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God himself couldn't sink this ship

This discussion on "God himself couldn't sink this ship" is in the Titanic the Unsinkable section; This is upsetting me that i've heard this quote and can't find a thing on ...

      
   
  1. #1
    Christa
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    God himself couldn't sink this ship

    This is upsetting me that i've heard this quote and can't find a thing on it!I just want to know if this qoute was only use for the Titanic movie? Or, did the people of of Titanic actually thought this? If so, where can I go to find info on this quote?
    Thank you to those who can help me on this subject.

  2. #2
    Jaques
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    :In Southampton, Sylvia Caldwell asked a porter if the ship was really unsinkable. He said something
    :like "Yes mum, God Himself could not sink this ship."

  3. #3
    Katia
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    Hi Christa!

    I've seen the reason for this quote somewhere in a brazilian Titanic's page I believe.

    The newspapers at the time started to wrote this quote about the Titanic because, one day, someone saw in the water the message "NO POPE" and like the Pope is the closest person to God the newspapers wrote that. The truth is that the message "NO POPE" was the reflection of the number of the ship in the water.

    Try this:

    Write 3909 04 on a paper turn it to a mirror and turn it upside down (I believe is like this). You'll see something like this
    "NO POPE"

    So this is what I know about it.

    The thing is that the men fought with God and they've losed!

    (sorry about the bad english!!!!)

    Bye,
    Katia

  4. #4
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    The quote comes from a newsmagazine, saying that titanic was ALMOST unsinkable.
    People forgot the almost.
    it was a nice advertising thing...

    That No pope is a rumour about titanic, people sad that Irish people wrote that on the hull before being launched.
    The numbers are right, but they are in no way connected to titanic.

    Remco:-)

  5. #5
    Katia
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    Sorry Remco!

    I'm not sure about what the numbers are but they are realted to the Titanic. I believe they're some kind of serial number or something like that!!

    )Katia

  6. #6
    Alyssa Stell
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    Hi'ya!
    The media did say that the ship was unsinkable.
    It was people who worked and were going to ride the "Titanic" some of them I think said even God couldn't sink it.

  7. #7
    Melissa Coe
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    No ship is unsinkable, it's as simple as that.

  8. #8
    Richard K. Mason
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    Hello Christa;

    The quote you refer to as did the guy with the French name above may have appeared in newspapers and magazines from the 1912 period. Maybe this is where Walter Lord got his information for his book, "A Night To Remember". It appears on page 73 of the 1976 deluxe re-print edition. Do you have a copy? Or maybe he interviewed Mrs. Caldwell while researching his best-seller in the 1950's. Anyway, this is where I first came across the line in the mid 1960's.

    Okay? Have a good day
    Richard

  9. #9
    Noel F.Jones
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    Presumably God himself couldn't have sunk the Olympic either.

    This amusing anecdote, of which I've seen several equally improbable sources, derives from wherever the current author best thinks it will serve his narration.

    Noel

  10. #10
    George Behe
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    Hi, Noel!

    >Presumably God himself couldn't have sunk the >Olympic either.

    I don't presume to know if God regarded the Olympic as unsinkable, but human beings did. See my website:

    http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Carpathia

    Scroll down to the table of contents and click on "How the Titanic Became Unsinkable."

    All my best,

    George

  11. #11
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    For those who look for Divine Providence in the affairs of man...several of the witnesses at the inquiries spoke of the lack of panic until very close to the end. The reason given was a universal belief in the unsinkablity of the ship. Had people feared the ship was foundering, it is unlikely that anything the officers could have done would have prevented a rush on the lifeboats. Perhaps the myth of unsinkability is what allowed the boats to be launched safely. It is something to ponder.

    -- David G. Brown

  12. #12
    Tom Pappas
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    Hello, George!

    In your article, you focus on the 1910 brochure's use of the qualifying "designed to be" as a deliberate ploy to convince travelers that the ships were safe without actually stating flat-out that they were unsinkable.

    In my opinion, the operative phrase in the sentence under discussion is "as far as it is possible to do so." To me, this represents an explicit stipulation that it is impossible to build a ship that won't sink. I cannot impute to the Line the motivation that you do, so I think that stating "the intent of the brochure's claim is unmistakeable [sic]" assumes facts not in evidence. Clearly, White Star was motivated by self-interest to want prospective customers to regard the Olympics as safe, but to suggest that they deliberately set out to brainwash the public is a bit of a reach.

    The rest of the descriptions of the ship's integrity come from individuals free to form their own opinions, but not from any source at either White Star or Harland & Wolff that could reasonably be termed "official". Even Capt. Smith's hyperbole can be disqualified as hearsay - Andrews (may have) told Smith told a passenger told the reporter. Furthermore, as the article points out, Smith sometimes said the ship would float if cut in two pieces, and sometimes he said three. This reinforces my impression that the crew's claims were made up of whole cloth.

    I also think it would be more fair to exclude from the discussion any quotations where the word "practically" is employed. The writers who apply this disclaimer are clearly acknowledging the reality that total immunity to sinking is unattainable.

    Best regards,

    Tom

  13. #13
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    Hi Everyone,

    I certainly agree that there is no such thing as an unsinkable ship. Do you know that the same statement was made about the oil rig, the Ocean Ranger, and she went down in a February storm with all 84 crewmembers!
    Didn't Lightoller make some inference to Captain Smith making the decision not to tell anyone, thereby avoiding all out panic?
    I do think that we are much more secular today than the people on the Titanic, and, consequently, we probably don't have the "faith in God" that they had. However, in my own concept of God, I don't see HIM/HER snuffing us out because we have become too arogant and need taking down a peg or two.
    Certainly, after the Titanic, the various churches had a field day with this topic.

    Cheers,
    Allan

  14. #14
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    In regards to Captain Smith's claims. I think perhaps his claims or his statement where made due to his pride in commanding a new and large vessel. He wanted to reenforce to the general public that ocean travel was safe and probably safer then it had ever been up to that point. Smith was a Master Mariner with enough intelligence to know that there is no such thing as a unsinkable ship. I would even go so far as to say that Smiths talk was just that, to get publicity out to about his company and there new ship.

    As for a deliberate plot by White Star to "brainwash" as Tom put it, I have to agree with him, that there was no such thing in effect. I think White Star, like Captain Smith where attempting to describe the safety of there ship(s) and this some how got twisted by the press (as things usually do) into the ship is unsinkable.

    Knowing George though, I think he has other things and much more detail into his thinking that he probably can't share in public. I don't think that he would have made such a statement without further research to back it up. Having read through his link that he provided I can sway with some certainty that that is his opinion (something we are all entitled to) and he has seen evidence that he thinks points in that direction. The Shipbuilder apparently as Bill Sauder and George both point out relyed on White Star's on publicity machine. Remeber that companies are in the business of making money, advertisement gets clients, the flashier and more interesting the advertisement (in this case stating a ship is unsinkable or almost unsinkable) the more people will read and the more likely people will be to use a companies product, if not becasue of what the person has read, but because they recall reading a advertisement for the company.

    Think on it, if The New York Times (granted not the most trustworthy source for information) came out with a story that read: Captain Erik Wood stats that his ship is UNSINKABLE. People will read the article which will no doubt include my companies name. The next time you see a company adverstisement, you will remeber the flashy newspaper story, when you see more advertisments the companies name and the flashy news story will stick in your mind, when you go to book a cruise you will remeber my companies name, orginally because of the out landish statement I made in a newspaper that mentioned my company.

    This very thing happened during the Ectasy Fire.

  15. #15
    Tom Pappas
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    The question of whether or not informing the ship's company that the ship was sinking would cause a panic is another issue, and probably should be the start of a new thread. If the officers of Titanic decided not to tell those on board that the ship was in jeopardy for that reason, then they must be blamed for the deaths of several hundred people who weren't convinced that getting in a lifeboat was a dire necessity. I don't think there would have been a panic, for the following reasons:

    Passengers and crew of sinking vessels of every kind have been informed of the ship's situation, and I do not have any knowledge of panic ensuing as a result. If the crew had gone quietly about the ship telling the passengers that the ship was sinking, and to form orderly lines to the Boat Deck, many more could have been saved. The rebuttal to this statement is that Titanic's case was different, because there were so few lifeboats. I would suggest that (Hollywood scripts aside) hardly anyone on board would have known that there weren't spaces for everyone. This calculation would have required a knowledge of the number of boats, their capacities, and the number of souls on board - none of which information would have been readily available to anyone but a few crew members. If Smith had held a lifeboat drill, of course, this state of affairs would have been drastically different.

  16. #16
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    Tom,

    You are discounting about 7 cardinal rules in ship evcuation that have been time tested. I have been involved in one passenger ship evcuation (not due to the ship sinking) as a JO. There was no immediate danger to the ship, but the fact that we where off loading passengers in mass, and the passengers left with the knowledge that they would not be returning caused some relatively minor panic. Familes had to be seperated due to errors by hotel staff (which caused even more panic). Those who new the ship was taking water paniced once they where told, realizing that the half hour mandated by international maritime law isn't nearly enough time to safely evcuate 3200 passengers. Once you have one paniced passenger it spreads like wildfire see an unrelated story about a fight onboard below. When you put hundreds or thousands of folks in a concentrated place, and tell them that they need to leave the ship for there safety (whether you use the word "precaution" in the sentence or not) it is going to cause some amount of panic. People and ship evcuations don't mix. In some intances or I could even venture to say most instances Titanic was abandoned in a proper manner by my schooling.

    The ships commander knew full well the situation regarding lifeboats, he also knew that his boat deck could only hold a fraction of the total number of passengers on board (Titanic was in the pre muster station era), and once all of the passengers where made aware of the situation, and as they saw lifeboats leave and fewer left to hold large numbers, those with any mark of intelligence would have realized that seats in a lifeboat where going to become hard to come by.

    In addition, the boat deck remained fairly clear in the sense that those lowering the boats had the room to do so, this no doubt aided in the safe lowering of all of the boats that left (with the exception of the two that washed off the deck). Inviting 2000 crew and passengers to the boat deck that couldn't hold half of that would not only have caused panic but probably killed a few in the rush and attempt to get there. People standing in mass and standing still is another good way to start a panic on a ship that you have just announced is going to sink.

