Split in the aft section of wreck


Tom McLeod

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Sep 1, 2005
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I looked through previous threads to see if this was covered and did not find such. The split in the hull towards the back of the wreck, could such have contributed to the ship's quick rate of descent? Is such similar to where the break up of Titanic occurred? The bow of the Lusitania I believe is twisted because of contact with the ocean floor while the liner was still above the waves. Is the break in the hull there due to flaws in design or just part of collision with the ocean floor?

Thanks,

Tom
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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The Lusitania appears to be pancaking down upon itself in a manner similar to most sunken ships. My guess is that the damage to the bow is vintage 1915, and that everything else is just decay taking its natural course.
 
To me, based on Marshall's painting, I think it looks like a crack from the bottom up, not really a Titanic-style split. If it had happened when it hit the bottom, there would be some pancaking damage when the force of the top half hit the bottom half.

If the painting is correct, my thought is that it broke during depth charging and natural caving in.
 
May 27, 2007
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The bow looks a bit bent which might of covered up any signs from pancaking! Not only is there the crack but bow is bent as well! As for Marshall's painting I'm sure he made it as accurate as possible from his research! Although we are finding out new things about the ship everyday!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Just about any painting or rendering you see from Ken Marschall is something you can just about bet money on for it's accuracy. The updated painting of the Britannic is one used to brief divers going down to the wreck as to what it's condition is.

I've also seen his updated painting of the Andrea Doria which shows just how far the decay of the wreck has gone. About the only way you can do better is to put together an up to the minute photo mosiac.
 
May 27, 2007
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I wasn't aware Marshall was updating or has updated his work! So I guess this answers our question on how accurate Marshall's paintings are!
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Getting back to the bow of the Lusitania, I wonder if the bow being bent might be a form of pancaking!
 

Bill Sauder

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A note about Ken's updating of paintings: Publishers frequently want to re-use Ken's paintings in later publications, and wherever possible, Ken will update or correct earlier work.

However, to be absolutely blunt: Ken relies on divers and photographs for these updates, and the quality of the raw data is what determines how accurate the painting is. Ken can wring out amazing amounts of information out of marginal data, but you can't squeeze blood from turnips.

The Lusitania paintings are accurate within the given data set, however, the Andrea Doria "re-do" is less so because of sketchy information brought back. This makes the later A.D. painting more of an "artist's impression".
 
May 27, 2007
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Reading my previous post over I feel I should state that I didn't want to impugn Mr. Marshall accuracy which I'm sure of the highest standard!

As for Marshall's painting I'm sure he made it as accurate as possible from his research! Although we are finding out new things about the ship everyday!
This is what I meant regarding Ken Marshall's paintings which I enjoy and have enjoyed seeing since I was 10 or 11!
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I'm glad to hear his paintings of the Lusitania are accurate!

As for the bow of the Lusitania I think the Lusitania's bow might of been bent and cracked as a form of pancaking!
 
May 3, 2002
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Hi Bill,

Speaking of Ken.

There was a period where we saw a steady stream of his new works in books but it has gone quiet recently,. Is he still active? I am always impressed with his Lusitania paintings. He has he done anymore since?

best regards to yourself and Eric.

Martin
 

Eric Longo

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Hi All,

I was looking once more at Ken's wonderfully painstaking and interesting renderings of the Lusitania foundering in the Ballard/Dunmore book and again noticed the life rings in the final sinking painting (stern on) are both red and white - I have not seen any life rings like this from this period aboard the Mauretania or any other ship.

Most interesting, the candid photographs, pre-war, I have seen on board the Lusitania herself clearly show pure white rings.

I recall clearly the red and white life ring I had the chance to ID from the Mauretania was post war. A minor point with such startling accuracy in Ken's work to be sure, but does anyone have any further data on this? As far as I can tell, this red and white idea seemed to spring up just postwar or thereabouts?

All the rings I have unpublished/candid photographs that show solid white rings on the Mauretania (and other candid Cunard photographs from other liners of the fleet show the same) until c. 1920 - certainly white during the 1912-1915 period with the first red and white ring photo in my collection having a "hard" date from a 1924 - tint aside one can see it is two tone - other red and white ring images perhaps a bit earlier.

Did some liners of that period use red and white rings? Even the early Olympic life rings are just plain white - I am thinking of an early starboard wing bridge photo that shows a ring mounted to the side of the bridge extension or nearby - posted by Mr. Bob Godfrey some years back here at ET.

Also, the few mini life ring barber shop souvenirs I have seen from Olympic's early career (and similar souvenirs from the Lusitania I believe) are all solid white (with the souvenir writing and flags in color of course). The Olympic life ring I had the opportunity to examine up close in 2002 was red and white but clearly from the later portion of her career. From the yellowed, flaking nature of the paint it seemed to be typical lower quality lead white, possibly extended with "whiting" (chalk) and ground in boiled linseed oil (common and cheaper for "industrial purposes")with some driers apparently added, although I understand no lead was to be used on WSL ships where any passenger could come in contact with them, but it sure had all the tell tale signs of lead white including brushtroke/application indications which I am familiar with from my decades of painting with that specific material and the flaking seen when good adhesion has not been achieved. By that time though the dangers of "plumbism" (artists lead poisoning) were well know for centuries so I doubt it was actually white lead. Zinc white is a very cool white, even if ground to a paint in boiled linseed oil which does yellow, especially with driers and of course whatever influence the substrate exerted. But zinc it has a very different look when dry. On the other hand, it is very fragile as a film and prone to flaking as seen on the Olympic ring. Titanium white was not introduced until 1921 and also has a warm tone so this pigment is a possibility for the later Olympic and Mauretania ring from what I saw but I think that produced a much tougher and resilient film.

