Grand Staircase Cameron v.s. Titanic


Justin K

Member
Aug 11, 2012
28
0
31
Pennsylvania
Does anyone know what happened to Cameron's Grand Staircase after he flooded it? I know parts of it broke apart but I want to witch parts. I know his set included D, B, A, and the Boat Deck landings. Did all these floors get flooded together or did he design them to separate and be able to flood one floor at a time? I know the difference between a movie set and real life construction, however, when I was younger I constructed a three floor model of the grand staircase and I flooded it in my pool. The structure held together until I flooded it up to the A deck landing, I took a bucket of water and poured it through the ceiling, as soon as I did this, the top landing broke up and as it continued to sink the b deck landing lifted right out in one piece. When the model reached the bottom of the pool there was a gaping hole right in the center of the model.

I know people are going to question this as it is only a homemade model and cannot compare to the real life space, I agree but I think there has to be some sort of explanation for the coincidental actions in the move, my model, and the real life ship.

The destruction of the GSC has been a huge interest for me and I really want to figure out what happened. I cannot find a lot of info online for tests or trials on this part of the sinking. Does anyone know of any tests that have been done?

Any information or opinions would be great and I welcome them with an open mind.
 
Jul 31, 2012
76
2
46
My understanding is that since space inside the flooding tank was limited and it was one or two floors. But I don't know, I can't see all being built and I don't think all even appeared in the movie (I could be wrong, I haven't seen the film in several years).

I do think Cameron's 2001 expedition noted the framework of the "D" deck staircase was partially intact. If I had to guess, with the water pouring in on top of the A deck stairs and running into the decks below, as the ship became submerged up to the second funnel the pressure of the water pouring into the dome would be extremely great. Water has an erosive action, and I would expect the balistrade wood to began breaking up as the water tried to fill 4 staircases at once, then the flooring might begin loosening and before you know it the "A" deck stairs may have disintegrated.

The water would have continued beating down everything in it's path until it reached the swirling water that had already flooded the lower decks, that probably explains why the "D" deck landing was in such good condition, it had already flooded, so the only stairs that would have been affected by water pouring into the dome would be higher up.

Water is very powerful, it may have broken up the "A" deck stairs in roughly the manner I described then cleared the way for larger pieces of wood to float out. And there is always the possibility that some of the broken wood bits were pushed into the main cabin corridors running along C & B decks, lapping at the edge of the water until the ship broke in two.
 

Justin K

Member
Aug 11, 2012
28
0
31
Pennsylvania
I never thought of this before, this means the interior of the grand staircase was only flooded up to about C deck when water became pouring in the boat deck landing.

I have never heard of anyone having any evidence that the dome even broke at the surface, the structure over the dome was made of steel, I'm sure that could of held up against the weight of water sitting on top of it, until the ship reached the bottom that is.
 
Jul 31, 2012
76
2
46
Exactly, the wood on the "D" stairs may have been at least partially intact after the sinking. Remember it was theorized that the columns of the "D" deck reception room were intact because of the paint, the staircase didn't have any paint on the wood and any surviving wood stair pieces on the "D" stairs may have simply been eaten up. Of course that doesn't account for the "C", "B" & "A" stairs, and an any event if the stairs were varnished I would have expected a few small pieces to survive down there as the wooden stateroom cabinets have.

As for the dome, the dome was never meant to bear much besides it's own weight and the chandelier. The force and weight of falling water can be very powerful, if the dome had fallen in (either when the flooding of the stairs was occurring or if it had fallen in during the intervening years on the seabed) then pieces of it should be laying in the bottom of the "D" deck stairs. There is also the possibility it was "thrown" off the bow during it's impact with the bottom (as I think the No. 1 hold cover was), but then it should be somewhere near the bow if that happened and I don't think it's very likely it would have done that anyway. I think one of the previous expeditions located a portion of a staircase dome, I don't know if there was enough to tell the two apart but I believe it was found near the stern so in all likelihood it belonged to the aft staircase. Certainly there would be little reason for the forward staircase dome to end up near the stern.

A possible clue to the fate of the forward dome would be the caving in of the Boat deck level roof, the fact that it was caved in could suggest that the interior of the whole staircase area was so weak it pretty much collapsed under the pressure and weight of the water. It's a little hard to tell if that happened post sinking or during the sinking process.


[Correction to previous post, I did mean the boat deck level stairs when I said "A"]
 

Justin K

Member
Aug 11, 2012
28
0
31
Pennsylvania
The piece of of the dome that was found was the aft staircase.