    When you take into account the abandoning of the Andrea Doria or the Archilli Lauro, those ships not only had more then enough lifeboats but the ship although showing some signs of sinking was not in a immediate foundering situation. In the Andrea Doria's situation she had lost the use of all of the lifeboats on one side, but help was clearly on scene and available. In both instances the passengers knew the basic situation and where being told what to do, the ship layout and the systems and policies the ship had in place could support the type of evcuation and kept it in a orderly manner.

    Smith didn't sound an alarm because he wanted to retain command of his ship. He didn't have enough lifeboats, that is why in my opinion he shouldn't have given all of the information available to him to his passengers, it isn't there business.

    Remeber that ships don't run like a fire in a building. The ships commander is under no obligation (if it will retain order and safety to his passengers) to communicate any problems that the ship is having with his passengers or hotel staff (anybody that has taken more then 4 cruises has been onboard during some kind of fire or other emergency, and probably was completely unaware of it). During the recent Norwalk virus outbreaks no major passenger annoucments where made, this was done in order to prevent panic. The ships commander, once his ship is wounded in anyway shifts to the safety of his passengers and his passengers only. Usually this means securing or making the ship safe and putting/keeping it in a inhabitable condition, in others that means getting his paying passengers off. How he does this, whether sounding some mass alarm or not, does not matter, his decision SHOULD be based on getting the most passengers off in the safest, fastest and most prudent manner available to him. The trained seaman, firemen, engineers and such on most ships is outnumbered 3 to one. Which makes it like a jail situation. The passengers if they wanted to or if they where paniced, could take the ship over at any time and any thought of a safe and orderly evcuation can be kicked out the window. The only thing that prevents this is the belief that the officers and crew of the ship know what they are doing and a general belief in the laws of the sea. You see an officer you do what he says end of story.

    Suggesting that the deaths of 1500 passengers and crew is the fault of the officers and crew for not giving them all the information available is both IMO out of line, requires a lot more research and degrades each and every officers ability to use reason, his ability to be a seaman, and more importantly paints Captain Smith as not only a incompetent commander, but just plain ignorant. Niether of which IMO are true. The Captain of the Ectasy didn't disclose the entire situation to his passengers, nor did the Captain of the Archilli Lauro (I can't spell today), nor did Captain Turner of the Lusitania (so I have read).

    RULE #1 OF SHIP EVCUATION IS: Do not give cause for alarm to the passengers and in no way indicate that things are bad, remain calm cool and collected and release only what needs to be released. Or in simple terms: MAINTAIN ORDER AT ALL COSTS!!!

    This usually means giving them only half of the story if that. In the situation I mentioned that I was involved in the Captain only said the ship had grounded, and was taking a small amount of water, but for the safety of the passengers and crew the ship needed to be evcuated. He didn't mention that he had no tanks below the engine room floor, or that he had a aux machine space flooded or that when the tide changed the ship could break in two and roll over. The evcuation was slow, controlled and for the most part panic was averted by the likes of officers and trained crew.

    If Captain Smith had made a blanket statement that the ship would sink and all passengers and crew needed to report to the boat deck with lifebelts on, what would have happened?? None of us will know for sure, but common sense says that 2200 people going to one place that can't hold half of that, and letting them know that the boat they are on is about to disappear beneath there feet is a bad thing. You have 2 master at arms to quell problems on 882 feet of ship, while the rest of the officers and trained seaman are attempting get lifeboats ready while folks push and shove to get in line. There are some very large logistical problems involved here.

    That is why shipping companies and law makers developed the Muster Station. You are breaking up the body of passengers into smaller managable groups, and escorting them to the boat they need to be in. Everybody in each group is getting a seat at the same time. There is no fight for a seat it is assigned. Boats are leaving the ship (if all goes according to plan) 4 at a time. Now you have smaller more manageable groups of passengers organized by a large group of crew or personnel trained to deal with the situation. Titanic didn't have this luxury.

    This also goes to the heart of why a Captain is the Captain. People are under the illusion that the Captain (in Smith's situation) was to get ALL of the people off. Smith didn't have the resources, equipment or time to get that accomplished, and IMO the testimony shows that he understood that. Smith's job was to save as many as he possibly could, he had to load lifeboats and tell others that there turn was coming, full well knowing that there wasn't a seat for everybody, this also meant restricting the flow of information. The Captains job is to save as many as possible (hopefully that is everybody and until he can know otherwise he assumes everybody). The Captains job is to look at the big overall picture, not the small picture. Smith knows the eventual out come, he knows that he only has so many lifeboat seats and almost twice that number in persons needing a seat, he also knows that he is in a time frame to get people off (which isn't flexible), given the resources and trained personnel on hand he has to make a decision on how best to save as many of his passengers as he can (NOTE:Smith can't save all so he has to save what he can) and that every minute that goes by the deck gets steeper and the ship sinks faster (not technically speaking) and harder it will become to load lifeboats.

    Tom said: ". If Smith had held a lifeboat drill, of course, this state of affairs would have been drastically different.

    While I agree 110% that a lifeboat drill should have taken place, it wouldn't have done much good. There where still not enough lifeboats, and no system in place to make a orderly evcuation, and that would have been more then obvious to passengers once required to show up to there boat station, especially to the third class would have been last to arrive.

    The point of this next bit is that every shipboard alarm or emergency isn't always dire, and that alerting passengers and telling them the whole story could create and would create more trouble then it is worth:

    Every morning at about 0430 on the SS Norway a fire alarm goes off on the bridge alerting the bridge and galley crew that there is excessive heat in a corridor next to one of the resturants. The fire alarm sounds in the corridor, the galley and the bridge and fire doors close. They man a fire team and send a officer to investigate. Every day it is the same thing, the grill when heating up warms the metal bulkhead and warms up a crew corridor and causes the heat cenors to trip. But everyday they do the same thing. Do they wake everybody up no. When a passenger asks they tell them. When early risers see crewmen in fire gear running with hoses people tend to wonder what the heck is going on.

    Panic is a disease on a ship, once one person has it, it can spread rapidly and uncontrolled and every second that is wasted in attempting to stop this panic order is slipping away.

    Captain Smith and his officers and crew deserve a hand shake for there handling of the evcuation. Now the handling of what occured before contact with the berg....well....that is another story.

  17. #17
    George Behe
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    Hi, Tom!

    >Even Capt. Smith's hyperbole can be disqualified >as hearsay -

    Well, Elmer Taylor heard Captain Smith tell the 'cut-in-three' story with his own ears and described Smith's words in a private account that he authored himself. No 'filtering' by newspaper reporters took place in this particular instance.

    >Furthermore, as the article points out, Smith >sometimes said the ship would float if cut in two >pieces, and sometimes he said three. This >reinforces my impression that the crew's >claims >were made up of whole cloth.

    Unless I'm mistaken, I think we can all agree that anecdotal claims of unsinkability (containing varying degrees of exaggeration a la Captain Smith) were widespread prior to the Titanic disaster; IMO the only uncertainty is whether or not these anecdotal claims of unsinkability evolved from *qualified* statements of unsinkability that originally appeared in White Star publicity material. For what it's worth, my own opinion is that they did.

    I do not believe that White Star heinously set out to deliberately delude its prospective passengers; rather, I think the Line 'blew the Titanic's own horn' right up to the very limit of reality ("practically unsinkable") and then did absolutely nothing to discourage its employees from 'improving' on that qualified horn-blowing. (After all, the Line was covered in the event of a mishap: "Hey, we can't help it if Captain Smith said the Titanic was unsinkable; the Line itself is on record as having said only that she was *practically* unsinkable.")

    Opinions may vary, though.

    Erik wrote:

    >Knowing George though, I think he has other >things and much more detail into his thinking >that he probably can't share in public.

    Hi, Erik!

    No, I assure you that my brain is now empty on this subject. :-)

    All my best,

    George

  18. #18
    Tom Pappas
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    Thanks, George.

    But if you truly "do not believe that White Star heinously set out to deliberately delude its prospective passengers", can the statement "the intent of the brochure's claim is unmistakeable" (from the article) stand without qualification?

    Cap'n Erik,

    I have never suggested that all 2,200 people on board be simultaneously directed to report to the Boat Deck (even if a PA system had existed), but rather that the people who were near a boat be told something more persuasive than "it's just a precaution."

    My mention of the boat drill was to point out that if one had been held, everyone on board would have known half of them were doomed, and there would have been widespread panic.

    Fair seas and following winds,

    Tom

  19. #19
    John M. Feeney
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    Hi, all:

    To provide some evidence that there was actually a fairly widespread campaign among the shipping companies to ascribe the quality of "unsinkability" to their ships -- for public consumption, at least -- I offer the following link from the Gjenvik-Gjonvik Archives:

    http://www.gjenvick.com/images/lib/b...8_haandbog.jpg

    In this example from a 1907 handbook for Norwegian Cunard passengers, the illustration specifically describes the two Cunard liners as the "FIRST UNSINKABLE [synkefrie] STEAMERS". (Though the caption is not in English, it's fairly easy to decipher, and others here can verify my translation.)

    Despite this marketing claim, the Board of Trade insisted as late as 1912, during the British Titanic Inquiry, that there was NO existing ship that fit their technical definition of "unsinkable". (Yes, it was definitely *codified* and attainable as a design standard.)

    So although those two ships were NOT absolutely unsinkable, such allegations seem to have been commonplace in overall marketing schemes as early as 1907. (Consider as similar the modern terms "fire-proof" and "unbreakable".) And if Cunard was exercising the ploy, it's doubtful that White Star would deliberately *avoid* such tags. To the contrary, we know that, in the case of the Olympic class ships, they used the term "unsinkable" whenever possible, short of actually guaranteeing it.

    To the public mind, "practically unsinkable" is not very different from the unqualified label "unsinkable", and I suspect White Star was probably well aware of the potential impact of its wording.

    [Note: The full 1907 immigration brochure, plus the rest of this outstanding site, can be accessed via http://www.gjenvick.com/research/190...bog/index.html .]

    Cheers,
    John

  20. #20
    George Behe
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    Hi, Tom!

    >But if you truly "do not believe that White Star >heinously set out to deliberately delude its >prospective
    > passengers", can the statement "the >intent of the brochure's claim is unmistakeable" >(from the article) stand
    > without qualification?

    No, it can't, and I'll definitely have to modify the wording of that sentiment. Thanks very much for pointing out the inconsistency between my true opinion and my article's careless misstatement of that opinion.

    Hi, John!

