- Nov 14, 2005
This is going to be an off topic question sort of. And some will roll their eyes at it. But from what you wrote you might know. I've been told different things about it. But here in the U.S. every Saint Patty's Day a lot of us have a corned beef and cabbage dinner. I was told that's an american invention that they don't eat that in Ireland. Is that true? I ask because what you said about the poor eating boiled cabbage and bread. I've never seen someone make a cabbage sandwich. Just for the record some of my favorite foods involve cabbage but it seems a shipyard worker would fall apart pretty fast if that was their main diet. Not much calories there. Cheers.This is a Titanic Rivet, stamped with the ship number 401.
It measures about 4 inches long and is about 1 inch in diameter.
It weighs just about a pound.
Thousands of Irish Laborers worked in the Harland & Wolff Shipyards, in Belfast, building the Olypmic Class Vessels, including the RMS Titanic.
One of the hardest, thankless jobs, was being a riveter.
Each Rivet was heated up and hammered in by hand into the iron hull plates of the Great Ship..
The riveter worked at a height of 50- 70 feet up on wooden scaffolding.
Many men fell to their deaths or had items fall on them and kill them.
Here's how a rivet team worked.
One man tended the fire, if the fire went out he was in for an azz kicking.
The rivets were heated up, then tossed up to a catcher who placed the hot rivet in the hull, then the riveter hammered it in, forcefully as it was not an easy process, and man on the other side of the hull smashed it flat with another hammer.
When the work area was too high to toss up the rivets, a runner would physically run up the scaffolding with hot rivets-- usually a quick footed 15 or 16 year old boy.
Many of these boys, in their hurry, fell to their deaths.
Each team had a quota of rivets that had to be hammered in each day.
Usually well over a hundred.
This meant non stop labor.
If they didn't hit their quota their pay was docked.
They were also graded on the quality of how well the rivet was hammered in. If it was substandard, that rivet would not count against their quota.
There was no arguing with the grader or the counter-- If you did; you were fired on the spot and jobs were scarce.
The only break was for lunch.
The Irish were poor and many ate nothing more than boiled cabbage on bread.
Many men worked hurt and injured because if they went to the infirmary and were deemed unfit to work, they lost their job and were immediately replaced by the long line of men seeking work.
The men worked six days a week with Sundays to rest.
There was no such thing as an off day-- the entire rivet team depended upon each man.
If you showed up sick or hung over, you'd better not show it or you would be replaced.
These were the proud Irish men, laborers, who built the RMS Titanic.
There were over 3 million of these rivets used in constructing the Great Ship.
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