I feel that Andrews did a good job of designing the Titanic. However, had I designed her, I would have extended the watertight bulkheads up higher than E-Deck, and the thought of her being able to stay afloat with more than four compartments breeched is nice, although I am not sure how that would be carried out in construction terms. I am far from being a technical expert, but I HAVE to give my 2 cents to any conversation having ANYTHING to do with Thomas Andrews!
If I was Andrews I would have definitly made the ship stronger. I heard that the ships metal was brittle in cold waters. I do not know if it is true or not, but that is what I heard on the Discovery Channel. I would have built it bigger so that it could hold more lifeboats. That would be one of my main priorities. I will get back to you on the rest.
On the issue of the brittle steel, that remains controversial. Personally, I believe the steel probably was brittle. You are right, that was recently discussed on a Discovery Channel special. Sorry I can't explain myself further, but I am in a hurry.
The problem I have with questions such as these (i.e. if you were Andrews, Smith, etc.) is that I have the seed of knowledge from the year 2001 implanted in my head of all the problems associated with the Titanic in early April 1912, brittle steel, bulkheads not high enough, etc. In the eyes of Andrews, the Titanic was the best and safest ship that they could fathom in design, and Smith seemed confident in his command, until the shock of the fact his ship would sink sent him into a glazed-over 'stupor'.
To answer the question as they would have back in 1912, one must completely discount all the understanding of the post-1912 findings on the sinking and wreck. An unbiased answer simply cannot be given.
I would have removed some of the interior C Deck staterooms to allow for a dome in the Dining Saloon.
I would add a rectangulat glass dome to the Lounge (a la Lusitania).
I would put a Library in between the A Deck GSC and the R/W Room (on the port side of No. 2 Funnel Casing).
I would add a small glass dome over the 2nd Class Smoking Room.
And a few others, but I'd have to think about it for a while...
If one looks at the career of the Olympic, I'd say that Andrews did a blinding job in his design of the Olympic-Class liners.
However, based on the recent paper by Parks Stephenson and David Brown, (The Grounding Of The Titanic), I'd suggest one area in which he slipped up is in relation to the design of the fireman's passage and associated staircase.
Perhaps he could also have designed the watertight doors so that any deformation of the bulkheads, (for example in a collision), didn't lead to the doors potentially jamming in their guides - as some believe happened on Britannic, and possibly Titanic too.
Dan - I would think that Andrews knew he had designed a relatively safe ship, but I'm sure he would have been aware of the Great Eastern and her massively complex watertight design and the fact that the Olympic class liners were nowhere near as safe.
I go along with Walter Lord's theory in "The Night Lives On", that when the profit began to roll in for the big lines, the safety standards fell.
He also makes a pertinant point about the Titanic being so huge - her size gave the ILLUSION of safety.
Andrews et al would no doubt, given a free reign and money not being a problem, have built a liner with far greater watertight integrity. But they were limited and it took a disaster of the magnitude of the Titanic to rip up the rule book and start again.
Before the disaster, the profit hungry lines would have slammed shipbuilders for going above estimates with "unnecessary" safety measures, afterwards the public (and crews) demanded no less.
If I was Andrews, and with the benefit of knowledge from today, I would have had added a sleeker bow with a bulbous head. He would have stolen a march on other designers and improved the speed (what am I saying!!??). Any ideas when the bulbous bow emerged, and if the Titanic or Olympic had one, could they have nicked the blue ribband?
"Any ideas when the bulbous bow emerged, and if the Titanic or Olympic had one, could they have nicked the blue ribband?"
Although there are guys around who know a lot more about this, I think the Normandie was the first with a sort of bulbous bow(at least for the passenger liners).
This new hull was far more efficient then the 'normal' ones, while Normandie had less horsepower then Queen Mary, those 2 ships had quite a battle for the Blue Ribband!
No idea if a bulbous bow for the Olympic-class would have been possible, doesn't seem to easy to construct though.
I think Thomas Andrews actually did a great job. It's difficult to say if I would've design the ship any different. Looking at the result I'd say I wouldn't have changed anything. Even though one think I've always been interested in were the quarters of the crew. (No, not just one certain officer, I swear! *hehe*). But I have never seen one single photograph of any crew members quarters. That would be rather interesting. I have no idea which style they were.
