God himself couldn't sink this ship

Feb 24, 2004
And it all comes down to what is "practical."

"Practicality" - Concerned with actual use rather than theoretical possibilities; the state of being practical or feasible; in practice, in effect, not necessarily officially the case but what actually occurs; almost, not completely.

Apparently, "practically unsinkable" was interpreted by the ego of the beholder, but not by the brain.

Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
MAB note: Back in 2003, Cedric was described here as "unsinkable." Here's more of the same, and (to follow tomorrow) then some.

The Washington Times, 25 November 1903
Original article digitized by the Library of Congress
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,
Chronicling America « Library of Congress

Largest Steamer in the World Reported Lost in Midocean
Regard Vessel as Unsinkable, But Friends of Passengers Anxious

LIVERPOOL, Nov 25---A rumor, the source of which cannot be traced, is
current today that the White Star liner Cedric has been in collision with a
Lamport & Holt liner in mid-Atlantic and that the Cedric sank with all
hands on board.

The rumor is nowhere credited, but friends of those aboard the Cedric are
anxiously awaiting news of her arrival.

New York Incredulous

NEW YORK, Nov. 25---The officials of the White Star Line in this city have
not received any advices regarding the reported sinking of the steamer
Cedric, and they place no credence in the rumor. They point out the fact
that the Cedric is practically non-sinkable, being provided with several
water-tight compartments and with water-tight bulkheads.

One of the officials said that a dozen holes could be punched in the hull of
the Cedric and that she would continue to float. The vessel is expected to
arrive here late tomorrow night or or early Friday morning, having sailed
from Liverpool on November 18 and from Queenstown on the day following.

"Accident Impossible"

PHILADELPHIA, Pa., Nov. 25---A high official of the International Mercantile
Marine Company said today, concerning the Cedric rumor:

"Such an accident is impossible.

The Cedric is now probably off the Grand Banks. The Lamport & Holt ships are
engaged in passenger and freight service between New York and South American
ports, principally Pernambuco. So any vessel of the line would be thousands
of miles distant from the Cedric in any event.

"Besides, the Lamport liners sail but once a month---on the 5th. This is an
another fact showing the improbability of the tale. I am confident the
Cedric will be sighted off Fire Island tomorrow or next day.

Largest Vessel in the World

"The Cedric in addition to being the largest vessel in the world, is one of
the most modern. She is provided with with many water-tight bulkheads and
is unsinkable. The vessel is of 21,035 tons burden and the Lamport & Holt
liners are comparatively small ships of greatly reduced tonnage. If either
vessel should sink it wouldn't be the Cedric."


Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
MAB note: "If she were cut in two her halves would float." Now where have we heard that before?

New-York Tribune, 26 November 1903
Original article digitized by the Library of Congress
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,

On Her Arrival the Steamship Reports No Collision

Liverpool, Nov. 25– A rumor was circulated in this city on Sunday that the
White Star Line steamer Cedric had been sunk in midocean in a collision with
the Lamport & Holt steamer Titian. As a careful investigation showed that
the report could not be traced to any responsible source little heed was
paid to it.

The Titian arrived in due course off the Irish coast yesterday. She was
reported at Kinsale Head, and gave no signal to indicate any important
experience on her voyage. This morning she arrived in the Mersey. Her
owners, as well as the White Star Line people, all ridicule the story of the
rumored collision. It is denounced as a pure invention of an irresponsible
news agent.
Much Alarm Caused by the Rumor of Cedric's Collision

A report that the steamship Cedric, of the White Star Line, had been sunk in
collision with the Lamport & Holt steamer Titian in midocean, although
denied, created much alarm and indignation in this city yesterday. At the
office of the White Star Line there were several hundred inquiries, chiefly
by telephone and telegraph, after the report was published. All over the
city later were heard expressions of the severest condemnation of the
publication of a report calculated to create needless alarm.

John Lee, agent of the White Star Line, was informed that The Titian had
arrived in the Mersey in the morning and was on her way through the canal to
Manchester yesterday, without reporting any accident. He said he had no
information that gave the slightest color for a report that the Cedric had
been sunk, and he was confident that the Cedric would arrive at her dock
some time to-day. She was due off the Nantucket Lightship about midnight
last night, he added.

