B-rad

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I know this may seem like an 'old topic', and one that many feel has already been put to bed. However, I have found evidence that may in fact lead to there being no more questions as to whether or not Titanic had a watertight door indicator. I have submitted a report to the editor of this site, in hopes of having it published. (I don't see why they wouldn't). In it I show what may be the final say on this topic, once and for all! It is titled (as of now, in case the editor has a better title), 'The Infamous Watertight Door Indicator: Mystery Solved' By: Brad Payne. Can't wait to share my find with you all.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Why is this even an issue? There is no mystery. Titanic never had such an indicator.

Olympic went through a refit which was completed in March 1913, almost a year after the Titanic disaster. In the drawing office notebook there is an added entry under the heading "Electrically Operated WT Doors". First, it was noted that the number of these electrically operated doors had been increase from 12 to 13 because they added an additional WT bulkhead in the electric dynamo room to Olympic. Secondly, it was also noted "Tell tale indicator on bridge for each door to show whether open or closed." This indicator was added to Olympic because during the Titanic inquiry it was revealed that there was no such indicator on the bridge to actually show the status of the doors prior to that time.
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Senator BURTON. How did you know they were closed?
Mr. OLLIVER. Because Mr. Murdoch reported, and as I entered the bridge I saw him about the lever.
Senator BURTON. Did he have any way of telling whether they were closed or not?
Mr. OLLIVER. There is a lever on the bridge to close the water-tight doors, and he turned the lever over and closed them.
Senator BURTON. Was there an instrument there to show the doors as they closed? Did you ever see one of those instruments?
Mr. OLLIVER. No; I never saw one.
Senator BURTON. With little lights that burn up as each door closes, and then go out?
Mr. OLLIVER. No, sir.
Senator BURTON. There was no instrument like that on the Titanic?
Mr. OLLIVER. I did not see that.
Senator BURTON. Would you have seen it if it had been there?
Mr. OLLIVER. No doubt I would, sir.
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Senator SMITH. All right; I just wanted to know if you knew about it of your own knowledge. Is there any way for an officer on watch to tell whether the doors actually close when he works the lever from the bridge?
Mr. PITMAN. No; I do not think there is.
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B-rad

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Thanks Sam :) I am aware of all the sources you stated, and they are all included in the publication. I have just found another piece of evidence that I feel is quite relevant, though, and would like to share it. I haven't yet heard back from the editors yet, so I cannnot say when it will be published. I may post it, in a revised form, here on the forum, if I don't hear back soon. Once again thank you.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Hi Brad,

An interesting article, and well written. However, I must point out that the source you quoted from is highly unreliable, and has led you to come to a false conclusion.

Their very short description of the WTD system is not that of Olympic. It seems they were possibly describing the system that was already in use on Lusitania which was a hydraulically operated system controlled from a lighted indicator panel on the bridge that showed which doors were in the open position. The hydraulic pressure came from two pumps which maintained an operator pressure for the system of 700 psi. Olympic and Titanic had a drop down system that was essentially fail safe.

By the way, the WTD system described in that source you quoted from is only one of many descriptions that does not hold up. Their description of Olympic's steering arrangement controlled by electricity was wrong, as was their description of the installation of two "very powerful" searchlights near the pilot house, and the installation of a Morse signaling lamp on the masthead.

In your article you mentioned that the oiled cataracts which governed the speed of the closing of the WTDs were operated by hydraulic power generated by two compressors which worked at constant pressure of 800psi. These cataracts, two per door, were basically nothing more than large shock absorbers, oil filled cataracts, as Wilding described. There were no compressor involved.

One last item, the position of the WTD switch and warning bell button on Titanic was located near the steering wheel on the navigating bridge in front of the wheelhouse. It seems that that position was chosen to make it more accessible to the OOW should an emergency come about.
 

B-rad

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Thanks Sam for your constructive criticism, & I really do mean that! I have gotten quite a bit of just plain criticism, with the exception of a few. Thanks again.
 

B-rad

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I am not one to beat a dead horse, as I have nothing to gain by either convincing people, or not convincing people, rather there was a light indicator on board, but merely out of research and respect, I feel it is meaningful to all to present all data. Since my article was published, I have found two other sources that state such devices was aboard. (It seems very doubtful an article was, or would, have ever been written stating one was never installed :rolleyes:).


The first being 'The American Marine Engineer', Vol. 5, January, 1910, which states:

Each steamer will be divided into upward of 30 steel compartments separated by heavy bulkheads. An automatic device on the bridge will control all these heavy steel doors, making it possible for a single hand to close them all in almost an instant in case of danger. Each of these doors will be electrically connected with a chart on the bridge, where each door will be represented by a small electric light, and when on of these doors closes, the light will burn red, but while it remains open the disk will be quite dark. The officer on the bridge will thus be able to see at a glance whether or not all the compartments have been closed.

The next article being from the London, 'Electrical Engineer', Vol. 45, dated March 4th, 1910:

Electricity On Board Ships

Electricity is being used on the two huge White Star liners, the Olympic and Titanic, now fast approaching completion in Harland & Wolff's shipyard, Belfast. Lord Pirrie has taken a very keen and active part in the building of these two vessels, which will each have a gross tonnage of about 45,000, or an advance of some 12,000 tons upon any other Atlantic monster. The vessels are divided into 33 steel compartments, which are separated by heavy bulkheads. These doors can be closed by one operation from the bridge by means of an automatic device, and by the aid of coloured electric lights the officer on the bridge will be able to tell at a glance whether or not the doors are closed.

The first article talks of an ice rink being installed on the ship. Such fanciful thoughts, can lead to skeptical reviews. The last article is written in full. The only notable thing is the 33 steel compartment, which may at first be thought as not being correct. However, if one includes the 17 transverse watertight divisions, of Titanic's double bottom, than this would equal 33.
So again, I am merely posting these in respect of research. One can take them as they may. :) Thanks to the University of Puget Sound Library for helping track down a copy of this last article... what an ordeal it was... lol.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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The first being 'The American Marine Engineer', Vol. 5, January, 1910, which states:
The next article being from the London, 'Electrical Engineer', Vol. 45, dated March 4th, 1910:
Sorry but both are written even before the Olympic was launched which as we know was a empty hull and during fitting out many things would be changed.
There is only one newspaper mentioned it aboard Titanic but the reporter obviously was not aboard as he described how the watertight doors worked wrong.
Don't you think the Engineering, Shipbuilder or Marine Engineer would have mentioned or even show a photo of that thing if there was one? We know Olympic got one in 1913.


Each steamer will be divided into upward of 30 steel compartments separated by heavy bulkheads. An automatic device on the bridge will control all these heavy steel doors, making it possible for a single hand to close them all in almost an instant in case of danger.

The vessels are divided into 33 steel compartments, which are separated by heavy bulkheads.

The only notable thing is the 33 steel compartment, which may at first be thought as not being correct. However, if one includes the 17 transverse watertight divisions, of Titanic's double bottom, than this would equal 33.
Not very meaningful.
 

B-rad

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You r right in ur assessments. Except the 33 compartments which I included just because some would not have known about the 17 double bottom. I just wanted to present what I found & allow all to do with as they please. I have heard the argument that there has never been anything published of there being of such a device aboard & I just wanted to present all evidence at least to the contrary of such arguments. All criticism of the sources are valid... But I believe everyone should be privileged to all data.
Thnx for ur comments though. Always
 

Alex Clark

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Mar 24, 2012
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I found it surprising that there might be no indicator on the bridge, but then i read recent that the Herald of Free Enterprise had no bow door indicator on the bridge. It seems odd that as late as the 1980s such an omission would be made.