    Thanks very much for sharing that brand new -- and very important -- addition to our discussion of ship unsinkability and the publicity campaigns that contributed to public belief in that supposed characteristic. Outstanding!

    >To the public mind, "practically unsinkable" is >not very different from the unqualified label >"unsinkable", and I
    > suspect White Star was probably well >aware of the potential impact of its wording.

    I absolutely agree.

    All my best,

    George

  21. #21
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    John:

    To further your point in "English" quoted from a 1906 construction/sales brochure for the Cunard Line's "Cunard Hotels" - Caronia and Carmania

    "Both the "Caronia" and "Carmania" are fitted with the "Stone-LLoyd" system of Safety Watertight Doors, and are thereby rendered PRACTICALLY UNSINKABLE.

    Of all the improvements which have recently been perfected in connection with marine work, this is, perhaps, the most ingenious and most important, and by reason of its excellence and paramount utility, it is one which will commend itself very highly to all those who travel by sea.

    The watertight doors situated below or about the water-line are actuated by the system which enables the doors to be closed by the captain on his bridge turning a handle, which after causing sufficient notice to be given by means of gongs to enable anyone to move away from the vicinity of the doors, ensures their immediate closure.

    At the first possibility of danger, therefore, the whole of the doors can be simultaneously shut, and should men be confined in any of the compartments, they only have to turn a handle, when the door will at once open, and then automatically shut behind them. Thus all necessary communication can be carried on between compartments with the certainty that the doors will not remain open until the captain considers it safe that they should do so.

    The system is entirely operated by hydraulics, the power of which can be imagined by the fact that each door closes with a force equal to about three tons.

    It is interesting to know that the system has been invented , and is f=being developed be a firm of English Engineers, Messrs. J. Stone and Co., Ltd. of Deptford, London."

    End of Quotation

    IMO, White Star advertising was just keeping up with there rival Cunard. As Cunard had been calling ships "PRACTICALLY UNSINKABLE" for years even prior to the "Lusitania" and "Mauretania: entering service.




  22. #22
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    Hello,

    I believe Captain Smith played it safe and was wise in not telling the passengers that the ship was going to sink. But there is strong evidence that he didn't tell his senior officers, either. Lightoller said that he initially didn't think the Titanic would go down, at least not before help could arrive. He only came to the inevitable conclusion as time went on. Murdoch's statement to Steward Hardy that he thought she was gone indicates to me that he, too, was not aware of the ship's imminent demise from the very beginning. I believe Lightoller suggested that had he known the situation from the get-go, he would have taken more risks - that is to say, he would have put more people in the boats than he actually did. That might have resulted in a few more people surviving. Of course, he himself acknowledged how difficult it was to persuade passengers to get into the first lifeboats, so how he would have put more pressure on them, I don't know. It also brings up the possibility of an "overloaded" boat being tipped and even more people being killed. Over all, I think they did a darn good job under the circumstances.

    Cheers,
    Allan

  23. #23
    Tom Pappas
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    It goes without saying that Lightoller's reminiscences may contain an element of self-serving exculpation of whatever guilt he may have experienced for denying salvation to so many.

    I get the sense that Lights possessed above-average intelligence, and could couch his answers to the inquiries to shade his meaning in any way he felt necessary or desirable.

    So if he wanted to create the impression that he wasn't aware of the ship's peril until late in the proceedings, I have no doubt that he could accomplish it.

  24. #24
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    I had to edit Steven's recent post for a copywrite issue. I only took out the picture and did not edit any of the body of his post. If Steven did have permission to use the picture he did not mention it and with my permission will be allowed to do so if he has the permission of the person holding the rights.

  25. #25
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    Hi,

    If Captain Smith didn't tell Lightoller that the ship was going to sink in a couple of hours, I can understand why, at the beginning at least, the Second Officer had confidence in the ship. From all accounts, the ship did not show any real signs of imminent sinking for some time. As Lightoller said, she was new and her bulkheads were sound. Once he was busy with the lifeboats, he would have been focussed on his duties. Of course, he would eventually pick up on the obvious. I suppose, when the distress rockets were fired, everyone could figure out that the jig was up; but even then, not many would think that she would founder, and very few would have been able to construct a time frame for the event. Lightoller used the water coming up the stairs to gage how much time he had to work with.

    I don't attach any blame to Lightoller for his "women and children only" approach to loading the lifeboats. When he told Senator Smith that this was not a rule of the sea, but the rule of human nature, he was reflecting the accepted social norms for that time. Post the Titanic disaster, a lot of this came under attack, especially by the women's activist movements. But I think the vast majority of people from 1912 agreed with his views.

    Another point worth noting is that he sent men to open the lower gangways. His idea was to fill up the lifeboats from these areas when they were safely in the water. It made sense, even if circumstances prevented the plan from being implemented.

    For my part, I think the survivors from the overturned collapsible boat owed their lives to Lightoller's skills in keeping the thing from tipping the whole lot into an icy abiss. I don't think he should have felt guilty for what happened and I hope he didn't.

    Cheers,
    Allan

  26. #26
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    I posted this once before and it is a bit arrogant on my part. My officers only need to know what I tell them. If I give them an order, all they need to know is how to carry it out. In my view Smith most likely didn't tell his officers of the situation becuase putting folks in lifeboats at 1 in the morning in freezing tempratures should have been enough to clue them in that something wasn't right, and in the Captains view the passengers safety was more important then there comfort. Remeber that putting passengers in lifeboats is the last resort, that means in the view of the Captain the ship is unstable and unhabitable and that for the safety of life the passengers need to leave. Smith was lucky and had calm conditions. Doing so in the middle of the night in 30 degree weather is a good indication that something is bad. If it was truely a precaution why didn't Smith wait until day light??

    Some of this is hindsight we know what happened. Looking back we can see that the ship was going to sink, Smith obviously felt that was a very strong possibility or he would have delayed (longer then he did) in lowering the boats.

    Regardless of Lightollers impression of the ships condition, he knew the Captain decided the ship needed to be evcuated and as a skilled officer and sailor he knew that doing so at night was probably more then a precaution. Keeping the passengers in a relaxed state was paramount, Smith not giving information to his Senior Officers kept them out of the loop with the exception of lowering the boats and left them to worry about the job he had assigned them, and not about the ships current and eventual condition. Officers couldn't accidently spill information because they didn't have any information to spill. Another question is, who told Lightoller's and the others it was a precaution to lower the boats???

    Again, Smith was looking (as every Captain should) at the big picture. He has to rub his magic ball and see how his current decision will affect his current orders and the condition on the ship in the future. He has to look at saving as many lives as he can, he knows he can't give everybody a seat, so he has to give some of them a seat.

    I agree with Tom's statement about Lightollers ability to hide what he knew. He was trying to save his license and his company and did a fairly decent job. I believe (don't quote me) Lightoller once said it was a whitewash (that could have been the Mersey bit I am thinking of).

  27. #27
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    Hi,
    I think your views are well spoken, Eric. And, I agree with both you and Tom that Lightoller was a very clever man, who was careful with every word he spoke. He wanted to make sure that he and all the Titanic's crew - and with it the fair name of the Company - came out of this mess as clean as possible. Who could blame him? And you are right, Eric, Lightoller wrote about taking out the whitewash brush at Mersey's Inquiry. Nonetheless, I admire him for his efforts to explain to those who had zero knowledge of the sea what their situation was that horrific night. For my part, it was his story that was most enlightening and compelling, and, after reading what he said, I felt for him and the crew (echoing Mr. Bride's comment on Phillips) a great reverence.
    All the Best.
    Allan

  28. #28
    Melissa E. Kalson
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    Hello all.. I refer this question to Captain Wood.. I have never been on an ocean liner or a cruise ship for that matter. But I had heard that while on board it was mandatory for all passengers to participate in lifeboat drills. Is this so and if a passenger doesn't participate what then? I don't remember where I heard this or when but I'm curious because at some point I would love to overcome my fear of water and take a cruise (and a transatlantic crossing). Sincerely, Melissa K.

  29. #29
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    It is international maritime law that abandon ship drill is done within the first 24 hours of sailing from a U.S. port for vessels over a certain tonnage. The passengers when they arrive in there cabin should find there lifejackets and the needed instructions laid out on there bed.

    When told, they are instructed to report to there muster station (the ship is usually broken up into three sections). Once there they are instructed on how to put on the lifejacket (and then required to properly put it on), they are then escorted to there boat and a muster is taken.

    Those not reported as attending are paged to the Chief Purser and that person is hand walked through the scenrio that they missed. It has been quite some time since I have done a world cruise but I know that it is also required at different times, even though the passengers may be the same.

  30. #30
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    Eric:

    As for the picture that was removed since you didn't change the text of the post and I quoted directly from this original Cunard brochure. It doesn't change at all what I wanted to say in this post.

    It was added to show the actual Cunard Line advertishing brochure, from which the text was quoted from.

    Given the image I posted was a page, from what looked like a book I can see were this issue arose.

    This text/image comes from a very rare original Cunard Line advertishing brochure that I have in my personnel collection:

    "Cunard Hotels" - Published by Cunard Steamship Lines, Printed by Hudson & Kearns, Ltd, Ptrs London S.E. copyright circa 1906 (97 years old)

    I don't want to cause any trouble on this issue as I like many other enjoy this board to much, and would have nothing to do at night without it.

    This is also the main reason that most of the photographic images I post from my personnel collection are watermarked, as being from the S. Anderson Collection of postcards and photographs.



  31. #31
    George Behe
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    Hi, all!

    You know, I've been thinking about my earlier discussion with Tom, and I'm not so sure that the intentions of White Star's Olympic/Titanic press puffery were as 'unintentional' as Tom momentarily convinced me that they might be.

    In 1910 White Star (via the New York Times) relayed the following information about Olympic/Titanic to the general public:

    "In short, so complete will be the system of safeguarding devices on board this latest of ocean giants that, when she is finally ready for service, it is claimed that she will be practically unsinkable and absolutely unburnable."

    Could someone please tell me what White Star's purpose was in claiming that the Olympic and Titanic were "absolutely unburnable?" (The fact that the claim itself is patently absurd is immaterial; the question is, "What was White Star's *purpose* in making that claim?")

    Is my original use of the phrase "... to deliberately delude its prospective passengers" really so very far off the mark? Upon reflection, I don't think so.

    Comments are welcome.