I can't believe with all the research Cameron and everyone else has done, there is no documentation of the GSC set and it's destruction. I wish someone at some point of time, would build a replica on test it to see how it handle the brunt of the sinking.

We may never know what truly happened.
 
Jul 31, 2012
76
2
46
I don't think it's ever going to be known with any certainty. The best we'll get is a further examination of the "D" reception area, maybe there is something that's been missed on the other dives.

Well, I know the comment to which you refer about the set floating free, but it really raises some questions. That wood floats we know, but wood that is anchored to metal usually can't. I'm guessing their whole set began to float because the buoyancy of the wood was greater than expected with what ever fastening had been done to hold the set in place, I'm not sure what that can tell us though about the original staircase in Titanic.

I was under the impression that the framework for the stairs was bolted to the deck and wall, so for three levels (not counting "D") of stairs to float free seems a little unlikely to me, mainly because I don't see how a complete staircase from say "C" deck could float though the framework of the stairs above. That the "A" deck stairs might have somehow floated free is-I guess- a possibility, I just am not sure how this section of a room could remain intact enough to hold together and also tear the dome casing free of the deck, and keep in mind the ship is at an angle, usually items tend to float straight up, usually not at an angle that matches the ship. So the ship's angle may have actually helped to keep the staircase inside (theoretically if we are talking about multiple stairs in one piece) the bow, I suppose in that case any leveling of the bow on the way down may have allowed this section to escape and float somewhere.

So, really there is no way to know, let's say it did float free, we don't have any proof it did or didn't and the same with saying it was intact most of the way down. Only further examination of the wreck and the debris field will help fill in the story of what happened.
 

Justin K

Member
Aug 11, 2012
28
0
31
Pennsylvania
In a documentary from the late 1990's about the making of the movie, I remember them saying they built the grand staircase set using the same diagrams as the real ship. So maybe the set was stronger then most people think. I know they built the staircase wider then the original to make it look even more grand and to make it easier for two people to pass next to each other during filming.

I also wonder if they were to go down and push the silt away from the floors of the landings what they would find. Im sure the linoleum floor covering is still there.
 
Jul 31, 2012
76
2
46
Possibly some evidence of the stairs fate is still down there, but I think any future attempts (like past attempts) to examine the area will be confined to looking only.
 

Rusty_S

Member
Mar 28, 2012
108
10
73
I honestly dont believe that the grand staircase was only flooded up to C-Deck and partially at that. Quite a good amount of time passed between the forward end of B-Deck slipping under the ocean and the water pouring over the railings onto A-Deck and later the Boat Deck.

I am of the view that water found its way through the forward facing doors/windows on B-deck and flooded aft to the staircase and downflooded. I am also of the view point that the D-Deck gangway door was left open after Lightoller sent two crew men down to open it and load the boats from the ocean. This would have increased the flood rate of water pouring onto D-Deck. I would be inclinded to believe that by time the water was pouring in through the glass dome atop the Grand Staircase water would already be pouring in through the windows on A-Deck and the Boat Deck at the same time pouring down the stairs flooding the lower most levels not flooded.

If in fact the staircase did come out of the Titanic during the sinking, I honestly dont believe it to be the cause of water erosion or the water pouring down onto the staircase from the dome as Cameron believes. Cameron only flooded a small movie set where Titanic had the full sized staircase and all that wood would have became bouyant and tried to float. Deeper the Titanic sank into the water more stresses formed as the wood tried to float. This would eventually result in the staircase ripping itself apart and some pieces floating out of the sky light.
 
Jun 27, 2012
11
1
31
NAVI MUMBAI
An enclosed 5,000,000 US gallons (19,000,000 l) tank was used for sinking interiors, in which the entire set could be tilted into the water. In order to sink the Grand Staircase, 90,000 US gallons (340,000 l) of water were dumped into the set as it was lowered into the tank. Unexpectedly, the waterfall ripped the staircase from its steel-reinforced foundations, although no one was hurt. The 744-foot (227 m) long exterior of the RMS Titanic had its first half lowered into the tank, but being the heaviest part of the ship meant it acted as a shock absorber against the water; to get the set into the water.
As Justin Sir said that the grand staircase was built bigger than the original staircase i hope Cameron sir flooded the set some other way.
In the movie when the water level rises in the staircase at the top level the had big glass which broke due to the high pressure of water is exactly also happened when titanic sank in 1912.
 