Wish the watertight bulkheads would've been higher and had a horizontal top. And what makes me tear my hair out over and over again is the lack of enough lifeboats and the fact that they had the davits for them.
About the steel I also agree with Dan, the problem is to see the story in the eyes of 1912, forgetting all the knowledge we have now in 2001. Now we know that this kind of steel gets brittle in very cold but at that time this wasn't known back then. So it's being as idle to say that the damage could've been avoided if they had used other/better steel as it would be to say that xy % of car accidents in the 60's could've been avoided if all cars would've been equipped with airbags. This comparison was stated by Susanne Störmer in one of her (german) books and I think it's a good one.
About the steel: experts have determined by studying surfaced debris of Titanic that her steel was the best quality achievable in 1912.
Would I have designed Titanic differently?
Ofcourse Thomas Andrews knew that the safety of the ship was not beyond question. He was however overruled by White Star on some safety issues that were recommended by him. I think he did the best he could and what was possible in those days.
Let's not forget that safety standards today have evolved out of a lot of experience from past tragedies.
Take the wood in Titanics interior for instance: it would be totally off limits on modern ships, but nobody even considered the possible liabilty of this material back in 1912.
I would have had more life boats as we all would.
I know there was a big thing about Class destinction then. The third class was put into the bowels of the ship so no one would see them. And most people did not see them, even when the ship was going down. Some say they were left to fend for themselves and couldnt find their way up to the boat deck until it was too late.
I would have stewards on board who spoke the languages of the many of the third class, so they could have help during a situation as the sinking.
They had stewards for everything else!
I would have boat drills so everyone would know where to go. These things are not design type things! I know but they are improvements!!
No class barriers that would be locked. I know it was to prevent third class entering the other areas of the ship and I also know at the time.... but what it really did was trap those poor people down below. Whether or not they were locked or not, we won't know.
More lifeboats would have not led to the tragedy that has all of us so utterly obsessed!
Oh and I would have had the plans copied just in case the main office got bombed during a war and they were destroyed.
what else.. there has to be more.aybe i shall dwell on it and post later!
Hi Christine, the watertight bulkheads had tops. They're called decks. The problem was that they weren't watertight.
On the crew quarters, I think that you'll find that they were very spartan. Really little more then overglorified bunkroom/dormatories, and little has changed since that time. On every ship on which I served, the crew berthings had bunks three deep and on older warships, they were as many as five deep. About all the sailors had was a place to sleep and some small personal space to keep their kit. The berthings I'm used to slept the men three deep in bunks with the bunks being used as lockers. Other then the tile on the decks and the paint on the bulkheads, there is very little in the way of adornment.
In regards the quality of the steel, we have to remember that the science of metallurgy wasn't as advanced then as it is now. What they used on the Titanic was used everywhere and for many years afterwards in both the merchent marine and the navy.
On the barriers, Eric Sauder posted something on this a few days ago on Mark Taylors listserv. There were no barriers to getting above decks. All any of the steerage passangers would have had to do would be to go up the general stairways. The barriers that existed were below decks and seperated class areas. The problem was that the ship's interior was an unfamilier maze to those below decks. One that would be all too easy to get lost in, and a lot of them did.
On the issue of money, for Harland & Wolff, this wasn't that much of a problem. They were given the requirements by White Star and told to make it happen. The nuts and bolts details were left to the builders.
Any ship is a study in tradeoffs, and economics is always a factor. A business has an absolute obligation to turn a profit for it's stockholders, and there is no advantage to playing Russian Roulette with safety concerns. Losing ships is an expensive as well as an embarassing passtime. They could have built the ship to military standards, but this would have been rediculously difficult for passangers to get around in and enormously unappealing to same. A safe ship is of little value if nobody will book passage on her.
I think it would help to remember that the Olympic class liners were built well in excess of existing safety standards with plenty of room for growth. A good thing too as the two survivors had some pretty extensive modifications put in. The Olympic had them incorperated in a six month yard period, and the Britannic was altered while still on the building slip. The problem was that the standards then were badly outdated.Ramming accidents were what was designed for, but nobody thought about the consequences of using an iceberg for a can opener.