The Associated Press yesterday gave out the following statement:

We have no reason to believe that the rumored sinking of the steamship
Cedric is true. The Lamport Line steamer Titian, which it is claimed was in
collision with her, arrived off Kinsale Head, on the coast of Ireland
yesterday, on her regular scheduled time, and did not signal any such

It is inconceivable that the Titian could have arrived in this way and
failed to give signal if the reported calamity were true.

A private dispatch from the Associated Press office in Liverpool says the
report that the Cedric had sunk was circulated there on Sunday, but its
source could not be discovered.

The closest investigation does not disclose the slightest foundation for
such a report.


The Cedric was the largest steamship afloat when she was launched. She arrived
here on her maiden trip on February 20, since which she has made ten round
trips. She is 700 feet long, has a width of 75 feet and a depth of hull of
40 feet, with nine decks and more watertight compartments than any other
ship in the passenger service. Her builders declared that if she were cut in
two her halves would float. She is a floating palace, and when she left the
other she carried about 1,000 passengers and a crew of 350. She also
carried about $1,000,000 on gold, fully insured.

Among the Cedric's first cabin passengers are Frederick Roosevelt, a cousin
of the President, and his wife; Charles A. Moore, former president of the
American Protective Tariff League, with his wife and daughter; Mrs. Gray,
wife of Judge Gray, of Delaware; General and Mrs. J. D. De Russey, the Earl
and Countess of Yarmouth, Mr. and Mrs. Henry I. Barbey, J. S. Conover and
family, Major and Mrs. F W. Kettermaster, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Moller and
Miss Moller.

The New-York manager of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company said
yesterday that he had no suspicion that anybody connected with the company
had been concerned in starting the report about the Cedric. "If such a
wicked report could be traced to anybody, that person should have the
severest punishment." he said. "There is an intimation that it originated on
the other side. While we knew nothing about it here until it was published
this afternoon, I recall the fact that the company in London sent a special
order to have the arrival of the Cedric off Nantucket reported by cable
immediately. We probably shall send such a message late to-night when the
Cedric is sighted off the Nantucket lightship. The order for such a report
may have been caused by a canard about the Cedric in London."

John Lee, agent of the White Star Line, said:

We emphatically deny the report that the Cedric has been sunk. I have not
cabled to the other side, nor will I, for I do not want to start an
unfounded report of that character from here. Had there been any such
report received at Liverpool the press reports would have confirmed it long
before this hour, nearly 5 o'clock in Liverpool, and I should have heard
from our people on the subject. When I arrived this morning I found a
memorandum on my desk inquiring about the report from a newspaper office. I
called them up on the 'phone and asked their authority They said it was an
unconfirmed press report from Liverpool. I do not believe there is any truth
in it. The Cedric should be heard from at Nantucket by wireless report
between midnight to-night and morning under favorable conditions. She is
not an express steamer but is running on the Germanic's schedule and is
really not due here before to-morrow.
Last edited:

Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
MAB note: Here's the end, at least for now, of references to Cedric's unsinkability, contained in one of the more entertaining articles I've read in quite a while.

The Sun (New York), 27 November 1903
Original article digitized by the New York Public Library
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,

Slight Touch of Hysterics in the Greetings on the Pier Due to the
Conscienceless Scare Raised About the Ship---Man in Black Mask Explains

On winter schedule, and all shipshape and Bristol fashion, as the nautical
sharps say, the colossal Cedric of the White Star Line (sunk in mid-ocean by
a senseless rumor), warped with marvellous ease into her North River dock
last evening to a tumult of cheers from more than 500 persons.

There was just a trace of the hysterical in the greeting. The usual ropes
separating those entitled to go within the customs lines from those who were
not stretched, out of regard to the pent feelings of the friends and kindred
of the seagoers, and there were scenes bordering on the lachrymose at the
foot of the gangplank when it was run up at 5:30 o'clock. Young women flung
themselves into their mothers' arms as if the unsinkable liner had been in
some danger. Flamboyant newspaper headlines of two days had got in their
nerve racking work, and embraces were long, kisses explosive and voices

The passengers themselves were, in some instances, boiling with indignation
at the unknown author of the rumor. Some Britons, who surmised that it was
an American invention, calmed down a bit when told that the story originated
in London and was published first in a London newspaper.

