Artefact inventory

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Pat Cook

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Apr 26, 2000
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Dear Dr. Gallagher,

This is one good question!

Just thought I'd post what I have found but it's not much. According to Ian Whitcomb ("Music As Heard On The Fateful Voyage"), there were 7 pianos on board - five grands and 2 uprights. There was also an Aeolian electric organ in the First Class Lounge. One of the uprights was located in the Third Class 'general room'.

Will keep looking, especially for a brand name, and let you know if I find anything else.

Best regards,
Cook
 

George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Pat Cook wrote:

> According to Ian Whitcomb ("Music As Heard On >The Fateful Voyage"), there were 7 pianos on >board - five grands and 2 uprights. There was >also an Aeolian electric organ in the First Class >Lounge.

Hi, Pat!

Do you know if anyone has come up with independent verification for Whitcomb's claim about the organ?
A number of Whitcomb's other statements about Titanic's band and its music are less than accurate, and the thought has occurred to me that Whitcomb might have claimed that Titanic had an Aeolian organ simply because his own "White Star Orchestra" used one during the recording of his CD. (I'd like to know for sure, though, and would be interested to hear from anyone who has more information about this topic.)

All my best,

George
 
Dec 13, 1999
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I don't remember where, but I once read that the Aeolian organ was either located in the First Class A-deck foyer or on the Boat Deck's. There is also a nice picture of Britannic's electric organ in a book written by Robert Ballard. On the drawing, we clearly see the organ in question at the foot of one of the upper grand staircases. I will have to read the book again to see if I can add something else on this topic.

On F. Dent Ray's Titanic plans, on the Boat Deck section, there is something that looks very like a piano or an organ. Perhaps was it the one we are talking of... All the best,

Charles
 

George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Charles Provost wrote:

>I don't remember where, but I once read that the >Aeolian organ was
>either located in the First Class A-deck foyer or >on the Boat Deck's.

Hi, Charles!

If you ever run across your original source re: the organ I hope you'll share it with us. (Speaking for myself, I have grave doubts about Ian Whitcomb's claim that there was an organ in Titanic's First Class Lounge, and I'd love to be able to clear the matter up in my own mind.)

>On F. Dent Ray's Titanic plans, on the Boat Deck >section, there is
>something that looks very like a piano or an >organ.

I've examined the December 1911 and March 1912 deck plans with a magnifying glass, and (IMO) the object you're referring to is a sofa with a small rectangular table in front of it (although it could easily be taken for a piano and accompanying piano bench.)

>There is also a nice picture of Britannic's >electric organ in a book
>written by Robert Ballard. On the drawing, we >clearly see the organ in
>question at the foot of one of the upper grand >staircases.

As you know, though, there were many significant differences between the interior appointments of Titanic and Britannic, and it's very risky for us to use the features of one ship in order to prove that the other ship had those same features. (In any case, though, I rather doubt that Ian Whitcomb went to that kind of trouble to research the subject.)

>I will have
>to read the book again to see if I can add >something else on this topic.

Please do -- I'll look forward to your additional input on the subject.

Thanks very much, old chap.

All my best,

George
 
S

schniecher

Guest
Pat, Charler, George
What interesting discourse!!! Please keep digging and see if we can come up with the Piano information.
Are there any records of Purchase Orders, Shipping Manefests or anything along those lines?
Thanks
John J. Gallagher
 

Pat Cook

Member
Apr 26, 2000
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Interesting discourse, maybe, but we have gotten a bit off from the question of the pianos.

George, I was hoping you'd show up. I made sure to post my source on my research but where Whitcomb got his source, I have no idea. He lists Walter Lord's "The Night Lives On" and Beesley's "Loss of the SS Titanic". I'm not sure about Lord's book but I can tell you Beesley didn't mention any Aeolian electric organ.

Charles, where did you see Dent Ray's deck plans?

I'm still off in search of Steinways, Bosendorfers and such.

