Emergency wireless on the Olympics


Status
Not open for further replies.

Remco Hillen

Member
Dec 13, 1999
322
9
263
Hello,

A couple of weeks ago I read a post on the Olympic forum by, I thought, Brigitte Saar.
It was about Olympic being in a fierce storm; she was apparently not able to use the wireless because of a malfunction with the wires or something like that.
The next point was interesting; the Marconi operator rigged up an emergency set/wires between 2 funnels.
Was such an emergency set normal on ships? I can somewhat imagine that it was after the Titanic disaster.
Would Titanic have had an emergency set?

Just out of interest.

Regards,
Remco
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
261
358
Both Olympic and Titanic were equipped with the same emergency set. It consisted of 8 accumulators powering a spark gap connected to a 10" induction coil. The emergency set was provided in the event of a casualty to the ship's electrical supply and was part of the standard marine telegraph station before the Titanic disaster. Since ship's power was available almost to the very end, Phillips and Bride never had to resort to using it, although they evidently prepared for the possibility.

I'm not aware of the specific incident mentioned above, but it sounds like part of the wireless aerial, which was strung high between the masts, was carried away by the storm and that some kind of replacement aerial had to be jury-rigged between the funnels. If this was the case, Olympic may not have needed to use her emergency set per se, although the normal wireless apparatus would have had to had its settings changed in order to match the wavelength of the emergency aerial.

Parks
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
261
358
I should make it clear, having re-read my post above, that the standard and emergency sets both used the same aerial for transmission and reception. When the operator shifted to the emergency set, one of the actions he had to take was to switch the aerial lead between two plug sockets in the Marconi Room. When Olympic lost her aerial, both sets became dependent on the jury-rigged aerial. There was no separate aerial for use with just the emergency set.

Parks
 

Remco Hillen

Member
Dec 13, 1999
322
9
263
Thanks Parks! Interesting information as always.

My reply is a bit late, but I was waiting for the Olympic messageboard to come back online to post the artical/give a link.
Pitty that the board is still offline.

Rigging an emergency aerial sounds like a hazardous job, even without a storm. I can imagine that there would have been points where the emergency aerial could be connected to..?

Regards,
Remco
 

Bill Sauder

Member
Nov 14, 2000
230
20
263
Remco,

Not to muscle into Park's territory but I would suspect that the easiest way to rig an emergency aerial would be to use the painters' eyes in the funnels as attachment points.

Bill Sauder
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
261
358
I think what Bill says is probably what they did. I'm not aware of any attachment points dedicated for the erection of an emergency aerial, so it would make sense that they would use whatever was available; in this case. as Bill suggested, the funnels' painters' eyes.

It must have been a hard blow, indeed. The aerial used stranded 7/19" silicon bronze wires. All junctions were reinforced with No. 20 copper wire. I would be curious to learn where the aerial failed...did one of the insulators break, did the bridle collapse, etc? The answer may not be known.

Parks
 

Remco Hillen

Member
Dec 13, 1999
322
9
263
I found the artical again, using Google's 'in cache' option. It was posted by Brigitta Lienhard.

- Taken from the Daily Mail, Monday December 19th, 1921 -
" I have never experienced such a storm in the whole of my 40 years at sea," said Commodore Sir Bertram Hayes, the Captain of the White Star Liner Olympic, to a Daily Mail reporter yesterday, describing the tempest into which the ship ran last Monday night in the Atlantic Ocean when just south of Newfoundland. The storm so delayed her journey that she did not reach Southampton until 2 p.m. on Saturday - 22 hours behind her scheduled time. The same storm, a cyclone which originated in the gulf of Mexico, travelled North to Newfoundland, and then in an easterly direction to the coast of Norway, where its gales so affected the waters of the North Sea as to cause the flooding of Hull, was encountered by the White Star Line Megantic which reached Liverpool yesterday afternoon. It was described as one of the most terrific hurricanes of the vessel's career. "It was the most peculiar storm, which sent the waves rolling up in high peaks tossing the Olympic about like a leaf," said Sir Bertram Hayes, continuing his account of his ship's experience. "I have sampled the ordinary confused seas many times, but never one like this. It began on December 11 at 12 o'clock midnight. The ship seemed to stand it splendidly. "JUST OUR BUSINESS" " When the gale was at its height, some of the ports broke in and damage to furniture occurred. Fortunately, all the passengers were below. They behaved themselves wonderfully well. The storm itself lasted till about dawn. The gale in addition to other damage, took away our wireless apparatus. Our operators got to work under great difficulties and rigged up an emergency wireless between two funnels, and we were only without wireless communication for a few hours." Sir Bertram did not go below or take his clothes off for five days, until he had piloted the vessel into the English Channel. "It is just our business," he said. "Any other vessel than the Olympic would have fared very badly," he added, " but she behaved splendidly all through, except for the rolling, which tickled us up a bit for the moment. The damage to the ship, which was after all slight, has now been repaired, and the old vessel will set out again on her return voyage to New York at scheduled time on Wednesday." One passenger, Domenico Serafini, was thrown down and killed while the storm was at its worst and another, John Ousik, a Czecho-Slovakian, had a foot so badly crushed that amputation was found to be necessary. The operation was successfully performed by the ship's doctor. More that £600 was found in the pockets of Serifini.

[End]


Regards,
Remco
 
Status
Not open for further replies.