Watertight Door Activation Switch


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Can anyone say with absolute certainty where the switch to close the watertight doors was located?

I have found a number of sources that say it was in the wheelhouse. Others indicate that the switch was on the bridge.


For example, Hitchens states in the British hearing that Murdoch closed the doors from the "forepart" of the bridge. Pellegrino says that it was right next to the engine telegraphs. I'll admit that those two sources are far from reliable. I'd like to find a better source that gives a definitive location for the switch.

The deck plans of the bridge that I have don't provide a location. "The Shipbuilder" says that the switch is in the "bridge shelter or chart room". What is meant by "bridge shelter?"


Does anyone know of a source that can lay this question to rest?

Nathan Robison
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Nathan,

Pitman said, "The water-tight doors are operated from the bridge by a lever close to the wheel."

Before I conclude that Pitman's description was correct, though, I need to verify a half-remembered tidbit in either the Senator Smith or Lord Mersey walkthrough of Olympic, where the electric switch was described as being elsewhere on the bridge. If or when I find it, I'll get back with you.

One thing I am certain of, though...the switch was not in the wheelhouse, as shown in the movie "Titanic." Also, there was no lighted indicator board showing the position of the WT doors.

Parks
 

Nigel Bryant

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I was reading "Thomas Andrews's Notebook featured on James Cameron's Titanic Explorer and it states on pg 30. that:

"Closing doors also operated from Captain's Bridge. Tell-tale indicator on bridge for each door to show weather closed"

Though this notebook specifcally relateds to the Olympic, why did they not bother installing a indicator tell-tale board on the Titanic? Why just on her sister, the Olympic. All was the indictor board going to be installed but later the designers decided not install the tell-tale boards on both sisters, one of those small last minute design changes.

Regards,

Nigel
 

Bill Sauder

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Nigel:

There are several serious defects in the presentation of the "Notebook" in Titanic Explorer which make it a treacherous research tool.

The problem here is that the original text is COLOR CODED so that modifications made to the notebook can be spotted at a glance. In the Explorer version, the colors are suppressed AND the editorial notes that guide the reader through changes that appear on the title page have been deleted. Both these gaffs are inexcusable.

When the original text is consulted, it is apparent that the references on page 30 referring to the "Tell Tale Indicator on Bridge for each Door to show whether open or closed," were added to the original text in March of 1913, therefore at the time of the Titanic's accident, neither ship had a status board.

Why no status board? White Star and Harland and Wolff were very, shall we say, "cost conscience" and if there wasn't a screaming need for a piece of equipment, it frequently wasn't installed.

My other big complaint is that the notebook is presented as "the Thomas Andrews Notebook" but no evidence beyond rumor has demonstrated that the book is the work of Andrews. There are about three versions of this book which outline basic information about the Olympic and they are all similar to other handbooks prepared for the Shipyard's archive and officers' use on board. It is inconceivable that a busy man like Andrews had much if anything to do with these books, since the information they contain follows a generic formula for ALL ship's handbooks and I doubt Andrews needed to spend the time working on his penmanship.

Bill Sauder
 

Nigel Bryant

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I had talked about this to Parks as well and he also mentioned that it was about the cost. Then later I saw the "tell-tale indictor" mentioned in the "Olympic" notebook then I just got confused as I thought all the writing was done pre 1911.

Then I thought why spend all this money on Olympic and then not place one on Titanic? If they wanted to keep cost to a minumium why even install it on Olympic. As what Parks and you said if they did not need, it was not fitted in the vessel/s.

I never thought that it was added after Titanic's acident. Harland and Wolff must of spent huge costs upgrading their built ships to improve safetly regulations after Titanic had gone down.

Thank you Parks and Bill for clearing this up with me. Bill I will take carefull thought next time when I ever want to look in the "Andrews" Note Book.

P.S I also thought it was strange how it said there were meant to be a compass stand on the bridge roof, when there were none on there before 1913. Thank you guys for clearing this up.

All the best,

Nigel
 

Nigel Bryant

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I have been told by others that Titanic's phones were located on the aft wall. There was a center door also on this aft wall that lead to some small rooms behind the wheelhouse. Were the phones located on the right of this door or to the left of this wall or were two sets located to the left of the door and the other to the right of the door?

There were four telephones each were connected to different locations of the ship, one to the Crowsnest, the other to the Forcastle Deck, the other to the Docking Bridge and the last one connected to the Engine Room.

There was also a skylight in the Wheel House. Could this be opened?

Do you think there could of been two watertight door switches, one located on the Bridge, next to the auxiliary wheel as what Parks mentioned and the other located in the Wheelhouse beside main stering wheel?

All the best,

Nigel
 

Dan Cherry

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Dec 14, 1999
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Hello, Nigel,
you wrote:

There was also a skylight in the Wheel House. Could this be opened?

Not that I can tell. From what few pictures I've seen of this area, it looked to be merely a window-type skylight in the ceiling.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Nigel,

After discussing this at length with Bill Sauder and running through contemporary accounts, I can only give you my best guess:

Olympic's WT door switch was located in the officer's chart room. This is the switch that both Senator Smith and Lord Mersey examined. Titanic's WT door switch was mounted on the forward wall of the navigating bridge, next to the emergency telegraph. I played with the physical layout of the bridge while down on the set in Rosarito and based on that, I would guess that it was located between the emergency telegraph and the wheel. I realise that this is not entirely scientific, but it's the best I can come up with in my research.

