Did people and the press really marvel so greatly at Titanic?


Bob Godfrey

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Arrr, Jim lad, I didn't describe the Edwardian era as 'golden' - I suggested that it was first perceived as such by those who were up to their necks in mud and bullets a few years later. All things are relative!

Point taken about the ship's elasticity. My own dimensions increase in a heat wave, but mainly because of an increased beer intake.
 

Bob Godfrey

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There's nothing like the past. And of course there never was anything like the past as we recollect it. There are some great threads here, Jim, (if you can find 'em) where all those of us who have cleared a space on our mantelpieces for the Queen's telegram gather to discuss fond memories of gas mantles, wireless sets powered by accumulators, penny chews and Izal Medicated (shiny on one side and very shiny on the other). And mantelpieces and telegrams of course. Or rather the others discuss memories - I still use all that stuff. Make Do and Mend, I say. This is the point where Monica generally appears to say it's all b...aloney.
 

Jim Currie

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Arrr, Jim lad, I didn't describe the Edwardian era as 'golden' -

I knew that..just testing you.:rolleyes:

I got rid of the old glass accumulator last week. Couldn't find a hadware shop that would swop me for a charged one.

I've still got my old valve wireless given to me by my Mum and Dad for my 16th. needless to say it's an Alba. Honest.... and it still works on Short Wave but Long and Medium have gone to hell in a basket. Now I find that I can't get Radio Caroline or Hilversum wherever the hell that was.

Jim C.
 

Jim Currie

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Hello there Blimp! May I call you Blimp?:cool:

You wrote:

"talking about 1912 events while using old-fashioned dialects."

I take it that when you write 'old fashioned dialects', you mean speaking proper Engilsh and pronouncing the words in the way they were meant to be pronounce... in a way that others could understand what was being said? If you do then I think you have solved a very difficult problem I and others of my generation have been experiencing lately.

Let me explain.

Like many people nowadays. I have multi-channel TV which churns-out the most awful drivel disguised as entertainment. However it's not all bad. In fact some of it is very good. The plots of many of these mini series such as the CSIs etc are very well though-out and in some cases, ingenious.
However it is just as well these programmes are visual and not on my old steam radio ( Bob's is more modern. His works with electricity). I say just as well because for some reason or other, the actors.. mostly the female ones (Whatever happened to Actresses?) are hell-bent on concealing information from the audience. They snivvel and snort. They run nazal sounds together in a steam of verbal diarrhoea and end sentences in a crescendo. At least I think they are sentences because although I can't understand a damn thing that is being said, the sound stops.
It is getting so bad, that although my first language is English, I now find I have to read the Portuguese sub-titles running underneath to get the gist of the more subtle parts of the tale.

Is it just me?

Jim C.
 

Bob Godfrey

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My wireless is even older, and still works great with a new crystal. Dates back to the time when the newsreaders wore evening dress. Can't get Peter Brough and Educating Archie though. Now that was a great example of good old British improvisation. What do you do with the World's worst ventroloquist? Put him on the wireless, of course!
 
Jun 11, 2000
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"... Monica generally appears to say that it's all b...aloney."

Well, I've never actually visited Bob's gaff, but I've sat in horrified fascination many a time listening to descriptions of it in ancient pubs in London, like Dirty Dick's ("Oh, they've cleaned it up" lamented Bob). I do think longing for the past is baloney, but I think Bob's exaggerating his 1950s lifestyle only slightly as he's sent me a pic of his living room.
Out of sight, of course, is a bank of computers and a nest of cables as Bob does subscribe to modern communications.

Paul Rogers and I are determined to visit this year in the summer, when we have wrapped up warm, and will insist on access to the loft to view his comprehensive collection of 1950s Beanos.
 

Blimp Edwards

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Jan 25, 2013
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Thanks for the input, all. I'm not very old and even I have trouble keeping up with the latest lingo of the high schoolers. As an American who likes movies about Britian, Scotland, etc., it seems like it's as bad or worse on that side of the pond!

