Telephones On Titanic

D

Deleted member 162143

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<Wonder what Phillips and Bride would have thought of it ?>

I definitely do!
 
May 3, 2005
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Talking on a cellphone in a School Zone is a NO-NO ! So is texting - anywhere .
Just a friendly suggestion. Stop and park if you need to talk or text.
I think "mobile in motion" should be NO-NO now for us hams !
 
D

Deleted member 162143

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Talking on a cellphone in a School Zone is a NO-NO ! So is texting - anywhere .
Just a friendly suggestion. Stop and park if you need to talk or text.
I think "mobile in motion" should be NO-NO now for us hams !
Yes!
 
A

Aaron_2016

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Does anyone know how the Titanic's lookouts rang the bridge? Did they pick up the receiver and rotate a dial to make the telephone ring on the bridge? The lookouts had received telephone calls from the bridge, but did the lookouts know how to use the machinery to contact the bridge? Also is it possible that the officer who rung the crows nest last had accidentally left the lever off the hook, so the lookouts could not phone the bridge?

Lookout Hogg said

"I dressed myself, and we relieved the lookout at 12 o'clock, me and my mate Evans. We stopped about 20 minutes, and lifted up the back cover of the nest, the weather cover, and I saw people running about with life belts on. I went to the telephone then, to try to ring up on the bridge and ask whether I was wanted in the nest, when I saw this. I could get no answer on the telephone."

Major Peuchen heard Lookout Fleet say:

"He did not get any reply from the bridge."
Q - From the telephone?
A - I heard afterwards that really the officers were not required to reply.

Is it possible that they were unaware the telephone was ringing because dial was not turned in the right direction or a lever was not fixed properly on the machinery when the last call was made? e.g. Leaving the phone off the hook by accident on the bridge.


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Athlen

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Apr 14, 2012
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See this article on Titanic's bridge and this photo of the Graham Navy type telephone. Titanic had four telephones on the bridge, all of which were direct connections that did not need to be routed through the switchboard. The telephones were connected the crow's nest, the Reciprocating Engine Room, the docking bridge, and one of two locations on the forecastle, near the anchor handling gear. As the photo indicates, the telephones had a plunger that, when depressed, would ring a bell on the other end. So, when the lookouts pressed the button on their phone, the crow's nest telephone on the bridge rang.
 
A

Aaron_2016

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Thanks, was it possible for there to be a mechanical fault which did not allow the bell to ring on the bridge, or if the plunger was not depressed far enough to allow the bell to ring, or retracted far enough to allow incoming calls to be received? Trying to understand why nobody answered the phone on the bridge. It was her maiden voyage, so my first thought would be a mechanical failure. I recall one of the stewards said some of the service bells in the first class staterooms were not working, some of the rooms were not properly furnished yet, the heating in 2nd class also refused to work properly, and I recall one of the day visitors who boarded the ship in Southampton said there were loose wires hanging off the ceilings. It paints a picture of a ship that is not ready to set sail, but is going anyway.

I recall a number of workers who helped to furnish the ship in Southampton expressed their anger because they had little help and little time to complete their work owing to the Easter holidays and the delays caused by the recent coal strike. Steward George Beedem wrote - "I've felt rotten and what with no dusters or anything to work with I wish the bally ship at the bottom of the sea." - He went down with the ship.


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Rob Lawes

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Jun 13, 2012
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We stopped about 20 minutes, and lifted up the back cover of the nest, the weather cover, and I saw people running about with life belts on. I went to the telephone then, to try to ring up on the bridge and ask whether I was wanted in the nest, when I saw this. I could get no answer on the telephone."
I would imagine the best and only explanation for this is that the wheelhouse was empty and everyone was busy uncovering lifeboats and preparing to abandon ship.

As for the other quote regarding Fleet, it's nothing but hearsay.
 
A

Aaron_2016

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I think Major Peuchen was a key witness. He was beside lookout Fleet in the lifeboat and asked him what had occurred.


"From the lookout, yes; sitting next to me on my left."

Q - Did you talk with Mr. Fleet, the man in the lookout, who was in your lifeboat?
A - Yes, sir.
Q - About this iceberg?
A - Yes. I spoke to him about it.
Q - What did you say to him about it?
A - I was interested when I found he was in the crow's nest, and I said, "What occurred?" In the conversation he said he rang three bells, and then he signaled to the bridge.
Q - Did he say how far off the iceberg was when he first sighted it?
A - No; he did not tell me that.
Q - Did he say what it looked like when he first saw it?
A - No; he did not go into that. The only thing he said was that he did not get any reply from the bridge.
Q - From the telephone?
A - I heard afterwards that really the officers were not required to reply.
Q - That is, the information is imparted from the crow's nest to the officer at the bridge, and that is the end of that information?
A - I spoke to the second officer on the boat (Lightoller) regarding the conversation; and he told me it is simply a matter of whether the officer wishes to reply or not. He gets the information, probably, and acts right on it without attempting to reply to the crow's nest.
Q - Did he tell you anything more about the iceberg and the collision than you have stated?
A - That is all. They had some conversation. The quartermaster (Hichens) was asking them who was on the bridge and they were calling over, and they did not know which officer was on the bridge, and the quartermaster called out to another boat, to the quartermaster or whoever was in charge of the other boat. (Lifeboat 16 - Mr. Bailey the Master-at-arms).
Q - Another lifeboat?
A - Yes, sir.
Q - From your boat?
A - Yes, sir; they were not far off.
Q - What did he say?
A - I did not catch the answer.
Q - No; I mean what did the quartermaster say?
A - He said, "You know what officer was on duty on the bridge at the time we struck." So far as I could gather, the officer was in command of the other boat. He did not know; he might not have been on duty.
Q - And the lookout in the crow's nest did not seem to know?
A - No.