I don't believe the switch was located in two positions, and I'm convinced that there wasn't one in the wheelhouse.

For the back wall of the wheelhouse, there's a picture of what appears to be Titanic's on p. 154 of Eaton/Haas's Falling Star: Misadventures of White Star Line Ships. Be aware, though, that the picture is upside down.

Parks
 

Nigel Bryant

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Thank you Dan and Parks for anwsersing my questions. Parks, I don't have the book "Falling Star: Misadventures of White Star Line Ships" but if anyone has some freetime could someone scan me image of the aft wall of the wheel house?

All the best,

Nigel
 

Nigel Bryant

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So basically the bridge was the main control center with the W.T switch,telegraphs,auxiliary wheel and compasses.And the Wheel House only contained the main wheel and the telephones.

All the best,

Nigel
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Nigel,

That's a bit of an oversimplification. There were other controls/instruments sprinkled between the navigating bridge, wheelhouse, chart rooms and bridge cabs. They ranged in style and function from the exotic to the very mundane. Some have been recovered from the wreck, others not. There are a couple of devices (for example, a Ship's Light Indicator) that I suspect might have been on board, based on comparison with other ships of the period, but because H&W/WSL were notoriously frugal in the equipment of their ships, I have no guarantee that those devices were ever installed. I haven't catalogued where everything was originally placed, but someone may have.

Parks
 

Nigel Bryant

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Thank you Parks for your message. Just wondering do you know what the Navigation Room looks like? Those shelving and drawes were proably located in the room(the style is in Ken's report). There was proably another door leading into the small rooms behind the wheelhouse and another door that leads to Captain Smith's Sitting Room. What are your thoughts of the decor style of the room?

All the best,

Nigel
 
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Brian Hawley

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Guys here is the scan from page 154 of falling star. I have turned the photo upright as it does appear to be upended in the book. The quality of the image in the book is not the best, so I tried to scan it with the best resolution possible.

The caption says:

"The only known photograph of Titanic's bridge telephones shows the instrument by which Sixth Officer Moody learned of the iceberg from Lookout Frederick Fleet (The Electrician)"

Brian

17175.jpg
 

Nigel Bryant

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Thank You Brain for posting the image. I know it might be just be over-exposure by the photographer's part but it looks like the wall is coloured in a different colour (light grey) or just varnished pined wood? What are eveyone thoughts about the colour of the walls?

All the best,

Nigel
 
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Brian Hawley

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This is just a guess, but I lean towards white paint. I have heard a rumor that Olympic's wooden wheelhouse is around in England as a garden shed. I noticed The four cables coming out of the wall don't appear to be perfectly level, despite the fact that all the other cabling is perfectly laid and tied down. I suppose that is not important but it caught my eye.


Brian
 

Nigel Bryant

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Hi,

If the phones were on the right side (if pictured above is on the right side) of the door on the aft wall, what do you think would be on the left side? I know this is completely guessing, but do you think the wall was empty? All as Parks has said above that there were other fittings, and one such fitting could have been on this wall (maybe the light indicator), or there could have been a notice board.... I know there are so many speculations. That is what makes Titanic so fascinating, not only people are trying to put the puzzle together on what happened the night she went down, but where certain things, objects, interior fittings were placed inside the ship.

I was looking at a French Site and found some other fittings? Does anyone know what these are?


If you scroll down the page you will seem some unusual fittings (the small technical devices) like the object seen above the auxiliary wheel near the roofline on the photo of Titanic’s sister ship, Olympic, not the box object. There are other bridge objects that I can’t explain (besides the telegraphs, compasses, telephones etc)

Regards,

Nigel
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Nigel, the picture shows the aft wall directly behind the helmsman. I'm not sure where you're placing the doors leading back to the chart rooms.

The object above the wheel is the helm indicator. This provided a visual indication of the position of the rudder, graduated in degrees. You can see a close-up picture of it on the French site you mentioned, which was taken from Shipbuilder.

You ask about decor, but the navigation spaces had no real decor, per se. The walls were done in a simple tongue-and-groove panelling, painted white.

Parks
 
Jul 14, 2000
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Hey Parks,

I've always wondered if those dark squares with a small circle in the middle of them were storm covers that could be slid upward to enclose the forward openings of the weather bridge. You can see them along the lower half of the forward wall in the weather bridge. Is that what they were? There was no glass in the square openings looking forward across the bow from the weather bridge right? They were just open spaces.

Yuri
 

Nigel Bryant

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Jan 14, 2001
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Parks,

Thanks for your anwser. There were two small rooms behind the wheehouse, that were added to Titanic's design. When designing Titanic they moved her officer's quarters further forward, this allowed a gap between the stokehold vent and the wheelhouse. Olympic never had this arrangement in her early years. Mark Chrinside has mentioned this before. Checkout:

http://members.tripo d.com/michailakis/br idge.htm
Remco Hillen has written about the different bridge arragments on the Olympic-class vessels.

I think it was Scott Andrews who said that they might of been used for the chart rooms, I was mentioned in TMRA, along time ago. Others had speculated that there was a door center on the aft wall of the wheel house, directly opposite the main wheel that lead to these small back rooms.

The clarity of the photograph of the wheelhouse may me belived at the start that the room was pine and varnished
happy.gif
. It must be the bad clarity. I know this question might be abit hard to ask, but was the wheelhouse done up in gloss paint?

All the best,

Nigel
 
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