A theory about the "White Star buff" color applied on Titanic's funnels


Enver Kurti

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Oct 8, 2020
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Hey, everyone! This is the second article I'm writing for this Encyclopedia so once again, I apologize if it's in the wrong section.

I was recently reading Peter Davis-Garnier's "RMS Titanic: A Modelmaker's Manual", and in that book, it is stated that the "White Star buff" colour was sometimes referred to as "White Star pink". That got me thinking, "were Titanic's funnels really that visibly pink that people used to call the colour by that name?" After all, we do know that "White Star buff" was more than just buff. If it weren't, I won't be making this post in the first place.

So, I took a shade of buff and started turning the blue slider up, right until I got a hint of pink, and then I applied it on my Titanic model in Blender, but when I turned on rendered view mode, it appeared exactly like the original buff shade I picked up.
(Please note that this is only a screenshot and thus isn't high resolution)

Screenshot (72).png


However, when I switched to another HDR resembling overcast conditions, this is what happened to the funnel colour:

Screenshot (73).png


So, basically, I had one colour, resembling different shades in different lighting conditions: buff when sunlight was directly hitting it, but pink whenever it was not, such as in overcast conditions.

The colour hex I used was #f1ab91.

WSB.png

So, is it possible that what we call "White Star buff" was in reality a mixture of buff and pink, appearing closer to one of the two under different lighting conditions, hence leading to much of the confusion surrounding the colour?

I'd love to hear everyone's opinions about this, and honestly, it would be great if anyone is able to debunk this argument, as I would love to have an accurate WSB colour.

Thank you for reading the above short post.

(P.S. There is a colour photo of Olympic where the sky in which the sky is sort-of overcast and the funnels appear pink, which may lend credence to my theory.)

image0.jpg
 
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Seumas

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I wouldn't count the colour photograph of the Olympic as evidence.

The film and chemicals used in early colour photography often dulled some colours and over exposed others.
 
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Enver Kurti

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I wouldn't count the colour photograph of the Olympic as evidence.

The film and chemicals used in early colour photography often dulled some colours and over exposed others.
I'd agree with you. I'd not count it as 'evidence', but still, I'd say that one should not completely disregard it either (mind you, this is the only colour photo of Olympic's funnels that is known to exist, apart from 1-2 really yellow ones I have seen). Though, yes, I added that right before posting it, and now that I think about it, I shouldn't have. However, my argument about the funnels being a mix of buff and pink does still stand because of the central point of the article, the contrasting descriptions of the colour and an explanation for that.
 
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Jim Currie

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Hey, everyone! This is the second article I'm writing for this Encyclopedia so once again, I apologize if it's in the wrong section.

I was recently reading Peter Davis-Garnier's "RMS Titanic: A Modelmaker's Manual", and in that book, it is stated that the "White Star buff" colour was sometimes referred to as "White Star pink". That got me thinking, "were Titanic's funnels really that visibly pink that people used to call the colour by that name?" After all, we do know that "White Star buff" was more than just buff. If it weren't, I won't be making this post in the first place.

So, I took a shade of buff and started turning the blue slider up, right until I got a hint of pink, and then I applied it on my Titanic model in Blender, but when I turned on rendered view mode, it appeared exactly like the original buff shade I picked up.
(Please note that this is only a screenshot and thus isn't high resolution)

View attachment 76834

However, when I switched to another HDR resembling overcast conditions, this is what happened to the funnel colour:

View attachment 76835

So, basically, I had one colour, resembling different shades in different lighting conditions: buff when sunlight was directly hitting it, but pink whenever it was not, such as in overcast conditions.

The colour hex I used was #f1ab91.

View attachment 76837

So, is it possible that what we call "White Star buff" was in reality a mixture of buff and pink, appearing closer to one of the two under different lighting conditions, hence leading to much of the confusion surrounding the colour?

I'd love to hear everyone's opinions about this, and honestly, it would be great if anyone is able to debunk this argument, as I would love to have an accurate WSB colour.

Thank you for reading the above short post.

(P.S. There is a colour photo of Olympic where the sky in which the sky is sort-of overcast and the funnels appear pink, which may lend credence to my theory.)