Best regards,
Cook
 
Dec 13, 1999
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Dear George, thanks for the clear up concerning the sofa on the Boat Deck that I took for a piano. I looked so rapidly, without even taking the time to think.

I doubt the White Star would have fitted the Britannic (still in Harland & Wolff) with an electric organ while there was none on the Titanic. The Titanic got some useful modifications while in construction to ameliore the condition of her passengers (i.e. the covered promenade, the extended cabins and suites on B-deck...) These modifications were quite indispensable. A additional organ on the Britannic was not useful and certainly not necessary. Perhaps I'm confusing you with all these arguments but I really don't think the Britannic would have had an organ while the Titanic didn't. One time again, it is possible that the Britannic was fitted with the organ after the sinking of her sister...but why? In 1914 she became an Hospital Ship; there was no use for such a luxury or entertaining element.

I'll go to my library to try to find the book by Ballard, and will come up to you on the subject soon. Best regards,

Charles
 
Dec 13, 1999
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Pat: I got them when I bought the 'Titanic memorablia box'. This box is a must. There are full of interesting artifacts like plans, tickets, disembarking cards, telegrams, music sheet, passenger notifications... There is also a nice explicative booklet that comes along. Hope this helps!

Charles
 

Pat Cook

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Apr 26, 2000
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Charles,

Thanks for that tip. There's a bit of a story behind those plans. Lawrence Beesley, either while writing his book (probably) or later obtained those deck plans and kept them in a portfolio of his, along with several newspapers and other, later, Titanic related ephemera. Then, while working with Leslie Reade, Beesley gave this portfolio to Reade. After Reade's death, a lot of his Titanic materials, the Beesley-owned deck plans among them, were auctioned off by Ken Schultz's Company in the early 90's.

Just a tidbit I thought you might enjoy.

Warmest regards,
Cook
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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I've not seen the picture of Britannic's "organ" so I can't comment on what it was. An Aeolian organ was actually a small organ controlled by paper rolls, like a pianola. On Whitcomb's record you can hear how it plays in strict tempo, revealing its mechanical nature. Whether Titanic had such a beast, I know not. Whitcomb does rather let his imagination run riot.
 
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Paula Crighton

Guest
Dear Pat, May I ask You Where You Purchased the Titanic memorabilia box I'm very interested in owning one. Thank You. Paula Crighton
 
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Paula Crighton

Guest
Dear Charles, Im sorry I mistook you for Pat. could you tell me where you purchased the Titanic memorabilia box, I would appreciate it very much Paula Crighton
 
Dec 13, 1999
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Hi Paula! I'm afraid I cannot help you with this. I was offered the 'Titanic Collection' memorablia box by a friend of mine who got it free. The box was published by the Historical Titanic Society and contains copies of many interesting documents from the THS' museum collection. Perhaps you can get it via their website. You'll find a link here, on Encyclopedia Titanica. Hope this helps a little!

Charles
 

Pat Cook

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Apr 26, 2000
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Hey, Mike!

I'm reading the box on my "Titanic: The Official Story..." and it says published by Random House and from the archives of the Public Record Office in London. I can't find THS anywhere on it, so I believe this is a separate version from Charles'.

Hope this is of some help.

Best regards, O M
Cook
 
Dec 13, 1999
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Pat is right, Mike. They are published by two completely different houses.

Pat: I would be curious to know what is the stuff in the PRO Titanic box. I believe it's probably the transcriptions from the British Inquiry but I'm not quite sure. Thanks,

Charles
 

Pat Cook

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Apr 26, 2000
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The contents in the "Titanic - The Official Story" include copies of:

Report on the Loss of the "Titanic" (SS)

deck plans

Front page of the New York Evening Journal, April 16, 1912

Report of Survey of an Immigrant Ship, signed by Carruthers and Clarke

Certificate of Clearance

Telegrams sent to SS Brima from Titanic

Letter from Captain Stanley Lord to the Board of Trade

Alfred Ormant's hand written account of his escape
from the Titanic

plus several other official letters to White Star and other officials, including one regarding the movie "Atlantic".

