How do you class Titanic Irish British or American


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Timothy McCulloch

Guest
In some of my books that I have read on Titanic. They named her as USS TITANIC and the White Star Line named her RMS TITANIC.
I understand the RMS in Titanic.
But, can someone tell me if the Titanic was bought by someone for United States before the Maiden Voyage and gave her the new name USS Titanic?
Thanks
 
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Nathan Good

Guest
Wealthy financier J.P Morgan was buying up many European shipping companies in the early 20th century. The new immalgimation of companies he called the International Mercantile Marine. He was an American so after his purchase of the White Star Line all of their ships were techinically under American ownership. The purchase was made before White Star built the Olympic class. White Star built the Olympic and Titanic with the financial backing of Morgans vast wealth. So, as White Star was owned by the American, and the ships built largely with his money, they were American owned. The official registry of the Titanic was British and the ship flew the Blue Ensign and her official desigantion as a ship carrying the British mail was RMS (Royal Mail Ship).

I short, the Titanic was owned by an American but was registered as a British Royal Mail Ship and had her home port in Liverpool, an English port.

Hope this helps.

All the best,

Nathan
 

Joshua Gulch

Member
Mar 31, 2001
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USS Titanic? I didn't know the US Navy acquisitioned her!

Tim,
Do you mean SS Titanic vs. RMS Titanic? If so, then this was just discussed in another thread.

Josh.
 

Mark Baber

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Dec 29, 2000
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Wealthy financier J.P Morgan was buying up many European shipping companies

Morgan himself didn't own IMM or any of the shipping lines acquired by IMM. His role was that of an investment banker who put together the syndicate of corporate and institutional investors who owned most of IMM's stock; enough of those investors followed Morgan's directions that J. P. Morgan & Co. effectively controlled IMM, but neither Morgan individually nor J. P. Morgan & Co. owned IMM. In fact, other shares of IMM were owned by members of the public and IMM stock was traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The new immalgimation of companies he called the International Mercantile Marine

IMM was a New Jersey corporation. It was the former International Navigation Co., operator of the American and Red Star lines, which changed its name to IMM on 1 October 1902.

He was an American so after his purchase of the White Star Line all of their ships were techinically under American ownership

International Navigation/IMM, both before and after the name change, owned a British corporation called International Navigation Co., Ltd. It was that British company that owned the stock of Oceanic Steam Navigation Co., Ltd., the British corporation which operated White Star. Since most of the owners of IMM were American corporations, it's more accurate to say that most of the owners of the corporation whch indirectly, through two wholly-owned subsidiaries, owned the ship were American corporations.

The purchase was made before White Star built the Olympic class

The sale of OSNC to the Morgan trust was agreed to on 4 February 1902, and was ratified by the shareholders of OSNC on 17 May 1902. The cash portion of the purchase price was paid at the London office of J. P. Morgan & Co. on 1 December 1902.

So, as White Star was owned by the American, and the ships built largely with his money, they were American owned

See above.

Sources: Oldham's The Ismay Line; Haws' Merchant Fleets; Anderson's White Star; Flayhart's The American Line; Vail's The American Peril; The New York Times for various dates in 1902 and 1903.
 
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Nathan Good

Guest
Mark,

Thats interesting information about Morgan. It makes sense though as his firm is still in business today under that name. I once did market research on JPM and wondered how it tied in with IMM. Thanks for the correction. I didn;t meen to imply that Morgan personally owned any one of the ships but only that he did financially backed their construction. Thank again for the correction

Nathan
 
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Timothy McCulloch

Guest
Wow, that's really interesting about the Olympic Class.
Now that gives me another question and that is:
Was America ever going to run and operate the Olympic, Titanic and Gigantic?
And if so, Why didn't America have there time to run and operate the Olympic after her maiden voyage?
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
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In 1912 ships could not be American registered unless they were built in the USA. Morgan had to retain the British or other foreign registration of any ships he owned. Funnily enough, under British law, he didn't really buy the ships. He just bought shares in companies that owned ships. The law is a strange animal!
 
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Nathan Good

Guest
Timothy,

I'm not sure what you meen by 'why didn't America have there time to run and operate the Olympic...'. She wasn't a naval vessel and the American government had little or no control of her operation if thats what you meen. She didn't really belong to any so called American fleet and, as she was British registered, the Royal Navy would surely have presence over the USN on any military useage. Maybe I misunderstood you.

All the best,

Nathan
 
Dec 4, 2000
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In my opinion, J.P. Morgan is not brought into the Titanic story because he had any direct influence on the events of that night. Rather, he is conjured up in an attempt to show how the rich robber barons were attempting to gain wealth at the expense of the poor and the downtrodden. This thinly disguised dialectic materialism is a major theme of most cinematic portrayals of the disaster even though it is historically innacurate.

J.P. Morgan had no direct interest in operating ships per se. His interests were financial, and particularly in the control of the flow of goods, people, and money. While he may have been behind the financing of Titanic, he was not in any practical sense the "owner." As has been pointed out, shares in companies controlled by Morgan were traded in public. The honor of ownership rested with the corporate body known as White Star, which effectively meant, Bruce Ismay. The ship was British from keel to truck, crewed British, and sailed under British regulations and flag. In fact, had a member of the U.S. Navy tried to take control of Titanic (or Olympic), it would technically have been an act of war against Great Britain. (A century earlier, the U.S. went to war against England for just those sorts of actions.)

