Megaphones

James Smith

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Dec 5, 2001
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How many megaphones were recovered from the Titanic wreck site?

I'm asking because I've seen a photograph of a megaphone being picked up by Nautile's arm for recovery and it looks more or less intact. However, a megaphone on display at the Titanic exhibit in Salt Lake City seems to have part of its side rusted away.

Were several megaphones recovered? Or did something go wrong in the "conservation" process?

--Jim
 
Dec 31, 2003
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Hampstead, London
What an interesting posting! The discovery of the megaphone indicated that illustrations (based - we should presume - on actual accounts) of EJ speaking through one were quite correct. Such "merely interesting" details - and, of course, "unresearched" - are invaluable to our complete study of the event today. And no 'complete study' can never be unscholarly - nor unscientific - can it? Now, as regards discovery and conservation, we see plates 'perfect' - unbroken, unchipped - and find, after salvage, that their 'torquoise' is erased. There has, I believe, been only one megaphone sighted, photographed or recovered. Appearing 'perfect' on the debris field, I would expect that it might not be so when conserved. Unlike heavier, thicker metal products, its horn might be effected so differently where it rested and where it didn't that its form decayed along one section. Because circloid or rondoid forms are uniquely strong when 'closed' - and weak when 'open' - the expert restoration as well as conservation of the megaphone (as would be done - distinguishing between original and new - with an Attic vase) would be well advised.
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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I have seen that same photo of the megaphone being recovered. I believe it is made of aluminium. From my chemistry days, I recall that for aluminium, and most metals (the exception being iron), when they oxidise/corrode, they have a think layer of oxide build up on the outside surface which prevents further oxidation, so it should have stayed in quite good condition...

Cheers

Paul
--
http://www.paullee.com
 
Dec 31, 2003
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Hampstead, London
So it does, Paul: the surface 'skin' formed giving a distinctly 'soapy' feel to old aluminium. The surface is readily attacked by even very low alkaline levels; mildest soaps, for instance, are dramatically destructive of aluminium jewellery. But its seam would be the megaphone's strongest - or weakest - line of defense.
 

Scott Newman

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Jun 16, 2004
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I went to the Salt Lake exhibit and also noticed the decay of the megaphone. I hadn't thought anything of it until this posting. It would be interesting to see some before and after photos...
 

James Smith

Member
Dec 5, 2001
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Thanks for posting that, Paul.

The handle, I believe, is gone now, too, leaving only two holes in the side of the megaphone where it once was. I'll check that out when I'm at the exhibit again tomorrow.

The decay pattern on the megaphone looks like it could well have been the portion that was in contact with the ocean floor. Still, it looks so solid in the picture . . .

--Jim
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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It is a great shame Jon Hollis is not with us, as he may have some more pictures of the megaphone. Sadly people on this board have seriously him off, and I don't think he'll be back.

Cheers

Paul
--
http://www.paullee.com
 

Scott Newman

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Jun 16, 2004
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Goes to show how painful the conservation process can be...makes you wonder how that drawing of Rose was so well preserved...ha ha.

Thanks for the pics! Very nice!
 

Mike Bull

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Dec 23, 2000
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To be honest, I'd rather see the item in it's original condition on the sea bed, if that's what 'conservation' does to an item!
 
Jan 29, 2001
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Those are wonderful photographs Paul...whom are they courtesy of?? I have got to run to the house. I have a TIME or NEWSWEEK article from 1987 "Treasures reclaimed from the deep" which also features a photograph of a megaphone in it's seabed state. They do not appear to be
one in the same. I'll get back to you soon.

MAC
USA
 
Jan 29, 2001
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Paul, sorry for the late response...In fact the photograph from the Nov. 2, '87 TIME issue is the same, however *yours* being a reverse of the original release.

Michael A. Cundiff
USA