Capt. H. J. Haddock first heard of all the fuss from Pilot Carr, who boarded
the Cedric outside the bar. The captain lost no time in setting the signals
"Report all well aboard" as he passed in at the Hook. He guessed that there
might be some anxiety and that a few cheerful remarks by bunting might do
good. Pilot Carr had newspapers of the screaming kind to confirm his report
to Capt. Haddock, and the whole ship's company, a remarkably large one for
this season, was soon discussing the rumor.

The captain said he had not even sighted Lamport & Holt liner which was said
to have run him down. He had had fine weather until Wednesday morning, when
the ship took took a fresh southwesterly breeze and head sea, which she held
until her arrival. She passed four vessels---the British bark Aureola,
from Barry for St. Johns; the British freight steamship Crown Point, from
London for Philadelphia; a Cunard liner bound this way, and a Bristol City
steamship, probably the Llandaff City, bound west. None of these vessels
has arrived, so they couldn't have had a hand in originating the rumor of
mishap to the Cedric. Capt. Haddock said:

"I cannot understand how such a report could have been noised abroad. We
have had a very fine passage, and have not parted a rope yarn the whole way

One of the first passengers to bound down the second cabin gangplank was a
comely young woman named Little. She brought up all standing in the arms of
an excited young man. They seemed gladder that the ship hadn't gone down
than anybody else on the pier. When they "broke away" at last the young man
went a-cruising after Deputy Surveyor Bishop, got him in a jiffy and poured
a rapid-fire tale of love into his ears.

The young man said, almost breathlessly, that Miss Little was engaged to be
married, and that the wedding had been set for 6 o'clock last night; that
the preacher waiting and that it was necessary to have Miss Little's baggage
inspected in a hurry so she could keep the engagement.

"And where's the victim?" Mr. Bishop interjected.

"Me! Me!" said the young man, waving his arms. "I'm the victim. And it's
nearly a quarter of 6. Say, can't you do something for me?"

Mr. Bishop gave the young man an inspector at once and the inspector went
over the lingerie so rapidly that the bride's trunks looked as if they were
in eruption. Then the young man and Miss Little sprinted to the street end
of the pier and were whisked off in a cab to the dominie. It was all done so
swiftly that the reporters, who were looking after the first cabin
passengers, didn't know anything about it until Miss Little had become Mrs.

After the rumor about the great ship it was natural that other rumors should
get afloat. or ashore, rather. The customs inspectors were responsible for
the second rumor. The subject was a tall, good looking young man, who wore a
black gauze mask without eyeholes, and which concealed his face from the
top of the forehead to the upper lip. The rumor was that the young man had
come down to the pier to meet a young woman to whom he was engaged, and who
had never seen his face. The rumor further alleged that the young man had
sworn not to show his face until after the young woman had married him. The
reporters deputized one of their number to clear up the mystery of the man
in the black mask.

The young man removed his mask at the first question, revealing a handsome
face, and looked startled when told about the rumors. The young woman with
him laughed and remarked that she "knew he would get into trouble wearing
that." The young man explained that his eyes had been injured by an
electrical accident, and that his doctor had advised him to wear the mask.
He didn't like to do it, but he had obeyed orders. He was waiting for a

The Cedric carried about 1,400 souls, including the crew. In the saloon she
had 292 passengers, in the second cabin 191 and in the steerage 584. The
Earl and Countess of Yarmouth came on a visit to the Countess's mother, Mrs.
Thaw, who met them at the pier. The Countess was ill of influenza, and kept
her cabin all the way across. She went with her husband to the Holland
House, and later will go to Pittsburg. Other passengers were:

Leonard Boyne, Marie Tempest's leading man; Frederick Roosevelt, a cousin of
the President, who has been three months travelling in Europe; Tom Terriss,
the playwright, Major H. C. Sheppard, Major Charles Hall of Canada,
Brig.-Gen. Merle d'Aubigny, Brig.-Gen. J. D. De Russy and Mrs. John Clinton


Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
The World Evening Edition, New York, 9 April 1913
Original article digitized by the New York Public Library
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,

White Star Liner Arrives After Six Months Undergoing Alterations for Safety
Complete New Inside Hull to Keep Her Afloat in Case of Collision

Bearing no outward evidence of the changes in construction which have made
her practically non-sinkable, the White Star liner Olympic made her first
appearance in over six months in the port of New York to-day. The sister
ship of the ill-starred Titanic brought over 1,563 passengers, 1,080 of whom
were in the steerage.