What's in the version you have?

Best regards,
Cook
 
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Daniel Rosenshine

Guest
Hey guys,

I haven't had a chance to write on the messageboard for a while, so some of this will refer to older discussions on this page.

First I'll go back to the pianos. As far as I have heard, there were 5 pianos in first class, 2 in second and 1 in third.

The third class piano is known to have been in the general room. In second class there was a piano in the dining saloon as well as one on C deck, aft of the second class library - this location would allow the sound to spread up and down (as well as the second class enclosed promenade) since the aft staircase was not so enclosed as the fore one.

As for first class, I can account for only 4 pianos. One (upright) in the dining room (on D deck). One (grand) in the D deck reception room. One (upright) in the B deck reception room, right near the entrance to the cafe Parisien (the piano is not on any plans). There was no piano in the restaurant as far as I know, and any misic there would have had to be done just by a string trio. The fourth piano (another upright) was in fact that "sofa" in the boat-deck gr. staircase foyer. In the Dec 1911 plans it does look like a possible piano with a stool, but in the March 1912 plan it looks like a sofa. Who ever was redrawring those plans, must have mistook that sofa looking like thing for a sofa and thus drew a sofa there in the March 1912 plans. Some H&W photos, do show an upright piano in the spot where the "sofa" is supposed to be. I have also read that they wheeled out the piano from the boat-deck gr. staircase foyer, onto the boat deck where the band resumed playing.

As for the 5th piano, I'm not too sure. The Cameron movie did show a grand piano in the lounge room, but I doubt one could fit there comfortably. If indeed the fifth piano was in the lounge, it was an upright. I guess the lounge is the most likely location for the 5th piano, but I can not recall anything which sais there was a piano there.

If indeed there were 5 pianos in first class, the deck plan only shows 3 (2 in the March 1912 plan).

Now for the boxes. I have seen both the boxes you guys are talking about. Yes they are two different things. The THS box does have a deck plan, but it is the one that was saved by F. D. Ray, the Dec 1911 first class accomodation plan. While the April 14-15 box has a H&W plan. The THS box has a reproduction of the 1st class passenger list, some tickets, stickers, telegrams and other general passenger information booklets. The THS box I'd say is an "on board" box while I'd call the other as "on shore" as they deal with Titanic from their respective perspectives. Both are nice if you like collectables, but most of the items can be found in books.

The April 14-15...... box is flat, and as I have seen it, blue with a Titanic picture on it. The THS box more likely resembles a cube (slighty flattened). I can't remember, but I think it's supposed to resemble a (miniture) suitcase.

Daniel.
 
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Bill DeSena

Guest
Cut her up and sell it off! Pharoah's tombs and indian burial grounds have yielded alot of useful information that advanced the knowledge of the people and their times along with helping finance the research, preservation and promotion of public awareness so why not the Titanic's rusting hulk? Sure its grave robbing and a desecration but lets face it the survivor's are just about all gone to glory themselves and we have the technology availbale to enter the wreck and mine it for research, profit and preservation of whatever is still there so we should get in there and get that stuff before nature reduces it to dust along with the dreams of the unfortunates who went down with her. It seems to me that the best way to remember them is to preserve as much of the wreck as possible and if the price of doing so is to see a Titanic collection at Harrah's then so be it.
Bill
 
Mar 20, 2000
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One cannot compare plundering the gravesite of the Titanic to genuine archeological research into ancient civilizations. There's no dearth of info on life in 1912. Taking up cups & saucers & valises & pocketwatches from the ocean floor won't help us learn anything we don't already know re: the Edwardian era. It's a morbid & voyeuristic fancy to peek at these sad relics once held by people who may well have lost their lives in the disaster. I don't find it the least bit entertaining. I understand more the perspective taken by some that the personal objects recovered should be preserved in memory of those who perished and in that case I would almost be tempted to agree with the salvaging of artifacts if a museum were a recipient of them (or else descendents of victims/survivors) but as it is, it seems horribly commercial and therefore in the worst possible taste.
 

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