Telegraph system

Mar 3, 1998
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Beware of using any feature film as a reference for actual procedure. The bridge scenes, especially, in every movie have errors that you can point to.

The method I was taught was this:

If going to FULL AHEAD to FULL ASTERN, I would pull the handles back to about the 1 or 2 o'clock position, then forward to about the 10 or 11 o'clock position, then all the way back to FULL ASTERN, in one continuous motion. I wouldn't stop on any specific command between the original command and the desired command.

But I don't believe that Murdoch ordered FULL ASTERN. I side more with the eyewitness account that STOP was sent to the engine room. In that case, I would pull the handles back to about the 3 o'clock position and then back up to STOP. Others may do it slightly differently...I know others who would bring the handles back, bring them forward (past STOP) and then back again to STOP. The exact procedure for ringing bells depends on the individual deck officer.

By the way, Murdoch would be doing all this by feel and not by sight. Unlike in the Cameron movie, the telegraphs were not lit during open ocean transit. I think they were unlit in ANTR, but since that particular DVD refuses to load nowadays, I can't verify that.

Parks
 

Paul Visser

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Sep 19, 2007
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>>This would suggest that Murdoch ordering STOP then FULL ASTERN really just gave him a reason to ring more bells down below. In that case I can see where Paul came from with his '3 bells' theory in that there was indeed three sequences of bells:<<

The only reason I assumed that Murdoch had rung 3 bells is that this was the standard signal the bridge would send to the engine room in the event of an emergency.

Both Hitchens and Boxhall say they heard the telegraph ring. Boxhall testifies that when he got back to the bridge, the telegraphs indicated full astern. They don’t say how many times the telegraphs rang. I can not remember any evidence in the inquiry indicating exactly what Murdoch did with the telegraphs, and Hitchens and Boxhall are the only survivors who were on the bridge when the Titanic struck. Perhaps I missed something???

Greaser Scott claims to have seen and heard the telegraphs, but contrary to Boxhall’s evidence he says that the telegraphs rang to stop. (Unfortunately, in this case it is one man’s word against the other as they were the only 2 survivors who saw the actual telegraphs.) Contrary to Hitchens' and Boxhall’s evidence, Scott insists that the telegraphs only rang after he felt the shock. He also testified that the warning bells didn’t ring prior to the watertight doors coming down, contrary to numerous evidence that the bells were in fact rung.

My impression is that Scott could not seem to remember exactly what happened with the telegraphs, and he kept contradicting himself throughout his testimony concerning the telegraphs. While I was reading it I was picturing the poor Attorney General ripping his hair out to get something remotely consistent out of Scott.

With there being so much evidence it is almost impossible to remember it all. I often find
Myself reading back on passages before I make comments. Gawd! My first posting on this thread was despicably inaccurate. I posted before I checked my rather fizzy memory. That is why I posted a correction.

I am not saying that I disagree with Parks in any way. There are many ways to interpret the testimony. He more than likely knows something that I don’t know. I am no expert, and corrections and criticism are always more than welcome.

Regards,

Paul Visser
 
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Sean Lynn

Guest
It all comes down to conflicting testimony from different people who saw different things. And testimony that seems to defy known occurrences.

Boxhall said the telegraphs showed Full Astern. Yet a crash stop procedure like that would've rendered the rudder useless (or so I've read) and the Titanic would've struck head on. Yet the ship did swing to port.

The only way I can see a Hard-a-Starboard+Full Astern combination working is if there is enough of a delay between the two orders. Perhaps by the time the engineers got the props stopped and turning the other way to the point of heavy cavitation the ship would've begun its port turn.

But then again I've also read that cavitation isn't something easily ignored by those on board.
 

Paul Visser

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Sep 19, 2007
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Sean,

Aah yes, a conflict of evidence between 2 people is one thing in the first case that I mentioned regarding the telegraphs, but conflict of evidence of the same man against that of numerous other people on the 2 other points is a completely different story. It leads me to wonder if his evidence is credible at all.

It is always debatable as to weather the engines were in fact put to full astern or not. Perhaps the order was given on the bridge, but it was never acted on in the engine room.

Some times I wish I were a fly in the wall on the bridge and in the engine room so I could have seen for myself what actually took place. But I am not a fly and this is not 1912, so I guess I am out of luck. ;P~

Regards,

Paul
 
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Anders Mansfeldt

Guest
On this blueprint the 5 telegraphs and the binnacle is shown just infront of fhe wheelhouse...

http://www.2dadventure.com/ags/bridgewheelhouse.gif

The one in the middle, (just above the binnacle) is the most logical to be the 'steering engine backup', since it then is closest to the helmsman.

