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>>You can bring binoculars if you like but in my own professional experience, I found them to be of little real use. I found the instant tunnel vision they imposed to be unacceptable and they are very difficult to properly scan with even under ideal conditions.<<

Still, they'd probably be much more efficient than the Titanic 1912 type issue.

Probably the old "SE Radar" is best...that is to say "Sailor's Eyes."
 
May 3, 2005
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>>I'm not quite sure where you're going with this. If you're referring to photos of the ship taken as she was sinking, the answer is "no."<<

"Low Lux" (video/digital cameras with "low light" capabilities and film cameras with fast lenses and fast film) were unheard of in 1912.

Still photographs required a long exposure and/or stills or motion pictures required bright sunlight or bright artificial light (such as those magnesium powder or flash bulbs) ...it would be definitely impossible to take pictures with only the starlight available after the lights went out.
 

Gottfried

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Lightoller and the Lookouts' Binoculars

According to the boards of enquiry testimony, when the lookouts asked Lightoller at Southampton for the crow's nest binoculars, he said merely that "they were not available".

A single pair of issue binoculars was in a locker in the crow's nest and by oversight the key had been taken away by 2nd Mate Blair, but Lightoller did not explain this fact to the lookouts. Because they remained in ignorance of the reason why they could not have the binoculars, (as far as they were concerned it might have been an order from the captain or Company) they did not take one of two obvious steps subsequently:

(1) Obtain permission to force the lock of the locker.

(2) Buy a pair of binoculars at Southampton, Cherbourg or Queenstown. The issue binoculars were described as "poor" in evidence by lookout Fleet, but would have been sufficiently powerful for him to have raised the alarm in enough time "to get clear of the iceberg". How much would a common-or-garden pair of binoculars have cost in 1912?

(3) As regards crew discipline, to what extent could a lookout in these circumstances have persisted with questions to a deck officer to elicit the reason?

I am halfway through translating a foreign book for publicaction on aspects of the Titanic and this area of the binoculars problem seems not to have been addressed in the past.
 
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Mar 18, 2008
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According to the boards of enquiry testimony, when the lookouts asked Lightoller at Southampton for the crow's nest binoculars, he said merely that "they were not available".

Not sure sure what the "boards of enquiry testimony" is but what you quote is not right. Lightoller was asked after they left Southampton and he said there were none.

A single pair of issue binoculars was in a locker in the crow's nest and by oversight the key had been taken away by 2nd Mate Blair, but Lightoller did not explain this fact to the lookouts.

Don't know where you get that from, it is not true. There was no locker in the crow's nest. The key Blair had was for the crows nest telephone (as it is written on the front side). The glasses they used from Belfast to Southampton had been the glasses of the 2nd Officer and Blair loaned them.


Because they remained in ignorance of the reason why they could not have the binoculars, (as far as they were concerned it might have been an order from the captain or Company) they did not take one of two obvious steps subsequently:

(1) Obtain permission to force the lock of the locker.

(2) Buy a pair of binoculars at Southampton, Cherbourg or Queenstown. The issue binoculars were described as "poor" in evidence by lookout Fleet, but would have been sufficiently powerful for him to have raised the alarm in enough time "to get clear of the iceberg". How much would a common-or-garden pair of binoculars have cost in 1912?

(3) As regards crew discipline, to what extent could a lookout in these circumstances have persisted with questions to a deck officer to elicit the reason?

I am halfway through translating a foreign book for publicaction on aspects of the Titanic and this area of the binoculars problem seems not to have been addressed in the past.

The binocoular question had been raised in the past and always the same false assumtion had been made. They were not night glasses so it would have been useless. Also the glasses were used to idnetify what was spotted with the nacked eye and after the bridge was informed.
Your 3 points make no sense at all. There was no law for glasses in the crows nest.
To buy a pair in Cherbourg or Queenstown? Really? For what reason? (The ship also only stopped in the harbour for short.)
 

Gottfried

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Where were the binoculars

Not sure sure what the "boards of enquiry testimony" is but what you quote is not right. Lightoller was asked after they left Southampton and he said there were none.