One has to wonder if what is done today is much of an improvement. As Captain Erik Wood pointed out, todays minimum standards tend to be treated as the maximum.
The Titanic's maiden yoyage is a catalogue of circumstances and shortcomings which became aligned to create a catastrophe. One can apply the 'what if' factor from numerous angles and
arrive at a less devastating outcome. eg What if the iceberg had not been seen by the look-outs and Titanic had ploughed head on into it... etc etc etc.
However, if you are to look at just one obvious contributing shortcoming it has to be the lack of watertight integrity in the bulkheads. This particular feature of Titanic's construction is so obviously flawed, and so alien to the conventional wisdom of naval architecture, that one wonders what the designers/builders were thinking about. If nothing else, a watertight bulkhead is a convenient and efficient means of supporting the deck above. Providing an alternative means of supporting the deck adjacent to a bulkhead beggars belief.
If Titanic had remained afloat as a whole, or even in part, the catstrophic loss of life would have been greatly reduced.
Michael - Even though Harland and Wolff built the Titanic on a "cost plus" basis, I don't think they were given a totally free rein on things.
The infamous meeting about the number of lifeboats, when White Star insisted on a number much less than the Titanic could hold is the most obvious example.
As Walter Lord said, if the decks were made watertight the passengers access to areas of the ship would have been made much more difficult, or impossible in some cases, and they couldn't have that. If H&W had insisted on such measures, I feel sure they would have been overruled by White Star.
The Titanic DID have enough room for enough lifeboats! The new Welin davits that had been installed on the Boat Deck could each hold four lifeboats, meaning had they been used as designed, Titanic would have had 68 lifeboats total; including the four Englehardt Collapsibles. But, all these boats would have taken up "valuable" deck space, and "would never be used."
Just how would enough lifeboats on the Titanic avoided this great tragedy and large loss of life? The Titanic carried 20 boats on her maiden voyage; of these, only 18 were lowered. The other two, Collapsibles A and B, floated off the Boat Deck when it went under, with B upside-down. With 68 boats to lower, the situation would have been no different. There simply wasn't enough time. For one thing, they waited too long to start evacuating the ship. And for another, VERY few boats left filled to capacity. Only two or three I think; with one overloaded. And, lastly, the ship was sinking too fast. So when you think about it, the situation would have likely been no different with 20 or 68 lifeboats. These are just my thoughts on the subject.
Hi Sam, befor we get too wrapped up in the consequences of this meeting, lets take note of the general attitudes of the time. They simply didn't perceive the sort of accident that could sink such a large and modern vessel in so short a time. The "practically unsinkable" thing was something they actually believed and not surprisingly, they acted on it. They weren't the only ones who believed it either. It was a pervasive attitude througout the maritme world.
Brandon also makes a very good point about the situation with the lifeboats actually carried in that they didn't get all of them off in time.
Kevin, a little point on naval architecture is in order here; structural bulkheads, whether built watertight or not, always support the decks above along with stanchions and the transverse framing. It wasn't the watertight integrity of the bulkheads themselves that were ever compromised. It was the hull which was breeched, and the bulkheads were simply bypassed by rising floodwaters by coming up through hatches, escape trunks, nontight deck penetrations, etc. Once the water got going through passageways, it cascaded down other stairways, trunks, vents and any other openings it could find.
I guess the observation that the Titanic wasn't a disaster, what happened to her was rings true here.
However, Alexander Carlisle expressed his misgivings over the number of lifeboats the vessel would sail with. It is difficult to know whether he expressed this opinion with hindsight, but the fact that Thomas Andrews' own notes about lifeboat capacity were changed, reflecting the meeting with White Star, suggests that there was an element of cautiousness within the hierarchy of Harland and Wolff - and that it was ignored.
In other words, at one stage the Olympic and Titanic's designers were so concerned with safety provision that they were prepared to go far beyond the requirements of the BOT and provide the liners with a number of lifeboats necessary for potentially 3000+ people.
I feel that if they did think the ships were practically unsinkable, or safe beyond reproach, they would not have considered such measures in the first place.