Significance of the time on the Straus cabin clock


Feb 14, 2011
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I believe Parks mentioned that the clock spotted on the fireplace mantle in the Strauss suite on C deck had it's intact hands frozen at '2:04'.

Odds are the clock stopped the moment it became submerged- but some have suggested it may have continued to function for some minutes.....

I'm curious how important you all feel the Strauss clock is in helping to fix a timeline at to which areas of the ship were flooding and when, particularly during titanic's final quarter hour...

What other key events were happening on other parts of the ship at that very moment the hands of the Strauss clock stopped at 2:04 AM?
 
Dec 6, 2000
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On a very high level, Tarn (and Sam H. can probably give far more detail);

At around 2:05, Collapsible D was being lowered 10 feet or so from the Boat Deck, and the front end of A Deck was just going under water. So the same area of C Deck was 20(?) or so feet under water. How far back that water would be on C Deck, I don't know, but I would *guess* back to the Struass suite.

Within minutes of this, the rising water got onto the bridge, the forward funnel fell, and the actual breakup of the ship started.
 
Feb 14, 2011
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so at the very moment water filled the Strauss suite, collapsible D was either being filled with people- or in the process of being lowered- At that very moment, I suspect officer Lightoller and some men were removing the covering from the portside boat atop the roof of the officers quarters...
 
Dec 6, 2000
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That would have occured about that time, yes.

My understanding of the sequence would be:
Load and lower D to the water, by Lightoller and Wilde
attempt to lower B to the deck, Lightoller crosses to look down on A
front of bridge starts going under
Lightoller gets into water off the front of the bridge
funnel collapses when water is at it's base
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Chicago, IL, USA
www.titanicology.com
The last time I saw the video it was difficult to tell what the hands read, but I thought it showed a later time than 2:04. Or was that just dirt on the clock face that made it appear that way? Parks, is there a clear image somewhere?

In any event, it was a spring wound clock, not a slave clock to one of the master clocks in the chart room. The time on the clock is only as accurate as the person who set it every day, and how well it kept time over the period between windings. Five minutes either way would not be unexpected.

If I had to guess, I would say the Straus' rooms, C-55-57, which were located on the starboard side near the 2nd funnel casing, would have flooded about the same time that the bridge went under as noted by Lightoller. I'm taking into account that the water was level with the forebridge and the crow's nest at that time, and the ship had a list to port about 10 degrees from what could be estimated based on port-side lifeboat gap from the ship's side.
 
Feb 14, 2011
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Parks is the best person to verify the time on the clock- on a different thread I'm sure he mentioned the hands read 2:04.

With the clock being a windup clock- is it possible it still functioned for a few minutes even after being submerged?
If so, then the time on the clock might not reflect the time the clock became submerged...Perhaps its ticked on another 5 minutes before breaking down...

If the clock was wound daily by a steward, I suspect it must have been accurate....
 

Will C. White

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Apr 18, 2007
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It may very well have functioned for some unknown period after it "went under"; the water would have to dampen the mechanical impetus of the internal works before it failed. Make an interesting engineering experiment if one could get an exact replica and subject it to the same approximate water pressure; say, 1 atmosphere.
 
Feb 14, 2011
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Well, I wore my watch in the shower today, showered 8 minutes, and it stopped ticking 2 minutes after I was out of the shower..I don't know if this helps...
 

Damon Hill

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Jun 13, 2004
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My watch fell in the toilet once (before I'd done anything fortunately) and it still worked
happy.gif
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Could the Strausses' clock have continued operating a significant number of minutes after it had contact with water? If so, that might make it harder to determine the precise time the suites flooded, although we do know that they were submerged by 2:04. To assert that the clock went underwater at that very moment would be a hasty jump I wouldn't venture to make.
 

Will C. White

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Apr 18, 2007
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If the clock had a pendulum as the source of operating power, water would tend to dampen (no pun intended) the motion almost instantly. A spring wound may very well have operated under water for at least a short period. It all has to do with the mechanics of the thing. Nowadays we have wrist watches that can go deeper than a man can with no ill effects; special tanks and those one breath wackos included.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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Well, the point is that if clocks realistically are able to operate when submerged, as some of the examples shared here seem to testify, then there's a reasonable doubt which makes it wise not to assume that the clock died right away. The fact that some clocks continue to operate while submerged proves that it's not an absolute condition, if that makes sense.


quote:

I made that jump...just another example of my foolhardiness.

Well, it was an understandable jump at the time, Parks. You introduced a new piece of guiding information that also serves as evidence that can and will establish further knowledge of the sinking. That never needs an apology. Great work! ;)
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Mark,

Would my jump seem even more understandable if I were to prove that the Straus clock was in fact a slave clock in the Magneta system and therefore completely electric-driven, not mechanical?

Parks
 
Jun 12, 2004
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If you mean that the clock was a make that proves it failed right away, then yes. ;) That would give a better idea of flooding details and decor related to the Strauses' suite.

Electric clocks would likely short out quicker than mechanic ones that tend to freeze up when in contact with cold water, but I could be wrong.

Please keep in mind, too, that my initial statement about clocks not stopping right away when submerged in water was in reference to clocks whose make wasn't known. As I recall, you didn't confirm before now that you were aware of the make of the Strauses' clock, so I made a statement regarding clocks in general.
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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A few years ago, one of the travelling artefact exhibitions had a clock on display. Although most of the mechanism was gone, the hands were frozen in time. I think it was a shipboard clock and so was probably part of the Magenta system. I emailed the museum displaying the clock asking what time the clock's hands said, but after a while, my query was forgotten.
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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The museum did offer to help with a "we'll get back to you." They never did, and I can't remember where the clock was on display, although I know it was in the US. A similar clock was on display at the London Science Museum in 2003.
 
May 3, 2005
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Paul Lee quote:
>>I think it was a shipboard clock and so was probably part of the Magenta system.<<

I see you've made the same quote that I stumbled on to some time ago. ("Magenta" system-is an error in the spelling.) Actually it was the "Magneta" system. The clocks operated on a sort of an electro-magnetic principle from pulses from the master clock. (Correction was explained to me thanks to Michael Standart.:)

Also, most watches today are (supposed to be at least !) waterproof and watches and clocks in 1912 were most likely not . (Or at least "from what I have heard or read."..."All I know is what I read in the papers and that's my excuse for ignorance."- Will Rogers.)

BTW...Did Will Rogers ever travel on RMS Olympic ?
 

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