I've always wondered about this rather small point - when did the red and white color scheme get introduced? For visibility sure, but when? The only other data I have found is that life rings in the Austro-Hungarian Navy are said to be red and white after 1910 but this I can not substantiate and it does not jibe with the many observations above. Any help appreciated!
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Best and my thanks,
Eric

PS - One other thing I can think of is a glass lantern slide I have - a promo Cunard travel image from 1914 that shows a little girl with a white life ring - ann odd image to say the last!
 

Bill Sauder

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Hi Martin,

Ken's ship work (mostly Titanic of course) is largely dependent on what books or film work is being produced at the time. The markets reached "Titanic Saturation" in the last few years, so not much is being done right now.

No doubt this will change as we approach the centenary, and I am sure Ken will be involved in those projects as well.

Bill
 

Bill Sauder

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Dec 19, 2000
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Eric:

The color of the Lusitania's life rings are a little out side my scope, but I will say that if it's in Ken's painting, the image reflected the state of research at that time.

The problem with paintings is they are a kind of museum documenting where research stood at the time of completion. I don't know what Ken's thoughts were or what his sources were in this matter, but it's possible he saw a period-correct photo with darker quadrants, and inserted red as a reasonable choice. This is completely my own hypothesis, you'd have to ask him directly.

In the matter of lead paint on Titanic, Britannic's specification book is very particular that lead paint not be used in passenger accommodations, but is silent about its use in crew areas.

The Titanic's sanitary fixtures, of course, make a point of saying "leadless glaze" but this was more of marketing scheme capitalizing on the public's awareness of lead as a poison: Once the sink or W.C. is fired, the lead is relatively inert and can't poison the user. It's the factory worker that was most at risk, and benefited most from the change in formula.
 

Eric Longo

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Dear Bill,

Many thanks for you valued input. If you did not see my posts elsewhere, you have congratulations of your new set of Titanic plans - MOST impressive and you have my admirations for your stupendous body of work - the detail is truly incredible. And you said it all started with some color pencils years ago!

Best wishes Bill,
Eric

PS - In an unrelated question, have you any new information regarding the supposed green boot-topping a few contend was applied to the Mauretania after she was painted into white livery for her return to service in June of 1933? I can't find any source for this at all. I did read your 20002 ET post regarding this notion of green ant-fouling paint. I too was unable to find anything to substantiate this claim beyond what you wrote - the amateur painted 18 foot mahogany model presented to FDR by Bob Blake on July 2, 1935 which then went to the Smithsonian, spent some time aboard the QM in Long Beach and has been returned to the Smithsonian for restoration. If you have any new or further information regarding this notion of green boot-topping I'd really appreciate hearing about it. My thanks in advance for anything you can add.
 

Bill Sauder

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Dec 19, 2000
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Eric, thank you again for your complements regarding my plans ... I did catch your original posting on the subject back on April 7 and it was much appreciated.

Regarding the color Mauritania's underbody paint - I just re-read my posting from 2002 and there's nothing substantial I can add whether it was red or green.

As a footnote, I had custody of the "FDR" model when I was Exhibits Coordinator on board the Queen Mary, and tried to get paint scrapings to see what color was under the green layer, however, that never happened.

Being "in charge of" is not exactly the same as being "in control of" - The model was kept under glass, and I could never get budget approval to open the case, even for cleaning, because of the labor costs involved.
 

Eric Longo

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Dear Bill,

Thanks for addressing the "green notion" as well as the life ring colors. It would have been neat to be able to find what color lies beneath the green applied to the FDR model.
Please pardon my poor typing - I broke my glasses a while back and am horrified as I read through the posts at the errors I have been making!
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Best,
Eric
 
Sep 27, 2015
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Sorry for necroposting but I just noticed something. I was examining Marschall's painting of the wreck and I noticed something. As we know, the crack didn't split the liner in two, but it didn't stop at the boat deck either. It seems to have stop about one or two decks below the boat deck. My friend and I were studying this and came uo with a theory about that. What if the crack formed from sagging? We know Lusitania flooded amazingly fast. What if everything frlm about the third funnel foward was flooded and the stern was buoyant enough to keep itself afloat? Then we would have it crack from thr bottom up! The crack didn't happen as fast as Titanic's, so there would be enough time for tpwater to flow in and lower the stern before she split completely. As the stern flooded, she keeled over to starboard, causing the hull to crack even more, but also cause the wreck to land on her starboard side, rather than just a list? If anyone can confirm or disprove this, please let me know. Thank you!
 

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