View attachment 76839
For a start-off, Funnel Livery as it was called, was registered and appeared in a book of Funnel Livery of Shipping Companies. Consequently. they had to appear the same to all observers seeing them in the same light.
Buff was made from mixing the primary colours and tinting using white. In 99% of cases,(or cans ;) ) it came in two shades - light and dark. All colours appear different in different lights. See here:
1622318808511.png
 
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Seumas

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For a start-off, Funnel Livery as it was called, was registered and appeared in a book of Funnel Livery of Shipping Companies. Consequently. they had to appear the same to all observers seeing them in the same light.
Buff was made from mixing the primary colours and tinting using white. In 99% of cases,(or cans ;) ) it came in two shades - light and dark. All colours appear different in different lights. See here:
View attachment 76845
Nice chart Jim :)

I had folks of mine who long ago sailed for No. 37, No. 43, No. 49 and No. 60.
 
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Enver Kurti

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For a start-off, Funnel Livery as it was called, was registered and appeared in a book of Funnel Livery of Shipping Companies. Consequently. they had to appear the same to all observers seeing them in the same light.
Buff was made from mixing the primary colours and tinting using white. In 99% of cases,(or cans ;) ) it came in two shades - light and dark. All colours appear different in different lights. See here:
View attachment 76845
Hey Jim, thanks for the reply!

I eye dropped the colour into the model, modified it a little, and this is what I got.

Screenshot (77).png


Screenshot (78).png

(sorry for the grainy images, I didn't let it render properly prior to screen capping it)

I tried other slight variations of this colour too, but none of them seem to be noticeably pink enough to be termed as "White Star pink".

I know it's a little silly of me to be relying on only one source, but Peter Davis-Garnier is pretty reliable in my opinion.
 

Jim Currie

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Hey Jim, thanks for the reply!

I eye dropped the colour into the model, modified it a little, and this is what I got.

View attachment 76854

View attachment 76855
(sorry for the grainy images, I didn't let it render properly prior to screen capping it)

I tried other slight variations of this colour too, but none of them seem to be noticeably pink enough to be termed as "White Star pink".

I know it's a little silly of me to be relying on only one source, but Peter Davis-Garnier is pretty reliable in my opinion.
Did you know that the White Star Line merged with the Cunard Line for the first time in 1934? Perhaps the "Pink" comes from the following:
1622469418899.png
Now look-up "hot pink";):mad:
 
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Seumas

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Hey Jim, thanks for the reply!

I eye dropped the colour into the model, modified it a little, and this is what I got.

View attachment 76854

View attachment 76855
(sorry for the grainy images, I didn't let it render properly prior to screen capping it)

I tried other slight variations of this colour too, but none of them seem to be noticeably pink enough to be termed as "White Star pink".

I know it's a little silly of me to be relying on only one source, but Peter Davis-Garnier is pretty reliable in my opinion.
Maybe send Mark Chirnside an e-mail ?

He is a well regarded authority on the WSL from the 1870s to the 1930s.
 
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Enver Kurti

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Update:

I've been sent a PDF by a friend of mine who's registered under the name "Thomas Krom" on this website. I have attached it.

Furthermore, I've sent a mail to Peter Davies-Garner (I spelt his name wrong in the original post, Jeez) asking the sources which make mention of a "White Star pink" colour.

Until then, I'm saying that my original assumption wasn't correct and perhaps the Ken Marschall colour would be accurate (though I might add that in some colour photos in the article, it does seem that the colour is buff when there's direct sunlight and pink when it's overcast, it's not as extreme as what I shared though).

WSBKen.png
 

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Enver Kurti

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Oct 8, 2020
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Did you know that the White Star Line merged with the Cunard Line for the first time in 1934? Perhaps the "Pink" comes from the following: View attachment 76858Now look-up "hot pink";):mad:
Hmm, I don't think so. The Cunard funnel livery (I'll use that term from now) was and still is sort-of orange-red, and cannot really be described as "pink" (if that's what you're implying with that image, I am sorry if I misinterpreted your point).
 

Cam Houseman

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Jul 14, 2020
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From The Ship List
"Funnel:

Red with two or three narrow black bands and black top"
Fleet:
View attachment 76863
View attachment 76864
Hi Jim
Calmer when we're not arguing about Engines, the Mystery ship, or sinking stuff, huh ;)

A very good friend of mine made this color
White Star Buff.png


Hey, everyone! This is the second article I'm writing for this Encyclopedia so once again, I apologize if it's in the wrong section.

