Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Hi all,
This is my first post on these boards, so please treat me gently! ;-)

Last Saturday, I attended a talk at the Science Museum in London (which is hosting an exhibit of Titanic artefacts) where a perfumist recounted the story of how Adolphe Saalfeld's samples of perfumes were recovered from the debris field a few years back, and thanks to his scientific work, has synthesised a copy of the fragrances (and very nice they are too!), with the intention of a big cosmetic company taking on mass manufacturing.

Anyway, I digress. The story as recounted was that just after the collision, Saalfeld was urged by a steward to get into a lifeboat (no.3)...he only had time to pocket a souvenir menu, leaving his perfume samples in cabin C-106.

Now, this cabin is an interior cabin, near the landing of the grand staircase, so it is well inside the ship. How did his pouch of fragrances wind up int he debris field?

This is reminiscent of Major Peuchen's wallet, which was recovered in 1987. His cabin was right new door to Saalfeld. Now, the story according to Charles Pellegrino is that, when Peuchen was shinning down the falls to the lifeboat, he dropped his wallet into the water. Now, if anyone can verify this, please PLEASE do so!!!!
If he didn't drop it, then how did his wallet
end up in the debris field?

Are there any other similarly mysterious items in the debris field?

With best wishes

Paul
 

Steve Smith

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Dec 14, 1998
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Paul

Welcome aboard. Be assured that EVERYONE is treated gently round here (mostly!!)

As to your points - I think it just goes to show the violence and unpredictability of the sinking.
The ship was simply ripped apart. Yes we've all seem the pictures of glasses still on washstands and plates still stacked on shelves but these are freak survivors: the pancaked decks, flattened bulkheads and imploded compartments show far more clearly the incredible forces involved. As well as all the stuff that was ripped free in the area of the break, the majority of cabins throughout the ship must have lost walls, floors or ceilings - and the water pressure generated during a 2 and a half mile fall to the ocean floor would have swept masses more stuff out of the wreck. Most people imagine the bow planing down in an upright positon - but I guess it could have tumbled and spun for at least part of the descent, dumping stuff from all over: out of the opening over the Grand Staircase, for instance. That would be one explanation for Saalfeld's bag was thrown clear.
If you look at pictures from the debris field it's clear just how mixed up it all is - first class belongings next to engine room parts next to
kitchen pots and pans. Like any disaster, there's no rhyme or reason in what and who survives. It's down to luck - pure and simple
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Hi Steve,
Thanks for not biting! ;-)

Interesting points you mentioned there - do you know if Cameron et al. visited the C Deck landing area during the making of "Ghosts of the Abyss"? That might be interesting...

I've also thought of another mystery artefact: the bronze cherub. Originally it was thought to be from the aft grand staircase, but conservators at LP3 have since determined that it came from the forward staircase. Does anyone know if this is true? And if so, how did they determine its location?

Best wishes

Paul
 
Jul 12, 2003
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I think we might always be discovering "new" things on the bottom of the sea around the Titanic...because, if I understand the way the ocean works (and please correct me if I am wrong), the sands are constantly shifting...so what might be uncovered one day might be covered the next and vive-versa.
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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The one item from the debris field that remains maddeningly elusive are the Grand Staircase balustrades that were clearly photographed by Angus in the 1985 Ballard expedition and which can be seen in his book featuring Angus photos with the strobe lights reflecting off the floral patterns. Not a single dive has ever located those.
 
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Is there a complete (and accessible) list of every artifact that's been recovered from the debris field and the wreck itself? That would go a long way towards establishing for most of us what's been found, and what's left to discover (that could possibly be discovered...those funnels have been long gone!).
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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Paul raised an interesting point. The cabins involved were in an area that's outwardly fairly intact. Following on Steve's remarks, is it possible that, as the ship sank, some sort of flow-through of water was set up. Water could enter via the various hatches and the damaged uptake for the forward funnel and exit at the break in the hull. Maybe that would sweep many items out of the C deck cabins, or what was left of them.

