A Hypothesis of Times Gone Wrong

Titanica!

Introduction

The issue of time on Titanic is not a new topic, and many articles, chapters, and books have tried to tackle it. But what is it about Titanic’s time that has drawn so much controversy that it needs such scrutiny? I will attempt to explain.

First, is understanding that the ship’s clocks did not automatically adjust and had to be done physically. As a ship steamed west the clocks were set back to go from the time of the eastern world to the time of the western world. Due to this we know that the clocks on Titanic were not consistent and would change. Such a change was to take place on the night of the disaster, but did it happen?

Secondly, there is the question as to how the clock change happened. There has been speculation about how such a time change took place on board ship. However, no suggestion, until now, has been given that satisfies multiple answers easily and simply.

Thirdly, there are different times given during the inquiries. We have Lightoller and Boxhall’s ship’s time of 1 hour and 33 minutes ahead of New York, the British inquiry’s time of 1 hour and 50 minutes ahead of New York, and the Limitation of Liability’s report of a 1 hour and 39 minute difference ahead of New York.  Is there a reason why some, if not all, of these times are different from the accepted time of 2 hours and 2 minutes ahead of New York?

Not only do we have the differences between ship’s time and New York time, but we also have varying reports from survivors as to when the ship struck the iceberg and when the ship sank. Some of these can be easily brushed off as people adjusting personal timepieces to sync their clocks with the ship’s clock for the known time change, but such a logical answer does not take away all the mystery. We also have the confusing evidence of times given by Quartermaster Rowe and Wireless Operator Harold Bride.

Lastly, could the clocks have something to do with the erroneous distress positions? Both Captain Smith and Boxhall’s distress coordinates were miles away from where Titanic’s wreck lies. Many explanations and theories have been given as to why this was, but with this author’s hypothesis it may be possible to link the clocks to the coordinates and create a simple answer.

This author does not believe, or has yet to be fully convinced, that a clock change, in the sense that we have come to know it, occurred the night of the sinking, and as such the whole event was 2 hours and 40 minutes. Fortunately, this author’s hypothesis satisfies both groups of thought, but unfortunately, this author does not believe this hypothesis will ever be provable due to its nature. So even though it may help explain some anomalies, it will probably remain in the realm of speculation.

This paper could not have been done without the excellent work of many Titanic historians and researchers, and their hard work and long hours of trying to unravel the mysteries of Titanic’s time. This paper is in no way here to challenge the great works of these people, but to add to it – hopefully. It was their work that inspired and allowed such a paper to be written, and it is their work and aspirations to which I am indebted to. I hope that they all read this and, if not acknowledge the hypothesis itself, acknowledge my want, desire, and drive to find answers.

Thanks, and Enjoy!

Time on Titanic

Titanic set sail from Southampton, England, which kept Greenwich time which is based on the prime meridian or latitude 0 degrees. Titanic was sailing to New York and was to keep the 75th parallel time upon reaching its destination. As the earth rotates west to east, the day is broken into 24 hours. If one divides 360° by 24, we get 15° in every hour. If we then divide 75° by 15°, we get a 5 hour difference between Greenwich and 75th meridian time, with Greenwich being ahead.

Fifth Officer Lowe would say that from noon April 14th, to the ‘Corner’ (a point in the ocean that corresponded to 42° N, 47° W) the Titanic had to travel 162 miles, and would reach it at 6pm. That is a travel time of 6 hours, which means Titanic had to be going 27 knots, a speed far beyond its capabilities. A simple solution to this, is that the 162 was a transcription error and was supposed to read 126 miles. We know that Lowe thought Titanic was going 20.95 knots, or 21 knots. A ship going 21 knots would go 126 miles in 6 hours, which is exactly what Lowe said, which shows that indeed the 162 miles must have been a transcription error.

If we start at the corner and head 126 miles in the opposite direction, that being 60.56° true, for according to Lowe Titanic was on a bearing of 240.56° true when heading to the corner, so 240.56° minus 180° equals 60.56°, we come to the coordinates of 43° 00’ 17” N, 44° 30’ 00” W for Titanic’s noon position. This noon position would be from what the crew derived Titanic’s noon time on board ship (or ATS) to be on April 14th. To find this time we will do it the way it would have been done during Titanic’s time, as presented in figure 1 below.