Don't know where you get that from, it is not true. There was no locker in the crow's nest. The key Blair had was for the crows nest telephone (as it is written on the front side). The glasses they used from Belfast to Southampton had been the glasses of the 2nd Officer and Blair loaned them.




The binocoular question had been raised in the past and always the same false assumtion had been made. They were not night glasses so it would have been useless. Also the glasses were used to idnetify what was spotted with the nacked eye and after the bridge was informed.
Your 3 points make no sense at all. There was no law for glasses in the crows nest.
To buy a pair in Cherbourg or Queenstown? Really? For what reason? (The ship also only stopped in the harbour for short.)


WHERE WERE THE BINOCULARS?

If in replying to my questions the individual is not referring to the US State Senate Enquiry testimony, or the British Wreck Commissioners' Enquiry, both held in May 1912, and he does not know what they are, then the opinions expressed in his reply are merely personal and worthless. My questions are simply based on what was actually said by Fleet and Lee under cross-examination as to the disposition of the glasses, what requests were made to resume use of the glasses at Southampton, and the opinion of both lookouts as to what help the binoculars would have provided before the accident.

You cannot know better than the Titanic lookouts.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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If in replying to my questions the individual is not referring to the US State Senate Enquiry testimony, or the British Wreck Commissioners' Enquiry, both held in May 1912, and he does not know what they are, then the opinions expressed in his reply are merely personal and worthless.

The US Senate Inquiry started on April 19th 1912.
Lightollers reply are not "personal and worthless" as you claimed as he himself had a look for them and did not find any for the lookouts.


My questions are simply based on what was actually said by Fleet and Lee under cross-examination as to the disposition of the glasses, what requests were made to resume use of the glasses at Southampton, and the opinion of both lookouts as to what help the binoculars would have provided before the accident.

Maybe you should READ the testimony before coming up with such made up claims.

WHERE WERE THE BINOCULARS?

Your question makes no much sense as there were no binoculars for the lookouts! They might have been forgotten or placed somewhere no one knows.

You cannot know better than the Titanic lookouts.

Yes, the testimony is there which you obviously haven't read. And again the binoculars were not night glasses so useless in dark nights. The job of a lookout was to search the horizon with the naked eye and the binoculars only used after they spotted something and reported the bridge. It is all in the different testimony by the way!
 
Nov 13, 2014
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Maybe Gootfried just wanted to know where on board the binoculars for the lookouts were.
Sure, there was this thing with the key etc., but the binoculars themselves were probably still on board. If I can get to know where they were, I'll add this to my book and have my main character get the binoculars and hand them to the lookouts, knowing the ship will sink even if the lookouts had binoculars.
I too am getting tired of the same assumption that binoculars would have saved the Titanic.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Maybe Gootfried just wanted to know where on board the binoculars for the lookouts were.

In the crows nest, but there were none.
Symons went to 2nd Officer Lightoller telling him they had no binoculars and they both went to the cabin of the Chief Officer [Wilde]. Lightoller told him that and Wilde said he knew about it and there were no glasses for them.
The one they used from Belfast to Southampton was of the 2nd Officer (at that time Blair) which means they had none from the beginning.


Sure, there was this thing with the key etc.

As I already mentioned yesterday, the so often mentioned key had a sign on it stating "Crows nest telephone".


I too am getting tired of the same assumption that binoculars would have saved the Titanic.

It is also getting tired with the same false asumption why the "box was not broken up to get them".... I would very like to know where they had that from.
 

Jim Currie

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May I suggest you all have a look at that part of the testimony of Captain George A. Bartlett, Marine Superintendent of the WSL which deals exactly with Gottfried's questions. He gave evidence on Day 21 of the UK Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry. The relevant parts are between questions 21623 to 21625 and in grater detail between 21713 and 21722,

Jim C.
 
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My question still hasn't been answered. There was a pair of binoculars which should have been at the crow's nest, but it was somewhere else. It was probably on board the ship, but where?
 
