The Grand Stair Case


Mar 3, 1998
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Dan,

The footage at the base of the GSC void shows no trace of a single balustrade. There's a jumble of debris around the D-Deck foundation, but it's a lot smaller than one would expect. If a balustrade fell there, it would have had to lay flat, then be covered by silt, to be unseen. I would think, with all the turbulence that must have occurred in the void as the ship sank, that at least one balustrade would have landing wedged upright in the foundation, or something. But let's assume for a moment that all the staircase balustrades were swept out of the void and landed outside the ship. The peripheral balustrades, the ones that were mounted between the columns on each deck, are the real mystery...where did they go? They were not attached to the staircase. If they fell outboard, we should see them laying on their respective deck in the entrance area. If they fell inboard, then they would have added to the debris at the bottom of the void. Did all fall in such a manner that they landed horizontal (or nearly so)? What were there...60 or so balustrade sections in the GSC area? And not a one can be found in the void?

Strange.

Then again, so is the carafe and glass on the shelf of a washstand on D Deck, surrounded by devastation. The water did strange things throughout the ship. No one will be able to count the combination of flow vectors at work.

Parks
 
Jun 10, 1999
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...carafe glass remaining upright aboard TITANIC amidst all the devastation...

...and stationary, a letter never mailed resting gently on an officers desk aboard the sunken ARIZONA, soap still awaits a pair of hands that will never arrive, and cloths rest gingerly on their hangers in the same officers quarters.

ARIZONA's resting place is, by comparison, no where near as an hostile environment as that which envelops TITANIC. However, her
chaotic demise was nonetheless.

SOURCE: National Geographic television and accompanying NG monthly periodical release. (December'01?)

BTW: It were a much smaller R.O.V., than that of Michael Cameron's design which penetrated deep inside the ARIZONA's wreck. The primary scientific objective was to moniter/discern her decomposition rate. The rupture of her oil hold will result in an environmental nightmare. Affirmitive measures must ultimately be had.

Michael A. Cundiff
USA
 
Jun 10, 1999
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...carafe glass remaining upright aboard TITANIC amidst all the devastation...

...and stationary, perhaps a letter never mailed rests gently on an officers desk aboard the sunken ARIZONA, soap still awaits a pair of hands that will never arrive, and cloths rest gingerly on their hangers in the same officers quarters.

ARIZONA's resting place is, by comparison, no where near as an hostile environment as that which envelops TITANIC. However her
demise was nonetheless chaotic!

SOURCE: National Geographic television and accompanying NG monthly periodical release. (Dec. '01?)

BTW: It were a much smaller R.O.V., than that of Michael Cameron's which penetrated deep inside the ARIZONA's wreck. The primary scientific objective was a matter of discerning her decomposition rate. An Environmental disaster is looming, owing to her oil mainifest. Preventive measures must ultimately meet fruition.

Michael Cundiff
USA
 

Eric Sauder

Member
Nov 12, 2000
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Kevin wrote: "i am not an expert but wouldnt the balustrade if it did went out side of the wreck been found by now"

When Ken Marschall analyzed the Woods Hole still photos and video footage from the 1985 and 1986 expeditions, he found nine sections of balustrade in the debris field, all nearly perfectly preserved. These are presumably from the aft staircase, but of course, there's no way to know for sure. Two of them are pictured on page 172 of the first edition of The Discovery of the Titanic.

To date, however, not one of the balustrades Ken found (or any other, for that matter) has been seen close up by a sub or retrieved as far as I know. It's a big debris field, and to find anything, one has to be nearly on top of it.

Eric Sauder
 

Remco Hillen

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Dec 13, 1999
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Hello Josh,

The picture of HMHS Britannic's GSC can be seen here:
http://members.tripod.com/michailakis/interiors.htm
Pieces of the balustrades seem to be installed, but no panneling can be seen.


I don't really understand your question about the pipeorgan, what do you mean by 'displaced after the sinking'?

Here is a quote taken from an interview by Michail Michailakis and Peter Nicolaides; Mr. Nicolaides was on Cousteau's expedition.

quote:

MM:What about the pipe organ?Did you find anything?

PN:Ah yes...If I remember well,we also took some remains to the Calypso.At first we didn't know what they were.Some even said that were ammunitions,others were talking about pieces from the ship's pipelines.Later,we understood that they were the remains of the pipe organ.

The whole interview can be seen here:
http://members.tripod.com/michailakis/pninterview.htm

Regards,
Remco​
 

James Smith

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Dec 5, 2001
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This is a stupid question, but are we absolutely SURE that these wrought iron balustrades were used on the forward staircase as well as the aft one? Perhaps Titanic's interior decorators decided to experiment a bit with other materials on the forward staircase . . .

Just a thought.

Jim Smith
 

Eric Sauder

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Nov 12, 2000
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Hi, Jim:

It's a not a stupid question at all. What follows are just a few quick thoughts, but as I think about it more, I'm sure there might be additional reasons.

As you know, there are no known photos of either of Titanic's first-class staircases. The only thing we have to go by are photos of the two on Olympic and the surviving paneling and woodwork from her. There are a few reasons that lead historians to believe that the stairs on both liners were (for most intents and purposes) identical.

The first is that a large number of pieces of wood from Titanic's staircases were recovered after the sinking. These include a newel face, some handrail wood, pieces of pillars, and uprights from between the balustrades, etc., all of which are identical to what was on Olympic.