Figure 1: Titanic's noon time April, 14th, 1912

This places Titanic’s clocks 2 hours and 58 minutes behind Greenwich or 2 hours 2 minutes ahead of New York. So, at noon April 14th, on Titanic, it was 2:58pm in England and 9:58am in New York, and any subsequent time, thereafter, would reflect such a difference until the clocks were again changed.

Changing Time

It is important to note that noon on ship was the beginning of a new day, and not midnight as on land, thus, why it was important to have the clock agree with noon time and not midnight. But when did this time change take place? According to the White Star Line regulations the time change was to take place between 10pm and 6am. We have a more precise time from Second Officer Lightoller and Third Officer Pitman that the time change was to take place around midnight.

Thankfully, we have the precise amount of time the clocks were to be put back the night of the collision given to us by Quartermaster Hichens who stated,  “The clock was to go back that night 47 minutes, 23 minutes in one watch and 24 in the other.” We also know from Hichens that he was relieved at 12:23am, which means he received the 23-minute change, which closely matches the statement of Quartermaster Rowe who said he was to work until 12:22am. Both men came on watch at 8pm, well before 10pm, which shows that no time change occurred before they were to be relieved.

Both Lookout Fredrick Fleet, who came on watch at 10pm, and Trimmer Thomas Dillon, who came on duty at 8pm, would state of an extra 20 minutes that night. Fleet says that he was to ‘get’ the extra minutes, while Dillon was not sure if the clocks were put back. This unsureness was also presented by Hichens who would state, “I do not know whether they put the clock back or not,” but more on this unsureness later, cause for now it is just important to note that these men agree that they were to receive extra time during their watch.

So now we have an idea of when the clocks were to change and by how much, so the question now is how was this accomplished? The first part of this answer is given by the above crew testimony which clearly indicates that the setback was to take place in two parts, with one watch working an extra 23 minutes and the other watch working an extra 24 minutes. For the second part we have to understand the basic of Titanic’s clocks, of which much thanks has to be given to the authors of ‘Titanic Solving the Mysteries,’ whose excellent research has shed a huge spotlight on this matter.

The clocks involved in Titanic’s time change were ran off a synchronized clock system made by the Magneta company. The clocks were driven by two master clocks located in the chart room; each master clock controlled 24 slave clocks for a total of 48. The master clocks as they ticked forward would produce two distinct electrical charges, one for odd minutes and one for even minutes. Thus, once the slave clocks were set, and the master clock started, the clocks on that system would stay in sync. The slave clocks only jumped by the minute and did not have second hands, nor did the slave clocks know what time it was on the master clock as the slave clocks merely jumped ahead from whatever time was set on them when the system was started.

When a ship sailed East it would be required to put the clocks ahead. To do this there was a chain to be pulled which would create the pulses needed to jump the minutes forward on the slave clocks. As a ship headed westward the clocks were to be put back. The only way of doing this, as it was found that there was no physical means of winding the slave clocks back via the master clock, was to stop the pulses from reaching the slave clocks for the period of time required. For example, if the clocks were to go back at 12am by 20 minutes, the pulses would be stopped at 11:40pm, thus freezing the slave clocks at that time. When 12am was hit, the system would be reconnected, and the clocks would start again.

Being that there were two master clocks it was originally believed that one set of clocks were kept for the crew and one set was for passengers. However, research (done again by the authors of ‘Titanic Solving the Mysteries’) shows that when the collision occurred between Titanic’s sister ship Olympic and the British naval ship Hawke, the engine room and the bridge time were one minute apart. This minute would not be possible unless the engine room and the bridge clocks were being operated by separate master clocks.

But the White Star Line did have rules for the synchronicity between clocks on the bridge and the engine room, one of which stated that the First Officer, “When passing points of departure or arrival, he will see that the Engine room and deck times agree,” and another being that the Chief Engineer, “…will be careful to keep the time or clock by which the engine department is worked as nearly as possible the same as the Deck Department or Bridge time.”

If the clocks were paused for a certain amount of time, one would believe that individuals would have to rely on personal time pieces until the clocks were started again. Otherwise, if an incident occurred during the pausing of the clocks, there would be no way to record ship’s time (though the clocks reading Greenwich time would still be available). Perhaps this is what is meant by the sentence, “to keep the time or clock by which the engine department…,” with the ‘time’ part meaning personal time pieces.

