The Wheelhouse on the wreck


Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Today, the telemotor stands alone at the place where the wheelhouse once stood. It is assumed that the house was knocked away in the sinking, as this explains how things such as the fusebox (recovered in 1987) was found in the debris field. However, that year, Eaton and Haas say that the structure was eaten away by marine organisms; something that looks plausible when you
look at the remains of the base of the house. I don't quite buy into Pellegrino's downblast theory as this doesn't explain why the telemotor wasn't flattened or pushed away from the wreck....

...has anyone got any further ideas?

Cheers

Paul

 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Perhaps. But the base of the wheelhouse does look slightly ...nibbled... if you know what I mean?

Best wishes

Paul

 

Dan Cherry

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Dec 14, 1999
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The base of the wheelhouse would have likely been made of teak, and attached to the deck more strongly than the more-freestanding walls of the wheelhouse, itself. Even teak isn't 100% impervious to the ravages of time. Currents over 90-some years has probably caused some deterioration, and if the wheelhouse walls got knocked away in the sinking (which is what I perceive to have happened) it's entirely possible the breaking of the walls pulled some pieces of the base with it.
As far as the 'downblast' theory - I am no proponent of most of Pelligrino's approach on the history of the Titanic, but in no way could the falling funnel smash both sides of the officer's quarters, and both bridge wings. I would concur that perhaps some sort of current blast may be partially responsible for the state of the wreck today. It's feasible the officer's quarters' walls might have been peeled backwards when the ship took its final plunge - rushing water cascading into the cabins.

The telemotor might have escape unscathed just like some houses do in a tornado. Oftentimes house #1 is completely destroyed, while house #2 escapes relatively unharmed. It all depends on how sturdy the item is rigged, bolted down, and where and how the current hits it.

Someone might wish to check to see the bolt usage on the telemotor base versus the other bridge instruments. It's just a thought....
 
Feb 24, 2004
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I read something yesterday (cant remember where) saying that the bronze thing that held the ship's wheel (What's the name for it?) had been salvaged in one of the recent dives. Is this true? Or is this one of the things that has "disappeared" like the crow's nest light and other treasures. Even tho the wheel had long since disintegrated, I always thought the images of the bronze thing that held it were very eerie- I always think of what was running through the mind of the man who was turning it, trying to avoid the collision.
Thanks!
Darren
 

Paul Lee

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It was certainly there in 2001 during GotA.

By the way, looking at images of the bridge area, it looks like the entire back wall of the wheelhouse is missing too!

Cheers

Paul

 

Dan Cherry

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The aft bronze wheel base from the docking bridge was recovered on a dive - is this to what you're referring?

As of 2001's GotA dive, as Paul concurs, the telemotor on the fore bridge was still there, although a hole has opened up on the deck nearby and it's appeared to lean slightly. This isn't a surprise, though - the decking here is thin and holes are opening up everywhere in the upper superstructure.

We know for sure the foremast light was recovered - it's been displayed and its recovery has been shown in pictures. The builder's plaque is probably lying on the deck below its original place on the B-deck forward cabin superstructure. The collision with the bottom might have jarred, and sheared, the heavy plaque from the wall and it fell to the deck, and 90+ years of sediment and debris have covered it up. A future expedition may wish to take note of this and perhaps attempt to fish for it. The deckhouse, itself shows no indication of removal - i.e., no "clean areas"...

If the aft portion of the wheelhouse survived the sinking, the mechanicals and phones should have been lying on the deck - in all likelihood, that wall, too, was knocked apart and washed away during the sinking.

My thoughts....
 

Steve Santini

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Nov 22, 2000
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To add a bit to this,

The grandson of James Adams, who was the Chief Officer on the cable steamer "Minia", had a bronze plaque which said "Wheelhouse" on it in embossed letters.

His grandfather recovered this still affixed to Titanic's wheelhouse door when the Minia was recovering bodies from the sinking. With the wood of the wheelhouse door, Adams got Minia's carpenter to make a cabinet which we currently own.

The Minias crew also reported seeing a great quantity of white painted wood fragments floating in the disaster area.

Because of the above facts, I am inclined to think that most of the wheelhouse was destroyed as the ship was sinking. Most likely by the fore mast bending backwards of the 1st funnel crashing towards the bow.

Just some thoughts, Steve Santini
 

Bill Willard

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Mar 24, 2001
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Darren,

Ballard's expedition two months ago clearly showed it in place. The report of the telemotor being salvaged is in error. Ballard and the rest of the world would have had a serious duck fit had it been removed.

Bill
 
Feb 24, 2004
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Thanks for clearing that up for me Bill- I was hoping it was a mistake and the thing hadn't been stolen off of the wreck or something!!
darren
 
Feb 17, 2005
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What I believe was recovered was the docking bridge telemotor. When I was doing reasearch for my 2004 wreck model the navigatin bridge one was certainly still there.
 

Danger-Mouse

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Apr 12, 2013
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The wheelhouse and outer bridge of the HMHS Britannic are both missing as well. I recall reading somewhere that the wheelhouse and bridge (excluding the bridge wings and cabs) were constructed from wood to prevent interference with the compasses. This is supported by photographs from the Titanic's launch, where the bridge wings and cabs are in place, but the bridge superstructure (and presumably the wheelhouse) are clearly absent.
 

Shel Cooper

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Nov 8, 2013
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Someone might wish to check to see the bolt usage on the telemotor base versus the other bridge instruments. It's just a thought....

That telemotor is bolted down with 6 or 8 bolts to 1/2 inch deck plating. It was definitely hit by the debris hence the wheel being gone and the rudder indicator being smashed. Those wheels are pretty stout and if the house had survived and collapsed later, the wheel would have held up until it was eaten, leaving behind the big brass rings.
 

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