The Olympic after an uneventful voyage from Southampton arrived off Sandy
Hook late last night and was the first ship cleared at Quarantine after
sunrise this morning. She had started up the Bay when the revenue cutter lay
alongside and the customs inspectors boarded her as she neared the Statue of

Chauncey M. Depew jr., William Church Osborn and Vinie Daly, the actress and
singer, divided dictinction [sic] as some of the notables aboard.

Miss Daly left New York on Jan. 23 for the German baths with the avowed
object of reducing her weight. She has succeeded. When she went away she
confessed that perfectly reliable scales recorded 158 pounds when she
stepped on the platform. To-day she weighs but 127 pounds.

"Diet, exercise and no liquid with meals," said Miss Daly. "That is my
recipe for weight reduction. I am going into vaudeville and keep my
avoirdupois down by hard work. As a prima donna in opera I got fat and I am
no longer ambitious to be a prima donna because all prima donnas get fat."

Jane F. Blood of this city, the daughter of a coal merchant, was the belle
of the voyage. She is evidently as popular at home as she was aboard ship,
for a tug load of young folk went down the bay to meet her, and their tug
trailed along behind the big Olympic from Quarantine to the White Star dock.
Miss Blood, her fellow-voyagers said, wore a beauty spot whenever she
appeared on deck in the saloon, and the spot position shifted so frequently
as to cause comment. Only yesterday, it was asserted, did the passengers
learn that the position of the beauty was a signal to one or another of a
devoted coterie of young men who acted as the continual escorts of Miss
Blood in her constitutionals along the promenades of the vessels.

The stokers of the Olympic filed out on the forecastle deck as the ship
docked and gave a concert through the medium of their "Foo-Foo Band," of
which James Kelly is leader. The instruments used were rattle bones, tin
pans, mouth organs and other instruments of torture.

So much has been said and written of the new bulkheads of the Olympic that
many requests have been made of the White Star Line for permission to
inspect the vessel.

Since she was last in this harbor the Olympic has had a another hull built
underneath her outer skin. It is claimed for her that although she might
encounter an iceberg such as sank the Titanic she would still remain afloat.


Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
The Washington Times, 18 June 1914
Original article digitized by the Library of Congress
Retrieved from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America web site,

Experts in Congress, Aroused by Latest, Declare Impregnable Hulls Are

Death will never be robbed of her majesty of the sea until ships are
constructed with impregnable hulls, marine experts in Congress declared

Legislation to compel construction of unsinkable vessels, they admitted
reluctantly, will not be possible until public sentiment forces Congress to
set an American standard for ship construction, or. until the world powers
agree upon a uniform hull.

To show how long and difficult it is to make sea-going safe, Senator Smith
of Michigan, chairman of the Titanic investigating Committee said today
that, although the great White Star liner sank two years ago. the remedial
legislation, which it brought about, is still pending in the Senate.

Proposed laws respecting lifeboats, wireless signals, and navigation, which,
other disasters ---such as the Volturno and Empress of Ireland and the near
disaster at Southampton---have impressed upon Congress are now pending in
the House, according to Congressman Alexander of Michigan, chairman of the
American delegation which attended the London conference on safety at sea.

Little Attention to Hulls

Much to the disappointment of Smith, Alexander, and Congressman Hardy of
Texas, senior member of the House Merchant Marine Committee, of all the
proposed legislation pending very little refers to the construction of the
ships hulls, which all admit is the crux of the safety at sea question.

Although the treaty drawn at the London conference and awaiting ratification
in the Senate recommends more secure hull construction, its proposals do not
go into effect (provining [sic] the treaty is ratified) until July 1, 1915.

Stringent regulations respecting the building of ship hulls, Senator Smith
asserted, will not be jossible [sic] for years to come, because of the
influence of th eshipping [sic] industries in English public affairs. And no
such action can be taken by this country, he added, until England is ready
to co-operate, because of existing treaties. The Senator believed, however,
that if public sentiment forced Congress to some radical legislation the
English government might join hands.

Seamen Hold Up Treaty

Germany, Great Britain, and France have ratified already the treaty pending
in the Senate. Chairman Alexander declared today that the seamen are
fighting the treaty, because it does not provide for "two able seamen for
each lifeboat."

In addition to the treaty, members of Congress expect favorable action on
the Alexander seaman's bill at this session. While this measure takes up in
detail wireless regulations and the problem of lifeboat room for all
passengers and crew, it does not, according to Hardy, touch upon the
question of hull construction.


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