Second funnel


Sep 17, 2007
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Evening, all:

I've been wondering for a long while about the fall of the #2 funnel -- specifically, whether it happened on the surface or submerged.

Jack Thayer is the only one I know of who testified (privately or in a written account; I don't recall) that #2 fell; I believe he said "the second funnel seemed to be lifted off," and that it may have crushed some swimmers as it did so.

Considering how many stories we've heard about the #1 funnel collapse, and how complete is the dearth of tales of #2's fall, does anyone else think it likely that Thayer confused the two stacks in his account?

Is there evidence on the wreck that might give us a clue as to where #2 went and when?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>does anyone else think it likely that Thayer confused the two stacks in his account?<<

That's very possible. In a confused situation like this where you are quite literally swimming for your life, it's all too easy to make such mistakes.
 
Sep 17, 2007
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Dan:

Thanks very much for that referral. I've read through Parks' sinking timeline many times, but that portion about #2 never registered.

By "kicked to starboard," I assume he means that the damage on deck was caused by the base of the stack as it moved outboard, not the top of the stack which was restricted by the stays.
 

Kyle Naber

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Jack Thayer and a few others reported seeing a bright fan of sparks and a cloud of ash sent upwards as the second funnel collapsed. As seen and heard in this simulation sample, a growing pressure seems to be building up until the metal frame rings and vibrates as a ball of fire is belched outwards:

(0:40)

I've tried to come up with some scenarios and conducted some research on other people's opinions, but I would still like to hear more. What do you think caused this to happen? This event has been ignored and dismissed it feels like until recently.
 
Dec 13, 2016
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Good question. This is also something I've wondered about for some time. Hopefully someone can shed some light on this.
 
A

Aaron_2016

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Here are three accounts of the sparks that were seen coming out of the ship.


Harold Bride
"Smoke and sparks were rushing out of her funnel. There must have been an explosion, but we heard none. We only saw the big stream of sparks."

Charlotte Collyer - Her account was printed in newspapers, and it is uncertain if the editor added his own touch to make it sound more dramatic.
"It came with a deafening roar that stunned me. Something in the very bowels of the Titanic exploded and millions of sparks shot up to the sky, like rockets in a park on the night of a summer holiday. This red spurt was fan shaped as it went up, but the sparks descended in every direction in the shape of a fountain of fire. Two other explosions followed, dull and heavy, as if below the surface. The Titanic broke in two before my eyes."

Jack Thayer
"One of the funnels seemed to be lifted off and fell towards me about 15 yards away, with a mass of sparks and steam coming out of it. I saw the ship in a sort of a red glare, and it seemed to me that she broke in two just in front of the third funnel." In another account he said, "The second funnel, seemed to be lifted off, emitting a cloud of sparks. It looked as if it would fall on top of me. It missed me by only twenty or thirty feet."


Neither Jack or Harold apparently heard the explosion, but those further away did hear it. I have read that survivors from bomb attacks described how they never heard the actual blast when it exploded just feet away from them. e.g. A survivor of the 7/7 London bombings said - "I did not hear a loud bang. Actually, it was almost the total opposite, like all sound shut down, as if I was deeply, deeply, deeply underwater, so the hearing was all muffled. It was all like distorted sounds, but of a very low tone."


Fred Barrett said - "When the ship was sinking a volume of smoke came up."

Philip Mock said - "After the noise I saw a huge column of black smoke slightly lighter than the sky rising high into the sky and then flattening out at the top like a mushroom."

Frank Osman said - "After she got to a certain angle she exploded, broke in halves"

He was asked.
Q - What do you think those explosions were?
A - The boilers bursting.
Q - What makes you think that?
A - The cold water coming under the red-hot boilers caused the explosions.
Q - You reasoned that out?
A - Yes; but you could see the explosions by the smoke coming right up the funnels.
Q - Did you see any steam and smoke coming?
A - Yes.
Q - Did you see any sparks?
A - It was all black; looked like as if it was lumps of coal, and all that.
Q - Coming up through the funnels?
A - Through the funnels.
Q - That is, there was a great amount of black smoke coming up through the funnels just after this explosion?
A - Just after the explosion.
Q - And there were lumps of coal, etc, coming up?
A - Yes; pretty big lumps. I do not know what it was.
Q - Did any water come up?
A - I never seen no water; only the steam and very black smoke.


Depending on where each person was, they would undoubtedly witness different events that were occurring at the same time. The stern appeared to keel over and turn around after she broke, so this would conceal some events aboard and expose others, depending on where each witness was at the time.

It is possible that the sparks were caused by the separation of electric cables as the ship broke in two. This effect times several hundred perhaps. e.g.




