried out simultaneously.  Four large dredgers were pressed into service for this work with a fleet of 13 hoppers and attendant craft for carrying the spoil to the sea.  By this means the dock floor was lowered by 40 feet below low water.  Two of the outer walls and part of the western entrance wall were built in a different manner.  Here no attempt was made to dry the site, the whole wall being built in water.  First the earth was removed to dredging level throughout the whole length of the wall by means of bucket dredger.  Below this level the foundations were built in a trench between two rows of sheet piling driven along the front and back of the wall.  The clay between the two rows of sheeting was excavated by steam grabs, and the trench was cleaned up by helmet divers.  On the foundation thus obtained mass concrete was laid, being lowered through the water in special tipping boxes.  Above dredging level the wall consists of large 8-ton concrete blocks at face and black with heating of mass concrete.  This class of work is continued to a point above water level above which the water is built entirely of mass concrete laid between shutters in the usual manner.  When the wall reached quay level it was backed up with ashes of select material.  In addition to the dock itself there are four outside quay walls varying in length from 330 to 610 feet with depths of water at low tide of 25 to 32 feet.
  Although at the time of writing the dock was not completed, the following quantities has been handed-Open excavation 873,000 cubic yards, trench excavation 318,000 cubic yards, dredging 807, 000 cubic yards, representing a total of 1, 992,000 cubic yards of spoil removed.  For the constructional work 272,000 cubic yards of concrete had been laid and 42,000 tons of Portland cement used.  The number of men employed on the task has been between 800 and 1,200, the whole time the work has been in progress.  The plant required for the work has also been very comprehensive and modern, comprising 85 locomotives, steam shovels, cranes, pumps,pile drivers, winding en-
 gines, air compressors, etc.  A staff of 20 helmet divers was retained for setting the concrete blocks and other submarine work, and no effort has been spared to push the works on to a rapid and successful completion.  In order to provide for the dry-docking of the "Olympic" the Trafalgar graving dock had to be enlarged somewhat.  When opened in 1905 this dock was more than large enough to take the largest vessel afloat at that time, the dimensions being: length over all 875 feet, width at entrance 90 feet, depth over sill at high water ordinary spring tides 33 feet, and depth over blocks under the same tidal conditions 33 1/2 feet.  When the "Olympic" was placed in hand the London & South-Western Railway company decided to build a new graving dock more than large enough to hold her, but as it was realized that the task, even if pushed forward at tip-top speed would occupy at least 5 years, the enlargement of the existing dock was undertaken as the more expeditious solution of the problem.  By the alteration the dock is now lengthened by 22 feet, widened by 10 feet, the inside width at lowest altar is increased by 12 feet, that at cope level remaining the same, while the depth over the sill is increased by 2 feet.  This offers a graphic illustration of the rapid growth in the dimensions of trans-Atlantic liners.
  The widening has been effected by cutting away the faces of both walls and setting back the altars. To compensate for the weight thus lost counterfort walls are being built at the back of the existing walls.  The entrance gates are also being removed to be replaces by a sliding caisson.  Hitherto it has been customary to dock ships at high tide only, and owing to the long period of high water is has been possible always to complete the operation before the tide fell away.  Consequently the dock gates have sufficed only for shutting water out from the dock.  The new caison, however, will be double faced and capable of holding up the water within the dock while the tide is falling, in case any extraordinary delay to the docking operations should render this necessary.  The present dock pumps are arranged only for emptying the dock, so a new one is being provided for the purpose of filling it.  By this means it will be possible to maintain or increase the water-depth within the dock, even when the tide is falling outside.
  Southampton is a unique port inasmuch as it is served with four high tides daily.  The first tide rolling up the Solent is followed two hours later by that coming up the eastern channel dividing the Isle of Wight from the mainland.  The London & South Western Railway have taken full advantage of this phenomenon, and have displayed considerable enterprise in meeting developments in steamship evolution since they acquired the property some years ago.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Titanic-Honor and Glory: A Game To Remember

