- Apr 11, 2001
For once there was something worth watching on TV. The History channel had a 2 hour program on terrible design mistakes. The Liberty Ships were cited. a story which I was not aware of- apparently inferior steel, when exposed to cold water, would have a disastrous effect on the welded seams and the ships would literally come to pieces-Titanic was used as a comparison- the remedy was to band heavy steel braces along the sides of the hull to reinforce the integrity of the steel and the problem stopped. Titanic was also examined from a point of high sulfur in the steel which reacts badly in the steel exposed to cold temperatures- and also the rivets were critcized for being vastly inferior in construction and composition. One statement put forth which I had NEVER heard of before was that Smith insisted that some of the lifeboats destined for Titanic were superfluous and should be removed before she sailed- sounds more like an Ismayism to me- There was a segment on the Andrea Doria as well- one theory was that if her fuel had been pumped to the other side of the ship via the port-starboard channels designed for that purpose, she may have floated. Was also fascinated to learn that the radar dial illuminator was not equiped with a 10 cent light bulb, so that on a darkened night bridge, the scale reader was not readable and instead of the 12 miles apart supposed, it actually read 2 miles- due to the darkened screen it was not read properly. Fascinating. After the wreck, all radar scale illuminators were equipped with permanent lights. The Hindenburg and the Thresher were also discussed- great program- sure to be repeated this week- try to catch it.