The situation regarding the nationality of ships is still confusing. A vessel may be financed by people of one country, owned by a corporation of another, and flagged (registered) under the laws of yet a third country. And, to add to the confusion, the captain and crew may represent a dozen more nations.

The costs of operating ships under the U.S. flag are considerably greater than when operating under the flags of a lot of third countries. Thus, U.S. corporations often register their ships overseas to escape direct U.S. control and expense. This is called using a "flag of convenience."

Today there is even more international control of corporations than in 1912. The "owners" of a U.S. company may really be from still another nation state. Nothing is new. This is just ol' J.P. Morgan on a larger scale.

--David G. Brown
 
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brendan kilmartin

Guest
This thinly disguised dialectic materialism is a major theme of most cinematic portrayals of the disaster even though it is historically innacurate.

errrr...in english that means what?

brendan
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Class warfare was not the reason Titanic was built or that it sank. Nor was there an evil plot by the rich to kill the poor by denying them lifeboats. Titanic was a product of the corporate effort of society, and that included the desires for a fast, comfortable passage to the New World by 1st class passengers and immigrants alike.

-- David G. Brown
 
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John Meeks

Guest
Brendan,

What David was saying was that the media have been portraying JPM who would have put his grandmother on the Titanic and not given a sh** about the sinking - as long as she had paid her fare! The ship was insured anyway.

I agree with David that 'class warfare' was not the reason why Titanic was built - and certainly not the reason that titanic sank!

However - the Board of Trade regulations of the day regarding lifeboat capacity, sequence of boarding passengers on the night of the disaster, and many of the statements made at the inquiries following the disaster...not to mention a simple perusal of the survivor list, soon give you a pretty clear idea of where 'rich' and 'poor' stood in relationship to each other!

I believe, if I am correct, that the final score was:

First Class - 1
Second Class - 2
Third Class - 3
Steerage - 'Forget it'

- Of course, this was the way the world was in 1912...!

John M
 
Dec 4, 2000
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U.S. immigration laws prevented the mixing of third class with first or second for "health reasons." Now, most ET forum members who live west of the wreck site do so because their ancestors had the gumption to pack a trunk and leave the "old country." Not everyone in third class was poor or downtrodden. Many of your ancestors carried enough wealth on their person to purchase land for farms or to buy businesses CASH. But, they came as immigrants...and as such had to be separated from first and second class. I have studied the movements of these people across the Great Lakes. It is curious how much gold went with them.

But, on the night of April 14-15, Captain Smith faced a problem--not enough lifeboats. He could have called for everyone to come to the boat deck. Then what? Draw straws for the boat seats?

A general "abandon ship" call would have resulted in a riot of truly titanic proportions. There would have been no orderly launching of lifeboats. Women and children would have been pushed aside in the panic. Death toll -- probably 90% or better.

The only sane thing Smith could do was what he did do -- launch boats without any fanfare. The goal was to save as many lives as possible, not save those of any particular class. But, Titanic had been built in accordance with U.S. laws about separation of the immigrants. There was no way to change that as the bow slipped beneath the sea.

I am always amazed at how the same people who cry "class discrimination" about the lifeboats conveniently overlook how much good John J. Astor's money did him that night.

-- David G. Brown
 
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John Meeks

Guest
David

I live West of the wreck site because I, personally had the gumption to "leave the old country", myself.

Please explain - and I challenge you - to explain exactly what good John Jacob Astor's money did that night.

(This is my thirteenth posting - is this an omen of bad things to come...?)

John M
 
Dec 2, 2000
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What Astor's money did for him was nothing. That was the point David was trying to make. He went down with the ship and after being found was sent home in a box. (Okay, it did get him a fancy funeral.)
lame.gif


Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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John Meeks

Guest
Boy! I made an ass of myself by misreading David's posting!

Sorry folks!

I had read it as "...how much good John J. Astor's money did that night..."

Apologies all round!

(Like I said...it was my thirteenth posting!)
 
Dec 4, 2000
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John -- to err is very, very human. I have done far worse in my lifetime. My wife says the only time I open my mouth is to change feet.

-- David G. Brown
 
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John Meeks

Guest
David,

Mustn't let my wife get hold of that one!

Thanks for not gloating,

John
 
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Richard Coplen

Guest
This is one topic that gets me hot and bothered - what nationality was the Titanic? In short people, White Star may have been owned by Americans and Titanic may have been registered in Britain, but she was built (born and bred) in Ireland and that...THAT is what matters. In my opinion Titanic was Irish - through and through. It was Irish brain-power, blood, sweat and tears which created that ship - not British, not American, not Australian, not French, not German...but Irish. The Titanic takes pride of place in Ireland's maritime heritage - each and every Irish person would defend this statement. You can't take that away from us.
Okay, so she sank - that was'nt down to design flaws, but to the way she was sailed. All the inquiries completely absolved Harland and Wolff of any blame, and praised their work on Titanic. She would have had a fantastic career like Olympic, had she been handled properly and with all due respect, Titanic was being handled, as previously said, by the British and Americans...
The following dialogue from James Cameron's '97 blockbuster says it all -
Fabrizio: "The ship is nice?!"
Tommy: "Yeah, it's an Irish ship!"
Fabrizio: "It's English, no?!"
Tommy: "No...it was built in Ireland. 15,000 Irishmen built this ship - solid as a rock, big Irish hands..."
I'm sorry, but I had to clarify that point - it means alot to me and indeed the Irish population. Titanic is part of our heritage, afterall she was "born and bred" here!!!
Regards,
Richie.
 

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