    All my best,

    George






  32. #32
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    Hello,

    I've been meaning to ask this question for quite a while; this thread seems to be a good place for it:
    What did people in those days(Board of Trade, shipbuilders, shipping lines, passengers etc)think of a possible fire onboard? There was quite a bit of wood on ships back then.
    When that burns, it burns good!
    To compare with nowadays: the cruiseship Millenium has a restaurant which has wooden fittings from the Olympic; this room had an extra wall build around it; otherwise it wouldn't have passed the safety tests.

    Which options could cause the evacuation of a ship according to the Board of Trade?
    Only collisions with a object, causing sinking? Not fire or anything else?

    I hope I'm not pulling away from George's subject, but I've been wondering about this for ages

    Regards,
    Remco

  33. #33
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    No damage done Steve, I just wanted to play it safe and I think we all enjoy your posts.

  34. #34
    Parks Stephenson
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    It occurs to me that no one would step foot on an airliner if they thought that particular aircraft was "crashable" (crashes only happen to others). If someone were to ask my opinion, I would say that in my view, the mindset is the same (calm fears by taking up the safety), it's just that a few more decades' worth of familiarity with technology has taught publicists not to be so boisterous with their claims.

    I see nothing nefarious in any claims in the early 1910s about a ship being "practically unsinkable." Naive from our modern perspective, maybe, but I wouldn't call it nefarious.

    Parks

  35. #35
    Tom Pappas
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    Hi George!

    As an author, you know that (competent) journalists choose their words very carefully. Allow me to restate the snippet you quoted, with some emphasis added:[indent]
    quote:

    In short, so complete will be the system of safeguarding devices on board this latest of ocean giants that, when she is finally ready for service, it is claimed that she will be practically unsinkable and absolutely unburnable.
    To me, this demonstrates clear intent to put the reading public on notice that they are not to take the shipline's hyperbole at face value. So although White Star may have hoped that people would think of their vessels as unsinkable, the writer took steps to dilute that impression. Would I, as a reader of that newspaper, come away from that article with the impression that the Olympics were unsinkable? I doubt it.

    Best regards,

    Tom

  36. #36
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    I would have to agree with Tom. But this coming from someone who knows that no ships are unsinkable. I always regard claims and reports made by the media (most of them know very little if anything about ships and there opertaion) in relation to ships, there operation with a huge grain of salt. 9 out of 10 times media reports that come from souces like CNN or other major media outlets are wrong. A perfect two expamples are my recent report in another thread about the QE2 failing it's health inspection, and the Norwalk Virus that was found on several ships. In both cases the media and there supposed expert claimed things that where both in accurate but in one case impossible, and completely over dramatized both incidents.

    Newspapers and other media outlets (IMO) are in the business of making money, they do this by reporting what they hear, and what they think is important and what will catch headlines, very rarely is this accompanied by any indepth research on the subject they are reporting. This example of a ship being unburnable or unsinkable is a perfect example.

    When someone calls something unburnable or un anything, I refer to a "Flinestones" episode where Fred joined the Volunteer fire department because all the houses where made of stone, what happened, there was a fire that destroyed something and nobody was prepared for it based off the assumption that something was unburnable.

  37. #37
    Tom Pappas
    Guest
    Good points, all, Cap'n!

    Each news outlet has its own style, too. When the plague bacteria escaped from the lab in Texas, MSNBC and CNN screamed, "Plague virus stolen from lab!" (The fact that it's not a virus completely eluded them, and they pepped up their headline with "stolen" in the total absence of suspected foul play). FoxNews, to their credit, led with "Black plague bacteria missing from Texas lab," and immediately pointed out the fact that one must be bitten by a vector to contract the disease - my idea of careful journalism.

  38. #38
    George Behe
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    Hi, Tom!

    >So although White Star may have hoped that people >would think of their vessels as unsinkable,

    IMO, that is the true answer to my question, "What was White Star's *purpose* in making that claim?"

    >the writer took steps to dilute that impression.

    That's very true -- but in doing so the writer makes it clear that he was not the *originator* of the claim of unsinkability/unburnability. That being the case, who *was* the originator? Was that person a representative of (or acting with the blessing of) the builder, or was he a representative of (or acting with the blessing of) the owner? There is evidence to support both points of view, and -- IMO -- there is no realistic third choice.

    >Would I, as a reader of that newspaper,
    > come away from that article with >the impression that the Olympics were unsinkable? >I doubt it.

    But do you honestly believe that every person who read that newspaper article analyzed it as carefully as you just did and came away from it with the same opinion that you hold today? I'm sure there were plenty of people in 1912 who doubted White Star's claim of Olympic/Titanic unsinkability/unburnability, but the record shows that plenty of the latter vessel's passengers and crewmen *did* believe the unsinkability myth -- and IMO *that* is exactly what White Star wanted.

    In closing, I'll go on record by saying that I don't believe the Titanic unsinkability myth would ever have existed in the first place if White Star publicity material and personnel had not used that word (with and without qualification) in their dealings with the Line's passengers.

    (Tom, I think that pretty much exhausts my own opinions and research contributions to this topic, so now I'll turn the discussion over to other folks who might wish to add their own thoughts to the mix.)

    All my best,

    George





  39. #39
    George Behe
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    P.S. I wrote:

    >But do you honestly believe that every person who >read that newspaper ....

    Tom, the more I thought about my wording of the above phrase the more I began to dislike it. I didn't mean to sound confrontational or anything, because I've really been enjoying our exchange of opinions.

    All my best,

    George

  40. #40
    Tom Pappas
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    Chère Georges,

    Oh yeah!? Well, stick it in your ear (LOL!)

    I love a good mashing of minds, as long as each party respects the other as a person, regardless of belief system or point of view. I don't mind a bit, and I can take as good as I give!

    AS LONG AS THEY DON'T RAISE THEIR VOICES, because the first one to do so, I have been taught, loses the debate. I know I get a little strident from time to time, and my friends know I mean nothing personal by it. As far as your comments above: no fault, no foul.

    Best regards,

    Tom

  41. #41
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    In 1910 White Star (via the New York Times) relayed the following information

    Hello, George---

    Any chance you have the date this appeared? I haven't come across this yet, and I'd like to add it to my already-too-large collection of NYT photocopies.

  42. #42
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    George,

    I agree with you that White Star's efforts to drum up public faith in the safety of its ships was deliberately misleading. It was pure sensationalism, perfectly in keeping with the cheap "yellow press" mentality of the emergent popular or tabloid press.

    The point Parks makes about the naivete of this publicity campaign is also certainly true. While not nefarious, it was hyperbolic and erroneous. And so I have to wonder. How was this acceptable in a technological field of such import? We're not talking about the lurid advertisement or promotional copy of a music hall or circus troupe but that of a shipping company with the responsibility of providing safe transportation for the public.

    The WSL's claim of veritable invincibility was audacious and patently absurd and ought to have been exposed as such by the engineering journals and scientists of the day. As it was, with the press adding their own flourishes, Olympic/Titanic were permitted to loom in public consciousness as "absolutely" - not just "practically" -unsinkable.

    Randy

  43. #43
    George Behe
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    Hi, Mark!

    >Any chance you have the date this appeared?

    I'll be happy to send it to you privately, old chap. (The reason my website is coy about posting exact dates of sources etc. is that I have seen at least two other websites that contain pirated copies of my web articles that are presented verbatim without any acknowledgement of where they came from. The only way I can prove that I am the original author of those articles is if I can produce a list of my article's sources -- something that thieves who steal my work cannot do.)

    Hi, Randy!

    Thanks very much for your observations on the unsinkability question.

    >How was this acceptable in a technological field >of such import? We're not talking about the lurid >advertisement or promotional copy of a music hall >or circus troupe but that of a shipping company >with the responsibility of providing safe >transportation for the public.

    That's an excellent question, old chap, and I suspect it would be a very productive field of investigation for someone who has an interest in the history of advertising in general. What other key industries might have yielded to the temptation of overstepping the bounds of reality in their advertising campaigns?

    "Unbreakable, unburnable, uncrashable, unsinkable -- but not unFUBAR-able." :-)

    All my best,

    George

  44. #44
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    I'll be happy to send it to you privately, old chap

    OK. Thanks.

  45. #45
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    It is said that people in the 20th and 21st centuries are among the least sophisticated every birthed on this planet. A person of the 16th century would have looked at an advertisement and said, "Of course Joe the wagonmaker says his wagons are the best. Would you expect him to say they were junk? Why should I believe what Joe says about his wagons?"

    People in 1912 wanted to be reassured for their safety on a long sea voyage. White Star obliged their desires.

    With regard to Olympic...which survived without loss of passenger lives at least three incidents...the White Star advertising was 100% correct. It is only Titanic...a technologically indistinguisable duplicate...that a sigularly unique problem developed that was not envisioned by anyone involved in the advertisement-- the White Star Line or the people reading it.

    The advertising of White Star lines was correct with regard to the majority of mishaps to which ships are vulnerable. Today's advertising is hardly as truthful to the point of being deceitful.

    I just learned from TV that my sex life will improve if I purchase a certain make and model car. At my age, I highly doubt the veracity of such a suggestion, but that's the message carefuly crafted and presented by Joe the automaker.

    However is any auto buyer really going to be happier sexually with a large automobile payment? Is a car "sexy?" (If so, which are the sexual parts?) Was anyone less endanged by sailing on Titanic than say a one-compartment ship of say the 1870s or 1880s vintage? Somehow, the 1912-vintage puffery seems a lot closer to reality than what is put before our eyes today.

    White Star advertising was not all that far from the mark within the context of 1912 technology and business customs & standards. Umbrage over claims of safety for Olympic/Titanic come mostly from people who view the sinking from the safe vantage point of 90-odd years difference in time and with the perfect vision of hindsight regarding one particular incident. The overall record of Olympic and Titanic in passenger service shows that on an incident-by-incident basis the claims of safety were at least 75% correct.

    Britannic being a war casualty cannot be included in this discussion.

    Now, what kind of car was that...???

  46. #46
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    David G. Brown wrote: "...Umbrage over claims of safety for Olympic/Titanic come mostly from people who view the sinking from the safe vantage point of 90-odd years difference in time and with the perfect vision of hindsight regarding one particular incident..."

    I would counter that those who lost their loved ones in 1912 took some considerable umbrage. The vehement wording in many of the survivors' damage suits shows that they also took more than a bit of umbrage.

    "...The overall record of Olympic and Titanic in passenger service shows that on an incident-by-incident basis the claims of safety were at least 75% correct. .."

