RMS Titanic Facts
“Titanic started a voyage through history when it sailed away. One century later, there is still no port at sight.”— Marina Tavares Dias
Without doubt one of the most famous ships in world nautical history, the RMS Titanic was built in Belfast, and set sail from Southampton on her maiden voyage to New York on the 10 April 1912.
The ship called at Cherbourg in France and Queenstown, Ireland (now known as Cobh), then headed out across the Atlantic towards North America.
On the night of 14 April 1912, the ship struck an iceberg, however, and within 3 hours she had sunk beneath the waves, resulting in many lives being lost.
There have been much speculation raised over the years as to why exactly the ship sank so fast and why so many lives were lost, with blame being apportioned in differing amounts to the ship's design, its construction, the behavior of the captain, the crew, and the passengers.
I was absolutely obsessed with the Titanic - not the film, the actual boat. I'd draw diagrams about it and theorise that if it was built in a different way, it wouldn't have sunk.— Margot Robbie
Below are some Facts About The RMS Titanic
- The RMS Titanic was the biggest man-made moving object in the world at the time of her launch.
- The ship was constructed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and cost $7.5 million to build. 2 workers died during her construction.
- RMS stands for “Royal Mail Steamer”. As well as carrying passengers, the ship was also delivering 3,423 sacks of mail (7,000,000 individual pieces) for the British postal service.
- The RMS Titanic began her voyage from Southampton, England on 14 April 1912. Before heading out across the Atlantic for New York, the ship called at Cherbourg in France and Queenstown (now known as Cobh) in Ireland.
Titanic, The 1997 Movie
In 1997, James Cameron wrote and co-produced a movie of the shipping disaster. The fictional account of the event starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet and was an enormous commercial and critical success.
Cameron used footage of the actual Titanic wreck for the movie and a reconstruction of the ship was constructed at Playas de Rosarito in Baja California. The movie also used computer graphics, which were highly advanced for the time to show the ship sinking.
The movie cost $200 million to make and was the most expense film ever made at the time. Costs were more than recouped, however, and it is still the highest grossing movie ever made.
- The ship was designed to carry a maximum of 3,547 people. There were 2,224 passengers and crew on her maiden voyage, including 13 honeymooning couples.
- The Titanic had 4 huge funnels, but only 3 of them released steam. The fourth one was just for show.
- The ship’s top speed was 23 knots, which is the equivalent of over 26 miles per hour.
- 4 days into the crossing, 11:40 pm ship's time, the Titanic hit an iceberg. She was 375 miles (600 km) south of Newfoundland at the time.
- 6 ice warnings were received by Titanic on the day of the collision, all of them were ignored. It was a moonless night and the waters were still, making the iceberg difficult to spot. The iceberg was also a “blackberg”, which meant that due to continuous melting, it looked more dark and mirrored in its appearance, rather than white – the phenomenon is similar to the black ice found on roads.
"I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern ship building has gone beyond that."— Captain Smith, Commander of Titanic
Facts about Edward Smith, Captain of the Titanic
Edward Smith, the captain of the Titanic, was born in Hanley, Staffordshire, England on 27th January 1850.
Smith joined the White Star Line in 1880 and quickly rose in status.
In September 1911, Smith was in command of the Olympic, at that time the biggest vessel in the world, when it collided with a British warship, HMS Hawke.
Smith died, along with around 1,500 others, after the Titanic hit the iceberg and sank.
His body was never recovered.
"When anyone asks how I can best describe my experience in nearly 40 years at sea, I merely say, uneventful. Of course there have been winter gales, and storms and fog the like, but in all my experience, I have never been in any accident of any sort worth speaking about. ...... I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked, nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort. You see, I am not very good material for a story"— Captain Smith, Commander of Titanic
- After the lookouts sounded the warning, there were only 37 seconds to react. First Officer Murdoch ordered the ship to turn left and for the engine room to put the engines in reverse, but it was not enough to avoid the iceberg.
"Come at once, we have struck a berg, it's a CQD old man."— Jack Phillips, Wireless Operator
- The ship was originally designed to carry 64 lifeboats, but only had 20 on her maiden voyage in order to lower the amount of clutter on the decks. A lifeboat drill was supposed to take place on the day of the disaster, but for some reason, the captain had cancelled it. The crew had not been properly trained to deal with an evacuation and many of the lifeboats were barely half full when launched.
"Many brave things were done that night but none more brave than by those few men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea...the music they played serving alike as their own immortal requiem and their right to be recorded on the rulls of undying fame."— Lawrence Beesley, Titanic Survivor
- The protocol of "women and children first" was generally followed, which is why a larger percentage of adult men died. Many of the third class passengers were left below decks as the ship filled with water and so consequently more of them died proportionately, than second class ones.
“No matter how much water a sink takes on, it never lives up to its name. The Titanic would never have sunk if it were made out of a sink.”— Jarod Kintz
- It took the Titanic 2 hours and 40 minutes to sink after it hit the iceberg.
- Out of the 2,224 people on board, 719 (32%) were saved and 1514 (68%) were lost. 2 dogs also survived the disaster.
"To my poor fellow-sufferers: My heart overflows with grief for you all and is laden with sorrow that you are weighed down with this terrible burden that has been thrust upon us. May God be with us and comfort us all."— Eleanor Smith, wife of the late Captain Smith
- It took 74 years before the wreck of the RMS Titanic was found. The ship had split in two at the time of sinking and was at a depth of 12,600 feet below the surface of the ocean. There is now a permanent exhibition of artifacts from the ship at the Luxor Las Vegas hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
© 2013 Paul Goodman