The one to the far starboard and the one to the far port is most logical to be the double-handled contolls for the two reciprocatin engines. (each one of them controlls both engines) This leaves two telegraps 'unassigned'. If we follow the same logic, those would both be for the turbine engine, so all engines could be controlled from both sides of the bridge.

But englishmen and logic.... ;)
 
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Matt Pereira

Guest
Well I think the boiler room indicator would have possibly been control by steam valves. for instance if the steam valves to supply steam to the engines were closed it could have tripped a circuit to tell the people in the boiler rooms to stop feeding the boilers cause they don't need extra steam since the system is closed off to prevent the system from getting under too much pressure while the valves were closed. But then i could be wrong
 
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Matt Pereira

Guest
Anders your logic might be correct but in that case they would have Dead Slow, Slow, Half, and Full ahead, there wouldn't be no astern cause if i remember reading correctly the turbines couldn't be operated in reverse just a forward gear turbine. in that case that means olympic would have the same setup and the picture of olympic`s bridge shows the emergency telegraph to the left of the wheel, then next to that is a standard engine telegraph with ahead and astern, so IF i'm remembering correctly about the turbines only being a ahead engine and couldn't operate in reverse then that means those telegraphs aren't for the turbine engine, unless they wanted to make everything look uniform and put the same speeds in astern as on the main engine telegraphs.

I belive the two telegraphs inboard of the main engine telegraphs (the two closest to the bridge wall`s) were connected to the docking bridge. one on each side simmilar to the main engine setup so if the watch officer is on either side of the bridge he can get to the same telegraph to the same part of the ship at the same time.

' ' ' O ' '

The above typed out diagram is a simple layout of the bridge and the far left and right telegraphs which is pointed out by the ', are the main engine telegraphs. then the ones just inboard of those two are the docking bridge telegraphs, then the O is the compass platform infront of the ship's wheel, and to the left would be the emergency telegraph, and i read else where on this site that there were no telegraphs in the turbine room, there were five telegraphs in the main engine room, that makes sense two from the bridge, two from the docking bridge and the one emergency, so in theory four telegraphs could have been rung very closely at the same time. Ring the engine telegraph, then ring the docking bridge telegraph where the docking bridge would then pass the order to the engine room. (Im not sure but i belive the docking bridge had two telegraphs one that was between the docking bridge and the main bridge, and one between the docking bridge and the engine room) If im wrong anywheres im sure someone would correct me.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Matt: Boiler room telegraphs were controlled manually from the reciprocating engine room. A system of illuminated telegraphs was provided between the starting platform and the various boiler rooms to enable the engineer on watch to communicate his orders to each stokehold. There were only 4 settings: STOP, SLOW, HALF, FULL.

As for the telegraphs, there were no telegraphs in the turbine room. The turbine was controlled from the reciprocating engine room by a lever that controlled the changeover valves.

You may want to read this article on the telegraphs, http://titanic.marconigraph.com/mgy_eotelegraphs1.html, before forming opinions.
 
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Matt Pereira

Guest
Hmmm samuel well you just said basicly the same thing I said, I said I would think the boiler room telegraphs were controled through the engine room, maybe when the steam was cut off the pressure went up and caused it to signal stop to not over pressure the system or when the valve to control the flow had a sensor attached that when turned so far it moved a lever to signal the boiler room either slow, med, fast,ect Then i said that there were telegraphs in the main engine room never said there was any in the turbine room. So you telling me to read that article on the telegraphs before forming opinions I belive you need to read and comprehend someones post before you start making personal attacks like that cause that is a personal attack on me and what I said even though its basicly the same as you said but not as detailed as you went to how the turbine got their orders.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Matt: I am sorry you are taking my comment as a personal attack. It is not, and was not intended to be. There is also a big difference in what I said about how the boiler room telegraphs were controlled and what you said. My point was that these telegraphs are controlled manually by an engineer in the engine room, they are not controlled by steam valves tripping a circuit as your post #69 above suggested.

Again, I am not attacking you. I am simply suggesting that there are a lot of resources here on ET and elsewhere that can answer many of the questions concerning the construction and design of these Olympic class ships. It is not necessary to speculate on how things worked or how things were arranged or connected such as the telegraphs on the bridge.

Take care.
 