Pretty incredible about how much people "forgot" about the Titanic over the years, but now you'd be very hard pressed to meet someone that doesn't admit to being at least mildly fascinated by it. I remember being upset when Cameron's film came out because suddenly everyone was an expert on the Titanic, if not because they had seen the movie, then because they saw the dozens of documentaries we were bombarded with on the History Channel in response to the film's success. I had a passion for the Titanic since the 1st grade! I still have a little early readers book all about it.

Titanic was 1,004 tons larger mostly because of the enclosed A deck promenade. This increased the amount of enclosed space on Titanic, compared to Olympic, and in the context Walter Lord was referring to, tonnage (Gross Tonnage, to be exact) referred to enclosed volume, not weight.

Getting back to my latest question, then. Both ships were basically the same length, is that right? About 882' 6" (on a cold day, at least)? So the main difference was in tonnage, as Michael pointed out? That's what makes Titanic "bigger" than Olympic, and indeed the "largest" moving object on the planet at the time? Was the Britannic also the same length, but heavier still?

Thanks, guys. I'm preparing a little presentation (nothing of consequence) for the anniversary in a few weeks and want to have my facts straight. There's already a landscape of misinformation out there!

Dan
 

Blimp Edwards

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Oh, and by the way. I've watched most of the films out there and I have to say I enjoyed 1953's "Titanic" much more than 1958's "A Night to Remember." The whole story with the father and his relationship with his son, it really tugged at the heartstrings! I still have the 1943 German film sitting around waiting to be watched.

Dan
 

Jim Currie

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Hello Dan,

Just to keep your marine knowledge bank in the blue: Ships have several 'tonnages'. The one that jumps out of the page at everyone is the long ton. i.e. a weight measure of 2240 pounds. Up until not too long ago, we Brits used non- metric measures.

The other 'tonnages' were:

Gross Tonnage and Net Tonnage. Both these tonnages were based on cubic capacity.

Gross Tonnage was the volume of the enclosed spaces of a ship below a certain deck. These were measured by Board of Trade Surveyors who then converted them into tons. Each ton was not a weight but a volume of 100 cubic feet. Certain spaces above that deck were not included in the Gross Tonnage.
Net Tonnage was the tonnage upon which port and harbour dues were assessed. It follows that the bigger the Net Tonnage.. the higher the costs of berthing.
Net Tonnage was found by deduction certain exempt spaces from Gross Tonnage. These spaces included:
Master and Crew Accommodation.
Chain Lockers ans spaces for working anchors.
Steering gear spaces.
Workshops.
Water ballast only tanks with a maximum of 19% of the Gross Tonnage.
Propulsion machinery spaces.. maximum 55% net of Gross tonnage after all other deductions.
I suppose you could say that after all the allowed deductions were made from Net Tonnage, the resultant was the earning capacity of the ship.

Titanic's length over all .. her extreme design length... was 882 feet 9 inches. See here Titanic Navigation and South Australian Cruising for more details.

On her Certificate of Registry, her length is described as being 852' 06". However that is measured from the outside of the bow (just where Di Caprio stood) to a line drawn vertical upward from the stern post. It does not include the stern overhang which was 30' 03"

Hello there Bruce! (Monica in New Zealand speak). Nice to see you back if only to keep Bob in line.

Jim C.
 

Blimp Edwards

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Sorry, Bob. Jim had said 882' 6" on a cold day so that's what I was referring to. I'll stick with 882' 9" if that's the more "average" length. Though I was mostly curious if there was any difference between the lengths of Olympic and Titanic, and it sounds like there wasn't.

Interesting about the tonnage calculations. That makes sense. I remember reading that the Titanic was considered larger than the Olympic mainly due certain enclosed promenades, so it all adds up now.