There is also a rendering of what Britannic's forward staircase would have looked like had she been completed for passenger service, and aside from a few alterations, all of the staircase woodwork and balustrades are basically the same as on the ones we know were on Olympic. Since Titanic was sandwiched between the two, it makes sense that she would be the same as her two sisters.

Although I have no firm proof of this, it seems reasonable that all the balustrades for both Olympic and Titanic were fabricated at the same time since construction on the two ships was staggered by only a short period. Since the public interior spaces were supposed to be identical (only fabrics and colors seemed to vary in most cases), it would make perfect sense that all the fittings were produced simultaneously, saving H&W a fair but of effort and cost.

Of course, none of this is conclusive proof that the balustrades were the same on the two ships, but to me it seems extremely likely, and I have no reason to doubt they weren't.

Eric Sauder
 
J

Joshua Miller

Guest
Remco,
When I posted my message about the pipe organ, I didn't realize it was built in. Sorry about that.

Josh
 
Jun 10, 1999
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G' Morning:

I too have often wondered about the balustrades which were photographed by Ballard's camera sled.
From such an elevation, it would really be hard to determine just what condition they were in in '85 - '86.

Cast Iron is a hard brittle alloy consisting of Iron, carbon, and silicon. Is there a possibility that they no longer exist? Gauging from the decomposition rate concluded by the forensic experts, is there a chance they have primarily dissolved...whatever remant surviving perhaps concealed by the sediment?

It is unfortunate that none have been recovered, as they would only lend as a testament to the craftsmanship incorporated into the liner!

Michael A. Cundiff
USA
 
Jun 10, 1999
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ADDENDUM:

I should add that during the 2000 Expedition, and featured in Tom Friend's USA Today report, that when Anatoloy Sagalovitch attempted to recover a metal/iron artefact, it simply dissolved before the MIR occupants eyes! Perhaps this was the fate of the balustrades?

I do not know if the MIRS follow course, but during all dives to the TITANIC, NAUTILE'S video cameras are always recording (Bottom Time). Security measures I presume. If the French submersible were lost, perhaps a subsequent expedition could retrieve the cameras and determine the reason for it's loss.

Michael A. Cundiff
USA
 

Mike Bull

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Dec 23, 2000
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I'm resurrecting an older thread here, but it ties in nicely with the current part 2 of the GotA outtakes; it truly is staggering to think, that as Parks said, of some 60 or so pieces of ballustrade from the forward GSC, not a single one has been accounted for?

There are simply too many of them to ALL be lying flat under all the muck at each deck level, and no apparent sign of them at the bottom of the staircase area; even then, with so many of them possibly having dropped down there, you'd think at least one or two would show.

So where the heck are they?!

A great mystery!
 
Mar 18, 2000
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Well, *if* the pieces of the staircase came out of the dome while the ship was dropping to the bottom, they would be scattered all over heck and gone!

Didn't Cameron's GSC come loose, and float up too, during filming. I know that the movie GSC and real GSC were not constructed the same, but I do think there is a similarity to the destruction of both.
 

Mike Bull

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Dec 23, 2000
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Yes, I too think that caution should be used re. comparing the breaking up/floating loose of the film set staris and the real ones, but, one can imagine that the wide, fan-shaped main portion of the stairs at each deck level would take quite an upwards 'whack', both in sheer force and bouyancy, from underneath from the rapidly rising water, and might just have been shifted by that force, especially if like it seems, only D-Deck had the steel beams beneath it. The upper deck stairs may just have been huge, reasonably flat-undersided structures, more 'easily' lifted out of the ship.

But that STILL doesn't account for all the ballustrades missing from between the supporting pillars all around each deck level! Surely SOME would have survived inside the ship, no matter how the majority of the stairs themselves exited the ship.

It's a mystery wrapped up in an enigma, is what it is!
 
Mar 3, 1998
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It is strange that not a single balustrade has yet been found in the GSC void. However, just because one hasn't been found does not been that there aren't any there. The wreck is chaotic and over the years, the accumulation of silt has buried many objects. The bottom of the GSC void is a tangled heap of debris and even though Cameron photographed it as best as he could, it isn't documented enough to determine for certain if there is any trace of a balustrade to be found there.

The mystery is unsolved...one should not yet draw any conclusions, either way. Maybe one day we'll be able to know, but not now.

Parks
 

Matt Simons

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Mar 12, 2005
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One thing is that the britannic was a hospital ship when it sunk, meaning most of it's former glory had probably been taken out and replace with hospital supplies and things needed. I'm not saying the staircase was taken out but it was probably dismantled of its former glory during the transformation into a hospital ship.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
Uhhhhh...Matt...bear in mind that this wasn't the Britannic we were talking about here but the Titanic and the question of what happened to her grand staircase.
wink.gif
 

Matt Simons

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Mar 12, 2005
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ohhhh, I was talking about britannic's staircase as mentioned in the post. Thanks for pointing that out for me Michael, i have to be a little more careful what i'm posting.
 

Mark Draper

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Aug 24, 2001
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Well, as seen in the Breaking New Ground documentary on the 1997 movie, the staircase did infact rip off it's foundation during the sudden plunge when the ship began to increase her rate of sinking. The done was compromised, and probably what could float flew out of there very fast. The D deck candelabra and the cherub and other heavy items sank. IMO that's about all you'll find if anyone went beneath the D deck frame. For one, it'd be great to do that, as the elevator cars are down there. If done the remains of the elevator cars would be heavily damaged from the force of impacting the bottom of the shafts, the walls would be bent up, and you might or might not find the operator handles. The doors would be blasted out of alignment or thrown into the opposite wall.
 

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