As to the wallet, unless Pellegrino has a sworn statement from Peuchen, I'll assume he's again presenting conjecture as fact. Life is too short to read Pellegrino.
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Thanks for your posts; I remember seeing pictures of the staircase balustrades in Ballard's 1987 book and I think we all assumed that they were from the aft Grand Staircase... but now I'm wondering! Is there any way to distinguish between the balustrades for the foreward and after staircases?

(By the way, Dave, great website of yours
happy.gif
)
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Paul and all,

Peuchen did drop his wallet, or it fell out as he was descending to boat 6 ... so Pellegrino wasn't bluffing then (however as Dave said, life's too short to read Pellegrino!).

As for the balustrades, there is no way to distinguish whether one came from fore or aft. They were identical depending on deck. Some decks were higher than others, and thus the size of the balustrade panels may vary due to that, but not becase it came from fore or aft.

There has been a good discussion (elsewhere on this board) as to whether the forward staircase could float out of the ship during the sinking. I can't remember what the majority consensus was, but even if we assume that it could, it would float for quite a number of days before it would begin to rot and drop the metal panels. As a result, if it ever floated out of the ship, it would have been taken quite a fair distance by the current.

Personally I believe it did not float out, and that the balustrade panels seen were from the aft staircase which was demolished during the ship's break-up.

Regards,

Daniel.

PS. As for Saalfeld's perfumes, it is possible that they were important to him and he took it up on deck. Unable to take them, he had to leave it. I think there are also known instances where bags were tossed out of the lifeboats (perhaps thus was the fate of Saalfeld's bag if it ever made it to a boat).
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Hi Daniel,
Thanks for your post - just wondering where/when Peuchen said that he dropped his wallet?

As for Saalfeld's perfumes; they wouldn't have taken up much room (they were in a leather enclosure about half the size of a woman's handbag) - he specifically did not go down to his cabin to collect them as the steward who informed him to go on deck did so with such urgency that he didn't have time to go below deck. All he grabbed was a souvenir menu card. Everything else went down with the ship!

Best wishes

Paul
 

Ken Marschall

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Jan 8, 2002
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Paul,

I was there when the Saalfeld perfume samples were recovered in 2000, invited along as an observer by RMS Titanic, Inc. The leather (if I recall) pouch was unopened and, as it rested underwater in the blue plastic tub in the conservation room aboard Keldysh, a sweet scent began wafting around. We noticed a fragrant, oily film beginning to appear on the water's surface. The conservator took the pouch out and laid it on the table, then gently opened it. Though most of the small glass vials, contained within thin metal outer cylinders, were intact and appeared to be still sealed, a few had broken during the recovery process (by the sub's manipulator arm, I assume), and it was from these broken vials that the fragrance was eminating. It was unreal. Just WONDERFUL. It smelled as fresh and sweet as if an elegant lady from 1912 had just walked in the room.

That scent pervaded the room for days. It was all over the conservator's gloves, of course, which ended up in the trash. Needless to say, I snatched those gloves out of the garbage and saved them in a plastic bag which I brought home and shared with friends and colleagues for a long time. The sweet fragrance lasted for many months.

I was on a trans-atlantic cruise only a few months later when I passed a gentleman in a corridor, immediately followed by that very same scent, now burned into my memory. I asked him, if he didn't mind, what he was wearing and explained why. He took me to his stateroom and showed me the bottle of cologne. It's called Vetiver, by Guerlain (Paris). Of course I had to pick some up when I got to New York.

If you ever want to know what that pervasive fragrance was like in that conservation room aboard Keldysh (probably a mixture of several perfume samples, to be sure), just apply some of this cologne lightly and wait awhile. The scent is way too strong at first, of course. But after an hour or more-- it's the identical scent.

