Boat Deck object outside 2nd class main entrance


John Hummel

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Hi, I am building a Titanic mo

Hi, I am building a Titanic model and I have finally seen the square object outside the boat deck 2nd class entrance on the starboard side under the forward arched window. It is drawn into the cut away illustration in Titanic an Illustrated History. I am sorry if this has already been discussed, I searched for this topic but found nothing. Any way, I need to reproduce it but have no details. Any info. would be greatly appreciated.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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John, I believe you mean what is marked in the diagram below? Looks like something that was used to store items. Anybody know for certain?
113190.gif
 
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John Hummel

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Yes! That is it!! Thanks for the quick attention...I suspect it will be storage. If we find out for sure color details would be fantastic!

Thanks
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Hello John,

In his book: RMS Titanic A Modelmaker's Manual, Peter Davies-Garner refers to it as a "mystery box" [pages 122-123]. He also says "On the starboard side boat deck photograph, you can see an electrical wire leading into it, but that it the only indication we have to its use. Thus its function was possibly electrical ........." If I am reading correctly there was no such box on the Olympic.
 

John Hummel

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Hello Lester,

I will need to look into that book, sounds like I am gonna need it. The wire is making me think maybe a phone box? I know the docking bridge had one...but functionally on the 2nd class boat deck, maybe not. Lamp storage?
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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This was argued madly on another thread some time ago without much agreement.

My own suggestion is that it houses an exhaust fan that draws fumes from the bar on the deck below. It's not very heavy, as can be seen by the limited support under it.

If it's not that, it's the fog locker!
 

John Hummel

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Thanks for the input. Can someone direct to me to that thread discussion? After examining illustrations of it, I think I am going to mount it directly to the 2nd class entrance wall with a conduit wire exiting through the bottom and into the deck below. Since there is only a hypothesis on its exact function I am going to believe it is somehow 2nd class elevator related. Again thanks, Titanic fans such as myself love this stuff and your expert opinions are a great source of information.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Hi Dave and John: A great photograph of this box appears on p.110 of "Olympic & Titanic - The Truth Behind the Conspiracy" by Bruce Beveridge and Steve Hall. There is very little support under the box which was clearly raised above the level of the deck I would guess about a foot or so in height. There is a conduit exiting the aft facing side of the box from what looks like dead in the center of the side and extending down along the side of the box to the deck below. It has a short S-bend near the bottom of the box taking the conduit a few inches further aft of box's side before reaching the level of the deck. If there is a fan inside then it must be for the 2nd class stairway inside the entrance. I wonder if it was used to ventilate the stairway itself? Its location would be over the first landing of the stairway forward on the way down toward the landing on A deck which had no exit.

John, I doubt it had anything to do with the elevator.
 

John Hummel

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The longer I think about this the more stumped I become. Logically, a fan for air circulation doesn't make sense, no other exhaust or intake fans anywhere on the boat deck are enclosed within a box or square shaped. - I do not see a motor or fan housing either and I don't see why it would need to be protected from the elements if no others are. The 2nd class stairwell probably would not need an exhaust or intake because of it's large open space extending many decks below, besides wouldn't the large fans on the aft wall be a more logical place to exhaust air? The size of the object would not correspond with the amount of air it would need to move within the stairwell as an intake. Sharing the same wall below on A-deck is the Starboard Verandah Cafe located inside, below the object is a door leading to the bar?? I am wondering if it is some sort of fuse box or electrical sub-station? I will continue my quest for the truth.
 

John Hummel

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I don't mean to seem obsessive about this but in doing a little further research if you look carefully at C-deck plans directly below this object you will find a 30' diameter fan but there is also one to port. I wonder??????
 

Bob Read

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This "mystery box" has been the subject of considerable debate. What has been called an electrical conduit has also been hypothesized as an overflow pipe. If that is so, then there would have been water in it. The best I have been able to come up with is that it may have been a tank for fish, lobster, etc. to keep them
fresh. Fish tanks are mentioned in some of Olympic's inventories of equipment so it is not out of the realm of possibility. Having it exposed on deck would have kept it cool most of the time in that climate.
Unfortunately no one has ever come up with a shred of hard evidence to prove what it may have been.

