Officers Hat and Davit Tool


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Sep 26, 1999
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Today at an antique show in Liberty, NC, I was amazed to see two items for sell at a price of $65,000. In a large shadow box was some reproduction Titanic postcards and other reproduction paper items which the dealer acknowledged was reproductions. However, the items that caught my eye was a metal bar that was rectangular in shape kind of like a crow bar. It had Titanic stamped on it (seems like all the fake stuff has Titanic stamped on it). The dealer said it was a davit or rope tool that was used when postioning the lifeboats. The other item was an officers hat that he said was given to an eight year old girl whose mother went down with the ship. He said teh hat was placed on the girls head as she was put into a lifeboat. There is no writing on the cap. I asked the girls name and he said Jean Hippach. I knew right away he had gotten the age wrong and that Jeans mother had not went down with the Titanic. These antique dealers need to do their research on these things before they try to rip people off. Anybody have any comments on the davit/rope tool?
 
Mar 28, 2002
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The davits were made by a company based in Brierley Hill, about 2 miles from where I live. I can check with them what it may be as they made available designs for and produced davits to the exact specification for JC's Titanic. If it was rectangular, it may be the bit that the ropes pass through. But I would seriously doubt that anything like that wouldn't be in a museum.

I'm not at all technically or mechanically minded and I can just imagine the conversation Monday morning with this company when I try to explain it to them.

Boz
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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A straight metal bar about four or five feet long might be a handspike. Such things were used for levering things about. Can you give some dimensions? I don't like the chances of it being authentic. They floated about as well as bricks.
 
Sep 26, 1999
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Dave, the bar was only about a foot long maybe a few inches longer. It was flat and about 2 inches wide. The man selling the item also said that a president of some Titanic association had told him that the item was authenic.
 

Kyrila Scully

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Apr 15, 2001
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I dunno. I just can't see any company imprinting "Titanic" on every piece of wood, metal or other such before building it into the ship. Some of the authentic items I've seen on display don't even have the name on it, but I can tell you they're well aged and corroded. I've seen a clamp from the gantry at Harland and Wolff and it's very corroded and rusty. There's a clue.

Kyrila
 
May 8, 2001
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Hang on to your money!!! I'm in agreement with Kyrila. If anything, don't you think they would have stamped 401 on it, and why would they have to put any name on it except their own initials or company name? Unless this was specific item built for the "Big 3", and would only work on them, (Like Schwinn bicycles of the past) they may have had found a need to put a model number on it, but a specific name... They had no reason to.
Here is another possibility I can relate it to. Back in 1991 and for a few year stint afterwards, "Wagner Cookware" made a 100 year commemerative cast iron skillet that had the stamping of "Wagner 1891 original". Do you know how many people I have seen with this common pan, wanting hundreds of dollars for it, because it says 1891 on the bottom? The real cast iron from that era have little to no writing on them, not even the "made in (country)" stamp, but when you look at the workmanship the cast was very fine, not grainy, with a big slash across the bottom where it was molded.
No, IMHO, my bet is that it is reproducion of some sort. Unless it had a good ole certificate of authentcity, and has been traced in some way since it was received, I would not dare go there! Wonder if Steve Santini is lurking on the board and would know?
Colleen :)
 

Steve Santini

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Nov 22, 2000
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Hello all,
From what I have been reading, and what I know of authentic Titanic related relics, I am VERY inclined to agree that the item under discussion is not from the ship. Look at it this way; if an item was made for general use on the ship, why would there be any need to "stamp" the name Titanic into it in the first place? After all, everyone handling the item or working with it certainly knew where they were. There was probably no need to remind them at every opportunity! As for items with the "401" designation, it appears items with this stamping or impression were so marked to assist in the vessel construction assignment and nothing more. We must remember, that more than one "yard job" was often underway at once and hull designation numbers were a logical way to go about preventing confusion on what was already installed, on what ship, and even what was yet to be installed. What is needed in these cases of proving an item out is provenance in the form of a paper trail, etc, that shows some sort of chain of custody as well as a connection to Titanic. Regards, Steve Santini
 
Sep 26, 1999
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Well even if it had been real, I don't think it would have been in my budget. What was really funny though was the look on his face when I started giving him the history of Jean Hippach.
 
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