Here is the Photo of the Staircase in Question


L

Lee S.Everitt

Guest
Hello all,
Here is the mystery photo. This photo has been said to have been taken in March of 1912 on board Titanic.
As I understand, there are no photographs of Titanic's Grand Staircase and the only photo's are of Olympic. Is there anything about this photo that can prove that it IS Titanic and not Olympic. I have been informed that the photo has never been published by the party that owns it, so if anyone has any ideas then please let me know.

Thank you all.
Lee S. Everitt
Curator - Titanic - The Exhibition
Orlando, Florida
62398.jpg
 
Dec 7, 2000
1,348
12
223
Lee,

I know I e-mailed you twice already. I will refrain from making definiteive conclusions now, but I'm beginning to think this may have been the Olympic post 1913, or even the war. Randy Bigham, if you're listening, can the clothes the two men are wearing tell us anything about the date?

The photo was taken from the boat deck, at the railing opposite the clock.

Daniel.
 

Mike McMillan

Member
Apr 30, 2003
23
0
71
I think Daniel is probably right. (Unless Titanic's GSC was built differently than Olympic to begin with.) Look at the treads of the stairs. They seem to have rounded wood on the top edge of them. (It is also darker.) All the H&W photos I've seen have the flat brass plates. But there's that one famous photograph from the foot of the stairs (with the cherub) that has rounded wooden pieces on the leading edges of the treads, like this picture. Don't know the date on that other picture, but this is the same vintage, looks like.

--Mike Mc

P.S. --- Why are there different numbers of steps on the aft staircase than on the forward one? On the forward one, I count 6 between A Deck and the clock landing, and 11 from there to B Deck. On the aft staircase, I count 6 between A and the landing, but only 10 from there down to B Deck. Aren't the ceilings the same height?
 
B

Brian Hawley

Guest
Daniel, if its post war where are the extra hand rails? Regardless its always interesting to see new photos. Thanks Lee!


Brian
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
134
0
According to Ken Marschall, the grain in the wood of the staircase in this picture matches Olympic's perfectly (he studied a version of the picture that was large/clear enough to see the detail of the grain). In addition, he places it during Olympic's lay-up after the Great War.

Parks
 
L

Lee S.Everitt

Guest
Hello all -

Here is a little more info about the staircase photo.

The gentleman on the left is Mr. John ("Jack") Dornan who was a friend of the owner of the photo's father. Mr. Dornan was a carpenter who worked on the construction of the Titanic and who later immigrated to the U.S. where he was employed on an estate in the Wyndmoor/Chestnut Hill area of Philidelphia, P.A.

The photo is signed by Mr. Dornan and under his signature is "Harland & Wolff shipyard, Belfast - March 1912"

If anyone finds any new info, please let me know!

Thanks!
Lee S. Everitt
Curator - Titanic-The Exhibition
 
L

Lee S.Everitt

Guest
Parks -

This photo has been restored from it's original, but I am getting a scan of the original photograph. Hopefully the scan will show the grain of the wood clearly. I will also scan this restored photo so that it can be compared to the original.

I am interested that Ken has said that the grains are the same even though this photo isn't very clear.

If it is after the war then where are the hand rails that have been discussed?

Any thoughts?
Thanks!

Lee S. Everitt
Curator - Titanic~The Exhibition
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
134
0
Lee,

According to Bill Sauder and Simon Mills, the Olympic refit photos (after she dropped her propellor) taken by H&W are dated March 1912. Assuming that the inscription date on the back of this photo is correct, how do we know it doesn't portray Olympic?

In my mention about Ken's comparison of the grain above, I said that Ken had examined a larger copy of the photo than the one you posted here. This is not the first time that photo has surfaced for verification of its identity. I don't believe Ken has had a chance to visit this thread yet.

This does not answer the question about the stair step nosings. I would think that in 1912, both Olympic and Titanic would have had brass nosings. Unless, of course, what we see here are temporary guards to protect the brass finish from the workmen's boots...in which case, it could again be either Titanic or Olympic. However, I know of no specific precedent or example of "nosing guards" (or whatever they would have been called) that I could point to that would bear this out.

Parks
 
L

Lee S.Everitt

Guest
Parks -

This is VERY interesting. As I understand, until now, this photo has never been seen by anyone except by direct family members of the owners. The only other person to have the photo in their possession was the gentleman who did the restoration of the photograph.

If this photo has surfaced before I would really like to know who has seen it and who has a copy of it since the owner has the original in their possession.