With the engine room and the bridge on separate master clocks, this would also mean that it would seem unlikely that one clock would be stopped for the full 47 minutes while the other clock was done in increments. This is important to note because we know that at least one passenger, Algernon Barkworth, was waiting to see the clocks set back at midnight. With no two distinct systems between the crew and the passengers, this would mean that Barkworth would only see a partial time change had it occurred, but then we run into another issue. Barkworth mentions that he was expecting the time to change at midnight, not that he was expecting to see the clocks “pause” at midnight.

Oddities

It is the accepted truth that the Titanic struck the iceberg at, or around, 11:40pm. If a clock were running 23 minutes behind a none adjusted clock, and the collision occurred at 11:40pm none adjusted time, this clock would read 11:17pm. If a clock was put back the full 47 minutes with this same scenario, then the collision would have occurred at 10:53pm. Had a 23-minute time change taken place, and 11:40pm was a representation of the setback time, this would mean that Titanic struck the berg at 12:03am none adjusted time. If a clock was set back the whole 47 minutes, and 23 minutes passed, then the collision occurred at 11:36am.

With so many times, it can be seen how easy it is to weave a web of entanglement. For better or for worse, the accounts given as to the time in which the ship struck the iceberg reflects these time oddities, and because of this, arguments can be made as to both a time change taking place and not taking place. A quick list below of times given by survivors illustrates this.

Trimmer Dillon: 11:35pm
Fireman Hurst: 11:20pm
Bath Steward Widgery: 11:35pm
Baker Joughin: 11:40pm
2nd Class Passenger Cook: 11:25pm
1st Class Passenger Hoyt: 11:35pm
3rd Class Passenger Jansson: 11:30pm
1st Class Passenger Lines: 11:45pm

It is also the accepted truth that Titanic sank at 2:20am, or two hours and forty minutes after 11:40pm none adjusted time. If a time change of 23 minutes had occurred, meaning the ship had struck the iceberg at 12:03am, then the ship would have sank at 1:57am, unless one believes that a time change did take place and the ship sank at 12:20am, which puts the ship actually sinking at 2:43am. If a clock represented a full adjustment the ship sank at 1:33am. A quick list of times given by survivors illustrates these discrepancies.

Storekeeper Prentice: 1:30am
Barber Weikman: 1:50am
Seaman Scarrott: 2:20am
2nd Officer Lightoller: 2:30am
1st Class Passenger Leader: 3:00am
2nd Class Passenger Hamalainen: 2:10am
1st Class Passenger Dick: 2:20am

It is not just the times in which the ship struck the iceberg or sank, that are of variance within the testimonies of Titanic’s survivors. Boxhall would say that the time 11:46pm equated to 10:13pm in New York. If the clocks were 2 hours and 2 minutes ahead of New York, 11:46pm would be 9:44pm in New York. Boxhall’s time puts the ship’s clocks 1 hour and 33 minutes ahead of New York, a 29 minute difference. Lightoller would state that 2:20am equated to 5:47am Greenwich time, a 3 hours and 27 minutes difference which lines up with Boxhall’s 1 hour and 33 minutes New York time. (3 hours 27 minutes + 1 hour 33 minutes = 5 hours.) Lightoller’s time was also sent in a message from the rescue ship Carpathia to the Olympic stating when the ship sank, though we do not know who gave this information for it to be transmitted.

To further complicate things the official British inquiry report would place Titanic’s clocks as being 1 hour and 50 minutes ahead of New York time. The Limitation of Liability report would state yet another time difference, that being 1 hour and 39 minutes. None of these reports state how these differences were arrived at.

Then we have the two erroneous distress coordinates. The first one, attributed to Captain Smith, was 41° 44’ N, 50° 24’ W. This is 20 miles further west of the boiler field (which is considered the epicenter of where Titanic sank due to the likelihood the boilers sank straight down when the ship broke). That is quite a distance of error for a seasoned Captain to make. With a speed of 22 knots, the believed speed Titanic was going that night, this would require another 55 minutes of steaming.

