Funnel Lights


Kyle Naber

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What was the point of the lights at the base of the funnels? They only light up a tiny portion of the entirety of it:

IMG_7583.JPG
 

Harland Duzen

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I think it was purely for aesthetic purposes to make the ship look nice at night ...

...or in this case, it's a glitch . Like Kyle Hudak Virtual Sailor model (which the sinking model is based on) there are no boundaries so you could zoom though the floor or walls. Maybe the light is bleeding though the wall or an interior light source.
 
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Kyle Naber

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I think it was purely for aesthetic purposes to make the ship look nice at night ...

...or in this case, it's a glitch . Like Kyle Hudak Virtual Sailor model (which the sinking model is based on) there are no boundaries so you could zoom though the floor or walls. Maybe the light is bleeding though the wall or an interior light source.
You can actually see a tiny little bulb at the base if you zoom in carefully. I always thought they would have looked more like spotlights instead of a small dot.
 
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Jim Currie

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As far as I know, there was no provision for funnel illumination and the funnels would most certainly not be illuminated at sea The lighting in the illustration is entirely wrong. Bulkhead lights on the boat deck were fitted with anti-glare shields at the forward end. This was to prevent interference with the bridge officer's night vision while at sea and to prevent blinding passengers emerging onto the boat deck from accommodation accesses. Here is a photograph of author Jaques Futrelle walking past the 1st Class entrance to the Gymnasium at the aft end of lifeboat No.7... the first boat to be launched. Note the bulkhead lights complete with anti-glare shields
Author Jacques Futrelle on boat deck, April 11, 1912.JPG
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Mar 18, 2008
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The funnels were not lighted, there was no use to do so. (The photograph taken by Francis Brown show actually Percival White.)
 
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Harland Duzen

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The funnels were not lighted, there was no use to do so. (The photograph taken by Francis Brown show actually Percival White.)
So it appears the idea of the Funnels being lighted is a myth / accident created during the making of the 1997 film either as a dramatic addition to enhance the scene or taken from another shipping company's style.

As for the photo that sparked this idea, it most likely is just a barrier or light texture that's accidentally poking though the deck. We should remember the sinking model shown by Titanic Honor & Glory is just a visual storyboard to help them animate (hence the 2D People).
 
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Aaron_2016

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I think the floodlights were just part of the Hollywood effects to allow the audience to see the ship in more detail. I believe the survivors could see the funnels even when the lights went out as the starlight would cast a bright shine onto the funnels. Survivor Mr. Collins was asked:

Q - If it was dark, how could you see?
A - We were not too far off. I saw the white of the funnel. Then she turned over again, and down she went.


They may have appeared like this as the bright starlight glared on them.


titanicnight1.PNG


Scene from Titanic (1943)

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Aaron_2016

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Photo of the liner Berengaria docking in 1935 at night. Built in 1912 (Formerly the Imperator).


berengaria.PNG


Her funnels are barely visible in the darkness with no electrical illumination.


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Jim Currie

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That seems to be one of the features of the Hotel Queen Mary.
Would that have been true doing its sailing days ?
How about present day ships ?
Never happened in any of ships I served in, Robert. It should be remembered that up until the advent of frequent flyers, passenger ships were the main mode of transport across the seas. In port, they were empty so no need to light up the funnels. At sea, it would have been a great big no-no.
 
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Aaron_2016

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I think the funnel on the Andrea Doria had lights to illuminate it at night. Must have been a sales tactic to increase her publicity.



andrea.PNG




I went to Southampton a few years ago and saw a number of cruise ships with their funnels illuminated. Must be a common trend on ships today.


aurora1.PNG

qe2ship1.PNG

sagarose1.PNG



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Hey guys, you're in 1912. Just what are you going to use to light up the outside of something the size of just one of Titanic's funnels? or four? Burning a barrel of pitch on the deck isn't practicable. Electricity is new and not too much had been invented in the way of spotlights. Arcs? Ever notice how quickly the carbons burn down? When Titanic set off the sun did a fine job of daylight illumination and at night...well, in mid-Atlantic not many passengers were about on deck to care. Think in historical context and get the right answer.

-- David G. Brown
 
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Dec 13, 2016
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I think the floodlights were just part of the Hollywood effects to allow the audience to see the ship in more detail. I believe the survivors could see the funnels even when the lights went out as the starlight would cast a bright shine onto the funnels. Survivor Mr. Collins was asked:

Q - If it was dark, how could you see?
A - We were not too far off. I saw the white of the funnel. Then she turned over again, and down she went..
I always wondered what was meant by "The white of the funnel" The funnels weren't white anywhere.
 

Kyle Naber

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I think they were just referring to the lighter part of the funnel under the black paint.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Mr. Clench saw the upturned collapsible boat and he said the people (including himself) mistook it for the top of a funnel:

Mr. Clench - US Inquiry:
"......I heard shouts. Of course I looked around, and I saw a boat in the way that appeared to be like a funnel. We started to back away then. We thought it was the top of the funnel. I put my head over the gunwale and looked along the water's edge and saw some men on a raft."

I recall another survivor who swam towards a white object and he also originally thought it was the top of a funnel and then realized it was the collapsible boat. I wonder if the port list made the tops of the funnels shine very brightly against the starlight which became more noticeable as the ship listed more to port and tilted her funnel tops towards them. It may have left a distinct impression with them, so that when the ship went down and they noticed a bright object in the water they mistook it for the top of a funnel.


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