.
 
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codad1946

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Apr 28, 2016
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I don't think this has any bearing on the sinking at all, in that it wouldn't have damaged the ship any more than she had already been damaged. A quantity of soot, ash and sparks is perfectly possible from the number 2 funnel as the water entered the boiler rooms 3 & 4, which were next in line to 5 which was flooding as Barrett got out. Whilst the fires had been drawn, there was still a lot of heat left in the steelwork of the boilers, and also ash and clinker on the grates that would still have been alight despite the fires being drawn; it would not have been done carefully, but in a bit of a panic to try and stop the safeties lifting. Once the water entered the boilers it would not necessarily result in an explosion as such, but a gout of steam (from the seawater) could - due to the sudden expansion - blow the contents of the grate through the tubes and up the funnel. As there could also have been a fair bit of glowing ash and soot in the smokebox, this could have been blown upwards by the steam cloud. Of course, no one knows, and despite my 18 years at sea I fortunately never saw a boiler explode due to ingress of seawater!
 

Kyle Naber

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The Titanic: 100 years documentary shown on the 2012 anniversary on the History Channel included a team that dove down to the wreck to explore and map the entire site. If I remember correctly, they showed a single imploded boiler, not entirely caved in, but it has a considerable dent in it. I wonder if this had anything to do with the funnel or the four reported explosions as the plunge began. Some theorize this, the ship breaking up, or even objects sliding to the bow of the ship.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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The Titanic: 100 years documentary shown on the 2012 anniversary on the History Channel included a team that dove down to the wreck to explore and map the entire site. If I remember correctly, they showed a single imploded boiler, not entirely caved in, but it has a considerable dent in it. I wonder if this had anything to do with the funnel or the four reported explosions as the plunge began.
Can not remember which boiler it was however the only boilers they were able to see were the 5 boilers in Boiler Room No. 2 still at the break area of the bow and the 5 single ended boilers from Boiler Room No. 1 in the debris field. Boiler Room No. 2 & No. 1 were both connected with funnel No. 3. (The No. 2 funnel with Boiler room No. 4 & 3). The single ended boilers were even not lit.
 

Kyle Naber

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The 1957 Titanic archives broadcasted on BBC a documentary for Titanic survivors. Here’s a YouTube link to the full video:

(13:38)

Walter Hurst described how the collapsing funnel emitted “wind and dirt” and there was a flash that nearly blinded him. Could he be describing the soot and lumps of coal that burst out of the uptakes from the explosion?

(0:42)

This would have been on the starboard side, but he said that he later climbed on top of collapsible B which I thought would have been on the port side still at this time. What are your thoughts?
 

Kyle Naber

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Also, another question: Is it possible that the collapse of the second funnel contributed to the failure of the glass dome? I’d always wondered what the sounds were that the “Titanic: Honor and Glory” team incorporated into this video were:

(0:54)

Could it be the dome crashing in on itself and the stairs ripping apart?
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Keep in mind that a sound effect could have been broken chamber pots grinding in a rusty cement mixer. Nobody recorded the sounds of the sinking. So, whatever you hear is not reality or even close to reality. It's a dramatic presentation of what somebody thinks happened it might have sounded like if it had been recorded. Look up "Foley Effect" on the web.

-- David G. Brown
 
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Dec 13, 2016
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Honestly I think Mr. Hurst was just describing soot and ash that would have been ejected out of the funnel once it collapsed. There would have been a considerable amount of soot in the funnels at that point, I would guess, and it was all expelled when it collapsed.
 
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Apr 26, 2017
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when the second funnel collapsed was its base and vents leading down to boiler rooms 4, and 3, flooded. i imagine the boilers rooms then of course would have been flooded but the vents leading from them, were they flooded?
 
A

Aaron_2016

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The air and steam inside the boiler rooms exploded upwards with such force that it bent the grating upwards and according to Jack Thayer the second funnel "seemed to be lifted off" as the explosive release of air rushed out of the boiler rooms as the water rushed in from above.


Skip to 0:35



.
 

Rancor

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Jun 23, 2017
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Lit after the collision....

And brought into steam in less than 3 hours? How do otherwise good documentaries make these kind of errors? A simple look at the testimony would show that boiler room 4 had been 'on the line' for quite some time. It was only the boilers in boiler room 1 that weren't lit.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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None of the boilers in BR 1 were lit after the collision, Dillon went thought that boiler room 2 times and aside that he said they were not lit, he actually belonged to those who would have worked in BR 1 but as it was not used he was working in the main engine room.
 
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Rancor

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Ah I meant to say boiler room 2 in my above post, being the one referenced in the documentary. Not boiler room 4. My mistake!
 

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