Grand staircase


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Justin James Keeney

Guest
I noticed that in James Cameron's Titanic movie when Jack and Rose run down the grand staircase to the reception room it appears to be daylight, why is that?

thanks
 
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Brian R Peterson

Guest
>Hi Justin,

While this does seem like an error on Cameron's behalf it is not. both the dome over the Grand Staircase and the leaded glass windows on D Deck in the First Class Reception Room and Dining Saloon were back lit by electric lights to make the areas look more attractive at night.

Best Regards,

Brian
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Brian,

While the windows in the reception room (and dining room) were back lit by linolite, the dome was not back lit. At night the 50-light dome chandelier would have been lit, and the cornice had linolite worked into it and would have also been lit, but there was no light shining through the dome from behind.

Daniel.
 
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Justin James Keeney

Guest
The glass dome over the grand staircase, were the passengers able to see the actual sky through it or was it not see through glass?
 
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Justin James Keeney

Guest
This might seem like a stupid question but was the titanic air conditioned, i've always wondered that.
 
B

Brian R Peterson

Guest
Hi Justin,

First, no the done was translucent so that light could shine in but passengers could not see out.

Second, no the Olympic Class ships were not air conditioned.

Though I read once Lusitania featured a primitive version of A/C how true this is, is not clear.

Best Regards,

Brian
 

Bill Sauder

Member
Dec 19, 2000
230
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Brian,

The claim for air conditioning on the Lusitania comes from the cover of a soft back book (can't remember which one), which in turn is based on a selling-point made by the ship's heating sub-contractor, Thermotank Ltd.

Normally, the thermotanks used steam heat to warm air, however, Thermotank Ltd. made a sales pitch in the early years of the century that if their tanks were hooked up to the ship's refrigeration system and cooled off with chilled brine, the air forced into the cabins would likewise be chilled, giving relief in summer months in New York.

In theory this would have worked, but there were practical problems that kept Cunard from ever using the ship's thermotanks that way. First, the simple organic tube packing of the day couldn't handle the wide temperature difference, and systems used this way leaked all the time.

Second, the thermotanks became unintentional dehumidifier drums, causing the forced air to be come wet and fetid, and rusting out the expensive sheet metal ductwork.

In a little-known construction detail, the thermotanks on Lusitania were also arranged to extract air from cabins, as well as supply heated air. In hot summer months, the system was set to "extract," and passengers left the portholes open for mechanically aided sea breeze.

Bill Sauder
 
C

Cheryl Adair

Guest
Hi - me again. Got a question about the Grand Staircase!

Was there more than one GRAND staircase?

The reason I ask is because I was looking around on another website (Brett's R.M.S. Titanic Site) and there is a photo of the 1st class lounge - and it says that the Titanic's 1st class lounge was located right by the "aft-Grand Staircase" ...

So I have to ask - was there one towards the front of the ship and another one towards the back?

Also, someone mentioned that there are not any photos of the Titanics' Grand Staircase, the ones you see are all of the Olympic. If thats true I wonder why? Surely they had someone take PICTURES of the ship (all over) before they sailed her?

Wouldn't they have done that? I can't fathom why they wouldn't have photgraphed all the main *high points* of the ship! I wish I had a book chock full of nothing but pictures of every part of the Titanic!

happy.gif
 
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jaime ryan neeley

Guest
hi cheryl! i think there's two staircases so that first class passengers will be convenient in accessing different parts of the ship.

as to your query about why there's no pics of the Titanic's main parts, i must admit i also ask it to myself. why would white Star advertise her as the grandest, most luxurious ship and then there are no "evidences" of her luxury? or maybe, they think that Titanic looks just like her sister Olympic in terms of interior decoration and amenities?
 

Dan Cherry

Member
Mar 3, 2000
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Cheryl,
To answer your questions:

Question 1:
Was there more than one GRAND staircase? - was there one towards the front of the ship and another one towards the back?

Yes, there was the forward grand staircase, and the aft grand staircase, both near identical in design, but the aft one was smaller. Both aboard Olympic were amply photographed. Examples of each GSC can be found in many Titanic books.

Question 2:
Also, someone mentioned that there are not any photos of the Titanics' Grand Staircase, the ones you see are all of the Olympic. If thats true I wonder why? Surely they had someone take PICTURES of the ship (all over) before they sailed her?

If they did, they didn't make it to the other side of the Atlantic ocean or are hidden away in private collections, yet to see the light of day.

Question 3:
Wouldn't they have done that? I can't fathom why they wouldn't have photgraphed all the main *high points* of the ship! I wish I had a book chock full of nothing but pictures of every part of the Titanic!

Probably due to tight scheduling, and the fact WSL didn't anticipate their ship would sink! For now, we have to rely on the photos of Olympic's public spaces to have a glimpse of what Titanic must have looked like. Olympic, being the first sister in the trio of ships, was the 'poster child' of this class of vessels and was therefore heavily photographed. Titanic, second in line, was still being worked on up until the time she sailed, in one way or another. (note some exterior pictures - hand rails are still missing from deck houses en voyage). Work crews were pulled from Titanic to help repair Olympic when she had a couple of mishaps in late 1911 and early 1912. The sailing date was already pushed from March 20, 1912 to April 10, 1912 to accommodate this shift in work focus.
Since Titanic was similar/identical in design in many areas, you will find they simply used already-available pictures of Olympic to promote their latest ship. The few photos of Titanic's interiors are that of areas that didn't exist on Olympic, already, such as the B-deck suites and the Cafe Parisian. Perhaps officials had plans to do a 'photo sweep' of the ship once it returned from its maiden voyage - something we all know didn't happen.