Titanic: Honor and Glory can rightly be called one of the biggest and most ambitious attempts to recreate the Titanic's maiden voyage and sinking since James Cameron's 1997 Titanic film.  It is a video game being made by Tom Lynskey, Matt DeWinkeleer, and Kyle Hudak.  They have spent countless hours bringing the Titanic to life virtually, pouring over books, blueprints, accounts, and more.  
In the game, you will have two options much like Titanic: Adventure Out Of Time.  You can either do a "Explore Mode" or "Story Mode."  "Explore Mode" allows you to walk around the entire ship and explore nearly every room without any time limits or 1912 restrictions from going into other classes or sections.  "Story Mode" allows you to experience her voyage and sinking.  In "Story Mode," you are a fictional passenger named Owen Robert Morgan.  You are falsely accused of stealing the crown jewels when you had the misfortune of in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Your only lead about the actual perpetrator is that they are on the Titanic.  This is where the game begins.  You arrive in Southampton (most of which you will be able to explore) and board the Titanic as a 1st class passenger where you hope to find the real criminal and clear your name.  You spend the voyage looking for clues, interacting with historical passengers and crew, and exploring the ship.  After the Titanic strikes an iceberg, you have a choice.  You can either do as you wish, or you can try to follow along with the story and clear your name.  If you decide to go do your own thing, you will have many opportunities to experience history.  As the ship sinks in real time, you can sit on a deck bench and listen to the band playing, observing everything going on around you.  You could even go down below and help the engineers fight to delay the sinking with pumps and keep the power going. If you don't get into a lifeboat and end up in the water, you will have about as much time to get out of the water as the actual people did before hypothermia and exposure sets in.

To assist with the project, they have brought on world famous Titanic historians such as Ken Marschall, Steve Hall, and Parks Stephenson to consult on the physical details along with Bill Wormstedt, Tad Fitch, and others to consult on other details such as lifeboat launch times, crew shifts, and things that would be shown and heard in the game.  Yours truly is very honored to have contributed some information and details to the game as well. 

Regarding the characters, they will not be exaggerated or misrepresented,  In fact, actual descendants and relatives are being consulted.  As if that's not cool enough, Doug Willingham will be voicing his cousin, 1st class passenger Archibald Butt and Helen Benziger will be voicing her great-grandmother, Margaret Brown.  People in minority groups of the time such as Joseph Laroche (the only black man on board), and Masabumi Hosono (the only Japanese person on board) will be included.  

I can promise you that you won't be disappointed when you play the game.  Not only will you be able to have an authentic experience, you will learn things as well.  As I alluded to earlier, the team has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that every little detail is accurate.  The Grand Staircase for instance has been redone many times as more details come to light and is just now near completion because more details keep coming up.  The experts mentioned above have sent many research materials.  From Steve Hall, they have his books which go into great detail about the physical details of the ship.  From Ken Marschall (who has worked with James Cameron on his 1997 film and subsequent documentaries), they have received a care package with 500 physical photos and about 18 gbs of digital data.  

The game will be very realistic.  Using Unreal Engine 4, the team have been able to recreate the Titanic's interiors, exteriors, passengers, and crew in a believable way.  The models will be very detailed, allowing you to enjoy her beauty and get a good sense of what she looked like right down to the brush strokes on the walls.  

I highly recommend donating to this project to allow it continue to allow this dream to become a reality.  If you wish to donate, you can go to the link below for more details.  They need as much money as possible and every dollar counts.  
Also, please join their Facebook page here for updates:  https://www.facebook.com/TitanicHonorandGlory?fref=ts

Would you play this game?  What do you most look forward to seeing in the game?  Comment below and tell me what you think!  

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Review: Museum Men Resurrecting the Titanic

When I first learned about the Museum Men episode coming on the History Channel, I was excited.  When I learned that it was about them creating the Grand Staircase for the Titanic museum in Pigeon Forge, I was more excited.  I was really looking forward to them bringing up interesting facts about the Titanic's construction, showing us how she was built, and talking about the Grand Staircase during the voyage and sinking.  By the end, I was very disappointed.

