Was it a secret that the 4th funnel was a "dummy"?

Jacob Huller

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Sep 17, 2017
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Hello all,

I’m currently writing a story set on the Titanic, and for one scene I have characters going on top of the Fourth Funnel, as seen in several photos. But I have no idea how crewmen we’re able to access the top of the fourth funnel.

My only source is Adventure Out of Time, which had the access ladder being way down in the Engine Room. I’ve also seen some accounts that had the access point at the base of the funnel on Boat Deck. Does anyone here have any info?

Much appreciated.
 
May 3, 2005
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Several years ago I had a copy of the PC game "Titanic - Adventure Out Of Time."
It's rather involved, but part of the game was climbing inside the fourth funnel to the top.
I sctually "won" the game a few times.
 
Sep 9, 2017
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I know it had other uses but I'm talking about it as a funnel for the smoke from the furnaces.

For example if a passenger was to ask the captain or Mr Andrews or someone while on a walk round the boat deck or at dinner - "Why do I only ever see smoke from the first 3 funnels?" would they have been told the truth that the 4th funnel is, amongst other things, mainly aesthetic and to make the ship look more impressive and stronger?

Or would they have pretended that it was a real working funnel and simply hadn't been needed yet.

Likewise with press releases etc during the building and advertising of the ship's cruises. Was it actually made out to be a working funnel? Was it only years later that it became common knowledge that it wasn't?
 
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Kyle Naber

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The fourth funnel actually did emit smoke. It was used as ventilation from the kitchen, a sort of a chimney for smoking areas, and other things. It wouldn’t be as thick and dense as the other funnels’ fumes, but it was noticeable most of the time.
 
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Mar 18, 2008
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Iwould they have been told the truth that the 4th funnel is, amongst other things, mainly aesthetic and to make the ship look more impressive and stronger?
Not sure where you got that "truth" from. Smoke did came up from the 4th funnel (it is visible in many pictures from Olympic) even it was not smoke from the boiler rooms.
 
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Sep 9, 2017
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Yeah like I said in my first sentence I know it had other uses but it wasn't smoke from the furnaces. Pretty sure I said that.

*checks*

Yep, I did. :D:p:D

I just meant was it well known that it wasn't a chimney for the coal engines (I know it was used for other things including steam from the galleys) or did they try to make out that it was because the boat was so powerful it needed 4 funnels from the engines?

Sorry if it seems like I'm asking stupid things, please remember we're not all experts and it's better to ask questions and seek knowledge than remain ignorant I think! :)
 
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Kyle Naber

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Four funnels was becoming a standard among a lot of Cunard Liners such as Lusitania and Mauretania and White Star needed to keep up with the trend. Seeing four, tall funnels represented strength, elegance, and the fourth funnel was also able to replace many potential deck ventilators that would have been there had the “dummy” not been placed behind the third.
 
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A

Aaron_2016

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I know it had other uses but I'm talking about it as a funnel for the smoke from the furnaces.

For example if a passenger was to ask the captain or Mr Andrews or someone while on a walk round the boat deck or at dinner - "Why do I only ever see smoke from the first 3 funnels?" would they have been told the truth that the 4th funnel is, amongst other things, mainly aesthetic and to make the ship look more impressive and stronger?

Or would they have pretended that it was a real working funnel and simply hadn't been needed yet.

Likewise with press releases etc during the building and advertising of the ship's cruises. Was it actually made out to be a working funnel? Was it only years later that it became common knowledge that it wasn't?
The White Star Line needed to keep up the competition. German liners of the day had 4 funnels. The Cunard greyhounds Lusitania and Mauretania also had 4 funnels. White Star needed to show the paying public that the Olympic and Titanic were just as good and they believed that adding a dummy funnel would be a good sales tactic.

At the British Inquiry survivor Thomas Ranger said:

"I went up the dummy funnel. There are four fans situated up the dummy funnel."