I also need to update the inscription that is written on the front to the original photo - it says "John Dornan - S.S. Titanic - Built Harland & Wolff - Belfast - March 1912"

The inscription was hand written on the front of the photograph. The restored photo does not show the inscription because it was removed digitally, but the original still has it on it.

I should have a scan of the original photo soon to take a good look at the details.

For all we know this could be either ship, so I am not throwing anything out of the mix on this mystery. I am looking for as many clues either way to prove which ship this photo was taken on.

The search continues......

Lee S. Everitt
Curator - Titanic~The Exhibition
 
L

Lee S.Everitt

Guest
Simon -

Yes I do have a copy of Titanic and Her Sisters and the photo that you are seeing on page 152 was taken by Father Francis Browne and it was of the Olympic. The photo is much clearer on page 88 in his book Father Browne's TITANIC Album.
Father Browne took many well known photos of Titanic including the last photo ever taken of the departing Titanic on April 11,1912 , and the photo looking up the starboard side of the ship with Captain Smith looking down.
Unfortunately, the photo that you are seeing was taken by him later of the Olympic's A-Deck Grand Staircase.

Lee S. Everitt
Curator - Titanic~The Exhibition
 
Mar 3, 1998
2,745
134
0
Lee,

All I know is that Ken first saw this picture years ago. It sticks in the memory because he wanted it to be Titanic, but the wood grain pattern evidently matched the one seen in Olympic pictures exactly. As you know, wood grain is as close as we can get to the staircase's "fingerprint."

I don't know if Ken has time to dig out his notes on this...he is very busy with other projects right now and would have to find his original notes on this particular subject. You say that you have a high-resolution copy coming...you might want to turn it over to some of the experts here in this forum and have them give you their impression about the grain match with known Olympic photos. It would be a good exercise to run through, no matter the outcome.

Concerning the inscription...there's any number of ways that I could think of by which it could be accurate, as well as an equal number of ways by which it could be inaccurate. Ultimately, I believe that the image in the photo itself should hold the ultimate clue to its identity. Personally, I wouldn't know...I haven't seen the picture myself, except for the small version you posted here. But the grain match seems to me to be a logical method to pursue.

Parks
 

Eric Sauder

Member
Nov 12, 2000
403
14
171
Ken has indeed seen a larger, clearer copy of this image as have I. I don't recall when exactly, but it must have been at least five or six years ago that the photo originally surfaced. I recall the day Ken saw the photo for the first time. It was, I believe, a poor photocopy and was sent to him hoping that he could verify that it was Titanic. Naturally, we both wanted it desperately to be the first known photo of Titanic's staircase.

He was finally able to get a good clear image, and as Parks said, he compared the wood grain in the new photo with known Olympic pictures. It was soon painfully evident that the photo is of Olympic. Having been there and seen the care which Ken went through to authenticate (or, as it turned out, to debunk) that it is Titanic, there is no doubt in my mind about the acccuracy of Ken's findings.

Eric Sauder
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
L

Lee S.Everitt

Guest
Eric -

Is there any way that we might be able to find out how Ken came across the photo or who possibly who gave it to him to look at? Who knows, it might have been the family of the other gentleman in the photo. The owners are curious since they believed that they have the one and only original.

On another note. I have received an excellent scan of the clock and carving of the Original photograph and I have discovered that the Clock HAS NO HANDS. The roman numerals are there, but no minute or hour hands.

If Ken saw this particular photo I was wondering if he noticed this detail. This would probably also tell me it it was indeed the same photo that he was viewing. I would think that Olympic would have her clock hands and mechanism installed in March 1912 if of course the inscription is correct. This would match up with the information in "Titanic Voices" Pg.25 that mentions that the clock had not been installed on board Titanic. Possibly the Face of the clock was part of the carving and the moving parts had not yet been installed and those the mirror was put in it's place.

I should be receiving some more detailed scans of some of the larger wood sections so that I can do some more comparing. Of course this is the only true way to find out with comparing the "fingerprints" of the grain in the wood.

If anyone has a really good scan of Olympic's staircase please let me know.

Thank you!

The Search Still Continues!

Lee S. Everitt
Curator - Titanic~The Exhibition
 
Dec 7, 2000
1,348
12
223
All,

Simon, the photo on pg.152 of the "Sisters" book that you mention was taken by Fr. Browne before the war. In fact he had to have taken it no earlier than 1913 as well. You can tell from the "Sisters" book but if anyone else has seen a clearer version, you can see that the Fr. Browne staircase has the rubber nosing’s as well.