Then there are the second coordinates derived by Boxhall which were 41° 46’ N, 50° 14’ W. This lies 13 miles west from Titanic’s boiler field which would require an extra 35 minutes of steaming. Thirty-five minutes would creep up again in Boxhall’s story, as he would state that this was how long it was from the collision to when the first distress call was sent.

The first distress call was sent at 10:25pm New York time, which was 12:27am ATS. However, Boxhall believed that there was a 1 hour 33 minute time difference which places the first distress call at 11:58pm Titanic time. Boxhall said the ship collided anywhere from 11:43pm to 11:45pm which means he believed the wireless call should have gone out from 12:18am to 12:20am. However, Boxhall used the time of 11:46pm when calculating his distress coordinates. It was also commonly accepted, due to the fact it was published in the official report of the British inquiry, that the time of the first distress call was 12:15am Titanic time, which is a difference of 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Wireless Operator Harold Bride would give very confusing times within his various accounts. Bride would say that he awoke at 11:45pm which he equated to about 11:55pm ship’s time, which is an odd 10-minute difference. He would also say that he was to relieve wireless operator Phillips at midnight that night.

During one account he would say Captain Smith came in and gave them a heads-up that they may need to send for help, while this event disappears in his testimony, and instead Captain Smith comes in ten minutes after the collision to tell them to send for help. This ten minutes after the collision then turns into ten minutes after Bride awoke.

Another oddity comes from Quartermaster Rowe. Rowe would be on duty on the poop deck when the collision occurred. As already stated, he knew that he was to get an extra 22 minutes that night. He would state in a letter written in 1963 that, “…time went by and no relief turned up.” Even his relief, Quartermaster Bright, would state, “I should have relieved at 12 o'clock, a man by the name of Rowe,” indicating that he was late.

Another anomaly with Rowe’s times is that he places the impact with the iceberg at 11:40pm, and he got this time by looking at his watch. Then later he says that he saw the first boat being lowered at 12:25am, almost exactly 23 minutes before the accepted time of the lowering of the first lifeboat. When asked if he consulted his watch for this time, he would say he did not think of, or about, a watch. He would also recall that he stopped firing rockets at 1:25am to take charge of boat C, and that it took 5 minutes for them to lower it into the water. He also believed Titanic sank 20 minutes after boat C left. Based solely on these times, if he took charge of boat C at 1:25am, and it took 5 minutes to lower it into the water, then this puts Titanic sinking at 1:50am, well before the accepted time of 2:20am. All in all, it seems as if Rowe were using adjusted time, but he would state that he definitely did not adjust his watch. So why would Rowe so blatantly go from unadjusted ship’s time to adjusted ship’s time?

With all these time anomalies, can a solution be found that may answer them?

The Hypothesis

We know that Titanic had two master clocks that controlled 24 slave clocks each. The common thought is that these clocks were ‘set back’ all at once. But what if that was not the case? We know that on the night of the 14th the clocks were to be set back 23 minutes and 24 minutes. We will not focus on the 24-minute set back, but instead only the 23-minute set back. Twenty-three minutes back from midnight is 11:37pm. Let us start there by imagining all clocks saying 11:37pm.

Master Clock 1

11:37pm

Master Clock 2

11:37pm

 

Now, let us hypothesize that Master Clock 1 (MC1) is paused while Master Clock 2 (MC2) is kept active. In this scenario there will still be a clock in which to keep ship’s time (MC2). Thus, at 11:40pm ATS on MC2, MC1 would still read 11:37pm.

Master Clock 1

11:37pm

11:37pm

Master Clock 2

11:37pm

11:40pm

Let us continue to hypothesize that MC2 would keep going and MC1 would remain paused until MC2 hit 12am. At this moment MC2 would be paused and MC1 would be restarted, and at this point the time on MC1 would become ATS, though no change of watch has taken place.

Master Clock 1

11:37pm

11:37pm

11:37pm

11:38pm

Master Clock 2

11:37pm

11:40pm

12am

12am

When MC1 hits 12am, MC2 is now reactivated, and both clocks would read 12am, and a new change of watch happens.

