The lamps on the dining room tables


Daniel Cox

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Apr 5, 2004
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Gday all......After watching the new DVD box set , i could notice more things.I always knew off the lamps but what i did pick out this time was the cord running across the table that powered the lamp.
Im just curious did each table have some sort of power outlet underneath or did this cords run along the floor to a centrel power source.If eating at the table , i would of found the cord running across the table annoying after a while , as to how many people would of bumped or had there chair caught in it causing the lamp to fall over on the table?.
 

Daniel Cox

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Apr 5, 2004
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Thanks Ryan , does this mean that Camerons Titanic movie had a error by putting the lamps on the tables?.
 
Aug 15, 2005
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Cameron's movie had many errors (and I emphasise the word "many"), and I expect that the lamps on the tables are one of those.
As I said before, I am uncertain, but judging by the layout of the tables in the First Class Dining Room, I doubt it was possible for there to be electric lamps upon every table unless there was a hole drilled through the middle of each table (and the cloth) for the cable to pass through.
Regards, Ryan.
 

Aaron Zaffuto

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Oct 7, 2005
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Looking at photos from the dining room there are no lights on the tables. Watching the movie I never thought about the lights on the tables unit Daniel brought it up.
 

Steve Olguin

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Mar 31, 2005
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I was told that the lamps added to the tables were to better help light the scenes shot in that room. I may be wrong. Also Aaron, there is only ONE known photograph of Titanic's saloon. It was taken by Father Browne on the 11th of April I believe. Any other photos would be that of the Olympic.
 
Nov 26, 2005
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I wondered about that too. Cameron's movie just shows the cords to the little lamps lying across the table cloth. Not likely in 1912 when such emphasis was put on appearance.

In going through books and pictures of the Olympic and Titanic's dining saloons, I couldn't find any lamps on the tables. There's only one picture I've seen with the passengers actually sitting down to a meal and being served, and no lamps are present. But the picture looks to have been taken during the day. It's possible, though not probable, that they would bring the small lamps out for the evening meal. Maybe?

It seems more probable that they were used in the movie for: A) visual grandeur, and B) simple lighting for the actors.

Just a thought.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Another oddity involving lamps is that quite a number of photos show little lamps on tables in first class cabins. (I won't go into which ship they were on). The lamps simply sit on the tables with electric cords trailing from them, a decidedly unseaworthy arrangement.

Could it be they were put there for the photographs and soon removed?
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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Specialist suppliers of cabin furnishings for the Olympic Class ships, like Burt and McGeoch, offered a variety of cabin lamps including table models of tall and slender shape with narrow bases. These must surely have been provided with a central bolt for secure mounting.
 
Apr 11, 2001
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I agree, or else they would fall right over in the hollandaise in a heavy swell! There must have been a floor outlet under the table. I seem to recall they had pale pink shades, in the Lynch account. This makes good sense as it was frequently the color used for shades as it gives both people and food an appetizing color. The Duchess of Windsor swore by it for her little dinner parties which featured four or five round tables instead of one long formal one for her guests. There was also some debate on the flowers being daffodils or pink and white roses on the fateful night.
 

Dave Gittins

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The photos in Anatomy of the Titanic and elsewhere suggest the lamps were not bolted down. One at the bottom of page 150 is right at the end of the table. The one above is not much better and its cord looks tightly stretched.
 
Jan 2, 2006
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In Cameron's book Ghosts Of The Abyss there are pictures of some staterooms as how they appear now. You can see some of the lamps still plugged in to their wall outlets.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Best clarify that we are now talking about three different areas. Earlier posts discussed the 1st Class dining room, which had no table lamps; Shelly is referring to the restaurant (from The Shipbuilder: 'Crystal standard lamps with rose coloured shades illuminate each table'). Dave introduced the subject of cabin lighting.

Dave, as you suggest it could be that cabin lamps which had not yet been fitted were tastefully arranged by the photographer in some position other than that which was intended, which would more likely be on a surface close to the wall (and the power socket), rather than on a table in the middle of a room. In some of the available pictures, you can see table lamps which have small D-brackets on opposite sides of the base, by which presumably they were (eventually) screwed down.
.
 

Frank McElroy

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Dec 31, 2003
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Bob,

I have a copy of the Father Brown’s photograph of the 1st Class Dining room, which I tracked down via a contact in the Newspaper Industry in London; this was the photo that was re-touched because of the blemish in the middle of the original photo.

1st_class_dining_room.jpg


They are correct in saying that the original photo was taken on the 11th of April 1912, by Father Brown.

I wanted it, because I have been working for the last 2 years, on the production of a DVD of the life of Chief Purser Hugh McElroy from 1874 until his untimely death in 1912, at the moment it stands at 1hr 15 mins duration.

I received a letter, which contained a letter from Mrs Geneviève Cassebeer (Titanic survivor) to her son, in which she states who Hugh had invited to the Pursers table in the 1st Class Dining room, overall a very interesting letter.

Need to get hold of Phil, have loads of info never seen before OK will mail you later Bob OK.
 
Dec 7, 2000
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All,

I don't think there is any evidence on the actual dining room tables that a hole was present to bolt down any lamps or feed an electric chord through it. It has often been suggested that the lamps seen on the Dining Room tables in the illustration was either artistic license or an idea that was never used once Olympic or Titanic entered service. I have never seen any lamps on the dining room tables in any of the photos from 1911 right through to the 30’s. It has also been suggested that perhaps these were not electric lamps but candle lamps, and could be removed or placed on tables at whim. Again I would say that there is no evidence that any lamps were actually used in service.

As for the cabin lamps, you may have noticed that the lamps have a long chord. You can see it coiled around the base of the lamp hanging above Fr. Browne’s bed. There were a few electric outlets in some rooms and/or the lamps were provided with long chords so they could be placed at various locations in the room. Otherwise a ‘T’ bracket was provided at the head of each berth so the lamps could also be used for reading while in bed.

Daniel.
 
May 3, 2005
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Mc Quitty's 1958 ANTR also shows lamps on the tables in the First Class Dining Saloon. The shades seem to be of a different design---maybe some sort of fabric such as silk --- and of a dark color (indeterminate due to the B&W film.)
 
Jun 4, 2003
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Hi! Were perhaps any candles or oil lamps used throughout first-class restaurants or staterooms for atmosphere purposes or in case of emergency?
 

Bob Godfrey

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Naked flames are more likely to cause an emergency than to help deal with one! :) I doubt there was any use for candles on board, but colza oil lamps were available for use by the crew in circumstances which required a portable source of continuous light - by patrolling night watchmen, for instance. Electric torches weren't able to deliver a continuous output in 1912, and also were too bright for use on deck, where those on watch needed to maintain their night vision.
 

Chad Goodwin

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Aug 2, 2006
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the table lamps on most ships were gimbels meaning they were weighted in the middle so they balanced themselves on brackets
 

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