This is specifically to Parks Stephenson


Nov 26, 2005
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Dear Mr. Stephenson,

Ive been wondering for a long time as to what attracts you to the Marconi Room, of all places.

There are so many areas to explore of this famous wreck that it just makes me wonder what attracts you to the Marconi Room the most. It is indeed a fascinating area of the ship to explore, but with the Grand Staircase and other passenger areas to explore, it just seems to me that there are other open parts of the lesser areas to discover, IMO.

I was just curious to see why you are so interested in the Marconi room (in which there is much to be discovered).

I've very much enjoyed reading marconigraph.com and have learned a ton from it. I'd just like to know about other areas of the ship.

THank you for all you've done and thank you for all you continue to do. Every bit is absolutely fascinating! Take care and enjoy all of you work in "the field".

Thank you!

Matt.

[Moderator's note: This thread which was posted in another topic, has been moved to here. JDT]
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Matt,

I am interested in many areas of the ship, not just the Marconi rooms. It just so happens that I was the one to reconstruct the layout of those rooms from existing evidence. If Jim Cameron had not discovered the intact transmitting apparatus inside the wreck in 2001, you might think instead that I was obsessed with something else entirely, like maybe the bathing complex. I have more confidence in the Turkish Bath reconstruction that Ken Marschall and I completed than that of the Marconi rooms.

Personally, I favour the navigating and engineering areas, because I have experience in those areas. In my day job, I am currently managing a team of engineers that is designing the bridge area for the Navy's newest class of destroyers. So, I think it would be fitting for me to attempt to recreate Titanic's bridge. Thanks to a collaboration with Bill Sauder, my reconstruction of the engine-order telegraphs are the most accurate to date and my first step toward recreating the entire bridge area. The accuracy of my boiler-room reconstruction was literally a matter of life and death during the recent Britannic expedition, because it was used to show John Chatterton and Richie Kohler how to find their way deep inside the wreck...past catwalks, pipes and the boilers themselves. Not only did they verify the accuracy of my CG model, but their personal observations have helped me to improve upon it. I can guarantee you that John and Richie know me more for the boiler rooms now than the Marconi rooms.

Basically, I have an interest in any interior area of the ship that I can accurately and faithfully recreate. I am intrigued by areas that are not well documented and the analysis of which I can use my own experience. I am not as interested in the passenger accommodations, because there is plenty of documentation for those areas (photos, postcards, and the like) and even where the evidence is lacking, there are others who cover those areas better than I ever could. The Turkish Bath is a notable exception, but how could I pass up such a tempting challenge given Cameron's determination to explore that space?

I am a firm believer in the power of CGI modeling in both dive planning and post-expedition analysis. That is where you will see me focusing my efforts in the future. I will work on whatever is needed to further our explorations inside, and understanding of, Titanic, Britannic, or any other ship of interest. I do have plans to someday put what I have learned about the Marconi rooms into a book for future reference, but that will have to wait while I assist in ongoing exploration of the two sister wrecks.

Parks
 
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Nov 26, 2005
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Thank you for the reply, Parks.

I just remember watching you on Last Mysteries Of The Titanic and you seemed so knowledgable of the Marconi room, I figured you must have been at hard study of it for a while. Sorry for the way I put "Marconi room, of all places" like that in my original post. Kind of comes off like I'm asking why would anybody be interested in that area, but that's not what I meant at all.

As far as your CGI renderings, I was absolutely amazed at how close you all called it when the Turkish Baths were finally revealed. I was sorry to see that your boiler room renderings featured on your site were not featured in the final 'LMOT' production. I was visiting Marconigraph.com last night and came across another one that I had no idea you'd done, Scotland Road. I've always wondered what it would have looked like, now I have a general idea.

Do you mind if I ask what program it is that you use to make these renderings? I would love to be able to do that in my spare time...if I could figure out how to use the program, that is.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond. I won't keep you, as I know you're probably going to be a very busy guy in the next few days catching up on all that work at your normal job.