The rubber nosings are clearly visible on the photo Lee posted. In 1912, both Olympic and Titanic had the brass there. In 1913, during Olympic's big refit, the staircase steps were redone where the rubber nosings were added -- the original tiling (black and white) was not changed until after the war.

Lee are you sure that the photo does not read March 1913? After the refit, Olympic returned back to service in April 1913 — so perhaps her staircase was already redone by March? She would have returned in April with rubber-nosed steps, including the port side door leading to the corridor and 1st class cabins on the boat deck -- both of which are visible on the photo.

As for the additional rails mentioned, they were not on all the rails. After the war (or it has been suggested that possibly even before) Olympic's staircase received some additional rails. They at first were not added everywhere. See here:

62480.jpg


They were only on the 1st rail right next to the steps going down to the half-landing. The photo above was taken in June 1920 in Southampton, and I've placed an arrow indicating the additional rail. The same one would be found on the opposite side. More rails were added later on.

Daniel.
 
L

Lee S.Everitt

Guest
Daniel -

Very interesting. I am going to look closely at the new scan that I received of the Original photo. The owners sent me a detailed scan of the section of the photo where the door could be and I still need to inspect it. I don't think that it shows a door on the port side leading into the 1st class state rooms, but I will check. Of course if there is a door, then the mystery will be solved.

The inscription written on the photo does say March 1912.

This photo you sent sheds some light on the added railings. The Mystery photo does not show the location where the railing were installed.

Is there any possibility that Titanic could have had the rubber-nosed steps as an addition and then they were added to Olympic during the 1913 refit?

Now how about the clock. During the refit, is there anything about the clock receiving any new parts or anything that would give a reason why the hands are missing? It is hard to see in the Mystery photo that I posted here, but in the Scan of the clock that I received from the owners it is very clear that the hands are missing.

I should be getting some detailed scans of the larger wood sections of the staircase today to compare the wood grains of each photo.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!

Lee S. Everitt
Curator - Titanic~The Exhibition
 

Eric Sauder

Member
Nov 12, 2000
403
14
171
Lee,

The people who originally sent Ken the image of Olympic's staircase that we are discussing asked that he not reveal their identity because it was sent to them by the owner with the hope that they would purchase the photo because it was supposed to be Titanic. I'm sure you'll agree that trust is an important issue in this hobby. If one breaks one's word, news about it gets around, and it makes future research using private sources that much more difficult.

It may very well have been sent to these people by the family of the other gentleman in the photo. I can guarantee without a doubt, though, that the image you posted is the exact same image that Ken and I saw in the mid 1990s.

I'm sure that Ken did notice that the clock had no hands because those are the types of details he is trained to look for, but all these years later, I don't recall discussing it with him.

The copy of the photo that we saw was also dated March, 1912, which is what made me so excited to think that it might actually be Titanic, which we know it is not.

"I should be receiving some more detailed scans of some of the larger wood sections so that I can do some more comparing. Of course this is the only true way to find out with comparing the "fingerprints" of the grain in the wood."

I have no doubt that your conclusion will be the same one Ken came to all those years ago.

Hope this helps.

Eric Sauder
 
May 12, 2005
3,107
20
233
All,

I didn't read the whole thread until just now so I missed the original discussion earlier with reference to the "mystery photo."

If Ken Marschall has made a study of it and has determined that the ship depicted is Olympic then that should settle it to most people's satisfaction.

Am I correct in gathering that the "March 1912" inscription on the original photo is in question as well?

I ask because I am not convinced that the clothing is pre-WWI. My expertise is only in women's wear from the period, so I could be mistaken, but my opinion is that the men's attire in this picture, as well as their attitude and stance, is more casual than would have been appropriate (or at least general) in 1912. The cultural "leveling effect," if you will, of the war upon society extended to a relaxation of formality in dress and manners.

The sportiveness of these men, in their clothes as well as demeanor, suggest to me that the date is no earlier than the years of WWI but is probably even later, perhaps the early 1920s.

I will take a look through some men's wear ads and catalogs in my collection to confirm about lapels, collars, ties and other details but right now, I think that the date is First WW to early post war.

Randy
 

Mike McMillan

Member
Apr 30, 2003
23
0
71
"I should be receiving some more detailed scans of some of the larger wood sections so that I can do some more comparing. Of course this is the only true way to find out with comparing the "fingerprints" of the grain in the wood."

You can pretty much see some grain similarities to Olympic even in the low quality picture provided...

--Mike Mc
62513.jpg
 

Similar threads

Similar threads