MC 1

11:37pm

11:37pm

11:37pm

11:38pm

12am

12:01am

MC 2

11:37pm

11:40pm

12am

12am

12am

12:01am

So, what happened on the night of the 14th? Simple, MC2 was never stopped and kept going. This would explain why Dillon and Hichens were unsure if the clocks were put back. Dillon was seeing MC1 time while Hichens was seeing MC2 time, but neither were sure if the 23-minute setback had actually been calculated into ship’s time which should have happened with the reactivation of MC1, which apparently neither one knew if it happened.

But how does this explain all the other anomalies? What if MC1 was restarted, but restarted not at 12am MC2 time, but later, let us say at 12:06am MC2 time. To graph this out it is important to put in the Greenwich (GW) time and New York (NY) time as it was with a 2 hour 58 minute and a 2 hour 2 minute difference respectfully.

GW

2:35

2:38

2:44

2:58

3:04

3:12

3:13

3:25

5:18

NY

9:35

9:38

9:44

9:58

10:04

10:12

10:13

10:25

12:18

MC1

11:37

11:37

11:37

11:37

11:37

11:45

11:46

11:58

1:51

MC2

11:37

11:40

11:46

12:00

12:06

12:14

12:15

12:27

2:20

Another important thing to note is that according to the list assembled by the authors of ‘Titanic Solving the Mysteries’, there was only one slave clock in the chart room. For our hypothesis, this clock was connected to MC1. Also, in the chartroom was a clock with Greenwich time on it. If this was the case, then the bridge would always have a clock with the correct time on it to go by. When MC1 was stopped in the chartroom the MC2 clock in the wheelhouse would be used to note the time and vice-versa.

With this said, one thing that is clearly shown in the chart above is that 11:46pm MC1 now reads 10:13pm New York time. No one would be the wiser that the clock was late, since it merely being restarted indicated that the ships was now to be going off MC1 time, as would have been the case if the clock was restarted when MC2 hit 12am, like it was supposed to.

The time 10:25pm New York time also becomes 11:58pm, which is 29 minutes after 12:27am - the time when Titanic’s first distress call went out. If Boxhall added 23 minutes to 11:58pm, due to the clock being set back, he would come to a time of 12:21am which is 35 minutes from 11:46pm, the time he used to calculate his distress coordinates. Thus, is why Boxhall believed that the first distress call went out 35 minutes after the collision.

Being that Boxhall was going off this erroneous MC1 time and the correct Greenwich time when he came up with his distress coordinates, his coordinates were set 13 miles further west. A wonderful example of how this happened is illustrated in ‘Titanic Solving the Mysteries’ on page 219. I will provide a quick summary.

We start by taking the difference between the Greenwich time of 10:28pm, which corresponds with 7:30pm ATS (the time of the celestial fix Boxhall used to calculate his distance run from 7:30pm to 11:46pm), and 3:13am, the Greenwich time that corresponds to the time of 11:46pm ATS using Boxhall’s 1 hour 33 minute time. When doing so we get 4.75 hours which calculates to 104.5 miles run at 22 knots. Next, we find the difference between 10:28pm and the true Greenwich time corresponding to 11:40pm, which is 2:38am. This gives us 4.17 hours and a run of 91.7 miles. Subtract that amount from 104.5 and we get a difference of 12.8 miles.

But what about Captain Smith’s coordinates? If Boxhall was going off the wrong time, then so would Captain Smith. Could it be that Captain Smith added 23 minutes to the time on the clock not realizing that the clock already reflected a 29 minute time change?  Using a speed of 22knots and a time of 52 minutes (29+23) we get a distance run of 19.4 miles. Had this been the case, then neither Boxhall nor Captain Smith seem to realize that the collision time was based on MC2 time and not MC1 time, and that MC1 would not reflect the time for which the collision occurred. This was most likely due to force of habit, as MC1 time would technically be ship’s time once MC2 had reached midnight. It should be noted though, that later Boxhall did consider this when saying when the first distress call was sent, but perhaps this clarity was due to not being in the stress of the moment.

This hypothesis also allows us to understand Bride’s account better. First we have to assume that when Bride said he was to relieve Phillips at midnight, he meant midnight of MC1 time, thus the wireless operators were taking part in the clock set back, though technically they did not have to; so why would they? Simple, the slave clock in the wireless room was also connected to MC1 – the clock the chartroom would be connected to, which would make sense to want to match as wireless messages often contained navigational information.

