The telemotor derived its name from telemetry, which is the process of making measurements and sending the data by radio. In essence, the telemotor was like the remote control for the Titanic’s steering gear and here is how it worked.
There were two wheels mounted forward on the Bridge. The main wheel was enclosed in the Wheelhouse and was connected to the master control of the Brown’s Patent Telemotor.
Directly forward of the Wheelhouse was a second wheel which was linked directly to the master by shafts and gears so that when one wheel was moved, the other would move as well.
The Telemotor system operates on pressurized hydraulic fluid to relay the movement of the wheel from a piston on the master to a slave in the steering engine room at the stern activating the steering gear and moving the rudder into the desired position.
Telemotors have two master and two slave pistons interconnected by hydraulic lines. The operate in opposites with one pulling and one pushing when force is applied to the wheel allowing for equal positive control in either direction. The slave cylinders on this system were fitted with springs that would return the pistons to the neutral or centered position if the wheel were to be released for any reason.
The third wheel on the Titanic was mounted aft on the Docking Bridge above the Poop Deck and was completely independent of those on the forward Bridge. This wheel was located directly above the steering engines and operated a vertical shaft connected to the helm shaft of the online steering engine.
There was also a forth “trick” wheel which was connected to the vertical shaft of the Docking Bridge wheel. This could be used by engineers working on either engine to directly control the steering in case of a steering engine failure.