Carpenters


Logan Geen

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Dec 2, 2001
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I have found these two men-John Maxwell and John Hutchinson-to be among the most mysetious of men that night. What exactly was their job? Was one more senior than the other? And when Smith said to "find the carpenter" didn't he know there were two? And why is the carpenter who was so involved in the damage inspection identifed always as Hutchinson? It seems Maxwell is generally forgotten. It's interesting that every source other than this site always mentions only one or the other never both. In fact some have even replaced Maxwell with Hutchinson. Any info anyone has would be greatly appreciated.
 

Chris Dohany

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Jan 8, 2001
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In truth, Maxwell was the ship's carpenter and Hutchinson was the ship's joiner, though both capacities entail carpentry. Given the difference in pay, I would say Maxwell had seniority.

It would make sense that by "carpenter," Smith was referring to Maxwell. I've not seen a true identity given to the "carpenter" who reported to Smith. In the Inquiry testimonies people who referred to the "carpenter" (Boxhall, Hichens, Olliver, Poingdestre, Robinson, etc.) never identified him by name.

Hemming and Perkis, likewise, both testified to "the joiner" telling them the extent of the flooding.
 

Logan Geen

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Dec 2, 2001
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I feel very stupid but why were they called carpenters? After all Captain Smiths said "sound the ship" (is there wood in the hull??) And also what exactly is a joiner? Lastly I read somewhere that Titanic carried 7 carpenters. Was that how many she would normally have carried? I believe the Queen Mary carried a similar number. All sources I've read have named Hutchinson as being involved in the damage inspections (I believe stewardess Anne Robinson identified him by name though I'm not sure) but without proof to support it.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Pure tradition! In days of old the carpenter really did a lot of work with wood, fixing broken spars, leaky boats and the like. It was also his duty to sound the ship to check for leaks. That made sense, as the ship was made of wood and he might find he had a job to do. By 1912 the carpenter had less woodwork to work on but the name and duties were retained.

My dictionary says that a joiner is one who works with wooden parts that are already cut and shaped. He merely puts somebody else's work together. Apparently terminology varies between nations.
 

James Hill

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Feb 20, 2002
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i can tell you the joiner is more seinor and his job is to reipair damage to woodwork and take care of woodwork.the carpenter i only know sounds the ship and i think takes care of the cargo my grandad told me that in stormy weather he must box up the cargo to protect it.its all i know sorry if im wrong on anything.
 
Feb 21, 2013
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Lloret de Mar, Gerona (Spain)
Lastly I read somewhere that Titanic carried 7 carpenters.
I think you're confusing the carpenters with the quartermasters, who were really 7. The carpenters/joiners were only 2, Maxwell and Hutchinson.

i can tell you the joiner is more seinor and his job is to reipair damage to woodwork and take care of woodwork.the carpenter i only know sounds the ship and i think takes care of the cargo
Actually it is my understanding that the carpenter was the most senior job (hence the bigger pay), followed by the joiner (smaller pay). Sounding the ship was no small feat.
 

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