Dan
 
Oh, and by the way. I've watched most of the films out there and I have to say I enjoyed 1953's "Titanic" much more than 1958's "A Night to Remember." The whole story with the father and his relationship with his son, it really tugged at the heartstrings!
Hi Dan, I watched both of those a few weeks ago and I must say... [I KNOW this is gonna be VERY UNPOPULAR on here... But you gotta do what you gotta do :rolleyes:] nothing beats in my eyes the 1997 movie. :p
 
C

Caroline Mendes Ferreira

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I have not had the opportunity to watch the 1953, but I'll watch. But I have to say nothing beats with James Cameron, 1997 I think it was one of the best I've ever seen.:D
 
T

Titanic Malaysia

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Come to think about it, sad though it may be, the 1912 sinking of Titanic is what kept her memory alive with so many of us, a century (and many generations!) later... Had Titanic survived the accident and, say, continued serving the White Star Line until her scrapping in the 1930s (similar to Olympic), she would have been just like any other ocean liner of the day and will be forgotten over time...

As for films like what you guys are talking about, I've only watched the 1997 "Titanic" once... Not really a fan of that movie, to be honest, but it's the doomed liner that has kept me interested in her for so many years... In fact, the 40" Titanic that you see as my avatar and signature picture only came a few days ago (I got the ship via a hard-fought eBay auction, which is why she's such a prized possession today) and it's a nice coincidence that her arrival is just around a week before the 101st anniversary of the disaster! ;)
 
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I'd like to get back to Dan's original question-

Dan, keep in mind That Titanic was number 2 going into service. Olympic was the first so she pioneered the Olympic Class which was a scaled-up version of White Star's Adriatic. If you google image search "RMS Adriatic" you'll see so many similarities, she looked like a little Olympic with similar design, promanade decks, and so on. (On a side note, Titanic surviving officers returned to England after the US inquireies on board Adriatic.)

So olympic got all the publicity at the time. When looking at each ships madien voyages you can see that Olympic had more 1st & 2nd class passengers aboard.

Madien Voyages -

RMS Olympic (06-14-1911)
1st: 408
2nd: 307
3rd: 609

RMS Titanic (04-10-1912)
1st: 324
2nd: 285
3rd: 708

Olympic earned the name "The Ship Magnificent" which Titanic never got to carry. These ships weren't revolutionary, but evolutionary. If not for Titanic's sinking they simply would have faded into shipping history. Before Olympic's launch White Star was already bragging about Olympic & Titanic as being the largest and finest steamers afloat, underneath that usually in a smaller print you'd read "Building". Cunard Line's Lusitania and Mauritania had stolen the limelight from White Star being the largest and fastest steamers afloat in 1907. This made White Star's fleet look rather old, small, and sluggish. The last new liner they had received was the SS Magantic in 1908 (This also looked like a smaller Olympic) So this was when W.S. and H&W decided to scale up the design of the big four class and create the Olympic Class.

Olympic's machinery wasn't revolutionary. At the time, SS Magentic & SS Laurentic were used as a form of full-scale experiment to decide on the machinery for the Olympic and her sisters, the Megantic being a conventional twin propelled ship with quadruple expansion engines while the Laurentic, with the same hull and boiler power, was given three propellers and engines of a revolutionary design. Again Olympic was just scaled up. Adriatic also had the first swimming pool afloat as well. This design feature was also put on Olympic.

So in answer to your question, Olympic & Titanic weren't on the words of every person out there. But Surely from 1907-1911 They were the talk of the shipping world. If you were in the shipping business or followed the shipping business then Olympic & Titanic were what you discussed... until the newer bigger ship came along. Then it would be the talk of the town, pushing Olympic & Titanic onto the back burner.

They were usually always refereed to as "Olympic & Titanic" also Olympic had alot of her own publicity where Titanic didn't. By the time Titanic was ready to sail she was news, but not as big of news as Olympic. If you were alive in 1912 and in the shipping industry you would definitely have talked with others over cigars and brandy about "The grand new Olympic". Olympic did receive the publicity that we today associate with Titanic. However back in the day having the same conversation in 1912, you may have mentioned "Olympic's sister ship Titanic sails next week." Titanic lived in Olympic's Shadow until she sank and became the talk of the world.

