Titanic's Cargo Gear

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Charles B. Weeks Jr.

Member
Scott:
I looked up the picture on page 134 that you mentioned, and yes I see the two bands and vertical pin. But I haven't found where the topping lift goes. I have seen the picture you mentioned of Olympic in Belfast showing that fwd boom, but none of such on Titanic. Due to the rake of the mast and location of the crow's nest they must have either cradled the boom or unstepped it when bound for sea. I haven't seen a cradle so assume they unstepped it. There again I haven't found any pictures with it on deck. My rigging plan must be incomplete because it doesn't show the bands and pin that are in the picture.
Regards,
Charlie Weeks
 
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Noel F. Jones

Member
Well thank you Scott for clearing that up, viz.:

"Regarding the working of the No. 1 hatch, in addition to the gin block you noted hanging from the stay above, there was provision for a derrick on the forward side of the mast as well. If you check the rigging plan, you will see the step plate drawn in this position with a notation stating "Step plate for derrick; derrick supplied by owner"."

I knew there had to be a more substantial arrangement for working No.1 than some wobbly half-R'sed block hanging from a foremast stay.

Presumably the topping node was on the same mast-hound as the derrick on the afterside.

All the Shipbuilder says is that "The hatchways to Nos. 1 and 2 holds are served by three steam winches.".

All this seems to confirm my impression that, in the absence of a shoreside node, the necessary slewing was done by muscle power rather than steam.

Why "derrick supplied by owner" one wonders. This seems a most perverse contractual arrangement seeing that No.1 had a not insignificant cargo capacity. You may well be correct in assuming a jury boom was stationed at each terminal. However, if she needed to jettison cargo on passage or elsewhere, she would be stuck with that mickey-mouse forestay block arrangement and no way to get her slings over the sea-rail!

One would think that prudence - and underwriters - would dictate that the boom be taken to sea.

Noel
 
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Charles B. Weeks Jr.

Member
Noel, Scott & David:
I will certainly make a note of this possible boom at #1 for future reference. However the rigging plan I have doesn't show even the attachment plate much less the boom. In the picture Scott mentioned the attachment certainly is there. I have seen one or two photographs of Olympic in Belfast with a boom rigged at #1, I'm currently searching for others. I have not seen any such picture of Titanic or even heard mention of such a boom on her. Therefore I doubt whether she was rigged with such. I well understand that naval architects design ships to do what the owner wants. Therefore even amongst ships of a class, different owners could have them rigged differently. The company I sailed for had a couple of C-2 freighters that were double rigged at each hatch (four booms and winches) plus a Jumbo Boom at each hatch. This was much more equipment than was normal for C-2's, but it served our purpose.
Regards,
Charlie Weeks
 
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Senan Molony

Member
”The Olympic’s cargo capacity is so large, and so rapidly does the vessel “turn round” for a return voyage, that her entire cargo capacity has not yet been used on any trip. It has been impossible to get enough labourers to stow, in that short time, the full cargo capacity of the ship.”

(from The Times, Friday December 13, 1912. Extract is from a display advertisement placed by the White Star Line.)
 
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Noel F. Jones

Member
"...that her entire cargo capacity has not yet been used on any trip."

Which seems to be an admission that too much cargo capacity was built into these vessels!

Actually, where schedule-keeping and passenger revenue take precedence, it must often have been the case that cargo got shut out.

Noel
 
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Charles B. Weeks Jr.

Member
That was my experience in American Export Line, on the passenger liners, schedule came first, cargo second. I did notice that in the cargo plan in Eaton & Hass's book "Titanic Triumph and Tragedy" that there was cargo in each hatch, even though they weren't full.
Regards,
Charlie Weeks
 
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Noel F. Jones

Member
Honor now dictates that, my considerable chagrin notwithstanding, I direct your gaze to page 121 of The Shipbuilder reprint which states among other things "The masts... are utilized for working the cargo by means of cargo spans."

Which rather seems to close the show for my intervention on this topic. I must have read that at some time and it is surprising what some timely revision can do. I've now lost the will to live (which will please some on here) but I'll struggle on for the moment.

So it seems what I disparagingly dismissed as "some wobbly half-R'sed block hanging from a ....stay" was indeed the system used by the Olympic class.

As Capt. Weekes infers, the era of the Olympics was that much nearer to 19th century sailing ship practice than the later era of derricks, mast tables, burtons and samson posts more familiar to most of us.

One wonders what the weight of the average sling was in 1912. Would this have a bearing on reports of cargo being consistently shut out?

And what performance would this atavistic rig have returned in terms of tons per hook/hour? This can be rendered in terms of dwt or freight tons; the one is an ergonomic, the other an economic criterion of performance. Presumably some notional ergonomic figure can be retrospectively divined from such as loading summaries or draft readings compared to turnround times but some definitive contemporaneous source would obviously be preferable.

On a related matter, I note from the model illustrated in Capt.Weeke's article that there are panama mooring ports at both ends of each well deck. I wasn't able to discern this on the rudimentary Profile available to me. Although mooring arrangements are somewhat off-topic perhaps some might care to give an opinion on those fairleads between the hatches and the working of the springs.

Yours contritely,

Noel
 
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Bob Read

Guest
Guys:
FYI the Britannic Rigging Plan describes the derrick on the afterside of the foremast as:

"66'-0" Derrick. For 6 tons load. Stowed up mast.

Regards,
Bob Read
 
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Charles B. Weeks Jr.

Member
Hello all:
Thanks for the kind words about my article. It might be of further interest, last week I was in Southampton at the Maritime Museum, in the Old Wool House. I discussed the cargo gear with the two gentlemen who were running the museum, they were very helpful and brought out several pictures of Olympic and Titanic. There were two pictures of Olympic, one a side view, her and Titanic at H&W, the other looking up at the port bow. These photos show her with the swinging boom on the after side of the foremast and another swinging boom on the forward side of the fore mast. They are the only photos I've seen showing the boom forward of the mast. Apparently it was removed. I haven't seen nor could they find a photo of Titanic with a boom forward of the mast.
Regards,
Charlie Weeks
 
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