Watertight doors

Hello everyone,

Once more I'm asking for help if someone knows the answer to my question : at the British Inquiry, Lightoller was asked by Mr Roche about the watertight doors and something about the piping from question 14543 and the following. Here's the web link :

TIP | British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry | Day 12 | Testimony of Charles H. Lightoller, cont.

It's obvious that there was something about piping related to the watertight doors, but I'm without a clue upon the relationship between those piping and those watertight doors. Is someone could bring me to light upon this, please ?

Thanks to all!
 

B-rad

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There was no direct relationship between this pipe and the door. The pipe in question, is one Fredrick Scott says was fetched from the tunnel compartment, to help with pumping out the water forward. Below is the abstract.

5600. (The Attorney-General.) Yes. (To the Witness.) And, so far as you know, as I understand it, they never were closed?
- No. Why they opened them was they had to go down the last tunnel but one and get a big suction-pipe out, which they used for drawing the water up out of the bilges.

5601. That tunnel is the one before you get to the last watertight door where they went to get a big suction pipe?
- Yes, it takes four men to carry it. I think I saw four men coming through with it. They took it to the stokehold. What they did with it I do not know.

Scott, like Dillion, was ordered to heave up the watertight doors after they had been released by the bridge, after the collision, and after this was done the pipe was brought through. That is the only connection between the doors and the pipe (they just had to be opened to get it through). Hope this helps. :)
 

codad1946

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The enquiry - even though they paid a visit to Olympic - never had the Chief Engineer or any other engineer from Olympic in attendance. As a marine engineer myself, a lot of blather between the enquiry and inexpert witnesses such as firemen could have been avoided and given a much clearer picture. Was this intentional I wonder?
To answer your question (which any of Olympic's engineers could also do), the pipe in question is a flexible suction hose that can be fitted to a pump suction or another length of similar hose. This can then be taken to the flooded compartment to allow a pump some distance away to pump it out. As Titanic didn't have through-bulkhead hose connections, the WT doors had to be open from the engineroom right up to the flooded area to pass the hoses through. If I or one of Olympic's engineers had been at the enquiry, we could have sketched the arrangement in a few minutes.
 
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Jim Currie

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In fact, an engineer was not required since the designer, Naval Architrect Edward Wilding was present and able to describe the pumping arrangements. I suggest you all have a read at the evidence given on Day 19 of the UK Inquiry.. here's ana axcerpt:

"20465.......Now you came to pumping arrangements on page 16. You say: "The general character of the arrangement was that it was possible to pump from every compartment flooded by a system of duplex mains with suitable cross connections controlled from above the level of the bulkhead deck in such a way that it is possible to isolate any flooded space" and so on. Perhaps you will just amplify that a little?
- One fore and aft pipe goes fore and aft the ship. It is duplicated in certain parts of its length in order to get round the isolation question.

20466. Are you speaking of above the tank?
- Above the tank top but below the stokehold floor. Then in each compartment there is a branch pipe taken off this, controlled by a valve which leads down to the level of the tank top where it has what you call a strum-box. It is practically a plate to prevent the pipe getting choked. On this pipe in each boiler room and also in the engine rooms are connections leading to the pumps which can draw through this fore and aft main and then throw overboard."
 

B-rad

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Presented are 4 pictures of Olympic's watertight doors. The left and upper left are of the same door, one open one closed, with two pistons (green) connected to the upper T bar of the door. The other two pictures are of the same door (one opened, one closed). Not seen is how the single piston (green) connected to the door at its center, as this would be where the center pinion was located. So how did it connect? Also on this smaller door is a rod (red) that runs horizontally across it. What is this for?

WTD piston bar.jpg
 

Jim Currie

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Presented are 4 pictures of Olympic's watertight doors. The left and upper left are of the same door, one open one closed, with two pistons (green) connected to the upper T bar of the door. The other two pictures are of the same door (one opened, one closed). Not seen is how the single piston (green) connected to the door at its center, as this would be where the center pinion was located. So how did it connect? Also on this smaller door is a rod (red) that runs horizontally across it. What is this for?
These seem to be pictures of two different doors, Brad.

Both operated in the same way, i.e an electrically operated rack and pinion gear raises and lowers the door. This can be seen in the first two photographs but is hidden by a safety cover in the second two photographs.