Take care.
 
May 3, 2005
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Matthew and Parks-

First of all, I really enjoy reading all your postings with all your expertise. Thanks !

>>Ive been wondering for a long time as to what attracts you to the Marconi Room, of all places.<<

I don't know how many fellow "hams" (Licensed Amateur Radio Operators) out there who are regular readers (and sometimes contributors) to this website, but my attraction to the Marconi Room goes back to those roots, which date way back to my teen-age days when I wound coils on Quaker Oats boxes and built crystal sets...and later gave the Heath Company quite a bit of business.

In watching the movies, especially ANTR, I have tried to follow the code (very accurately presented on ANTR, I understand) and trying to catch some "Nitpicks" along the way.:
The Marconi Detector drums don't appear to be rotating in "Titanic" (1997 version)....in the TV-series version (DVD with George C. Scott) the sound is like a modern day "CW" signal instead of "spark"...and "Come Quickly Distress" for "CQD"!....and the most ridiculous of all is that "portable rig" in the "Britannic" so-called epic...et cetera, et cetera and so forth. :)

"All I know is what I read in the newspapers [substitute "Internet" for "newspapers"]... and that's my excuse for my ignorance." - Will Rogers

73, es tnx vy much fer ur dx re mgy,

Bob, W5TBC
 
May 3, 2005
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Another question for the experts in reference to the website listed below.:

http://www.sparkmuseum.com/MAGGIE.HTM

There is a mention of:
"This change is detected by the secondary coil and is heard as a "click" in the receiver1"

Was this heard as a series of clicks (long and short) or the "buzz" as depicted in ANTR ? I've heard both (the "clicks" on telegraph equipment at some railroad museums - ["land" or "wire" types, that is ]- They used a Prince Albert Tobacco can behind the "sounder" as an "amplifier" :) - and the "buzzes" in the headphones in ANTR>)
 
May 3, 2005
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Question #2 in reference to previous e-mail.

In the illustration, there appears to be a winding handle on the right pulley.

Was this used to rewind the spring for the driving motor ?

In the movies, the detector appears to be rewound by a key at the side of the detector mechanism box.

Looks as if there might have also been some sort of tensioning adjustment for the wire loop on the left pulley.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Robert,

I am confused, as John Jenkins refers to Jensen's "Early Radio," but the latter does not mention "clicks." Jensen does refer to Hawkhead's original handbooks, which describe a "breathing sound" when the iron band is running (Barkhausen noise), and the secondary coil passing an induced current to the operator's headphones, where the diaphragms are moved by the current. The clicks that you refer to are usually caused by a sounder, which of course was not used in marine stations. I believe that you would hear the "buzz" of the first wave of the train of electromagnetic oscillations in your headphones.

The winding handle that you see in the photo on Jenkins's website does not represent the Maggie that would have been used on Titanic. Titanic's Maggie did not have that handle; instead, it had a brass key sticking out the right side of the box, with which to wind the driving mechanism. The knob on the left side is for exactly what you describe...to keep the proper tension on the rotating iron band.

Parks
 
May 3, 2005
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>>The clicks that you refer to are usually caused by a sounder, which of course was not used in marine stations.<<

Of course, the sounder was more of an electro-magnetic-mechanical device on the land lines as compared to the headphones used on Marconi devices.

In ANTR, the detector on Californian appears to be of a different design than that on Titanic, which is probably historically correct since the Titanic's was probably the latest thing and the Californian had older equipment. I believe both are shown with the brass key on the side for winding the driving mechanism.

Also, could you compare the adjustment of the magnets on the Marconi apparatus to be something like adjusting one of the old superregeneative receivers for maximum sensitivity ?