Joel Doanhue

Member
Apr 24, 2015
3
0
11
I never thought of this before, this means the interior of the grand staircase was only flooded up to about C deck when water became pouring in the boat deck landing.

I have never heard of anyone having any evidence that the dome even broke at the surface, the structure over the dome was made of steel, I'm sure that could of held up against the weight of water sitting on top of it, until the ship reached the bottom that is.
Actually the square white box that covered the dome was just a weather cover with a sky light to let light in during the day it was made of wood and funnel NO 1 fell it created a wave witch is what destroyed the dome the further more camrons staircase was not built as a set but as a real staircase here this explains things better
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_c4ubecc8c&feature=youtu.be
 

Joel Doanhue

Member
Apr 24, 2015
3
0
11
Exactly, the wood on the "D" stairs may have been at least partially intact after the sinking. Remember it was theorized that the columns of the "D" deck reception room were intact because of the paint, the staircase didn't have any paint on the wood and any surviving wood stair pieces on the "D" stairs may have simply been eaten up. Of course that doesn't account for the "C", "B" & "A" stairs, and an any event if the stairs were varnished I would have expected a few small pieces to survive down there as the wooden stateroom cabinets have.

As for the dome, the dome was never meant to bear much besides it's own weight and the chandelier. The force and weight of falling water can be very powerful, if the dome had fallen in (either when the flooding of the stairs was occurring or if it had fallen in during the intervening years on the seabed) then pieces of it should be laying in the bottom of the "D" deck stairs. There is also the possibility it was "thrown" off the bow during it's impact with the bottom (as I think the No. 1 hold cover was), but then it should be somewhere near the bow if that happened and I don't think it's very likely it would have done that anyway. I think one of the previous expeditions located a portion of a staircase dome, I don't know if there was enough to tell the two apart but I believe it was found near the stern so in all likelihood it belonged to the aft staircase. Certainly there would be little reason for the forward staircase dome to end up near the stern.

A possible clue to the fate of the forward dome would be the caving in of the Boat deck level roof, the fact that it was caved in could suggest that the interior of the whole staircase area was so weak it pretty much collapsed under the pressure and weight of the water. It's a little hard to tell if that happened post sinking or during the sinking process.


[Correction to previous post, I did mean the boat deck level stairs when I said "A"]
Actually i think that it was destroyed when captain Kirk activated the self destruct in star trek 3 WAIT THAT WAS THE ENTERPRISE WRONG SHIP LOL
 

Joel Doanhue

Member
Apr 24, 2015
3
0
11
I don't think it's ever going to be known with any certainty. The best we'll get is a further examination of the "D" reception area, maybe there is something that's been missed on the other dives.

Well, I know the comment to which you refer about the set floating free, but it really raises some questions. That wood floats we know, but wood that is anchored to metal usually can't. I'm guessing their whole set began to float because the buoyancy of the wood was greater than expected with what ever fastening had been done to hold the set in place, I'm not sure what that can tell us though about the original staircase in Titanic.

I was under the impression that the framework for the stairs was bolted to the deck and wall, so for three levels (not counting "D") of stairs to float free seems a little unlikely to me, mainly because I don't see how a complete staircase from say "C" deck could float though the framework of the stairs above. That the "A" deck stairs might have somehow floated free is-I guess- a possibility, I just am not sure how this section of a room could remain intact enough to hold together and also tear the dome casing free of the deck, and keep in mind the ship is at an angle, usually items tend to float straight up, usually not at an angle that matches the ship. So the ship's angle may have actually helped to keep the staircase inside (theoretically if we are talking about multiple stairs in one piece) the bow, I suppose in that case any leveling of the bow on the way down may have allowed this section to escape and float somewhere.

So, really there is no way to know, let's say it did float free, we don't have any proof it did or didn't and the same with saying it was intact most of the way down. Only further examination of the wreck and the debris field will help fill in the story of what happened.

The staircase was built from the original plans and no the stairs where not bolted down they where only held in place by gravity you can reference my video on my channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_c4ubecc8c&feature=youtu.be
 

Charles

Member
Mar 28, 2015
178
3
81
USA
I agree with Rusty about his point of view. The d deck gangway door was left open and was flooding as the forecastle went under and when lifeboats 2, 10, and 4 were being launched, and was under by the time the water was 10 feet below the promenade deck, when the C and B decks flooded more rapidly than D Deck. Then when the water crashed through the dome, water was already churning at A deck almost to the boat deck.
 

Similar threads

Similar threads