The horizontal rod was in fact a drive shaft riven by an electric motor. Incorporated in the center of that rod was a toothed gear wheel which meshed with the vertical rack gear you see running up the center of each door.
Apart from the drive motor location - on the left in Pics 1 & 2 and on the right in pics 3 & 4, the difference in each door is the method of controlling the rate of descent. This was done using a sort of pneumatic weight -absorber consisting of a rod connected at one end to the top of the door and the other end within a piston in a cylinder.
In your photographs, No. 1 has two such weight absorbers with two piston rods connected immediately each side of the vertical rack gear. No. 2 has only one such piston rod connected directly to the top of the rack gear.

Hope I got that right.
 
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electrically operated rack and pinion gear raises and lowers the door
The rack & pinion gear was not exactly electrically operated. That gear ran into a clutch arrangement which, when engaged, held the door in whatever position the door was cranked open to by a hand crank using a spanner. The clutch was kept engaged by a bell weight. If the door needed to be closed instantly it could be done by a solenoid controlled from the bridge which would pull upon the weight to release the clutch, and the door would drop by its own weight. The dropping rate was controlled by two or one shock absorbers which allowed them to drop slowly until the last 1 foot of travel. Then they would slam shut completely. The doors would be fully closed in about 30 seconds. The clutch could also be released by pulling on a hand lever, or by a float located under the stokehold plates. The spanner used to crank open the doors could be seen in the picture of the door posted below. If the doors were close by the electrical solenoid, they could not be cranked up and stay open unless the clutch was allowed to re-engage by opening the control switch on the bridge.
WTD - Copy.jpg
 

B-rad

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Perhaps you right. Should I say never published before information (as far as I'm aware of) as the info was there the whole time. This paper took a better part of 5 months to write so I know I did a very thorough search for all available info. So I know there is unique information within.

Thanks as always & Hope you enjoy it.

:)
 
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Jim Currie

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An excellent bit of work there, Brad. So much information for the enthusiast to sift through. I can well understand why it took you so long to compile the article. Well done! A valuable source of information for researchers. Found out a few things myself.
 
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Congratulations on that great article! Just for the record, in A Night to Remember they used the large doors with two piston rods whereas Cameron used the smaller doors with one sigle piston rod and the cover on the center pinion.
ANTR door.png Cameron Door 2.png Cameron Door.png
 
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B-rad

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I found further proof of my appendix in my article An Analysis of Titanic's Vertical and Lateral Watertight Doors - I present this picture.

WT door K.png


This is the door on Olympic's bulkhead K, looking forward from the telephones at the starting platform. Note the gears on the aft side of the door (circled in red), the door itself (green) and the cataract piston connected to the gear rack (blue). The purple arrow being perhaps the alarm bell?

The gear rack is seen extended upwards, which is the same as on the large doors (pictured below), but it appears that it might be extended further (or perhaps not), which might be how it connected to the gear rack without interfering with the center pinion when closed, as questioned in my endnote XLV.

This would also mean that the piston connected to the gear rack on the small doors, while in my article it reads that these were connects to the upper T bar stiffener, which may have only been the case on the large doors. Learning new stuff all the time! (A good article is never finished!)

Engineering Magazine, Volume 41.png


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Aaron_2016

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Does anyone know why no apparent orders were given to close the manual watertight doors in the floors above immediately after the collision? Who would pass down the order and make sure it was carried out? Were they told to instinctively close them when they heard the bell ringing below decks?


Mr. Taylor - "I was asleep when the accident occurred; sir. The alarm bell for accidents rang outside of our door."

Several survivors told the Inquiry that the manual doors were not closed and no effort was made to close them until very late in the sinking when it became apparent that the ship would sink, and even then there was difficulty as they had trouble using the spanner/wrench provided, so I'm not sure if they were ever closed.


Mr. Chambers also noticed how nothing was apparently done to close them.

Q - Did you observe anything unusual regarding the water-tight compartments?
A - I was rather surprised at the time when she struck to hear no particular orders or signals for closing the water-tight doors. By those I mean such as are usually closed by the stewards, and were, when I last traveled on the Cunarders, a number of years ago, always tested by being closed by the stewards themselves at noon or thereabouts.