Museum Men is a show on History Channel 2 about a group of men that replicate rooms, machines, and monuments for museums across the US and the past few episodes have been excellent, entertaining, and education until now.  When they got to the Titanic, they talked a big talk about recreating history and honoring the Titanic's legacy, but they didn't deliver regarding the details.  They did have some interesting facts thrown in about the construction and building materials, but I wasn't sure about how much I could believe because they got so many "facts" wrong!  From saying that the Grand Staircase was nicknamed the "Stairway to Heaven" at the time to saying that it was only for a limited number of 1st class passengers, it was just a mess.  Plus, they used a black and white photo obviously of the Grand Staircase at the Branson Titanic museum as if it was an actual photo of the Titanic/Olympic's Grand Staircase even though there are multiple photos of the Olympic's Grand Staircase photos they could have used.  While we're on the subject, they did mention the Olympic and Britannic.  However, they focused heavily on their WWI service and didn't show photos of the Grand Staircases for comparisons.  On top of that, I felt that they rushed the editing with them reusing footage from several past Titanic History Channel documentaries to rushing through some parts while other parts were unnecessarily lengthy.

It was nice to see how the Grand Staircase at the Pigeon Forge Titanic museum was made and from personal experience, it is truly wonderful to walk up those stairs.  It really takes you back in the time when you walk into that room.  But it could have been a lot better with proper research and more careful editing.  

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Review: All About History Book of the Titanic

When I was going through Sam's Club, I noticed a magazine from All About History about the Titanic.  Being the passionate Titaniac that I am, I had to get it.  The price on the magazine was $25.00, though the price was reduced to $15.00 with a membership.  I understand that it is also sold at Barnes and Nobles'.  It is written by Beau Riffenburgh and was published in 2014.

As I was skimming through the magazine, I was almost immediately struck with the fact it is very similar to Beau Riffenburgh's book, "Titanic: The Legend of the Unsinkable Ship."  A closer examination of it reveals more similarities.  A lot of the materials he used and people he focused on were the same as ones used in "Titanic: The Legend of the Unsinkable Ship."  Unlike his book, however, the papers and documents were not ones you could pull out of pockets.  I will add that the book is not really for someone who has researched the ship for many years and knows a lot of commonly said facts.  There is no new information which can be gained by it if you have Riffenburgh's book.

The information is pretty good.  It's clear he did a lot of research on the subject, though some of his information is outdated (such as the legend Thomas Andrews died in the Smoking Room which we now know to be incorrect).  Riffenburgh laid a good foundation at the start, talking about the White Star Line, Cunard Line and the world the Titanic came into.  He then takes you into the Titanic's construction, maiden voyage, sinking, aftermath, and legacy with interesting facts and details which will keep you interested throughout.

The images in the book are wonderful and while some are common, others are not that well used.  Unfortunately, I do have to urge caution with the captions because some images are mislabeled including several photographs being identified as the Titanic when they were actually of the Titanic's sister ship Olympic.  I believe you will also recognize some of the computer models as being from Explore Titanic by Peter Crisp.

In conclusion, I believe it would be a great addition to your Titanic library.  If you are a Titanic historian who has studied the ship for several years, it may not be for you because you probably won't learn anything.  But if you are someone with a casual interest or someone who is just getting interested in the Titanic, it would be great for helping you to get to know the Titanic better.  However, it might be better if you just go ahead and purchase "Titanic: The Legend of the Unsinkable Ship."

Sunday, September 21, 2014

How To Study The Titanic

Something I have noticed on social media is that there are many people who say they are Titanic experts or historians.  But after saying that, they will go around repeating the same "facts" that have been said for years which are popular, but false.  I'm not trying to put people down.  I'm just saying that many people haven't done proper research and many of them don't know how.  I certainly did the same thing when I was younger because I wasn't told how to do good, proper research and so I also went around, repeating the same "facts".  In response to this, I've decided to give y'all some advice.

1.  The first advice I will give you is to clear your mind of what you think you know.  So much false information has come out about the Titanic, you need to clear your mind of all the false information so that you can replace it with true facts.