Another question : Would anything be heard if you attempted to receive a present day AM signal on a Marconic Magnetic Detector ?
Or any other medium....FM, SSB, NBFM, CW, MCW, etc. ?
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Robert,

The Maggie aboard both the Californian and Titanic most likely would have been the same model, even though the Californian had the standard 1.5-kW marine station and Titanic had a newer 5-kW set. The difference was mainly in the transmitting apparatus.

Both methods of adjustment that you describe helped to maximise sensitivity, but they work in entirely different ways. Adjusting the poles of the magnets in the Maggie had more to do with eliminating the "breathing" sound created by the running of the iron band over the spools. So really, it was an adjustment to help mitigate a mechanical noise, as opposed to adjusting a more modern electronic receiver. Many operators preferred to hear the "breathing" noise, because the lack of same was an audible indication that the clockwork mechanism had wound down. Others felt that it interferred with their ability to hear faint signals and adjusted the magnets to get rid of it.

For your last question, your guess would be as good as mine...the Maggie was designed to detect electromagnetic oscillations that were picked up by the aerial. It wouldn't matter if the oscillations were created by a spark or carrier wave. I think, though, that the aerial would not be sensitive enough to respond to carrier-wave oscillations and at the most, all the operator would hear would be an indistinct murmuring of sorts. It took a brute spark, chopped off in distinct dots and dashes, to vibrate the aerial enough for the Maggie to detect. But that's just a shoot-from-the-hip guess on my part. I would have to study the apparatus some more (with your question in mind) before I could give a more definitive answer.

Parks
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Robert:
Parks:

An interesting question regarding the ability of the magnetic detector to pick up analog AM signals. My guess. and please correct my reasoning here, is that it should be able to detect an analog amplitude modulated carrier to a certain extent but not without a great deal of distortion.

When an RF signal is detected by the magnetic detector it changes the magnetic field within the rotating band. In essence, it tends to demagnetize the field alignment within the band passing through the coil. A sound is heard because the RF signal from the transmitter is not continuous when the key is depressed but is amplitude modulated by the discharging of the spark. This sets up magnetized and demagnetized alternating regions in the moving band which induces an audible current in the coil leading to the headset. The amplitude of that audible signal would be dependent on the signal strength of RF signal received. But the degree that the RF signal can induced demagnetized regions in the field in the band is not linear, and therefore an analog amplitude modulated signal would probably have quite a bit of distortion.

Modulation on an FM carrier would not be detected.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Sam,

That's essentially what I had in mind. Everything depends on how excited the aerial is made by the signal. I often liken a spark discharge to a brute force that is easily detected. I'm not sure that the aerial of Titanic's day would be much affected by more refined transmissions.

Parks
 
May 3, 2005
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I couldn't locate the exact post, but somewhere out there in ET-Land there is a post to the effect that Cyril Evans, the Marconi Operator on the Californian, is portrayed in ANTR by a much older actor. (Most of the Marconi Operators were in there early 20's ?)

Also, on further viewing, seems like the same is true for the actor portraying Benjamin Guggenheim. Photos show him much younger looking than the actor in ANTR. (According to a biography, Guggenheim was born in 1865, which would have made him only 47 years old in 1912 ?)
 
May 3, 2005
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Since there apparently (?) wasn't some sort of switching relay (or was there ?) would there have been separate antennas for receiving and transmitting equipment on the Titanic ?
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Robert, I could answer your last question with the help of a little schematic drawing.

There was one antenna used for both transmitting and receiving. During transmission, the antenna was connected to ground (the ship's hull) via a small spark gap called an earth arrester. The receiving equipment was connected across this gap which essentially put it in series with the antenna as long as the gap was not shorted. However, when the transmitter was being operated, the induced current in the secondary coil of the "jigger" produced a large enough voltage across this earth arrester to cause it to discharge thereby shorting out the input to the receiver. In essence, it was an automatic relay which cut out the receiver whenever the transmitter operated.
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May 3, 2005
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Thanks very much, Samuel. Makes a lot more sense from your diagram ! Did the operator hear anything in the 'phones while transmitting ?
 