Q - At noon of each day?
A - At noon each day, yes; when the whistle blew at noon. That was on the old Etruria and Umbria. I never traveled on the Campania and Lucania. While I did not make a careful examination of the mechanism of the doors, I, at the same time, had looked them over rather more than casually, on my way to and from the swimming pool in mornings. I remember being somewhat surprised that these doors were not nowadays operated by electricity, this being only a landsman's point of view. As a matter of fact, they were operated from the deck above, the E deck, by first removing a small boiler plate which fitted flush with the deck and was unscrewed by means of the two forked end of a pin spanner; that apparently giving access to the square or hexagon end of a shaft which, being rotated by another box wrench some 2 feet 6 inches in length, with a T handle, operated a double series of bevel gears, the last shaft having on it a pinion meshing in a door rack and closing the door. The cover plates to the mechanism of the water-tight doors, as far as I am able to state, were not removed before our final departure for the upper decks.

Q - Did you see any attempt being made to remove them?
A - I did not. I saw no attempt being made to remove them.

Q - What else can you tell about that matter that will be helpful to the committee?
A - I have no reason to believe that any attempt was made by the stewards, on whom I have always understood this duty devolved, to close these doors, particularly as a large percentage of the steward part of the crew were new. Seeing these door plates undisturbed just before our final departure to the upper decks, I reached the conclusion that the doors had not been closed. In connection with my statement that a large percentage of the steward part of the crew were new, I may say that my own room steward complained to me on the second day out that he did not know where anything was on the ship, and that no one would tell him.


.
 

B-rad

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The call to close the watertight doors happened around 11:50pm, according to Etches on E deck, near the watertight door located on port side of bulkhead K, on that same deck. Joughin would state seeing crew members attempting to close the port door on bulkhead K, on E deck, around 1:30am. Joughin would not know if the door was actually closed or not.

Passenger Norman Chambers, also on E deck, but forward, never heard any orders to close watertight doors, and did not see any watertight doors closed before he left in boat five around 12:43am. Passenger George Harder would note that at around 12am four or so crew members would be trying to work the gears on E deck to one of the doors located on bulkhead F on F deck.

Wheat would claim to have closed the inner watertight door on bulkhead F, on F deck, by hand, while he was on F deck. He claims this took place between 11:50pm to 12:00am. Wheat, Dodd and Crosby would then go on E deck to close the port most watertight door on F deck, via the gears. According to Wheat this door was closed, which is at odds with Harder's testimony and that of Chambers.

Both Mackay and Hardy would hear the orders to close the watertight doors on F deck around 11:55pm, with Hardy stating that the order took place no later than midnight. Both Mackay and Hardy, however, heard these orders given on E deck. Pearcey, who was on F deck, would state that the orders to close the watertight doors on F deck happened immediately after the collision, on that deck. He would state to closing the watertight door on the port and starboard side of bulkhead J, on F deck, along with those 'along towards aft'.

Overall the evidence seems to suggest that great attention was given to close the watertight doors on F deck. If Etches is correct than perhaps the doors on E deck were also closed, with possibly some being left open until late, as accounted by Joughin and Rule, so that passengers could be brought through. This is however hypothetical. All together we can only account for three doors being closed for sure: both doors on bulkhead J on F deck and the mid door on bulkhead F on F deck.



Hardy would get the order from Mr. Barker

1st Class Steward Edward Brown heard the orders but could not relate from whom

Etches said the boatswain gave the order



Some of the crew thought the lateral doors could be operated from the bridge just like the verticle doors. This confusion could easily have led to some not being closed, as the crew thought that if the bridge wanted them closed then they would do so.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Many thanks. Do you think the doors (open or closed) had played a significant role in the list to port or starboard and if the doors were intentionally closed in some parts and open in others to control the pattern in which the water would travel and tried to contain the water from spreading further? Or were they trying to buy time and delay the inevitable?


.
 

B-rad

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I can't say for sure. Oddly enough, one of my projects I want to do next is map out in as much exacting detail the flooding within the ship. Easier said than done, but will keep me busy. I guess it is possible that the closing of the doors was a natural instinct, but was merely a delay of the inevitable, maybe perhaps why the ship may have lasted longer than Andrew's supposed diagnostic, but IDK for now.