Color of Olympic

May 18, 2004

Forgive me if this has been asked and I have not been able to find it. In all the photos of Olympic's launch she is painted white. Can anyone give me a reason why? Like I said, my apologies if this has been asked before. I have not ever run across the reason for this in any of my books.


rene bergeron

Jun 16, 2001
Hello Geoff, I am pretty sure that the Olympic was painted white or light gray so that, on launch day it would stand out from Titanic for the photographers.
Regards Rene

Nick Rose

Nov 4, 2003
To add to this, what color was the stripe? It appears black in the pictures, however several color renderings Ive found show the stripe as being yellow/gold. I feel if that was the case, the stripe would be a lot more faint


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Hi Nick:
Two things are going on in the black and white Olympic launch photo you posted. First, the photo is taken with the normal blue sensitive black and white film used back then. It made warm colors like reds and yellows look much darker than they were. The second thing is that there is quite a bit of contrast in that photo. If you look at the men at the stern, they look uniformly black. To illustrate what I am talking about, below is a photo of the stern of Titanic. The top image is with normal contrast. You can see how the blue sensitive black and white film makes the yellow sheer line and the "T" of the Titanic name appear quite dark. The lower photo is the same photo with the contrast increased slightly. You can still see differences in the tone of the passengers. Their faces aren't completely black like in the Olympic photo. But now look at the sheer line and the "T" of the name Titanic. They have "disappeared" and look as black as the hull. I think this explains how they could have a yellow sheer line and it could appear "black". The yellow is not a bright lemon yellow but rather a more golden yellow like yellow ochre.


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