All Electric Lights On


Nov 9, 2002
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Hey,
Everyone always shows the Titanic with all the lights on as it sails into the distance. Many of the ships rooms were not occupied so wouldnt those lights be off? Would they be turned on anyway. Also, in the early morning hours it must have been really dark. Please help me Out!

Thanks
Sahand
 
J

John Meeks

Guest
You are quite correct, Sahand, in that at those times you refer to, a substantial percentage of the private rooms and cabins would have their lights extinguished.

But a very large percentage of the lights observed would have come from public areas, or from areas accessed by the crew for the normal operation of the ship. Add to these, a small percentage of illuminated private areas where folks were, I dunno...suffering from insomnia through excitement of the voyage, playing cards, having a row with the wife, taking a leak....

...she would have still looked pretty - even at 3.00 a.m. !

Regards,

John M
 

George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Hi, John!

>But a very large percentage of the lights >observed would have come from public areas, or >from areas accessed by the crew for the normal >operation of the ship.

However, many of those lights had been extinguished as well. As per the "IMM Ship's Rules and Uniform Regulations," all lights in the forecastle and Third Class accommodation (except those necessary for night service) were extinguished at 10 p.m.; lights in the Saloon, Library and companionways (as well as lights out on the open deck -- A deck etc.) were extinguished at 11 p.m.; lights in the Smoking room were extinguished at midnight. The Titanic doesn't appear to have been nearly as brightly lit after 11 p.m. as has been alleged in the past.

All my best,

George
 
Mar 3, 1998
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<font color="#000066">However, many of those lights had been extinguished as well. As per the "IMM Ship's Rules and Uniform Regulations," all lights in the forecastle and Third Class accommodation (except those necessary for night service) were extinguished at 10 p.m.; lights in the Saloon, Library and companionways (as well as lights out on the open deck -- A deck etc.) were extinguished at 11 p.m.; lights in the Smoking room were extinguished at midnight. The Titanic doesn't appear to have been nearly as brightly lit after 11 p.m. as has been alleged in the past.

George,

I know that most of the passenger ships followed regulations similar to these, so it has always struck me as odd that Groves noticed a lot of light (so much so that according to Groves, it obscured the vessel's running light) on the steamer coming up around 11.30p. These are the same lights, of course, that Groves noticed going out at around 11.40p. Whether the ship Groves saw was Titanic or not, I think it strange that any passenger ship would have a good number of white lights showing that late at night. Of course, Groves' description could be misleading. Have you looked at this?

I'm not trying to initiate another was-it-Titanic-or-not debate here, my question is intended to be much more general.

Parks
 

James Smith

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Dec 5, 2001
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Hi George. A couple of questions re your above post:

Does the word "library" refer to the Second Class Library? Or was the word used to mean the First Class Lounge or Reading and Writing Room? Also, was the Smoking Room open to passengers until lights-out at midnight? If it was, how were its patrons supposed to make their way back to their cabins through the already-darkened passageways at closing time?

Jim Smith
 

George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Hi, Parks!

> Have you looked at this?

I'm afraid not. (Too many questions to be investigated in too little time.) :)

Hi, Jim!

>Does the word "library" refer to the Second Class >Library? Or was the word used to mean the > First Class Lounge or Reading and Writing Room?

Although the manual implies that it is referring to the First Class rooms, it's my guess that the IMM regulation would apply to the Second and Third Class rooms as well.

> Also, was the Smoking Room open to passengers >until lights-out at midnight?

I'm sure that was the case, but we'd have to consult an IMM passenger information pamphlet in order to answer that question for certain. (The booklet I'm consulting merely describes major regulations that had to be observed by the officers and, to some extent, the heads of the engineering and victualing staff.)

>If it was, how were its patrons supposed to make
>their way back to their cabins through the >already-darkened passageways at closing time?

The reg. excludes extinguishing lights "such as are required for night service," so the corridors would not have been completely blacked out. In addition, the reg. stipulates that red oil lamps were hung in key locations in passageways and at the foot of each staircase and were kept burning until sunrise.

Hope this info will be helpful, Jim.

All my best,

George
 
Jun 4, 2003
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Hi all! In many messages you mention that the deck was dimly lit and inside the ship things were not that different. I mean that overall lighting was not that strong and especially when the electric capacity was getting weaker and weaker as time went by. Was lighting not that strong throughout the voyage? I read that in first class rooms there were not many light fixtures and that it was not at all very bright like nowadays and also shown in movies! Any comments? Thank you!!!
 
Jul 11, 2001
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Hi George! According to the British BOT Report, the Titanic had 10,000 incandescent lamps ranging from 16 to 100 candlepower., the majority being of Tantallum type, except in the cargo spaces and for the portable fittings, where carbon lamps were provided. Special dimming lamps of small amount of light were provided in First Class rooms.

There was also an "Emergency Circuit" that could be used in case the main circuit failed. This would provide power to 500 lamps fitted throughout passenger, crew and machinery compartments, at the ends of passages, and near stairways, also on the boat deck, to enable anyone to find their way from one part of the ship to another. The Marconi room, Bridge and the running lamps were also on this circuit.

While normally one would think the ship fairly dark after midnight, this was no normal night. The Stewards would have turned back on the lights in the public rooms and hallways. As the Stewards woke people up, they turned on Cabin lights to get dressed. Most people probably left the lights on expecting to be returning to their cabins after a while.

As the power declined, peoples eyes had adjusted accordingly and were able to move about on decks. There were reports of the engineers asking for the boiler room fans to be turned off to save power. But otherwise people didn't follow the "last one out, turn out the lights" rule we have today.