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You can find Bartletts testimony here; TIP | British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry | Day 21 | Testimony of George A. Bartlett (Marine Superintendent, White Star Line)

21623. (Mr. Butler Aspinall.) That is what I was seeking to do. Of course, it has not been successful up to the present. (To the witness.) With regard to binoculars. You are a practical man and have sailed these seas and advised this Company as their Marine superintendent? - May I say I have never been in the position of Marine superintendent since the first of the year. I am a sailor; I have been to sea.
21624. With your knowledge of the North Atlantic, what do you consider as to the desirability of binoculars being provided for look-out men? - I think they are not at all necessary.
21625. That is your opinion. Very well, that is your answer. That is the outcome of your practical experience as a seaman? - That is the outcome of my practical experience.
21626. Another question is with regard to searchlights. Do you think searchlights fitted on these vessels would serve a useful purpose? - Not at all.
21627. Since this disaster, have you considered that matter? - I have.
21628. And the result of giving your consideration to that matter is, you do not think it would be of any use at all? - No, I think it would be positively dangerous.
21708. You are not a believer in binoculars for seamen? - No.
21709. Do you believe in them for Officers? - Oh, certainly.
21710. Even in regard to Officers they are for their use? - Yes.
21711. In the navigation of the ship? - Yes.
21712. To enable the Officer to pick up anything ahead of him? - Not to pick up.
The Commissioner: The evidence appears to me to point to this, that they are not required for picking up objects, but for ascertaining with particularity what the objects are when they have been picked up.
21713. (Mr. Scanlan.) Yes, My Lord, I think there is a great deal in that view of the utility of binoculars. (To the witness.) If binoculars have always been thought useful to Officers, how do you come to arrive at the conclusion that they are not at all useful for look-out men and seamen? - Because look-out men are there to use their eyes and to report immediately anything they see, not to find out the character of that object they see.
 

Tim Aldrich

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To answer your question in a roundabout way I suggest you try a little experiment on your own. Get a pair of binoculars, go to the countryside away from any city lights, try to spot an object on the horizon with the naked eye and then use the binoculars to see if they make any difference.

Binoculars offer a view at greater distance at the cost of field of view. For a ship moving at only 21 knots/23mph/37kmph field of view would be more important than distance. Compare it to driving in a car. Would you want to see five miles ahead with only 1/4 of a lane in view or would you want to see both lanes and twenty feet to each side of the road for 1/2 mile? In a nutshell binoculars=tunnel vision.
 
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Mike Spooner

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Tim. I appreciate your reply and no doubt this subject as been discussed many times over the years.
But the question was: Was it White Star company policy to provide binoculars for the lookout men in the crow nest?
 

J Sheehan

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I mentioned this in another thread, but I decided this should have it's own.

What if the lookouts were given goggles instead of binoculars? Would it have made a difference in seeing the berg a few seconds earlier?

The eyes of the lookouts would've been protected from the cold wind and wouldn't have been streaming, which was probably a factor in preventing them seeing the iceberg sooner than they did.

Your thoughts and opinions.
 

Seumas

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To repeat what I said on the 21st of September .....

Goggles steam up too easily, even in cold temperatures.

The lookouts would have had to take them off and wipe the inside of them down several times during their shift. Doing so is a neglect of ones duties of looking out for anything in the path of the ship. Cleaning the goggles (which they will be doing in the dark) would inevitably mean smudging them up at some point which isn't particularly helpful to them either.

Also if you are on watch and it was raining or snowing, then the goggles are going to collect rain and snow on them which has to be wiped off every few minutes. More time spent not keeping the look out.

Goggles were not a solution
 
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Scott Mills

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I tend to agree with this entire discussion. The binoculars would have been useless; however, sometimes I think about the 'haze' Fleet and Lee testify to on the horizon.

I know there are many interpretations of what that haze really represented--including that they just made it up; however, if I am being honest I have almost always just assumed that the haze these men saw was the field ice itself, and that it just appeared as an indistinct 'haze like' entity on the horizon because of environmental conditions that Sunday night.

With that in mind I do sometimes think to myself that they did indeed "see" the field ice well in advance of a piece of it appearing out of the darkness right in Titanic's path. If so, would this have been a case where lookouts could have possibly used binoculars to identify the ice field--and not the individual offending iceberg--well in advance of any need to try and conduct emergency avoidance maneuvers? Or, even if they had binoculars, and saw the haze on the horizon as they testified to, would they have even bothered trying to look at (or through) that haze with those binoculars?
 

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