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Matt Pereira

Guest
Well it was implied as one by how your were saying read such and such page before forming an opinion, well opinions are formed anyways and they change when reading new information but the information provided was for a more modern ship from the way i understand it from the pictures thats why i didnt read it. Plus another thing is that i basicly said the same thing i dont know how the boiler room telegraphs operated i just figured that they were operated through the engine room by some means, and the main reasion i was saying what i said was to change the fact that one guy made that the other two telegraphs were the turbine telegraphs, i figured they would be the docking bridge telegraphs cause they appeared in the olympic photograph to have astern markings also so i figured thats what it was. Not saying im 100% right, i just recently got interested in the construction. Only cause im downloading a cad software program and im going to try my hands at making 3-D blueprints and see if theres any possibility to flood sections at different angles to see how the water would flow at different angles based off the construction, not sure i might have to get the a different program but mainly i wanted to build 3-d plans. If their anygood i might post them on the site.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Dec 3, 2000
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Matt,

Samuel was only trying to be helpful, by pointing you in the right direction for information. He was definitely not attacking you; it was constructive criticism.

It is of no use to speculate on how these instruments operated. The only way to fully understand them is to read the information, such as contained in the link that Samuel provided.
 
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Matt Pereira

Guest
Ok i see so lets see, the time i said something simmilar to that i got into alot of trouble with one of the moderators and then end up having to leave cause i said something simmilar to that. so i see i can take and basicly imply someone as an idiot and tell them basicly that their opinions dont matter unless they read a specific document even though everyone says not to belive all you read on the web and if i do that i shouldnt get any trouble from someone?

Well then i dont know what, all i know is that it was implied as a personal attack like my opinions dont matter unless i read the same material that he did, all he had to say was read this he didnt have to add in about how i shouldnt form opinions about something till after i read that, i already scaned through it and its talking about in general. it might be simmilar but i doubt titanic would be very simmilar other than the basics.

Also i said the same thing that he stated the second time yes i might have not been 100% accurate on how the boiler room telegraphs operated but i still said they were controled from the engine room, said that there was no telegraphs in the turbine room, that the two inboard telegraphs on the bridge are to the docking bridge. I in general wasnt wrong about much if any of it, but the details i was cause i never really searhed for the boiler room telegraph controls.
 
May 3, 2005
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Parks-

>>By the way, Murdoch would be doing all this by feel and not by sight. Unlike in the Cameron movie, the telegraphs were not lit during open ocean transit. I think they were unlit in ANTR, but since that particular DVD refuses to load nowadays, I can't verify that.<<

Just checked this out again on my DVD of ANTR. They don't appear to be lit from within. There seems to some light coming into the bridge through the windows. The lettering on the telegraphs in ANTR and 1997 Cameron version is white on black. In the 1953 version the lettering appears to be black on white but also not lit from within. The telegraphs in the 1953 Negulesco version look very "fakey."

I had also assumed (apparently in error) that the telegraphs on the bridge and in the engine room were electrically connected rather than mechanically. Thanks for the clarification !

I have a copy of the June 1936 Souvenir Edition of The Shipbuilder and Marine Engine-Builder Magazine which describes the telegraphs on RMS Queen Mary as electric : "The very complete installation of electric telegraphs comprises engine-room, docking, steering and anchor and cable equipment." (Page 67) Of course, technology had changed in the course of a quarter century between Titanic and Queen Mary.

-Robert
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Robert,

I almost missed your post...the carrier-to-noise ratio has been especially low these past few days. Must be excessive solar flare activity; either that, or something funny in the water. :)

Engine-order telegraphs come in many variations. I haven't checked all the films to compare what was used by the studios, but they evidently used whatever was at hand. When I was re-creating Titanic's telegraphs for use as illustration for Bill Sauder's article, I first used Cameron's telegraphs as examples to copy, but soon learned that even those custom-made telegraphs fell short of the real thing. No fault of the prop builders...it took actual recovered telegraph drums from the wrecksite to complete all the detail.

Parks
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Dec 3, 2000
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quote:

so i see i can take and basicly imply someone as an idiot and tell them basicly that their opinions dont matter unless they read a specific document even though everyone says not to belive all you read on the web and if i do that i shouldnt get any trouble from someone?
No, you should not believe everything you read. Having said that, it is your best bet to read information from authorities on the subject, such as Bill Sauder and Parks Stephenson. These people know what they're talking about.​
 
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Matt Pereira

Guest
Cause jason im not going to say names but some people on here that ive talked with act like they know but once i got them on a subject i really know about they were just pulling stuff out of thin air that wasnt even true. But thats why i didnt based my opinion on that website or even read it. Right now i printed out day 1 to day 3 of the U.S. Testomony and im highlighting anything that seems important and then comparing it and after comparing it settle for something in the middle cause when it comes to a group of people what they all said is on either side of the truth the truth usualy lies in the middle.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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You can learn a lot from the testimony, Matt. It'll take you quite a while to read, but it's worth it if you want a full understanding of it.

quote:

cause when it comes to a group of people what they all said is on either side of the truth the truth usualy lies in the middle.
Yes, most of the time.

Double checking and re-checking facts from other sources is an excellent way to verify information. Plus, it's a good idea to keep an open mind.​