Turkish Bath Tiles


Spencer Knarr

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Jun 16, 2004
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There is a seller on eBay claiming to be selling pieces of tiles identical to those used in Titanic's turkish bath. According to the auction, the tiles on Titanic were designed by John Chambers of Pilkington, England and looked like this:

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Of course this seller is only selling broken chunks of tile - big red flag. What I'm wondering though is did he at least get his facts correct? Were the tiles on Titanic designed by John Pilkington, and did they look like the photograph above?
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Pilkington did indeed design the tiles used in Titanic's Turkish Bath and the example above is consistent with the pattern seen inside the wreck. The only difference are the colours used...this same pattern was used in many applications, with variations in colour schemes used to make each one unique. The colour scheme in the example above is close to, but not an exact reproduction of, the scheme that I personally observed in Titanic's Cooling Room.

When I first attempted to re-create the tiles for use in my CG model of the Cooling Room, I used a colour scheme very similar to what is shown here. It matched a 1911 artist's rendering of the room and the Shipbuilder description. However, when we actually had a look at the actual tiles inside the Titanic wreck, we found that there was less green in the scheme. At first, I attributed this to fading after years underwater, but other green tiles -- vibrant in colour -- used in the tile borders argued against this assumption. I concluded that the difference between what we assumed for Olympic and observed in Titanic can be attributed to the fact that each set of tiles were hand-painted and therefore included some variation.

The example provided above does not constitute a complete pattern; therefore, the repetition of any one tile does not produce the overall pattern. When I was building my CG Cooling Room model, I found that no one single tile could be repeated over and over again to create the overall design. As was pointed out above, the tile work was custom-made for each application. Titanic's tile work -- in both colour scheme and manner in which the tiles were cut across the pattern -- was therefore similar to, but not an exact copy of, Olympic's.

The tile pattern that can be seen in the renders from my CG model on my website represents my second attempt at capturing the correct colour scheme. It is not correct. I have yet to run a render of the CG model with the observed (re: correct) colour scheme.

Parks
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hello Parks,

Thanks for the info. I was reading Spencer's posts while coincidentally watching (again) the taped broadcast of your visit into the Bath and was looking at the tiles and wondered what you'd say about them and Pilkington. I let the tape run while reading and found an old 1981 Doria/Gimbel doc I forgot I had. Anyway, thanks for the information.
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Slightly odd coincidence that the name Pilkington was shared by one of the founders of the White Star Line.

Best,
Eric
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi Spencer,

Perhaps "Persian style"? I found this to be rather interesting and it has a sample of his work.

Best,
Eric
 
Mar 3, 1998
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If I remember correctly, Pilkington did in fact call that pattern, "Persian." I would have to consult my notes again to be sure, though.

Parks
 
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Lajos Berínyi

Guest
Hi everybody!

I saw the old photographs and a few reconstructions, and I've got an idea.
I think - if the tiles of the Turkish Bath really looks like this - That like this. I mirrored the pattern, because only this kind was found useful:
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I'm new, thank you for the membership!
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Will C. White

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Apr 18, 2007
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Patterning looks European done in an Arab ("Persian") style, because of the flower type and color selection. I'll try to show this to my buddy the tile guy-he does a lot of custom work, and deals with a lot of tile from Europe, esp. Italy and Spain, so maybe he can steer us a good course.
 
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Lajos Berínyi

Guest
But in James Cameron's film: "Last mysteries of the Titanic" are clearly visible the real Turkish Bath in the wreck. And those tiles are different.
 

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