Lights on Board


Mar 22, 2003
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Olympic's measured minimum ambient lighting levels in the 1920s that were listed in the table appear to be anywhere from about 1/2 to 1/4 of what is commonly the recommended minimum levels of today. From 5 miles there would be no mistake as to what type of ship she was. And from 5 miles, there would be no mistaking a 4 masted tramp steamer either.

The problem was that the so called mysterious vessels that were seen that night were much more than 5 miles away despite the subjective appearance of their lights.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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If anybody wants to get a sense of what light levels were like circa 1912, all you really need to do is go to the Biltmore Mansion in Asheville NC. The light bulbs used are the sort of low wattage and low light types which were contemporary to the time.
 
I do agree that Cameron´s Titanic might be overlitt, however there is no doubt that seen from the lifeboats, the ship would have been a blaze of light, considering it was the only source of brightness in the area! Compared to the total darkness of a night without moon, the ship provided a beautiful, if terrible, view for the survivors.
Despite this, I have a question: how was the visibility that night after the lights disappeared? How far could they see? And when did the dawn break?
 
Mar 22, 2003
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>>how was the visibility that night after the lights disappeared? How far could they see? <<

Apparently not very far.

Lawrence Beesley: "We were then in touch with three other boats: one was 15, on our starboard quarter, and the others I have always supposed were 9 and 11, but I do not know definitely. We never got into close touch with each other, but called occasionally across the darkness and saw them looming near and then drawing away again; we called to ask if any officer were aboard the other three, but did not find one....None of the other three boats near us had a light--and we missed lights badly: we could not see each other in the darkness; we could not signal to ships which might be rushing up full speed from any quarter to the Titanic's rescue; and now we had been through so much it would seem hard to have to encounter the additional danger of being in the line of a rescuing ship."

>>And when did the dawn break?<<

Nautical Twilight began about 04:39 AM,
Civil Twilight began about 05:13 AM, and sun rise was at 05:42 AM, all Titanic time.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>how was the visibility that night after the lights disappeared? How far could they see?<<

Until their eyes could have adjusted, they wouldn't have been able to see very far at all. Even when their eyes were adjusted, they failed completely to see any of the pack ice and icebergs that were surrounding them. When you're out to sea, and it's dark, it's dark with an attitude! (Been there, done that!)
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I find rather strange that the lifeboats were not provided with lamps though.<<

I'd have to poke around to be certain, but I think they were supposed to be. The problem here is that the people who ended up in the boats weren't all that familier with them, and that included the crew.

The Mersey Wreck Commission had this to say about the equipment:
quote:

In ordinary circumstances all these boats (with the exception of 1 and 2) were kept covered up, and contained only a portion of their equipment, such as oars, masts and sails, and water; some of the remaining portion, such as lamps, compasses and biscuits being stowed in the ship in some convenient place, ready for use when required. Much examination was directed at the hearing to show that some boats left the ship without a lamp and others without a compass and so on, but in the circumstances of confusion and excitement which existed at the time of the disaster this seems to me to be excusable.
Source: http://www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOTReport/BOTRepBoats.php
 
>> do agree that Cameron´s Titanic might be overlitt

To be fair, Cameron's set is overlit because one needed to be able to see the action clearly.

Wouldn't it be a safe assumption that lights on board the Titanic would have been around the strength of a modern 25W bulb?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Wouldn't it be a safe assumption that lights on board the Titanic would have been around the strength of a modern 25W bulb?<<

In most spaces, this would probably be true. The people of this age didn't really like very bright white lighting, reckoning any such to be harmful and they may not have been entirely wrong on some levels.

If you can get to Asheville North Carolina, a tour through the Biltmore mansion is quite the eye opener since most of the rooms use lights which are dim by our standards, but which was the accepted norm in the early part of the 20th Century. I expect lighting levels on the Titanic would have been broadly similar.
 

Haowei Shi

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Aug 25, 2010
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The lights are yellow ,though.It is same kind of lightbulb we use at home.
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Haowei
FULL SPEED AHEAD!!
 

Jane Smith

ShipCollector
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Aug 16, 2018
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Hey. I’m not entirely sure if this is the right thread for this. But what kind of lights or light fixtures did the 1st class, 2nd class and 3rd class have? The light fixtures for the crew and the ones on the side of the ship
 

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