Regards,
Bob Read
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Thanks Steve for posting the picture. It appears that the box is clear up against the side of the 2nd class entrance structure and does not have all that much support under it. If it were a fish tank Bob I would expect to see a much greater supporting structure under it, probably with one support forward and a second aft instead of the single support in the center as shown.
 

Bob Read

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Sam:
I too have often wondered about the curiosity of the apparent single center support under the bottom. What we can't see are if there are any bracket attachments to the bulkhead of the deckhouse. What made some of us discard the electrical conduit theory was that you can see the pipe coming out of the box make a right angle. Then a short ways down it fits into a larger diameter pipe. This is not standard for electrical conduits if you examine them on the ventilators, etc. Having the overflow just above halfway would also cut down on the weight of any liquid inside but allow for the movement of the liquid inside without sloshing over the top. As I said it's still all conjecture.

Regards,
Bob Read
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Bob,

There was actually a tank provided on B deck for fish and lobster in the Restaurant galley area, as well as on G deck. All tanks were within designated fish storage rooms. It seems a very odd place to have a fish tank outside the 2nd class entrance ... and why there? There were other areas on the boat deck that would have warranted a more convenient location for a fish tank if one had to climb all the way up to get one, let alone toil with it right in front of all the passengers.

Daniel.
 

Bob Read

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Daniel:
I agree it's a theory that doesn't "hold much water", but for that matter none of the other theories I've heard does either. For any theory proposed you have the possibility of multiple objections, not the least of which is "why there?". That objection could be used for most of the theories I've seen. What's your guess?

Regards,
Bob Read
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Bob,

I'm absolutely baffled by the mystery box and the 1st time I ever saw that thing I thought it was an umbrella stand! Of course I don't actually think that but I really don't know what it is. My thought is that it has something to do with the bar & pantry below. It's interesting that it is important for it to be elevated and not to be standing on deck (or on much at all).

My point to the fish tank isn't "why there?" but, "that's not it" considering that the various fish storage areas were fitted with their own tanks for fish.

Daniel.
 
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Dec 4, 2000
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The base beneath the box is quite substantial, provided there is internal bracing inside the box. To my eye, the whole is timber. Raising a wooden box off the deck is good practice to prevent a "water sandwich" which results in rapid deterioration of the wood. The base gives air circulation to keep the timber dry so rot is inhibited.

Placing the box against the cabin wall allowed firm attachment. This reduced the need for an extensive base arrangement. And, it kept the box out of the way of passengers and crew.

Although it tells nothing about the use of the box, the shape of the base indicates the maker was a craftsman. Note the "toe kick" area is cut out, but done with a eye-sweet sweeping curve.

Two different size "pipes" or "conduits" is not surprising. The section coming through the deck was likely installed prior to fitting the box. At that time, the pipe was found too short and an extension installed. The mechanic used what he had at hand to get the job done.

The clip holding the pipe to the box appears to be unpainted. Perhaps it was installed last minute? perhaps under way?

The trim around the top of the box would have been a water trap and invited deterioration. It would have been installed only if necessary for the object to serve its purpose. One possibility is a fiddle to keep objects on top from rolling off. I doubt that was the case. Or, more likely, the trim pieces may indicate that the top is really a lift-off lid of some sort.

There are two "mystery boxes" on Titanic. This one, and another at the front of B deck. The one forward was obviously inset into a rail opening intended for the starboard ladder down to the well deck. It is neatly balanced with the port ladder, which remains. I've often wondered if these two mystery boxes are related because they are located where each has a full view of its respective end of the ship.

Then again, the boxes may just have been storage for the anchor bearing grease or soap for prop wash. Who knows?

-- David G. Brown
 

Bob Read

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As far as the B deck "mystery box", I agree that a lot of evidence points to something to do with creating a second opening for a starboard stairway to the well deck. I have in the past postulated that it was a cover over the necessary pieces to create the conversion. It may be a bit of a misnomer to call the B deck object a "mystery box". I think
mystery object is probably more descriptive because it really has no characteristics of a box.
I really don't see much connection between it and the aft boat deck "mystery box" other than the "mystery" part. I think there is more circumstantial evidence to point to a function for the forward B deck object than the aft Boat Deck object. Right mow we could call it a "black box" because it isn't giving us too many clues. I also agree with your postulation that the trim around the top has the appearance of a removable lid.

Regards,
Bob Read
 

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