Ken
 
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Jul 7, 2002
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Ken,

Thanks for sharing the info about the perfume samples!

Some of the bottles and a piece of the case are currently in the artifact exhibit at the Detroit Science Center. They are displayed in a case which has holes in it so you can smell the perfume. I'm sure it's not as strong as what you experienced, but it's still very cool!

Best wishes,

Cathy
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Hi all,
Wishing wishing to sound too sycophantic, I'm thrilled that a luminary such as Ken has replied to my post!

Yes, we have a few of the perfume samples at the London Science Museums, with vents drilled into the perspex so people can smell the fragrances. Very few people do, so we have to prompt them!

David Pybus, a perfume expert, has synthesised a copy of at least one of the "unknown" fragrances and is hoping that it will be on sale sometime next year. Some of the resultant cash will then get shunted into RMS Titanic Inc.'s coffers to keep it afloat (pun intended).
David knows a lot about the history of Saalfeld and what happened to him after the disaster. I'll post the info on this website when I get some info back from him!

Best wishes

Paul
 

Ken Marschall

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Thank you, Phil.
happy.gif


Paul,

Is David Pybus aware of the letter by Mr. Saalfeld written aboard Titanic and posted from Queenstown? It's on the rarer stationery, with original envelope. The owner is a friend of mine. If David is interested, I'd be happy to put him in touch.

Ken
 
Dec 7, 2000
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Paul,

I went to see the exhibition when I was in London a few weeks ago and I did notice the drilled holes. I tried to smell through them, but I felt a little stupid since no one else was smelling them, and didn't stand there much. I didn't manage to smell anything either.

Daniel.
 
Jul 7, 2002
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Daniel,

I've been volunteering one day a month at the artifact exhibit at the Detroit Science Center. Most people don't notice the holes in the perfume display. I often point them out so visitors can smell the perfume. At this exhibit the scent isn't strong, but you can smell it.

Best wishes,

Cathy
 
R

robert s hauser

Guest
This is for Ken Marschall,
Dear Ken,
I'm am a wanna be recording artist, and have recently graduated from the Conservatory of Recording Arts. A few years ago I recorded a song professionaly with Titanic inspired lyrics. I didn't originally intend it that way, it was just a chord progression I had around for several years. I tried one set of lyrics which didn't really work, and didn't come up with the current ones untill I saw the RMS Titanic exibition in Chicago back in 2000. On the train ride home, the Titanic verses just came really easily and seemed to fit the sylabic rythm perfectly, so I used them. To my surprise, the recording session went rather well (you never know how these crackpot ideas are going to really work until your in a room paying 70 bucks an hour trying to explain your artistic vision to a skeptical engineer), and the song seemed to work. Unfortunately, I've never had the chance to share it with anyone who was hip to Titanic, or to get any constructive feedback. So anyway, Ive long admired you both as an artist, and from the fact that you have found a way to make a living from something you have a passion for. Its a goal I've long held, but so far, I'm still waiting tables. I would be really thrilled if I could get you a copy. A while back, I tried mailing one to Charlie Pelligrino's publisher, but never heard any response. Maybe he hated it. Oh well. I don't have the equipment to convert it to MP3 right now. Is there any adress I could use to send a CD? Sorry for the gratuitously self serving ramble, but I have just discovered this site and am completely thrilled to find that it provides a way to converse with people like you who have such comprehensive knowledge, and who have actually participated in the latest exploration.

Thank you, Rob Hauser
 

Matt Simons

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Mar 12, 2005
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One thing I'd like to make clear is that the cherub is not from the forward staircase, hence the position of the once exsiting lamp it held (different positions and arms).

PS. If anyone does get ahold of a list of artifacts please email it to me at [email protected]. Thanks!

PPS. Ken, if you still happen to look at this post could you email me some info on the lights you got from the Olympic. I'm trying to recreate a first class stateroom or public room. Any info on these lights (Titanic, Olympic, or Britannic) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

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