The Commissioner: The after funnel is a dummy funnel?
The Attorney-General: Yes; it does not serve fire at all.
The Commissioner: It is that funnel that is the dummy? (points at plan)
The Attorney-General: Yes, it is plain if you look at that.
The Commissioner: It is used for ventilation?
The Attorney-General: Yes.

When the Titanic sank the newspapers reported that her fourth funnel was a dummy e.g.

dummy1.png


During the First World War the German cruiser SMS Emden had a fourth dummy funnel installed to create the impression she was a British ship so that she could approach her targets without being fired upon.

emden.png


I could not find any reports of the Titanic and Olympic's dummy funnel before the disaster. My guess is, they did not want to draw attention to it and were quite happy to allow the public to believe she had 4 working funnels which created the impression she was a fast ship.
 
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Sep 9, 2017
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Thank you, that's what I was wondering about :) Thanks for finding and posting those.

Do you think if a passenger had asked out of curiosity, they would have been told the truth or led to believe it was a working funnel for the engines (to keep up the feeling of wonder that the ship had)?
 
A

Aaron_2016

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Thank you, that's what I was wondering about :) Thanks for finding and posting those.

Do you think if a passenger had asked out of curiosity, they would have been told the truth or led to believe it was a working funnel for the engines (to keep up the feeling of wonder that the ship had)?
Your welcome. I believe the passengers would have been informed if they had asked a member of the crew. It was noticeable during the evacuation that there was something odd about the fourth funnel. Survivor Helen Candee said:

"The noise up there became too intense to endure. Three of the four funnels were supplying the noise. They were blowing off all steam. 'See, one of the funnels is silent,' I shouted above the noise."

She may have enquired and asked a crew member why the fourth funnel was silent, but the crew would have been much to busy to answer as they were preparing the lifeboats for lowering.
 

Mark Baber

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German liners of the day had 4 funnels. .
The existing ones, yes, but the next generation, the Imperator class, on which construction began in May 1912, would not.
I could not find any reports of the Titanic and Olympic's dummy funnel before the disaster.
The Shipbuilder contains this statement: "The [light and air] shaft from the turbine room is surmounted by the fourth funnel, which is a most valuable adjunct for ventilating purposes."
 

Athlen

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Apr 14, 2012
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Interesting about SMS Emden. There were only 14 4-funneled liners (see here), 12 in the world build before 1914, and five of these were German. However, three were interned by the US, Viktoria Luise (ex-Deutschland) was converted to an auxiliary cruiser but not used, and Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse was scuttled in August 1914 after brief service as an auxiliary cruiser. So Emden would have looked like a British ship (or the armed merchant cruiser SS France IV).

Lusitania and Mauretania had functional fourth funnels; I haven't checked all the four-funneled ships, though.
 
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Aidan Tkacz

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Feb 11, 2019
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Hi, Jacob,
I read your description saying you writing a titanic story. I am very interested. The 4th funnel of Titanic was a dummy funnel used to ventilate the engine room as well as fumes from the 1st class smoking room. Workers got to the top of it using an iron ladder.
 

codad1946

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Apr 28, 2016
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Yeah like I said in my first sentence I know it had other uses but it wasn't smoke from the furnaces. Pretty sure I said that.

*checks*

Yep, I did. :D:p:D

I just meant was it well known that it wasn't a chimney for the coal engines (I know it was used for other things including steam from the galleys) or did they try to make out that it was because the boat was so powerful it needed 4 funnels from the engines?

Sorry if it seems like I'm asking stupid things, please remember we're not all experts and it's better to ask questions and seek knowledge than remain ignorant I think! :)
The reason it is often shown smoking is because the galley was coal fired, as were the main boilers of course. The galley staff would not have been over bothered by excessive smoke as would be the engineers though! When I was at sea, the Articles posted in the alleyway stated that "The engineroom shall keep the galley supplied with coal" even though the days of coal-burners were long gone!
 
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