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Funnel Face

Discussion in 'Titanic Photographs & other Images' started by steve b, Jul 1, 2001.

  1. steve b

    steve b Guest

    Just started into a new book, by Stephen Spignesi, called "The Complete Titanic", and have read a couple of interesting items so far, and id like to share a few for group consumption..."One odd story told about the Queenstown stop involved the ships 4th funnel-a nun functioning funnel used only as a vent for the kitchen. As passengers were awaiting titanics departure, many of them saw a soot blackened face peering out of the 4th funnel, looking down upon the ship. A stoker had climbed the ladder inside the funnel, and when he reached the top, he peered down upon the mingling passengers. The effect of a black face staring out of the giant funnel was diusturbing to many aboard, and some saw it as an omnious symbolic harbinger"..also interesting to me was that the author noted enroute to Queenstown from Cherbourg was the fact the Thomas Andrews ran a 10 minute test of emergency closing of the watertight doors, complete with ringing alarm bells sounding, and this was done according to the author to assure the rest of the crew that she was fully functional. Just wondering, but had any test of the closing been done prior??
  2. Dave Hudson

    Dave Hudson Member


    There is in fact a photograph of the ominous black face peering down from the fourth funnel. I have always somewhat doubted this story, though, since there was only one recollection of the occurrence and the "head" in the photo looks more like a scratch on the picture rather than a human. It is a minuscule dot with apparently no shoulders or neck. Besides, was there even access to the inside of the top of the fourth funnel? I doubt it was like in Adventure Out of Time!

  3. It's interesting that when Olympic arrived in New York for the first time, two passengers were apparently spotted at the top of her fourth funnel, as well, but not stokers in this case; yet it wasn't a sign of bad luck for her. She proved very popular; Lusitania went by and did not sound her whistle in salute, because her master apparently didn't notice the massive Olympic, being saluted by every other ship and waved at by so many people!
  4. steve b

    steve b Guest

    I guess if you go by what the author says, if you read his direct quote, it indicates many saw the face and apparently believed it. Heck i would be curious enough to climb the ladder and see the view, but then you all know im off center as is anyway happy.gif
  5. Dave Hudson

    Dave Hudson Member

    If it was a stoker at the top of the stack, he couldn't have climbed the ladder on the front of the funnel to get there. In the photo, his head is poking up just over the rim of the top. He was literally inside the funnel. The ladder on the front stopped at the whistles and did not go all the way to the top. He would have had to come up through the inside of the funnel to get to the top. I don't even think that that is possible, which leads me to my sceptism.

  6. Joshua Gulch

    Joshua Gulch Member

    If you look at the photo, he's inside the funnel. As David said, he could have climbed the ladder on the front. I don't know how ladders and platforms were arranged inside the funnel, so I can't offer any explanation.

    I took the photo and added a close-up for reference.

    Man in the funnel photo

    I had to put it in a webpage because all previews on ET wouldn't post the photo correctly, showing only the Angelfire logo.

  7. Joshua Gulch

    Joshua Gulch Member

    I'm sorry, that should have read:
    As David said, he could NOT have climbed the ladder on the front.

    Sorry 'bout that.

  8. steve b

    steve b Guest

    Man thats so tough to tell anything based on the photo, i sure hope i wouldnt get called into court and be forced to testify about it lol. But the quote from the author did state the man climbed from inside the funnel, not outside. And heck yea i believe, theres people that just love doing goofy things in every generation. Heck i was reading about one crewman who hid in a mail sack and jumped out in either Cherbourg or Queenstown, just because he was looking for a free ride home. But based on what im hearing here, if this was done on other ships climbing the funnels, then it seems like it was a fairly common thing. Good job on the photo post Joshua, even if i cant really tell, its still a nice look at Tita
  9. Joshua Gulch

    Joshua Gulch Member

    The head shows up better in the books than the scan. I think that "Last Days of the Titanic" has a clearer version of it, but that's going on memory as I don't have the book.

  10. Mac Smith

    Mac Smith Guest

    One of the funnels was a dummy, added for asthetic reasons, I have read. The fourth funnel, I believe.