2.  Rely on primary source documents.  There is nothing like learning from those who were there about what happened.  A lot of survivors gave detailed accounts of the sinking.  Many accounts have been available to the public for years.  Others have recently come to light.  Still others have yet to be discovered.  The word of a witness trumps the word of an armchair historian who sits around, speculating about what might have happened.  Now, there are several things you need to keep in the back of your mind as you go through the survivors' accounts.

a.  Some survivors lied.  For example, 2nd Officer Lightoller lied about some of the things in his testimony that might look bad for the White Star Line.  Others lied to protect their own reputations.

b.  Compare what survivors said about certain events.  Some will contradict each other and it is important to keep those contradictions in mind.

c.  As time went on, the survivors' memories got mixed up and replaced things they forgot with things that didn't happen.  This happened with several including Eva Hart.  Be especially cautious about the later accounts.  Compare them with the accounts given right after the disaster by the same people if you can.

d.  With secondary sources, don't discredit all of them but be careful.  Newspapers tended to add details to make the accounts more harrowing and sell more newspapers.

3.  Look at the common practices and policies of that time before you condemn the actions of those in history.  There were some practices and policies that would horrify us today who are more safety conscious.  For instance, many ships didn't have enough lifeboats.  Not just the Titanic.  Another example is that it was common at that time for captains to speed up when icebergs were nearby.

4.  Don't trust other professing Titanic historians at face value.  Do the research and check the facts when you read what "researchers and historians" are saying.  Even Walter Lord, the ultimate Titanic historian, made mistakes in A Night To Remember, though his information was correct for the time.

5.  Whenever you read a book, check out the sources of information in the back.  If there aren't any, be even more suspicious about what you read in the book.  

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Boat No. 3

Photo source:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1254788/Why-women-children-saved-Titanic-Lusitania.html

Boat No. 3 was a regular sized lifeboat located towards the forward end of the Boat Deck.  It was located just behind Boat No. 1 (hanging over the side).  In the photo from the 1997 movie set, you can see Boat No. 3 being launched.  In reality, the lowering happened earlier in the sinking.  

After launching Boat No. 7 and Boat No. 5, 1st Officer Muroch began loading Boat No. 3.  George Moore got in as ordered by Murdoch and helped the women into the boat.  Henry Sleeper Harper put his wife in the boat and stepped back.  Then the Speddens came up and Margaretta (or Daisy as she was known by her friends) and her son Douglas along with their maid, Alice Wilson, and nanny, Margaret Burns, stepped in.  Frederick Spedden, the head of the household, was told to wait.  Then Edith and Margaret Graham were escorted to the boat by Howard Case and Washington Roebling. Thorton Davidson and Charles Hays stepped forward with their wives.  Mr. Hays told his wife that he and Mr. Davidson would wait for a rescue ship that would come in the morning.  Then he made sure she was wrapped tight and both gentlemen escorted their wives into the lifeboat.  After the women and children had gotten in, the men assumed that they could get in and got in without being ordered by Murdoch.  Adolfe Saafeld noticed a general reluctance to get into the boat.  It seemed so tiny and cold compared to the large, warm, solid ship they were standing on 60 feet above the water with only a slight list.  He got in anyway.  Harper was among the last to get in with his Penkingese Spaniel "Sun Yat Sen" in his hands.  Seeing some room in the boat and with no one objecting, he boarded with the dog.  Murdoch gave a final call for more women.  

When none stepped forward, he gave the order to lower away at around 12:55 A.M.  Edith Graham looked back and watched Howard Case calmly light a cigarette and wave while Washington Roebling calmly stood nearby.  Both Mr. Hays and Mr. Davidson waved to their wives.  To make his wife feel more reassured, Charles Hays called to Mrs. Hays that the ship would assuredly good for ten hours more and by that time, help would arrive.  The journey down to the sea was described as rough by Daisy Spedden and Henry Sleeper Harper.  Elizabeth Shute said that as the boat was being lowered, the ropes on one side stopped while the other continued which made everyone afraid that they would capsize.  They rectified the problem on the Boat Deck and then they continued down.  Little did they realize that only 32 out of a possible 60 were on board.  