His testimony I believe tells us that nobody answered the phone on the bridge.


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Dec 27, 2017
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Hi Aaron,

I don't read it that way. The inference for me is that there was no need to verbally reply and confirm the information. The Officer would act as soon as he'd been given the message over the phone, not delay in engaging in telephone etiquette.

Just my opinion.

Roger
 
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A

Aaron_2016

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Hi Aaron,

I don't read it that way. The inference for me is that there was no need to verbally reply and confirm the information. The Officer would act as soon as he'd been given the message over the phone, not delay in engaging in telephone etiquette.

Just my opinion.

Roger
Thanks, however Fleet and Hichens testified there was an immediate reply. Yet Fleet said outside the Inquiry there was no reply, and even contradicted himself at the Inquiry when he declared that he turned around to use the phone and had his back to the iceberg and continued to wait for a reply and heard his mate Reginald Lee say the ship was already turning, and Fleet ended up calling out over the phone 'Is there anybody there?'. Both Boxhall and Olliver were approaching the bridge and yet neither of them heard Moody call out "iceberg ahead, sir!" which could imply that Moody never received the message from the lookouts because nobody answered the phone.

What is interesting is that lookout Reginald Lee said the ship was veering to port when the iceberg was off the starboard hand, and Fleet was asked: Q - Did it seem that the blow came beneath the surface of the water and caused her to shift? Fleet answered - Yes, sir. This could suggest he was still at the phone when the collision occurred and could also explain the 2 point turn on the compass.

Lightoller said the Inquiry was a whitewash to protect the company - presumably against any acts of negligence, and not answering the phone could be interpreted as an act of negligence to the people conducting the Inquiry. So Fleet and Hichens just had to state it was immediately answered, although they got it in the wrong order. Fleet said the ship turned before he got a reply and Hichens said she turned after they got a reply. This puzzled the Inquiry and they asked Lightoller which version was correct. Without choosing sides he tactfully said to them - "If Hichens is right, then Fleet must be wrong." Fleet grew increasingly impatient with their questions and said "Is there any more likes to have a go at me?" Mrs Crosby said it was "common talk" on the Carpathia that Fleet had said "I know they will blame me for it, because I was on duty, but it was not my fault; I had warned the officers three or four times before striking the iceberg that we were in the vicinity of icebergs, but the officer on the bridge paid no attention to my signals."

Presumably he was referring to the telephone not being answered.


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Driver 8

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Oct 22, 2017
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I just don’t see why Fleet would ask “Is there anybody there?” if the phone hadn’t been answered. Why would he speak into an unconnected phone line, unless I’m misunderstanding how phones worked on the ship? However, I could see him asking that in the context of him not receiving a reply to the message he had just given.
 
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B-rad

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Jul 1, 2015
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Thanks, was it possible for there to be a mechanical fault which did not allow the bell to ring on the bridge, or if the plunger was not depressed far enough to allow the bell to ring, or retracted far enough to allow incoming calls to be received? Trying to understand why nobody answered the phone on the bridge. It was her maiden voyage, so my first thought would be a mechanical failure. I recall one of the stewards said some of the service bells in the first class staterooms were not working, some of the rooms were not properly furnished yet, the heating in 2nd class also refused to work properly, and I recall one of the day visitors who boarded the ship in Southampton said there were loose wires hanging off the ceilings. It paints a picture of a ship that is not ready to set sail, but is going anyway.

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The phones would have been used by the pilot and officers when docking and undocking, and most likely the board of trade during its trials, so I can not imagine the phone not working and nobody doing anything about it.

See this article on Titanic's bridge and this photo of the Graham Navy type telephone. Titanic had four telephones on the bridge, all of which were direct connections that did not need to be routed through the switchboard. The telephones were connected the crow's nest, the Reciprocating Engine Room, the docking bridge, and one of two locations on the forecastle, near the anchor handling gear. As the photo indicates, the telephones had a plunger that, when depressed, would ring a bell on the other end. So, when the lookouts pressed the button on their phone, the crow's nest telephone on the bridge rang.
One thing missing from this great description is that the phones were connected to the lighting circuit with a back up battery.