The press was allowed onboard before and during the first leg of the voyage and a few papers managed to get some pictures of Titanic. Some are commonly published, like from the Cork Examiner of the boat deck and poop deck, while others that show some interior shots (like the Palm Court/Verandah Cafe, which shows Titanic's tables were predominately square when Olympic's were mostly round) are harder to locate.

Thanks to Odell/May party and Father Browne in first class, we also have a small look at life on board Titanic the first day sailing. Any other photographs taken during the voyage all in all likely went to the bottom of the Atlantic, still inside the camera.

Hope this helps, in some way.

Dan
 
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Cheryl Adair

Guest
Thanks very much, yes, that was quite informative. But I am a little bummed, because I'll always wonder now, when I see a photo of the GSC, or any part of the ship, I'll wonder am I really looking at the TITANIC ...or is it the Olympic? (sigh)
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Wesley Burton

Member
Apr 22, 2004
178
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In one of my books they show a picture of what looks like the aft grand staircase. You know a plain wall with a clock, but they said it was the MAIN staircase on Olympic. Wouldnt that mean that Titanic's staircase was photographed?
 

Dan Cherry

Member
Mar 3, 2000
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Better than average chance it's Olympic. In some of the books that were produced in 1998/99 on the coattails of the movie's wide success, captions were erroneous left and right, identifying Olympic and even Britannic as Titanic, and vice versa. In most cases, because Olympic was available for photographing from 1911 to 1935, and Titanic for only a few weeks, that if, of course, why there's more Olympic pictures than Titanic.

To my knowledge only the following rooms from Titanic have photographs available in books:
1. The Gymnasium
2. The Dining saloon (although poor in quality)
3. The multitude of B-deck suites unique to Titanic, in the area of B-51-53-55-57-58-59-60-63-64, among others) and the private promenades from the two larger suites
4. The Turkish bath
5. The Palm court
6. The Cafe Parisian
7. The swimming pool (fairly sure - although with the exception of the position of the room's wall clock and a few pipes, appeared to be no different from Olympic's)

To date, no known photographs of the Titanic's Grand Staircase, forward or aft, are known to exist. Any that might have been taken during the voyage, as far as can be ascertained, never made it off the ship. Many people didn't take anything into the boats with them because most, while abandoning the ship, thought they were merely following precautionary measures and would be back on board after a few hours. Those who did eventually realize it was a serious situation obviously didn't go back down into the sinking ship to retrieve anything - they got in the boat.
Also, pictures weren't taken as freely as they were today, although the novelty of personal, portable cameras was growing. However, most cameras of this era required still conditions and bright light to render a useful image, and this is the argument against any picture taken during the sinking, itself. A massive magnesium flash would have been required to land any image of coherence, and certainly would have been noticed!
 

Dan Cherry

Member
Mar 3, 2000
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More miscaptioned/unclearly captioned pictures in Titanic and Her Sisters Book:

Page 59 - illustration of the aft grand staircase
Page 113 - this is actually Britannic after launch
Page 118 - identified as Titanic; however, bow clearly says Olympic
Page 122 - lower left - this is actually Britannic's stern.
Page125 - this is Olympic, not Titanic
Page 134-135 - this is Olympic, not Titanic
Pages 142-143 - top is Britannic, bottom Titanic. Britannic was launched with an enclosed A-deck promenade, while Titanic's was launched with an open one. The enclosed portion was added in March 1912 before she sailed. The captioner apparently saw enclosed promenade and said, "Oh, this is Titanic then."

*most of the outfitting pictures in this book are of Olympic or Britannic, and do a good job illustrating how the Olympic-class vessel was constructed. However, I am only addressing the picture captions which mis-label those as being from Titanic.

Page 155 - these are of Olympic's GSC, 154 being D-deck forward, 155 being A/B deck aft.
Page 157 - Olympic's compass platform
Page 160 - Olympic's gym
Page 161 - top - Olympic's gym; bottom, indeed Titanic's gym.

The other confusing aspect of this book is that it compares olympic pre-refit pictures against post refit plans

Page 181 shows a furnished cabin similar to the unfurnished picture seen in page 173 that misidentifies it as a passageway.

Page 218 - this is not an Olympic-class dome

Page 246 - Titanic, although taken off the Isle of Wight, not Belfast

Page 251 - not J.J. Astor, but rather his cousin. The Astors boarded in Cherbourg. This picture was taken in Waterloo Station, London.

Page 298 - indeed this is Olympic's reading/writing room, BUT....
Page 307 this is identified as Titanic's reading room - note the same bump in the rug

Page 303 - I believe this "Captain Smith" figure could be actually Archie Butt walking aft. He was photographed earlier on the port side forward, wearing a long coat and cap. Captain Smith was gray haired, and this figure has dark hair.

Page 321 - These are Olympic's lifeboats. Titanic's never had white gunwales, while Olympic did in her first year of service.

Page 418-419 - this is not Britannic. I've heard it correctly IDed before, but it escapes memory - is it the Aquatania?

In the fitting out photos, it's sometimes easy to see which ship's parts are being photographed. Olympic's number was 400, Titanic's 401, and Britannic's 433.
 
May 3, 2004
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Just to let everyone know, I will be selling my art work of the titanic. This is the Grand staircase limited to 100 prints. e-mail me for info.
Thanks
Frankie
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