When they reached the sea, they were delayed a couple of minutes because the crew had a hard time getting the boat free of the ropes.  When they were finally free, Henry Sleeper Harper said they had a hard time getting away from the ship because Moore who was at the tiller couldn't steer the boat properly.  Finally, Harper told Moore to angle the tiller the opposite of the way he wanted to go and they finally started going away from the ship.  At some point, two oars were lost.  The reason given was that the men's hands were too cold.  They stopped for a moment and let them beat their hands and do things to get their blood circulating before continuing on with only four oars.  Along with the crew, 1st class passengers Dr. Max Staehelin-Maeglin and Alfons Simonius-Blumer also helped row. 

They were told by the crew to look for a lantern, but found neither lantern, nor food, nor water in the boat.  As they passed other boats, Mrs. Hays and Mrs. Davidson called out their husbands' names and ask if they were there.  They were only met with a "no" from each one.  Mrs. Hays later said that she was naturally agitated and anxious for her husband, but didn't believe he was in imminent danger.  Elizabeth Shute who was sitting next to them was invited to sit nearer to them to help keep them warm.  

When the Titanic sank, they heard cries from those in the water.  According to Walter Hawksford, they lifted their hats and bowed their heads.  Then one of the men said, "She's gone, lads; row like hell or we'll get the devil of a swell."  Daisy wanted to go back, but complained in her journal several times about how Moore only listened to the sailors who were afraid of getting swamped.  They wouldn't have reached them It didn't help that Moore caused fears by saying earlier that there would be a big wave when she went down.  After the sinking and they were in darkness, one sailor asked another sailor if he'd put in both plugs on the bottom of the boat.  The latter said he thought so but wasn't sure.  Both groped around on the bottom of the boat until they found that both plugs were in.  Elizabeth Shute talked later about how two men in the back of the boat were smoking cigars and kept lighting them with matches.  She asked them to stop using the matches because they might need them later, but they didn't listen to her.  

According to Daisy Spedden, they thought several shooting stars might be ships on the horizon.  According to Mrs. Hays and Mrs. Davidson, they also spotted lanterns from other boats which they would mistake for other ships.  Then they spotted the green starboard light from the Californian.  They rowed towards the Californian, burning pieces of paper to attract other boats until they spotted Boxhall's green flare in Boat No. 2.  They changed course and rowed towards that until day broke. Daisy Spedden said, “It was just about dawn there and the sight which greeted our eyes was a never to be forgotten one. The moon was setting on the pink horizon, and the morning glow on the icebergs, which surrounded us, was superb. Douglas looked up and exclaimed, "Oh, Muddie, look at the beautiful North Pole with no Santa Claus on it," which made everyone smile! The tragedy of the situation sank deep into our hearts, as we saw the Carpathia standing amidst the few bits of wreckage on the spot where the Titanic went down, with the pitifully small number of lifeboats coming up to her from different directions.”  To attract the Carpathia, they lit Mrs. Davidson's straw hat (because they figured it would burn longer), a newspaper, and other flammable things.  They rowed alongside the Carpathia at around 7:30 A.M.  The survivors in this boat seem to have been brought up on a chair.  As the third person  who is described by Harper as being of "substantial weight" (Charlotte Cardeza?) stepped forward to get in the chair, a woman who was wearing nothing but a night gown and kimono (Vera Dick?) sat up who Harper thought had been in the bottom of the boat the entire time and said, "Look at that horrible woman!  She stepped on my stomach!  Horrible creature!"  The unhappy woman went up next.  As they put young Douglas Spedden in the swing, he said, "My, aren't I'm a fuss!"  

Boat No. 2 was brought aboard the Carpathia and dropped off when she reached New York.  What happened afterwards is unknown.  





Harper's Weekly April 27, 1912 in "Titanic The Story of the Disaster in the Newspapers of the Day."

Report Into The Loss Of The SS Titanic: A Centennial Reappraisal

"On Board the RMS Titanic: Memories of a Maiden Voyage" by George Behe