I was recently reading Peter Davis-Garnier's "RMS Titanic: A Modelmaker's Manual", and in that book, it is stated that the "White Star buff" colour was sometimes referred to as "White Star pink". That got me thinking, "were Titanic's funnels really that visibly pink that people used to call the colour by that name?" After all, we do know that "White Star buff" was more than just buff. If it weren't, I won't be making this post in the first place.

So, I took a shade of buff and started turning the blue slider up, right until I got a hint of pink, and then I applied it on my Titanic model in Blender, but when I turned on rendered view mode, it appeared exactly like the original buff shade I picked up.
(Please note that this is only a screenshot and thus isn't high resolution)

View attachment 76834

However, when I switched to another HDR resembling overcast conditions, this is what happened to the funnel colour:

View attachment 76835

So, basically, I had one colour, resembling different shades in different lighting conditions: buff when sunlight was directly hitting it, but pink whenever it was not, such as in overcast conditions.

The colour hex I used was #f1ab91.

View attachment 76837

So, is it possible that what we call "White Star buff" was in reality a mixture of buff and pink, appearing closer to one of the two under different lighting conditions, hence leading to much of the confusion surrounding the colour?

I'd love to hear everyone's opinions about this, and honestly, it would be great if anyone is able to debunk this argument, as I would love to have an accurate WSB colour.

Thank you for reading the above short post.

(P.S. There is a colour photo of Olympic where the sky in which the sky is sort-of overcast and the funnels appear pink, which may lend credence to my theory.)

View attachment 76839
I am not sure how reliable this Colored photo, although it is originally colored. I ran the picture through a hexadecimal (the code that specifies what color a pixel is on a certain area of the picture) finder, and I got this, which is wayyyyy too pink
1622549127252.png


I ran it through another, and got this
#BEA497
1622549286979.png

Although slightly different, still definitely pink. So, I'm not sure if its a good source. I could be wrong however, good post Enver!
 
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Jim Currie

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Warning! Some people claim, for reasons that they are well aware, that 'Red with two or three narrow black bands' in early morning sunlight appears as yellow. :eek::eek:
View attachment 76894
Reminds me of a trick test when I was a lad - try it. Say quickly: "red leather, yellow leather, leather, red leather, yellow leather." and makes as much sense. ;)
 
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Mar 22, 2003
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No trick test. Here is but one mention:

"Chief Officer Stewart didn't identify her, but noted that the funnel was yellow - the same as the Mount Temple's. This ship has never been identified either, although it may have been the Carpathia, the rising sun making the funnel colour appear brighter than it was (Cunard funnels being red and black)."
[from: Who were they?]
 
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Jim Currie

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No trick test. Here is but one mention:

"Chief Officer Stewart didn't identify her, but noted that the funnel was yellow - the same as the Mount Temple's. This ship has never been identified either, although it may have been the Carpathia, the rising sun making the funnel colour appear brighter than it was (Cunard funnels being red and black)."
[from: Who were they?]
More from the same "recommended" source, Sam.

As you know, natural light from the rising sun is a warm light. in it, red becomes more intense and buff glows. There is no way in, out, or under the sun (excuse pun) that red could be mistaken for buff. If anything, the red would look almost brown on the side of a funnel away from the sun.
For proof of this, members should consult an expert. Ask any trained artist or interior designer.
 
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Mar 22, 2003
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Furthermore, Stewart was sent down to wake up Evans just before 5:15 because the CQ call sent out by Evans was logged at 3:25am EST by Durrant. Sunrise didn't occur until 5:30am at the wreck site coordinates. I believe Stewart was mistaken he said it was after the sun rose. I believe it was in the last stages of morning twilight, or possibly as the sun was rising when he went back on deck and reported back to Lord the initial information received from Mount Temple from that 5:15 contact. Furthermore, according to what Lord said in his US testimony, the ship with the yellow funnel seen that morning was to the SW about 8 miles away. Carpathia at that time would have been further away to the SSE already dodging about trying to get to the lifeboats which were scattered over a distance of 4 to 5 miles according to Rostron.
 
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