    Mac Smith
  11. steve b

    steve b Guest

    Hmm, any explanations for reasons that might have been? thats interesting
  12. The new German liners had four funnels, Mauretania had four funnels. the public associated four funnels with speed, power, strength and safety. Pirrie thought four funnels would give the ships better lines than three funnels...
  13. The newish 1890s/1900s German liners had four funnels, Mauretania had four funnels. the public associated four funnels with speed, power, strength and safety. Pirrie thought four funnels would give the ships better lines than three funnels...
  14. Dear all,

    There is a wonderful illustration of what you are talking about at the following adress : www.fatherbrowne.com
    Choose "Gallery" and then "View stern of the Titanic".
    The picture is very clear.

    Bests regards.

  15. steve b

    steve b Guest

    Phil-Thats an amazingly good pic, and it looks too good to be just a dot or glitch on the photo. Seems to lend credence to the story being real, for as passengers apparently have testified to seeing it and now there is a fairly clear view of something there. My best guess would be to go by what the passengers saw, for as they had the closest view. By the way, was there ever any claim amongst the stokers as to who it was up there? Did any of them claim to be the black face? Another nice job on a pic post, when i first started this thread i had no idea there was even a pic available about the incident. Then in less than 24 hours there are 2 on here. A remarkable tribute to you al
  16. Steve,

    I'll try to find more information about this "incident".

    It seems that one crewman escaped the engine room during the sinking by climbing up the inside of the fourth funnel and coming out on the upper deck. But I don't have any information about that at this moment.

    I'll try to find the name of the passenger(s) who saw "the black face".

    The Father Browne's picture seems me interesting but I'll try to find some comments about that from Father Browne Association.

    Stay on !

    Bests regards.

  17. Joshua Gulch

    Joshua Gulch Member

    I don't think the story about the crewman coming from the funnel and onto the boat deck is true. There wasn't any sort of hatch in the base of the funnel to allow that. The best he could possibly do was to climb all the way up to the top, then hop over the foreward side and hope he caught the ladder. If not, he'd be splattered all over the deck below.

    In any case, it's highly doubtful.

  18. Remco Hillen

    Remco Hillen Member

    Perhaps they took the circular ladder which was inside the turbine engine casing(don't know where it starts though...deckplans seem to indicate that it starts as high up as D-deck), this ladder had an exit at the Boatdeck.

    On Britannic, crew from the engine rooms also escaped last minute.
    I quote from Simon Mills's great 'Last Titan':

    'They escaped via the only possible route left to them; up the staircase and through the funnel casing of the fourth smoke stack which acted as a ventilator for the reciprocating engine room.'

  19. Joshua Gulch

    Joshua Gulch Member

    I forgot about the spiral stairway from the turbine room. That could be possible, coming out of the deckhouse below the funnel.

    I was saying that there wasn't a way out of the funnel itself, though below it yes, the casings had hatches and stairways.

  20. Josh,

    I found the testimony of greaser Thomas Ranger :
    4025. By the time you had stopped the 45 fans, did you see members of the crew going on deck? - No.
    4026. When you had finished after the three quarters of an hour what did you do next? - I went back to the electric storeroom.
    4026. Back again to E deck? - Yes.
    4027. When you got to E deck did you go to the electric store room which you had been in before? - No, I went up the dummy funnel. There are four fans situated up the dummy funnel.
    4028. Where is that? You have told us where the electric store room was. Now where is that? Is it forward or aft? - Aft.
    4029. Is it immediately aft, or some way aft? - The after funnel of the ship leads down to it.
    The Commissioner: The after funnel is a dummy funnel?
    The Attorney-General: Yes; it does not serve fire at all.
    The Commissioner: It is that funnel that is the dummy?
    The Attorney-General: Yes, it is plain if you look at that.
    The Commissioner: It is used for ventilation?
    The Attorney-General: Yes.
    The Solicitor-General: The six boiler rooms are grouped in pairs of two.
    4030. (The Attorney-General.) The three forward funnels work the six boiler rooms; each one works two; and the third one works the one lot of double-ended boilers and the one lot of single; that is how it stands. (To the Witness.) Then you went up the dummy funnel to the boat deck? - Yes."

    I don't have any detail deckplan. Can you check it for me ? Thanks !

    Bests regards