    Again hardly a consolation to those mourning the 1500 people who perished in one particularly memorable "incident."

    I reiterate that advertisements for entertainment and merchandise, then as now, are quite another thing entirely from advertisements for travel safety and reliability, where the lives of consumers (however naive) are actually at stake.

    Randy

  47. #47
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    George Behe asked "What other key industries might have yielded to the temptation of overstepping the bounds of reality in their advertising campaigns?"

    It might be better to ask which ones haven't, and I'll wager the list is a damned short one. Just turn on the telly and you'll get a bellyful of advertising bovine caca every ten to fifteen minutes. (My curmudgeonly side strikes again!)

  48. #48
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    I think some of our esteemed friends are missing the point. A toilet-paper manufacturer claiming its product is "squeezably soft" is not quite the same as a shipping concern declaring that its vessels are unsinkable.

  49. #49
    John M. Feeney
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    Steven (going way back): Thanks very much for that further information on the generalized tendency to claim "sink-proof" construction in the shipping industry. The fact that Cunard did it -- in 1905 and later -- alludes strongly to a prevailing trend.

    After all, how many others would counter, "Well, our ships aren't actually UNSINKABLE, but they are mighty good."? ;^)

    Cheers,
    John

  50. #50
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    A full page article appeared in the March 30th 1912 edition of the Sunday Home Companion all about the new invincibility of the modern steamship- how the dangers of weather and ice are things of the past, etc.-this illustrated with a 4-stacker steaming full-tilt at night. Ironic.

  51. #51
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    It boggles my mind to think that there were people gullible enough to believe this BS at face value.

  52. #52
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    Doesn't surprise me. And has anything really changed? Take a look at any ad these days all of which include pills which will magically cure overweight, underweight, baldness, lack of energy, and a bad sex life for little or no effort.

    Seems adverts for cruises tend to promise the glories of exotic ports (While failing to mention the pitfalls of Montezuma's Revenge if you drink the water or getting mugged in the wrong part of town.) and sunny calm days at sea, even at the hight of the hurricane season.

    And has anyone noticed that for cruise ships, safety issues are never discussed for any reason? Can't have the passengers knowing that the watertight sectioning is typically signifigently inferior to the Titanic, can we?

    The Mark I remote (A brick!) for switching off the telly looks better and better every day!

  53. #53
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    This discussion has gone in about 7 different directions and I am not sure what to comment on.

    To me (this is soley my opinion) if one can't figure out the reality of a situation when reading a newspaper then perhaps one should go back to school. Again, this is me having the knowledge that there is no such thing as a unburnable or unsinkable ship. Advertisements are intended to mislead you into buying or using there product, there are worded to remove claim from themselves (that is why you always hear all that legal mumbo jumbo). It occurs to me that had Titanic survived that night the unsinkablilty claim would have been seriously up graded (with the help of White Star). To claim that White Star duped passengers into a ship that was unsafe (and that White Star knew the ship was unsafe) is sort of a stretch. Did White Star use misleading advertisements to get less intelligent people to board there ships, of course the same way car dealers sell cars, and anybody sells anything.

    Was the ship unsafe, for the era, no it was probably one of the safest ships to be on. The fact that she sank is what gives us this debate. Recall something that I posted earlier that fits here:

    [indent]
    quote:

    "Newspapers and other media outlets (IMO) are in the business of making money, they do this by reporting what they hear, and what they think is important and what will catch headlines, very rarely is this accompanied by any indepth research on the subject they are reporting. This example of a ship being unburnable or unsinkable is a perfect example."

    That seems to be appropriate with the addition that the people placing adds are in the business of making money did White Star lie by saying that the ship was practically unsinkable by todays twisted standard, yes. Should White Star be held responsible for advertisements is made claiming a ship was practically unsinkable?? In my opinion no. They stated what they believed. Had Titanic not sunk, none of us would think differently. Remember that the loss of Titanic changed ship construction forever, not to mention how passenger evcuations are handled.



  54. #54
    Parks Stephenson
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    My bottom-line opinion on this whole deal, if anyone cares to know: The ship wasn't unsafe. The manner in which it was navigated was. Whether God had an influential hand in any of it is unknowable to us mortals.

    Parks

  55. #55
    Tom Pappas
    Guest
    Yo, George!

    You said:[indent]
    quote:

    ...I don't believe the Titanic unsinkability myth would ever have existed in the first place if White Star publicity material and personnel had not used that word...
    You are closer to the sources than I, and therefore would have a better view of who said what first, but isn't Shipbuilder's complicity in perpetuating the myth undeniable? Would White Star have even mentioned unsinkability if an "unbiased" observer hadn't done so first? Were other lines hyping that aspect of their ships?

    On the other hand, there was that fourth funnel, deliberately designed in to impress the public...

    Best regards,

    Tom

  56. #56
    Tom Pappas
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    Hello, Tracy -

    What boggles my mind is the amount of media hype that people believe today! The important thing to remember is that advertising (and political campaigns and TV and movie programming) is mostly aimed at the middle of the I.Q. distribution curve, because that's where the greatest number of prospects is found. It's Operations Analysis run amok!

  57. #57
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    <font face="courier new">Hi Tom,

    Are you calling the Shipbuilder unbiased? All they did was copy White Star's publicity. Check out some of the Belfast News Letters from 1910-11 as well. Also the 1911 White Star publicity booklet, which has become so famous -- much of that reads similarly.

    Best regards.

    Mark.
    Mark Chirnside
    Webmaster: Mark Chirnside's Reception Room, www.markchirnside.co.uk

  58. #58
    Tom Pappas
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    Hello, Mark

    Well, I did enclosed the adjective in quotes, to indicate that I doubt it. But was Shipbuilder's description of the ship's compartmenting copied verbatim from publicity, or derived from H & W technical papers? The timing is important, too.

    Best regards,

    Tom

    p.s. It occurred to me that a modern corporate lawyer on White Star's payroll would insist that the phraseology be changed to Sink Resistant!

  59. #59
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    Tom said: p.s. It occurred to me that a modern corporate lawyer on White Star's payroll would insist that the phraseology be changed to Sink Resistant!

    Or not say the ship was resistant to anything unless it could be proven (which only could happen if they tried to sink a ship).

  60. #60
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    <font face="courier new">Hi,

    Tom wrote:But was Shipbuilder's description of the ship's compartmenting copied verbatim from publicity, or derived from H & W technical papers? The timing is important, too.

    I wouldn't know. I will also need to check the claim as regards the watertight doors, etc. However, when reading White Star's 1911 publicity book for the two new ships, and the Shipbuilder in summer 1911 describing the first class rooms, plus the Belfast papers, they all sound remarkably similar. I'd *guess* that a publicity draft was supplied to the magazine and papers, but I really wouldn't know.

    When researching Britannic, I noticed much the same thing. Shipbuilder in March 1914 echoed WS, as did the press.

    Best regards,

    Mark.
    Mark Chirnside
    Webmaster: Mark Chirnside's Reception Room, www.markchirnside.co.uk

  61. #61
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    I think the route of this discussion lies on perception. I am going to use Mark as an example (don't worry I won't be using your name in vain Mark). Mark and I can see the same ship, hit the same pier at the same time from the same place and get two completely different ideas of what happened, remeber two completely sets of circumstances that where involved. He will have his view as will I. Is one of us right and the other wrong??

    Newspaper adds regardless of there wording are meant to represent the person or company adverstising better then its adversary. Using phrases like unsinkable or {unburnable} are attempts based partially in fact and partially in fiction by the company placing the add to draw attention away from the competetors add. Much like a pop company saying that Pepsi is the best and has the most flavor, according the person placing the add that is correct, to the rest of the public it is up to there own choice, and they have the right to choose what they want.

    I would perceive it has a lot of talk, others would perceive it has the gospel truth and without doing further research rely on it as truth. I think another part of this discussion lies in the question on whether or not White Star willfully mislead it's customers to get more revenue. By putting it in that text, every company that avertises is guilty of that. They all intend to discredit one company and give credit to there own. That is the nature of business, both in shipping and otherwise.

    If we are adding to that and saying that those who boarded the vessel based on there (the person buying the ticket) perception that the ship was unsinkable based off a newspaper report or advertisement where wronged or lied to, we are in my mind reaching. By that standard any product that does not meet the standards of someone who purchases it should have the right to sue for misleading adverstising. A line has to be drawn where something is acceptable based on the companies word even if it doesn't meet the consumers standard, and where the company has willingly mislead its customers knowing that danger was more then possible and probable to it's customers but didn't report them, and allowed unsafe practice to kill people for the purpose of making money. Is this what people think White Star did???

    If we are saying people died who wouldn't have died, had the newspaper add said the ship isn't unsinkable but has a lot of safety features that other ships don't have, that too is a reach, but this is also unknowable.

  62. #62
    Tom Pappas
    Guest
    What is interesting is how somehow, we got from "as far as it is possible to do so," "practically," and "it is claimed," to "Titanic is unsinkable." It seems to me that White Star, Shipbuilder, and the (responsible) press did all they could to avoid giving the impression that the ship couldn't sink, and yet the universal impression (shared by A.S. Franklin, a Vice-President of White Star, if we are to take his statement of April 15, 1912 at face value) was that she couldn't.

    I suppose the fact that White Star did nothing to disabuse the public of its misconception, and even shouted down Alexander Carlisle when he proposed lifeboats for all, speaks volumes about where their true interests lay.


  63. #63
    George Behe
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    Hi, all!

    This evening I received an email from Gavin Murphy regarding the original mention of the phrase "practically unsinkable" in describing the Olympic/Titanic.

    My web article on this subject quotes Bill Sauder's statement that the Olympic/Titanic edition of "Shipbuilder" made wholesale use of White Star publicity material. Likewise, Gavin writes that, in regard to its use of the phrase 'practically unsinkable':

    "...the Shipbuilder took this phrase right out of White Star Line promotional materials. I have a copy of a 1911 WSL publicity booklet .... which I actually referenced in my latest article posted last week on ET, and it says at p. 31: '[T]he Captain can, by simply moving an electric switch, instantly close the doors throughout, practically making the vessel unsinkable.' As you can see, the phrase started with the White Star Line and the Shipbuilder virtually lifted it out lock, stock and barrel. This also confirms Bill's comments in your article regarding the magazine copying WSL publicity brochures when it comes to the T."