When you look at the photos on the ship, many rooms had overhead fixtures and wall sconces. I doubt the ship was under lighted. James Camerons movie was definately over lighted. I would love to see those same scenes done again without the added lighting. In a few scenes you can tell there were lights mounted on top of the funnels to shine down on the action. I know it was neccesary for filming and it did give us a clear idea of the deck details at night. But to understand how difficult it was at night to know what was going on beyond your immeadiate area, I think it was much harder then.

David
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Talking of lights, I am very interested in Gill's account from the Californian. From memory, I recall that he came on deck at midnight and saw the other ship. It had two rows of lights, and some other lighting which he took to be saloons.

Now, it may be that before the collision, the ship was in semi-darkness, and afterwards, it started to become illuminated as stewards woke people up, turned on lights in public rooms.

However, from 10 miles away, the 2 rows of lights would, as a friend pointed out years ago, have fused into one enormous glow. Unless Gill had exceptional eyesight, this seems unlikely.
Performing a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation, and assuming that the Titanic lights produced a yellow glow (570 nm), the angular resolution of the eye would be 7 x 10^-5 radians,
which at 10 miles becomes 4.23 feet. Any lights placed closer together than this would not be able to be distinguished separately.

Best wishes

Paul

 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Oh yes, by the way, I assumed that the aperture of the human iris was 1cm... the above value should be halved if the aperture is doubled.

My calculation doesn't necessarily apply to lights either, but anything that allows light to be seen, such as the A deck windows....think about how far apart they are
happy.gif


Best wishes

Paul

 
Dec 2, 2000
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Paul, I would be very careful with Gill's testimony as a lot of it seems to be made up whole cloth. Even Leslie Reade was cautious with this guy. My own read of it would tend to indicate that he became aware of the events through the ship's grapevine and put things together. I noticed in his BOT testimony that there were a lot of examples where he would say something, then say "I can't really speak to that." even though he clearly was speaking to it.

The value in Gill's affidavit and testimony lies in the fact that something happened the previous night and that the crew was aware of it. Beyond that, fact check everything for corroberation. Personally, I don't believe he saw much if anything at all. You would do better by far for actual observations by checking out what Stone and Gibson have to say. These were the chaps who were on watch on the bridge.
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Hi Michael,
I quite agree! Gill is the one who publicly threw the fat on to the fire, so to speak.

There is also another dubious bit of information in Gill's statement and testimony, pointed out by my good friend, the late John Carrothers, who was also a shipboard engineer. He said that Gill's statement that he went on deck for a smoke (in his night clothes, in the cold, no less!) seems extremely unlikely and actually forbidden because of the danger of a spark falling down one of the vents and causing a fire.

The only place to smoke would be in his quarters....but then he wouldn't have seen the rockets....

Best wishes

Paul

 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>He said that Gill's statement that he went on deck for a smoke (in his night clothes, in the cold, no less!) seems extremely unlikely and actually forbidden because of the danger of a spark falling down one of the vents and causing a fire. <<

Gill's claim was that he couldn't smoke below decks because of the cargo. No matter, I still find that a lot of it strains credibilty, and I'm not the only one either. Even the most adament of Captain Lord's critics treat it with extreme caution, and for good reason IMO. My own preference whenever I poke around in this (Californian is really a tertiary interest for me these days.) is to go with the testimony of the people I know would have been in a position to see or hear something for themselves.

And going on deck in night clothes in that sort of biting cold that existed for a smoke? That must have been some habit the bloke had if he needed it that badly.
 

Noel F. Jones

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May 14, 2002
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"Gill's claim was that he couldn't smoke below decks because of the cargo."

There's more to it than that. Check out 'The Credibility of Gill's Affidavit' thread.

Noel
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Has anybody ever found out exactly what cargo the Californian was carrying? My understanding was that ships like this carried just about anything they could get somebody to ship. It might help if we knew exactly what it was Gill was talking about.
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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>>My understanding was that ships like this carried just about anything they could get somebody to ship.<<

Was Leyland Line such a 'lower class' line that did all this 'dirty work' like carrying all the odds and ends? Or was it IMM's form of a 'budget line'?
 

Noel F. Jones

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May 14, 2002
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"Was Leyland Line such a 'lower class' line that did all this 'dirty work' like carrying all the odds and ends? Or was it IMM's form of a 'budget line'?"

The Californian was a general cargo carrier. The Titanic was also a general cargo carrier.

The industry alternatives were bulkers and tankships; although bulk cargoes in those days were usually assigned to tramp ships.

Tramps were also often chartered by the liner companies to fill a vacant general cargo berth. 'Berth' in this context means a 'slot' in a published sailing schedule.

Today most general cargo is carried in (and on!) container vessels.

Before the advent of Shaw Savill's Southern Cross in the 1950s all liners, whether passenger-carrying or not, had compartments (holds) for general cargo. A 'liner' in this context means any vessel on a published sailing schedule.

Dedicated 'cruise' vessels are largely a post-WWII concept, although many otherwise redundant liners were sent cruising in the 1930s.

'General' was shipped at the same conference freight rates regardless of passenger-carrying capacity, be that 1,500 - or 12.

Noel
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Was Leyland Line such a 'lower class' line that did all this 'dirty work' like carrying all the odds and ends? Or was it IMM's form of a 'budget line'?<<

Noel did a very good job of covering the ground here. I'll add that I'm not really sure that "Lower class" has a lot of real meaning here. Granted, running freighters was far from the prestige position of what we usually understand to be "the crack liners," but it was essential work if only because somebody had to carry the bulk cargo to the intended markets.
 

Noel F. Jones

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"....but it was essential work if only because somebody had to carry the bulk cargo to the intended markets."

Sorry Michael, but in the interests of pedantry and industry nomenclature (jargon!), you've fallen into a trap; by common understanding 'bulk' ain't 'general'.

Sorry about that.

Noel
 

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