May 3, 2005
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It has been some time since the last post on this thread, but I'll post this here in the hopes that my question might be answered. (A duplication of the same question on another thread so editor, please delete or move.)

Question: Why was the detector dependant on a purely mechanical device as a spring wound motor for operation instead of being powered by a small electric motor ? It seems the spring wound motor on the detector would eventually run down and would have had to be rewound or otherwise the operator would have heard nothing. It would seem if power by an electric motor or some electro-mechanical device to rewind the spring, the receiver would have been "live" all the time ?
 
May 3, 2005
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PS- In "A Night To Remember", (Third Officer?) Groves enters the Marconi Room on Californian.
Evans, the Marconi Operator is asleep. Groves picks up the earphones (the Titanic's SOS/CQD signals are heard). Then apparently because the code is being sent so fast that Groves can't make it out,he puts the headphones down and throws the switch to silence them. I have heard that Groves actually heard nothing since he either didn't know the detector spring wound motor had run down and he either didn't know how to rewind it or did not do so.
 
May 3, 2005
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Robert, I could answer your last question with the help of a little schematic drawing.

There was one antenna used for both transmitting and receiving. During transmission, the antenna was connected to ground (the ship's hull) via a small spark gap called an earth arrester. The receiving equipment was connected across this gap which essentially put it in series with the antenna as long as the gap was not shorted. However, when the transmitter was being operated, the induced current in the secondary coil of the "jigger" produced a large enough voltage across this earth arrester to cause it to discharge thereby shorting out the input to the receiver. In essence, it was an automatic relay which cut out the receiver whenever the transmitter operated.
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I have been absent for quite some time and just now got back on Encyclopedia Titanica. My apologies for the absence. I shall attempt to be more regular in my attendance. :)

Thanks for the explanation, Samuel. I suppose this would be something that was similar in the old "ATR" (Anti-Transmit-Receive) tubes in the old search radars I was assigned to during my service in the U.S. Navy. They were sort of a gas filled tube in which the gas ionized shorting out the receiver during the transmit cycle of the radar.

P.S. Would the type of receiving equipment also have been affected by interference from atmospheric conditions. In other words would "static" noise caused by lightning in an electrical storm for example and heard in the earphones of the operator ?

Also it seems spark transmission was more or less "brute force" ? Would it have been rather "broad banded" or occupying quite a bit of the spectrum on either side of the assigned frequency ?

Sorry if I have a few questions. It seems my absence opened up a can of worms . :-(

In what part of the "wireless " was the keying for the transmitter controlled ? I am assuming it must have been somewhere in the low voltage part of the circut or keying the output of the spark to the antennna would have been rather a hazard to the health of the operator at the key ?

Of course this was before the advent of the "valve" or the "vacuum tube" and everything would have been controlled either by mechanics or electricity ?
 

David Tamutus

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Mar 17, 2016
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Dear Mr. Stephenson,

I am sitting here and watching the History Channel program, "Titanic at 100: Mystery Solved" and I have a question. The 300 pound test piece of the hull that you had exactly replicated from 100 year old iron was put to the rivet test at the University of Washington. It was determined that the rivets didn't fail quite like many have thought over the years. However, when you put that piece to the test under tens of thousands of pounds of pressure the 300 pound piece was simply at room temperature, which I am guessing was somewhere between 60 and 70 degrees fahrenheit. The waters on the night the Titanic sank were below 30 degrees fahrenheit, and furthermore the iron and rivets were subjected to this temperatures for several days. Do you think if you subjected the 300 pound test piece to these temperatures for several days before the test a different outcome would have occured? That the rivets might have failed just like they did on April 14, 1912? Steel and Iron become more brittle the colder they get, and I think that is what contributed to the rivets failing. Your test was a great test, but I don't think it was as thorough as it could have been given the test piece subjected to a below 30 degree temperature.

What do you think?
 

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