Now Olympic & Titanic were both at one point the "largest" ship in the world (I usually say heaviest ship afloat so there's not confusion where we all start talking about each ships length - which Olympic & Titanic were the same). A ships weight was what made her the "largest", and Titanic weighed more than Olympic due to her extra suites, cafe Parisian, and enclosed A deck promenade. This fact, her weight, bumped Olympic out of the top slot and down to number 2, even though to the public Olympic was still the flagship of the line and Titanic was just simply number 2 entering into service. That is until 2:20am on April 15th 1912. When Titanic's stern disappeared from sight Olympic regained her title of Largest ship in the world. So Lusitania was the largest (heaviest) ship in the world in 1907 until Mauritania was launched then she took the title. She kept it until Olympic showed up in 1911. Olympic was very popular because the world hadn't seen a larger ship since Mauretania so it was a big deal, tho not as big as we all make it out to be today. Then Titanic took the title from Olympic in 1912 until she sank then Olympic got it back until the Imperator arrived in 1913, Imperator was knocked out by the Vaterland, which was knocked out by the Britannic in 1914. Britannic lost the title to Bismark later that year (renamed Majestic in 1922). The Bismark/Majestic lost the title to Normandie in 1935 and Normandie lost the title to RMS Queen Elizabeth in 1940. And so on up til MS Allure of the Seas in 2010.

So there's the very long answer for you Dan. The short one is, no. Today we play it up like it was the THE EVENT OF 1912. when in reality it wasn't. It was just another ship entering into service. That is until 11:40pm on April 14th, when everything changed. Then is WAS the event of 1912 knocking everything else of the front page. After the hype of the sinking died down, Olympic simply became another ship and everyone, especially H&W and White Star, wanted nothing more than to forget Titanic existed. Belfast wouldn't even speak the name for years as they were ashamed and devastated. It wasn't until later that Belfast started saying "She was alright when she left here". From roughly 1913 until Walter Lords book came out, titanic was just a page in the history books, and not popular at all. Until that point she was looked upon by many as a horrible failure that no one wanted to talk about. From 1913 until his death, Bruce Ismay forbid any friends or family from mentioning Titanic around him. And he refused to read news of Olympic being scrapped in 1935. When Olympic died, so did he. He had a miserable life, even lost a leg. He died October 17, 1937 never speaking of Titanic, Olympic, or Britannic ever.


Cheers

Jeff E Truesdell



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Hi all, my name is Dan and this is my first post. I've been fascinated all my life by Titanic and the subject enthralls me. Compared to you guys I am merely a casual fan, however. I know a lot more than your average Joe but that's probably about it. Still, I often fall asleep thinking about her, and wake up thinking about her.

I was always confused about something, though, and I'm hoping you guys can shed a little light on it. Whenever you read about Titanic or watch a documentary, they always start out by saying how people at the time simply marveled at her incredible size and magnificence. They say that people at the time called it the "Wonder Ship" or the "Ship of Dreams" and all that. Now I understand the desire for good story telling, and I know it doesn't sound as interesting or romantic to say that there are ships today that nearly dwarf Titanic, like the Oasis-class liners, and it most definitely does the story no favors to remind people that Titanic had two sister ships that were very similar in size and luxury.

My confusion is, is this just good story-telling, or did people and the press really marvel so greatly at Titanic (before she sank, that is). They claim that the world was in love with Titanic even before the incident, and it seems mentioned far too often for me to totally blow it off as an untruth. I can't figure out why the building of Titanic and her setting out on her maiden voyage would have been such an earth-shattering event (again, even before the catastrophe) when Olympic had already been in service for nearly a year. You'd think an "unsinkable ship" of Titanic's size and luxury would be somewhat old news being that it followed the birth of Olympic.

Just hoping someone can clarify this a little, or set me straight if I have things wrong somehow. Just good story telling, or is it true?

Thanks!

Dan
 

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