    I'm very grateful to Gavin for sharing this additional info with me. (Thanks, old chap!!)

    All my best,

    George


  64. #64
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    Thanks for that George and to Gavin.

    As I intimated earlier, the question really is not whether White Star's advertizing was misleading- as it undeniably was - but why a company of that immense stature would make such hyperbolic assertions and, even more crucially, why the engineering press of the day opted to hype the "unsinkability" angle rather than challenge this claim.

    The point that keeps being made that WSL was within its rights to use beguiling, if not actually fraudulent publicity, merely because other businesses did the same, seems very shortsighted. I have not contended that WSL, out of sheer evil deviousness, mislead the public. That's ridiculous. I am saying rather that out of ignorance and ill-advised complacency, the company did so.

    Whatever nonsensical or sensational hype another kind of trade might indulge in regarding its merchandise or services, I believe it was highly unethical for a leader in the ocean-going transportation industry, responsible for the safety of many hundreds of thousands of lives, to have made (or at least facilitated) such outrageous claims of invulnerability.

    Randy

  65. #65
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    Tom said: I suppose the fact that White Star did nothing to disabuse the public of its misconception, and even shouted down Alexander Carlisle when he proposed lifeboats for all, speaks volumes about where their true interests lay.

    Shipping companies are not in the business of safe travel, shipping companies are in the business of shipping mass amounts of people from one place to another and making a profit on doing that. Any romantic idea to the contrary needs to be researched in depth. Updates (such as lifeboats for all in 1912) was an extra cost that companies didn't want to spend and some cases they didn't see a need to spend. This is why you are seeing older ships being kicked to the curb and newer ones being built. It is cheaper to build a new one, then fix an old one to meet new standards. This process temporarily puts the company in a large finanical hole.

    The travel industry in general is only interested in making profits, I can relate several stories after working for Carnival Corp to show just how unineterested they are in safety and how interested they are in profits. It just so happens that in today's world you don't get profits without some degree of safety and a bigger degree of elegance. In China, Tawian and other countries from that area of the globe make money of herding hundreds more on a boat then it can hold. In reality ships of today are less structurally sound in some ways then the ships of Titanic's era. The navigation standards and aids have improved a thousand fold.

    IMO, you can't place blame soley on White Star, every shipping company does it and has to in order to survive. Shipping industry is and always has been a cut throat industry. Carnivals take over of RCL is a perfect example.

    Randy said: That's ridiculous. I am saying rather that out of ignorance and ill-advised complacency, the company did so.

    This I agree with.




  66. #66
    Tom Pappas
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    Agreed, Erik. For-profit ventures don't spend money needlessly. But the presence of the collapsible boats seem to carry some subtext, and I've never been quite sure what it is. At my most cynical, I think it could be WSL's effort at a "moral insurance policy." If there ever were an accident in which lifeboats came into play, the company could claim, "Well, look, we exceeded the BOT regulations, so you can't blame us." Or they may have just been a sop to Carlisle and other detractors.

    (Does anyone see the irony in the designer of unsinkable ships pressing for more lifeboats?)

  67. #67
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    Perhaps it was because the designers were under no such illusion Tom. Alexander Carlisle may have been a lot of things, but he wasn't brain dead. A pity it took the loss of the Titanic to make the shipping companies pay attention.

  68. #68
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    For whatever it's worth, I add the following news clipping to the discussion of the history of the use of the word "unsinkable" preceded by an adverb. This is a heavily edited version of this article; the full article will be available online very shortly.

    The New York Times, Sunday, 8 February 1903

    THE LARGEST SHIP AFLOAT
    ---
    White Star Liner Cedric to Sail for This Port on Wednesday
    ---
    She is 700 Feet Long, Her Gross Tonnage is 21,000, She Has Nine Decks, and Can Carry 2,600 Passengers
    ---
    [Two paragraphs deleted.]

    There are nine decks on the Cedric. She is built on the cellular double bottom principle, and has numerous water-tight compartments that make her practically unsinkable. [The remaining three sentences of this paragraph deleted.]

    [Six paragraphs deleted.]

    -30-

  69. #69
    George Behe
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    Hi, Mark!

    Good stuff! Thanks very much for sharing that important information with us.

    All my best,

    George

  70. #70
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    Mark's find beats my own by a few years. I have a Stone-Lloyd ad from 1907 that describes Mauretania in the same terms.

    The fact is, there was a general feeling that the major liners of the time were practically unsinkable when involved in storms or the average collision. Where I beg to differ from the popular accounts is when they depict Titanic as something new and unique in her safety. Neither were her wonders shouted from the housetops. In early 1912, most of the public didn't give a damn about Titanic. Compare photos of Titanic's departure with the film of Olympic's maiden voyage. Titanic didn't draw a big crowd to see her off.

    Alexander Carlisle wasn't "shouted down" by White Star. This rather curious chap simply never put his case. In Mersey's court he distinguished carefully between what he thought and what he said. At the meetings where boats were mentioned, he said that Pirrie and Ismay did all the talking while he and Harold Sanderson were "more or less dummies". (Mersey sarcastically said that sounded truthful). Carlisle also went with the crowd when he served on a Board of Trade committee that considered lifeboat rules before the disaster. (So did shipbuilders, insurers, unionists and owners). They agreed to rules that would have reduced the boats carried, subject to the standard of subdivision of the hull. You don't have to "shout down" a mouse.

    Harold Sanderson put the matter accurately. he said that the extra boats were decided on by "mere guess or rule of thumb". In other words, there was no serious thought, much less conspiracy. It was just business as usual. Titanic was sunk in accordance with tradition.
    Dave Gittins
    Titanic: Monument and Warning.
    http://titanicebook.com/Book.html

  71. #71
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    And here's an even earlier one, different from the others in that it's contained in a real news story about the American Line's St. Louis being overdue at New York, rather than in an ad or story touting the qualities of a new ship. This, too, is heavily edited; the full story appears here.

    The New York Times, Friday, 16 January 1903

    NO NEWS OF THE LINER ST. LOUIS
    ---
    Arriving Steamships Report That They Did Not Sight Her
    ---
    IS NOW FOUR DAYS OVERDUE
    ---
    Manager Griscom Says the Company is Not Apprehensive About Her---She
    Left Cherbourg 17 Hours Late
    ---
    The American liner St. Louis, now nearly four days overdue, had not been
    sighted at an early hour this morning. A widespread anxiety as to her
    whereabouts was made manifest yesterday at the American Liner offices in
    the Empire Building, into which poured a constant stream of inquiries in
    regard to the missing liner.

    [Fifteen paragraphs and the first sentence of a sixteenth omitted.] The idea
    that she may have met a more serious fate is scouted, as her water-tight
    compartments render her practically unsinkable, even in the event of a
    collision and the total derangement of her machinery.

    -30-



  72. #72
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    And now, for something completely different...an amazingly late use of the word, without any qualifying adverb.

    The New York Times, 3 April 1913

    THE OLYMPIC SAILS
    ---
    Begins Her First Voyage to New York After Her Reconstruction
    ---
    By Marconi Transatlantic Wireless Telegraph to The New York Times
    ---
    LONDON, April 2---The White Star liner Olympic left Southampton to-day on her first trip for New York since she was fitted with the double steel bottom and additional bulkheads that are declared by her owners to make her unsinkable. A Southampton dispatch says that her departure recalled the scenes when her maiden voyage began.

    The passengers include Judge Mortimer C. Addams, Lorenzo Daniels, Montague Glass, Charles Kiralfy, and William Church Osborn. A number of White Star officials went on an inspection trip to Queenstown.

    -30-

  73. #73
    George Behe
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    Hi, Mark!

    Congratulations on a very significant discovery!

    Would you mind if I were to add that information to my own website's "How the Titanic Became Unsinkable?" page? (Your name would of course appear in the article's acknowledgements.) Thanks very much, old chap.

    All my best,

    George

  74. #74
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    Go right ahead, George. Help yourself.

  75. #75
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    The New York Times, 13 March 1913.

    CALL OLYMPIC UNSINKABLE
    -----
    Builders Have Placed Inner Hull in White Star Liner
    -----
    By Marconi Transatlantic Wireless Telegraph to The New York Times
    -----
    LONDON, March 12---A Belfast dispatch to The Evening News says:

    "One of the most wonderful shipbuilding feats ever known has nearly been finished on the White Star liner Olympic. The nature of the work has thus far been kept secret, but I am now able to say that Harland & Wolff are constructing an enormous steel shell inside her hull. It extends nearly the full length of the ship, from No. 3 bulkhead forward to the rear turbine room aft.

    "If she collided with an iceberg, as her sister Titanic did, and her hull were ripped open by a slanting blow she would not sink. The inner shell would keep her afloat almost as if nothing had happened. It would be the same if she ran into a submerged rock.

    "Harland & Wolff's naval architects believe they have realized the quest of an unsinkable ship."

    -30-

  76. #76
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    "Unsinkable" in 1913 again:

    The Times, 3 April 1913

    THE OLYMPIC AT SEA AFTER REFITTING
    ---
    PROVISIONS FOR SAFETY

    ---
    The White Star liner Olympic left Southampton yesterday morning on her first
    voyage to New York after the extensive alterations which have been effected
    in her with the object of rendering her so far as possible unsinkable. She
    was withdrawn from service in October last, and during the winter the work
    was carried out by her builders, Messrs. Harland and Wolff, at their Belfast
    shipyard.

    The vessel has been fitted with a new inner skin or shell, which extends
    from the tank top to a point well above the water line, and, in conjunction
    with the double bottom, forms in effect a second hull inside the exterior
    one. Hence supposing, as happened with the Titanic, the outer skin is ripped
    open by contact with ice, the inner one remains to keep out the water from
    the interior of the ship. This inner skin is constructed of steel plating
    strong enough to be capable of resisting extreme water pressure, the frames
    are of heavy channel steel, and longitudinals giving increased strength to
    the structure extend the entire length of the double skin. The space between
    the two shells is subdivided both vertically and horizontally by retaining
    the original bulkheads, which pass out to the outer skin and by introducing
    intermediate watertight divisions between the two sells. Further, the top of
    the structure and the upper longitudinals have been fitted as watertight
    flats, so that each side of the ship has been converted into a series of
    watertight compartments. Within the vessel the watertight bulkheads have
    been increased in number and carried up to the B deck. As a further
    precaution an extra line of piping of large diameter has been laid right
    through the ship, and through this in case of emergency all the pumps can
    draw. Thus any compartment which may be flooded can be pumped out by any of
    the bilge or ballast pumps, the control of which can be effected if
    necessary from the upper deck.

