Condensation Water at Portholes


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May 9, 2000
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Hi all!

While discussing the article "Ice on Deck" Daniel Klistorner threw up a pretty good question. He mentioned the possibility of condensation water at the portholes.

Specially in rooms where the air humidity was pretty high there probably was condensation at the portholes. I believe that on ships generally there is a pretty high air humidity inside. In the night of disaster it was cold outside and warm inside. Combined with a certain level of air humidity in the ship this could have created more or less condensation water at the portholes. I am not sure but I think "more" could be correct. And what about the windows of the bridge? Clear or to be wiped inside?

This could be an interesting aspect for directors of future films. I only recall clear windows in the films (exception: Rose & Jack in the car...).

Regards Henning
 

Dave Hudson

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Henning,

Since the bridge was open on the sides, I doubt that the windows would have had condensation. The wheelehouse windows may well have had some. It would be interesting to know how that was delt with. This brings up another interesting question although a bit off topic. How was the bridge heated? Wouldn't the officers have been COLD?!

David
 
Oct 28, 2000
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Deck officers of 1912 came out of sail where all watches are stood in the weather. Just having a roof overhead would have been considered a luxury by most clipper ship captains. The open bridge allowed officers to stand watch not only by looking for dangers around the ship, but also by listening for the sounds of other ships (foghorns, etc.) and subtle changes in the sea that might indicate foul weather.

Wheelhouses to provide protection for the QM came along well before Titanic. Standing at the wheel was not the best way to keep warm on a cold, windy night, so protection for the QM made sense.

Up through WWII most ocean ships still had open bridges. On the Great Lakes, the opposite was true. My next book takes place in 1913. Most lake freighters of that era had enclosed pilot houses with steam heat.

For those who don't know..the term "bridge" comes from the early days of sidewheel steamships. Officers found that by standing on the paddle boxes of sidewheel ships they had a better view than from their conventional location on the quarterdeck at the stern. It wasn't long before somebody connected the paddle boxes with...you guessed it, a bridge.

--David G. Brown
 
May 9, 2000
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hi David, hi David,

your answers have convinced me that there was no condensation water on the bridge. Because I love hunting for ethymological meanings of commonly used but somehow unusual terms I appreciated a lot David´s explanations where the term "bridge" came from.

As a "Landratte" (= "Land Rat"; german expression for people who never went to sea) now I also believe that the brigde was not heated. Deck officers probably left the bridge pretty often: outside, inside, outside again. Different temperatures would quickly cause a cold. And a heater on the bridge would mean, that they would have to carry their coat outside, no coat inside, coat outside. Better to have the same temperatur outside and inside...

Back to condensation. Now, what about the portholes of the cabins, the windows of the Verandah Café and so on...? Should film directors consider some condensation in there?

Best regards Henning
 
Oct 28, 2000
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Henning -- The best answer to your condensation question has to be "maybe." It would depend upon the relative humidity of the air inside the ship and the temperature of the glass. If the compartment had a lot of people exhaling moisture-laden air, condensation would be more likely. So, if condensation did occur, I would expect it on portlights in the larger 3rd class spaces than on those of a 2 person 1st class stateroom.

One ferry that I ran had a small, glass-enclosed pilot house. Everything was fine with just the captain inside. But, when the crew came in to warm up, the windows would "fog up." My solution was to find plenty of work outside the pilot house for the crew.

--David G. Brown
 
Dec 7, 2000
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I agree with David,

By 11:40 on Sunday most of the public rooms would have been exchanged by passengers for their cabins. Although one or so tables remained in the Cafe Parisien by the time Titanic struck, there were several more not long before that, so condensation may still have been present on the windows. The Smoke Room may well have had some, but as the windows were stained glass, no one would have noticed it. The Lounge was a LARGE room and with only four people in it, so there was likely little condensation there. Other rooms were most probably vacant by 11:40.

Daniel.
 
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