News from 1911 Launch of Titanic

Mark Baber

Jul 4, 2000
The Times, 1 June 1911




In brilliant weather, and in the presence of thousands of spectators,
the new White Star liner Titanic was successfully launched from the yard
of Messrs. Harland and Wolff (Limited) a few minutes after noon this
morning. Her sister ship, the Olympic, left for the Mersey in the
afternoon, so that there was an opportunity of seeing almost side by
side the two largest vessels afloat, which have between them, when
loaded to their full draught of 34ft. 6in., an aggregate displacement of
about 120,000 tons.

Some particulars of the vessels, with a description of their machinery,
were given in The Times of Saturday. They are 882ft. 9in. long over all,
or 850ft. over perpendiculars, and they have an extreme breadth of 92ft.
6in., with a depth moulded of 73ft. 6in. from the keel to the top of the
beams of the bridge deck. Their gross tonnage is about 45,000 tons,
12,000 tons more than the Mauretania, which had hitherto held the first
place in regard to size. They are propelled by three screws driven by
two sets of four-crank triple-expansion reciprocating engines of 30,000
i.h.p., and an exhaust turbine giving 16,000 shaft h.p., and they are
designed to maintain a continuous sea speed of 21 knots. Steam is
supplied at a pressure of 215lb. per square inch under natural draught
by 29 boilers, having in all 159 furnaces. All of them are 15ft. 9in. in
diameter, but 24 are double-ended, 20ft. long, and the remainder
single-ended, 11ft. 9in. long.

The launching arrangements for the Titanic were similar to those in the
case of the Olympic last October. In the hours immediately preceding the
launch men were busily engaged in removing the shores, until the vessel
was retained only by a hydraulic trigger, which was allowed to fall
clear at the appointed time by relieving the water pressure in the
attached cylinder. Another hydraulic apparatus for giving the vessel a
thrust should she show any reluctance to move down the launching ways
was in readiness, but was not required. For checking the vessel's
progress after she was afloat six anchors were provided, three on each
side, connected with her hull by 7in. steel hawsers: and in addition
there were two piles of cable drags, each weighing over 80 tons, placed
in the bed of the river and attached to her by 8in. steel hawsers.

Owing to the vessel being in a somewhat less advanced condition, the
launching weight was less than that of the Olympic, being between 24,000
and 25,000 tons, as against 27,000 tons. The time occupied by her in
sliding down the ways was 62sec.; and the maximum speed she attained was
12 knots. On becoming waterborne she was brought to a standstill in
about her own length. The wave produced as her stem dropped into the
water was much smaller than might have been expected considering the
mass of the structure. The vessel was taken in charge by a number of
tugs, which were waiting to tow her to the berth where she will be
fitted out.

The launch was personally supervised by Lord Pirrie, the chairman of
Messrs. Harland and Wolff (Limited), and among others who witnessed it
were Mr. Bruce Ismay, the chairman of the White Star Line, Mr. J.
Pierpont Morgan, Mr. E. C. Grenfell, Mr. Charles F. Torrey, Mr. John
Lee, Mr. W. S. Graves; Mr. Harold A. Sanderson, Mr. H. Conacanon, Mr. P.
E Curry, Mr. E. W. Bond, and Commander Holland.

Aug 8, 2004
Wow. Amazing. Very interesting how such detail of the particulars of the vessel was provided. Was not aware Titanic's launching weight was considerably less than that of Olympic.

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