    In addition to these precautions for the safety of the ship's passengers,
    several improvements have been made in the accommodation. The restaurant has
    been enlarged and redecorated and provided with a reception room, and a
    large Café Parisien has been constructed next to it. Additional suites of
    state rooms, with bath rooms, have been provided on the saloon and promenade
    decks, and a range of dog kennels has been erected on the middle deck.

    -30-

  77. #77
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    Hi Mark,

    Many thanks for posting the last two bits - you posted the March article before and I quoted it (and credited you of course) in some thread or other here or at T-T - you'd think WSL would have learned some lessons after 1912! Anyway, it was speculated/suggested to me that these statements were not actually made as such by WSL but amplified by some eager press person.

    Best wishes,
    Eric

  78. #78
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    it was speculated/suggested to me...

    Eric, I just report the news, not analyze it. In this regard, I leave it to others to theorize whether the term originated with White Star, H&W, journalists, gremlins, etc.

    ;-)

  79. #79
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    Notice the qualifyer: "...which have been effected in her with the object of rendering her so far as possible unsinkable."

    I don't think they had any illusions about the modifications being 100%, just as close as possible.

  80. #80
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    ...and "only if" the WSL had foresight into the preperations that the Japanese Navy were taking prior to 7 Dec. '41. A Japanese aviator was heard to say..."Anything that can float can be sunk".

    Agreed, "practically unsinkable" is at the apex!

    Michael Cundiff
    NV, USA

  81. #81
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    And it all comes down to what is "practical."

    "Practicality" - Concerned with actual use rather than theoretical possibilities; the state of being practical or feasible; in practice, in effect, not necessarily officially the case but what actually occurs; almost, not completely.

    Apparently, "practically unsinkable" was interpreted by the ego of the beholder, but not by the brain.

  82. #82
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    MAB note: Back in 2003, Cedric was described here as "unsinkable." Here's more of the same, and (to follow tomorrow) then some.

    The Washington Times, 25 November 1903
    Original article digitized by the Library of Congress
    Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,
    http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/search/pages/


    LONDON RUMOR SAYS THE CEDRIC HAS BEEN SUNK
    ---
    Largest Steamer in the World Reported Lost in Midocean
    ---
    OFFICIALS INCREDULOUS
    ---
    Regard Vessel as Unsinkable, But Friends of Passengers Anxious

    ---
    LIVERPOOL, Nov 25---A rumor, the source of which cannot be traced, is
    current today that the White Star liner Cedric has been in collision with a
    Lamport & Holt liner in mid-Atlantic and that the Cedric sank with all
    hands on board.

    The rumor is nowhere credited, but friends of those aboard the Cedric are
    anxiously awaiting news of her arrival.

    New York Incredulous

    NEW YORK, Nov. 25---The officials of the White Star Line in this city have
    not received any advices regarding the reported sinking of the steamer
    Cedric, and they place no credence in the rumor. They point out the fact
    that the Cedric is practically non-sinkable, being provided with several
    water-tight compartments and with water-tight bulkheads.

    One of the officials said that a dozen holes could be punched in the hull of
    the Cedric and that she would continue to float. The vessel is expected to
    arrive here late tomorrow night or or early Friday morning, having sailed
    from Liverpool on November 18 and from Queenstown on the day following.

    "Accident Impossible"

    PHILADELPHIA, Pa., Nov. 25---A high official of the International Mercantile
    Marine Company said today, concerning the Cedric rumor:

    "Such an accident is impossible.

    The Cedric is now probably off the Grand Banks. The Lamport & Holt ships are
    engaged in passenger and freight service between New York and South American
    ports, principally Pernambuco. So any vessel of the line would be thousands
    of miles distant from the Cedric in any event.

    "Besides, the Lamport liners sail but once a month---on the 5th. This is an
    another fact showing the improbability of the tale. I am confident the
    Cedric will be sighted off Fire Island tomorrow or next day.

    Largest Vessel in the World

    "The Cedric in addition to being the largest vessel in the world, is one of
    the most modern. She is provided with with many water-tight bulkheads and
    is unsinkable. The vessel is of 21,035 tons burden and the Lamport & Holt
    liners are comparatively small ships of greatly reduced tonnage. If either
    vessel should sink it wouldn't be the Cedric."

    -30-

  83. #83
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    MAB note: "If she were cut in two her halves would float." Now where have we heard that before?

    New-York Tribune, 26 November 1903
    Original article digitized by the Library of Congress
    Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,
    http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/search/pages/


    LAUGH AT CEDRIC REPORT
    ---
    TITIAN HAD NO TROUBLE
    ---
    On Her Arrival the Steamship Reports No Collision

    ---
    Liverpool, Nov. 25— A rumor was circulated in this city on Sunday that the
    White Star Line steamer Cedric had been sunk in midocean in a collision with
    the Lamport & Holt steamer Titian. As a careful investigation showed that
    the report could not be traced to any responsible source little heed was
    paid to it.

    The Titian arrived in due course off the Irish coast yesterday. She was
    reported at Kinsale Head, and gave no signal to indicate any important
    experience on her voyage. This morning she arrived in the Mersey. Her
    owners, as well as the White Star Line people, all ridicule the story of the
    rumored collision. It is denounced as a pure invention of an irresponsible
    news agent.
    -------------------------
    CONDEMN FALSE REPORT
    ---
    Much Alarm Caused by the Rumor of Cedric's Collision

    ---
    A report that the steamship Cedric, of the White Star Line, had been sunk in
    collision with the Lamport & Holt steamer Titian in midocean, although
    denied, created much alarm and indignation in this city yesterday. At the
    office of the White Star Line there were several hundred inquiries, chiefly
    by telephone and telegraph, after the report was published. All over the
    city later were heard expressions of the severest condemnation of the
    publication of a report calculated to create needless alarm.

    John Lee, agent of the White Star Line, was informed that The Titian had
    arrived in the Mersey in the morning and was on her way through the canal to
    Manchester yesterday, without reporting any accident. He said he had no
    information that gave the slightest color for a report that the Cedric had
    been sunk, and he was confident that the Cedric would arrive at her dock
    some time to-day. She was due off the Nantucket Lightship about midnight
    last night, he added.

    The Associated Press yesterday gave out the following statement:

    We have no reason to believe that the rumored sinking of the steamship
    Cedric is true. The Lamport Line steamer Titian, which it is claimed was in
    collision with her, arrived off Kinsale Head, on the coast of Ireland
    yesterday, on her regular scheduled time, and did not signal any such
    disaster.

    It is inconceivable that the Titian could have arrived in this way and
    failed to give signal if the reported calamity were true.

    A private dispatch from the Associated Press office in Liverpool says the
    report that the Cedric had sunk was circulated there on Sunday, but its
    source could not be discovered.

    The closest investigation does not disclose the slightest foundation for
    such a report.

    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    The Cedric was the largest steamship afloat when she was launched. She arrived
    here on her maiden trip on February 20, since which she has made ten round
    trips. She is 700 feet long, has a width of 75 feet and a depth of hull of
    40 feet, with nine decks and more watertight compartments than any other
    ship in the passenger service. Her builders declared that if she were cut in
    two her halves would float. She is a floating palace, and when she left the
    other she carried about 1,000 passengers and a crew of 350. She also
    carried about $1,000,000 on gold, fully insured.

    Among the Cedric's first cabin passengers are Frederick Roosevelt, a cousin
    of the President, and his wife; Charles A. Moore, former president of the
    American Protective Tariff League, with his wife and daughter; Mrs. Gray,
    wife of Judge Gray, of Delaware; General and Mrs. J. D. De Russey, the Earl
    and Countess of Yarmouth, Mr. and Mrs. Henry I. Barbey, J. S. Conover and
    family, Major and Mrs. F W. Kettermaster, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Moller and
    Miss Moller.

    The New-York manager of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company said
    yesterday that he had no suspicion that anybody connected with the company
    had been concerned in starting the report about the Cedric. "If such a
    wicked report could be traced to anybody, that person should have the
    severest punishment." he said. "There is an intimation that it originated on
    the other side. While we knew nothing about it here until it was published
    this afternoon, I recall the fact that the company in London sent a special
    order to have the arrival of the Cedric off Nantucket reported by cable
    immediately. We probably shall send such a message late to-night when the
    Cedric is sighted off the Nantucket lightship. The order for such a report
    may have been caused by a canard about the Cedric in London."

    John Lee, agent of the White Star Line, said:

    We emphatically deny the report that the Cedric has been sunk. I have not
    cabled to the other side, nor will I, for I do not want to start an
    unfounded report of that character from here. Had there been any such
    report received at Liverpool the press reports would have confirmed it long
    before this hour, nearly 5 o'clock in Liverpool, and I should have heard
    from our people on the subject. When I arrived this morning I found a
    memorandum on my desk inquiring about the report from a newspaper office. I
    called them up on the 'phone and asked their authority They said it was an
    unconfirmed press report from Liverpool. I do not believe there is any truth
    in it. The Cedric should be heard from at Nantucket by wireless report
    between midnight to-night and morning under favorable conditions. She is
    not an express steamer but is running on the Germanic's schedule and is
    really not due here before to-morrow.
    Last edited by Mark Baber; 8th May 2013 at 05:31 PM.

  84. #84
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    MAB note: Here's the end, at least for now, of references to Cedric's unsinkability, contained in one of the more entertaining articles I've read in quite a while.

    The Sun (New York), 27 November 1903
    Original article digitized by the New York Public Library
    Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,
    http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/search/pages/


    CEDRIC IN SANS ACCIDENT
    ---
    YOUNG WOMAN ABOARD HAD TO HURRY TO GET MARRIED
    ---
    Slight Touch of Hysterics in the Greetings on the Pier Due to the
    Conscienceless Scare Raised About the Ship---Man in Black Mask Explains

    ---
    On winter schedule, and all shipshape and Bristol fashion, as the nautical
    sharps say, the colossal Cedric of the White Star Line (sunk in mid-ocean by
    a senseless rumor), warped with marvellous ease into her North River dock
    last evening to a tumult of cheers from more than 500 persons.

