People at top of the dummy funnel?


James Smith

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Dec 5, 2001
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I've heard that also, Jamie. The book "Incredible Cross Sections" has a section on the Queen Mary wherein the author asserts that part of the third funnel was a dummy, used to store deck chairs. I haven't seen mention of this in any other book, though, and I haven't spoken with anyone else who has heard anything about it.

The whole thing makes me wonder how common the "dummy" funnel was . . . didn't the Ile de France have one as well that was removed in the middle of its career?
 
Feb 6, 2003
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Yes the third funnel was a dummy aboard the Ile De France. It was removed during its post-war modernization and the two forward funnels were modernized. Its amazing how different she looks from her Maiden Voyage to when she was in the Last Voyage. Another ship the Cap Trafalger of Germany in WW1 had three funnels also the third was removed when she became an AMC. To help here disguise to look like the Carmania and Caronia. She was ironically sunk by the Carmania in 1914. So dummy funnels were quite common.
 
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robert s hauser

Guest
In Charles Pellegrino's most recent installment, "Ghosts of the Titanic", he recounts an interesting story about an electrician, his last name was White (can't remember the first), who wrote a letter to relatives of Archie Frost after the disaster. In it, he recounts being sent by the other engineers from the turbine room up the dummy stack to the boat deck, purportedly to check for any remaining lifeboats. According to his account, the way out at boat deck level was locked, and he ended up peeking out of a door somewhere near the top of the funnel, and managed to survive its collapse before being hauled onto colapsable A. Has anyone else heard this story? It sounds unbelievable, but I guesse strange can happen in cataclysmic disasters.
 
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Trent Pheifer

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Isn't Pelligrino the one that had the wireless operators talking about blowing up condoms and floating on those?
 

matthew ewing

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Oct 10, 2005
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From what i have read on the history channels web site, titanic only had 3 stacks. the fourth one was a place to store the deck chairs and I think it said that it was an air intake for the furnace, not sure, i'll get back to you on that. unless someone here knows for sure.

[Moderator's Note: This message has been moved here from another topic. MAB]
 
Jul 11, 2001
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Hi Matthew,

The third funnel was considered a "dummy" because it wasn't connected to the boiler rooms. It did however connect to the kitchens and let out exhaust from the stoves, etc.
 

matthew ewing

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Oct 10, 2005
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I got something right! oh yeah! sorry i'm just proud of myself now. here's another thing that i read, same site; the titanic's rudder was to small for the ship; at full speed it would take nearly a mile and a half to make a complete turn, is this true?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>the titanic's rudder was to small for the ship; at full speed it would take nearly a mile and a half to make a complete turn, is this true?<<

Not quite accurate. True, the Titanic would have had a fairly large turning circle, but with a ship over close to 888 feet long, that's not entirely unexpected. The rudder may have been a tad on the small side, but it was perfectly adaquate for a liner.

You might want to read Captain Weeks article on the question at https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/item/1526/ Note that you need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this article.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Hi Matthew: As Michael pointed out by reference to Capt. Weeks' article, Titanic's rudder was on the smaller side of average. However, for a ship of its size and purpose, the rudder was considered to be adequate. Regarding the turning characteristics, at 20.5 knots the final diameter was measured at 3850 ft during her trials. Thus in a complete circle of 360 degrees, the ship would travel almost exactly 2 nautical miles completely around.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Yep. That fourth funnel served as a ventilation uptake for the engine room and also as a place to run some of the exhaust pipes from the stoves in the galleys. It was also a powerful visual advertisement as the popular belief held by the public was that the more funnels a ship has, the bigger it is, and the bigger the ship is, the safer it is. As such, some lines tended to include that forth funnel even if it wasn't really necessary.
 
Dec 6, 2000
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For the Turbine Engine Room, not for the Reciprocating Engine Room, which was below the Engine Room Casing which was located immediately aft of the 3rd funnel.
 
Dec 4, 2000
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There is a tendency to view things as what they appear to be and not what they are. The funnels on the Olympic class vessels seem a case in point. Obviously, three of the four swerved boiler furnaces--the supposed purpose of the structures. The fourth is called a "dummy" because it did not serve any of the primary machinery.

But, let's turn the equation around for the moment and assume that carrying soot and hot gasses into the atmosphere was not the primary purpose of any of the four structures. Let's assume for the moment that this was just a desireable byproduct of the real purpose of four big towers of metal on deck.

OK, why would you put a lot of metal 'way up there? It wasn't decoration. And, while 4 big funnels may have helped attract passengers, the Germans got by fine with three. So, what purpose did those huge cylinders serve?

Personally, I believe the four big funnels on the Olympics served primarily to improve the comfort of the passengers. They were in 21st century automotive vernacular "ride control."

Passenger ships are really full of nothing. People weigh very little and the cabins they occupy are mostly filled with nothing but air. The corridors are again empty space. Contrast the emptiness of the passenger accommodations with a cargo ship loaded with iron ore, coal, cotton, or even locomotives. Not much empty space by comparison.

Down on the lowest level of Titanic and the other Olympic class ships was a huge collection of heavy iron in the form of boilers, engines, turbines, dynamos, etc. Above that machinery was all that empty space--air. This weight distribution meant the ship's center of gravity was quite low, something desirable for stability. But, you can have too much of a good thing, even stability.

The low center of gravity meant that unless the naval architects at H&W did something, the ships would have exhibited what is called "snap roll characteristics." They would have rolled over, then snapped back upright. This motion is not only extremely uncomfortable to people, but puts the upper decks of the superstructure and the masts under large shock loads from the "snap" action.

What do do? Well, a sailing warship caught in a go-to-hell storm might snap roll so quickly that it's masts would be broken off. To prevent such an unfortunate occurrence, the solution was to raise a cannon up into the rigging. Yup, hoist cast iron up high so as to reduce the ship's center of gravity. This would increase the period of the roll for greater comfort of both the crew and the sticks. Done correctly, a ship might survive a hurricane in this manner.

OK, back to the Olympics. What is the difference between a cannon in the rigging and those big, heavy cylinders of steel? From a stability standpoint there is no difference other than visual appearance. The four funnels of the Olympic class ships would have raised the center of gravity significantly, thereby increasing the roll time and making the ride all the more comfortable. The height and weight of the funnels would have been carefully calculated to produce maximum comfort without sacrificing the ultimate stability of the ship on which its safety depended.

Why 4 funnels? Well, look at the placement of them relative to the overall length of the ship. The weight had to be evenly distributed so as not to cause either a bow-down, or bow-up trim situation. Three of the four funnels were pretty much fixed in position by the boiler room uptakes. Two of the three fixed funnels were forward of the midships "tipping point." To balance things out the designers had two choices. One was to make the third funnel more than twice as heavy as the forward two. Or, they could simply add a fourth funnel as far aft as the first funnel was forward. This was the easiest and most aesthetically acceptable solution.

The result was a handsome ship with a handsome ride. A superb accomplishment of naval architecture. And, the smoke and soot was taken away from the decks, too.

-- David G. Brown
 
May 9, 2001
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What an interesting post, thank you Dave. I never really looked at it like that, but it makes sense doesn't it.

Now the next question is why were they swept back slightly? Simply asthetics or did that have a functional purpose as well?

Yuri
 

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