    There was just a trace of the hysterical in the greeting. The usual ropes
    separating those entitled to go within the customs lines from those who were
    not stretched, out of regard to the pent feelings of the friends and kindred
    of the seagoers, and there were scenes bordering on the lachrymose at the
    foot of the gangplank when it was run up at 5:30 o'clock. Young women flung
    themselves into their mothers' arms as if the unsinkable liner had been in
    some danger. Flamboyant newspaper headlines of two days had got in their
    nerve racking work, and embraces were long, kisses explosive and voices
    tremulous.

    The passengers themselves were, in some instances, boiling with indignation
    at the unknown author of the rumor. Some Britons, who surmised that it was
    an American invention, calmed down a bit when told that the story originated
    in London and was published first in a London newspaper.

    Capt. H. J. Haddock first heard of all the fuss from Pilot Carr, who boarded
    the Cedric outside the bar. The captain lost no time in setting the signals
    "Report all well aboard" as he passed in at the Hook. He guessed that there
    might be some anxiety and that a few cheerful remarks by bunting might do
    good. Pilot Carr had newspapers of the screaming kind to confirm his report
    to Capt. Haddock, and the whole ship's company, a remarkably large one for
    this season, was soon discussing the rumor.

    The captain said he had not even sighted Lamport & Holt liner which was said
    to have run him down. He had had fine weather until Wednesday morning, when
    the ship took took a fresh southwesterly breeze and head sea, which she held
    until her arrival. She passed four vessels---the British bark Aureola,
    from Barry for St. Johns; the British freight steamship Crown Point, from
    London for Philadelphia; a Cunard liner bound this way, and a Bristol City
    steamship, probably the Llandaff City, bound west. None of these vessels
    has arrived, so they couldn't have had a hand in originating the rumor of
    mishap to the Cedric. Capt. Haddock said:

    "I cannot understand how such a report could have been noised abroad. We
    have had a very fine passage, and have not parted a rope yarn the whole way
    across."

    One of the first passengers to bound down the second cabin gangplank was a
    comely young woman named Little. She brought up all standing in the arms of
    an excited young man. They seemed gladder that the ship hadn't gone down
    than anybody else on the pier. When they "broke away" at last the young man
    went a-cruising after Deputy Surveyor Bishop, got him in a jiffy and poured
    a rapid-fire tale of love into his ears.

    The young man said, almost breathlessly, that Miss Little was engaged to be
    married, and that the wedding had been set for 6 o'clock last night; that
    the preacher waiting and that it was necessary to have Miss Little's baggage
    inspected in a hurry so she could keep the engagement.

    "And where's the victim?" Mr. Bishop interjected.

    "Me! Me!" said the young man, waving his arms. "I'm the victim. And it's
    nearly a quarter of 6. Say, can't you do something for me?"

    Mr. Bishop gave the young man an inspector at once and the inspector went
    over the lingerie so rapidly that the bride's trunks looked as if they were
    in eruption. Then the young man and Miss Little sprinted to the street end
    of the pier and were whisked off in a cab to the dominie. It was all done so
    swiftly that the reporters, who were looking after the first cabin
    passengers, didn't know anything about it until Miss Little had become Mrs.
    Somebodyelse.

    After the rumor about the great ship it was natural that other rumors should
    get afloat. or ashore, rather. The customs inspectors were responsible for
    the second rumor. The subject was a tall, good looking young man, who wore a
    black gauze mask without eyeholes, and which concealed his face from the
    top of the forehead to the upper lip. The rumor was that the young man had
    come down to the pier to meet a young woman to whom he was engaged, and who
    had never seen his face. The rumor further alleged that the young man had
    sworn not to show his face until after the young woman had married him. The
    reporters deputized one of their number to clear up the mystery of the man
    in the black mask.

    The young man removed his mask at the first question, revealing a handsome
    face, and looked startled when told about the rumors. The young woman with
    him laughed and remarked that she "knew he would get into trouble wearing
    that." The young man explained that his eyes had been injured by an
    electrical accident, and that his doctor had advised him to wear the mask.
    He didn't like to do it, but he had obeyed orders. He was waiting for a
    passenger.

    The Cedric carried about 1,400 souls, including the crew. In the saloon she
    had 292 passengers, in the second cabin 191 and in the steerage 584. The
    Earl and Countess of Yarmouth came on a visit to the Countess's mother, Mrs.
    Thaw, who met them at the pier. The Countess was ill of influenza, and kept
    her cabin all the way across. She went with her husband to the Holland
    House, and later will go to Pittsburg. Other passengers were:

    Leonard Boyne, Marie Tempest's leading man; Frederick Roosevelt, a cousin of
    the President, who has been three months travelling in Europe; Tom Terriss,
    the playwright, Major H. C. Sheppard, Major Charles Hall of Canada,
    Brig.-Gen. Merle d'Aubigny, Brig.-Gen. J. D. De Russy and Mrs. John Clinton
    Gray.

    -30-

  85. #85
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    The World Evening Edition, New York, 9 April 1913
    Original article digitized by the New York Public Library
    Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,
    http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/search/pages/


    OLYMPIC IS HERE WITH INNER-SKIN AND UNSINKABLE
    ---
    White Star Liner Arrives After Six Months Undergoing Alterations for Safety
    ---
    NOW ICEBERG PROOF
    ---
    Complete New Inside Hull to Keep Her Afloat in Case of Collision

    ---
    Bearing no outward evidence of the changes in construction which have made
    her practically non-sinkable, the White Star liner Olympic made her first
    appearance in over six months in the port of New York to-day. The sister
    ship of the ill-starred Titanic brought over 1,563 passengers, 1,080 of whom
    were in the steerage.

    The Olympic after an uneventful voyage from Southampton arrived off Sandy
    Hook late last night and was the first ship cleared at Quarantine after
    sunrise this morning. She had started up the Bay when the revenue cutter lay
    alongside and the customs inspectors boarded her as she neared the Statue of
    Liberty.

    Chauncey M. Depew jr., William Church Osborn and Vinie Daly, the actress and
    singer, divided dictinction [sic] as some of the notables aboard.

    Miss Daly left New York on Jan. 23 for the German baths with the avowed
    object of reducing her weight. She has succeeded. When she went away she
    confessed that perfectly reliable scales recorded 158 pounds when she
    stepped on the platform. To-day she weighs but 127 pounds.

    "Diet, exercise and no liquid with meals," said Miss Daly. "That is my
    recipe for weight reduction. I am going into vaudeville and keep my
    avoirdupois down by hard work. As a prima donna in opera I got fat and I am
    no longer ambitious to be a prima donna because all prima donnas get fat."

    Jane F. Blood of this city, the daughter of a coal merchant, was the belle
    of the voyage. She is evidently as popular at home as she was aboard ship,
    for a tug load of young folk went down the bay to meet her, and their tug
    trailed along behind the big Olympic from Quarantine to the White Star dock.
    Miss Blood, her fellow-voyagers said, wore a beauty spot whenever she
    appeared on deck in the saloon, and the spot position shifted so frequently
    as to cause comment. Only yesterday, it was asserted, did the passengers
    learn that the position of the beauty was a signal to one or another of a
    devoted coterie of young men who acted as the continual escorts of Miss
    Blood in her constitutionals along the promenades of the vessels.

    The stokers of the Olympic filed out on the forecastle deck as the ship
    docked and gave a concert through the medium of their "Foo-Foo Band," of
    which James Kelly is leader. The instruments used were rattle bones, tin
    pans, mouth organs and other instruments of torture.

    So much has been said and written of the new bulkheads of the Olympic that
    many requests have been made of the White Star Line for permission to
    inspect the vessel.

    Since she was last in this harbor the Olympic has had a another hull built
    underneath her outer skin. It is claimed for her that although she might
    encounter an iceberg such as sank the Titanic she would still remain afloat.

    -30-

  86. #86
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    For "unsinkable" in 1914, look at News from 1914: The Launch of Britannic II

  87. #87
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    The Washington Times, 18 June 1914
    Original article digitized by the Library of Congress
    Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,
    http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/search/pages/


    SEA MISHAPS MANY, MARINE BILLS WAIT
    ---
    Experts in Congress, Aroused by Latest, Declare Impregnable Hulls Are
    Necessary

    ---
    Death will never be robbed of her majesty of the sea until ships are
    constructed with impregnable hulls, marine experts in Congress declared
    today.

    Legislation to compel construction of unsinkable vessels, they admitted
    reluctantly, will not be possible until public sentiment forces Congress to
    set an American standard for ship construction, or. until the world powers
    agree upon a uniform hull.

    To show how long and difficult it is to make sea-going safe, Senator Smith
    of Michigan, chairman of the Titanic investigating Committee said today
    that, although the great White Star liner sank two years ago. the remedial
    legislation, which it brought about, is still pending in the Senate.

    Proposed laws respecting lifeboats, wireless signals, and navigation, which,
    other disasters ---such as the Volturno and Empress of Ireland and the near
    disaster at Southampton---have impressed upon Congress are now pending in
    the House, according to Congressman Alexander of Michigan, chairman of the
    American delegation which attended the London conference on safety at sea.

    Little Attention to Hulls

    Much to the disappointment of Smith, Alexander, and Congressman Hardy of
    Texas, senior member of the House Merchant Marine Committee, of all the
    proposed legislation pending very little refers to the construction of the
    ships hulls, which all admit is the crux of the safety at sea question.

    Although the treaty drawn at the London conference and awaiting ratification
    in the Senate recommends more secure hull construction, its proposals do not
    go into effect (provining [sic] the treaty is ratified) until July 1, 1915.

    Stringent regulations respecting the building of ship hulls, Senator Smith
    asserted, will not be jossible [sic] for years to come, because of the
    influence of th eshipping [sic] industries in English public affairs. And no
    such action can be taken by this country, he added, until England is ready
    to co-operate, because of existing treaties. The Senator believed, however,
    that if public sentiment forced Congress to some radical legislation the
    English government might join hands.

    Seamen Hold Up Treaty

    Germany, Great Britain, and France have ratified already the treaty pending
    in the Senate. Chairman Alexander declared today that the seamen are
    fighting the treaty, because it does not provide for "two able seamen for
    each lifeboat."

    In addition to the treaty, members of Congress expect favorable action on
    the Alexander seaman's bill at this session. While this measure takes up in
    detail wireless regulations and the problem of lifeboat room for all
    passengers and crew, it does not, according to Hardy, touch upon the
    question of hull construction.

    -30-

 

 

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