So, when Bride said he woke up at 11:45pm, he meant 11:45pm on the wrongly set MC1 time, which corresponds to 11:51pm correct MC1 time, had it been started when MC2 said 12am and not 12:06am. Since 11:51pm would in fact be ship’s time at this point, as MC2 would be stopped, then Bride’s statement that he awoke at 11:45pm which corresponded to about 11:55pm, is correct. But how would Bride have known what the ship’s time should have been verses what the clock was showing? This can only be speculated by perhaps Bride having the correct ship’s time (already partially adjusted as he was to wake at 12am adjusted time) on a separate time piece. This may explain why 11:51pm is closer to 11:50pm and not 11:55pm, for perhaps his time piece was a bit fast. What this also allows is Bride’s statement that the first distress call went out around ten minutes after him waking, as 12:27am MC2 time would be 11:58pm MC1 time.

This also helps explain at least some of the variances in times noted by survivors as to the collision and the sinking. Some, like Dillon, believed the ship struck at 11:35pm. As already noted, the engine room and the bridge were on different systems. If the engine room’s clock was stopped at 11:37pm, then when the collision occurred, Dillon could easily have read the clock as 11:35pm.

We also know that some survivors like Barber Wiekman placed the sinking at about 1:50am, around the exact time given by the wrongly set MC1. Is it possible that Wiekman had adjusted his watch based off a clock showing MC1 time? But what about Barkworth? Had the smoking room been connected to MC1, then perhaps it was the unpausing of the time (11:37pm) at midnight ship’s time (MC2) that would signify the time change. Being that we know that last call was given at 11:30pm, and the smoking room closed at 12am, it may be more probable that this clock was connected to MC2. If the smoking room had a clock going off MC2 time, then its pausing at midnight would signify the clock going back 23 minutes as now ship’s time would be kept by the MC1 clock. The clock in the smoking room would not reflect this set back and Barkworth would only have disappointedly observed the clock freezing at 12am.

This may also explain why Rowe’s relief was late. Perhaps Bright was going off MC1 time, and since it was 6 minutes late, so was he in relieving Rowe. Perhaps Hichens relief was also late, but being that he showed up, Hichens merely assumed it was 12:23am, something he would have to do anyway if MC2 was paused at midnight – which may also explain why he was not sure if the clock was adjusted, cause he merely did not take notice of the clock.

It may also help explain Rowe’s times. Knowing that the clock was to be using MC1 time when MC2 hit midnight, once midnight hit, Rowe would instinctively relate ATS time with a 23-minute set back as the ship would be using the now un-paused MC1 time. Therefore, when Rowe said he did not adjust his watch and did not think about it, it was because he did not have to. For Rowe and other crew members, as soon as midnight hit on MC2 time, there was a 23-minute set back and that was now ATS.

But what about the engine room? Was it not to keep the same time as the clocks on the bridge? Yes and no. The first rule states that the First Officer, “When passing points of departure or arrival, he will see that the Engine room and deck times agree.” This obviously only had to do with the departure and arrival portions of the journey when Greenwich time, Dublin time, and 75th parallel time would be used. This makes sense as the engines would go through several maneuvers during arrivals and departures, and the risk of collision was far greater during these times. Due to both reasons, it was important that the logs for the bridge and the engine room matched.

The last rule, pertaining to the Chief Engineer being,“…careful to keep the time or clock by which the engine department is worked as nearly as possible the same as the Deck Department or Bridge time,” clearly gives two ways of maintaining time, by either ‘time or clock’ and ‘Deck Department or Bridge time’. This clearly shows that a pause of the slave clock was inevitable, and that another time should be used.

What about the 1 hour and 50 minute time difference? This is far easier to explain. The courts knew that the first distress signal went out at 10:25pm New York time. Subtracting Boxhall’s 35-minute time as to when the first distress call was sent, we get a time of 9:50pm. The court determined that the ship struck at 11:40pm, which means that 11:40pm ship’s time was now 9:50pm New York time. Thirty-five minutes from 11:40pm is 12:15am, the time given in the report of the British inquiry as to when the first distress call was sent. This, plus the similar time stated for the observations of the crew aboard the Californian, which was keeping a time of 1 hour and 50 minute, is what ultimately led to the courts believing Titanic was keeping the same time – or as near as they cared to get it.

What about the 1 hour 39 minute, or 3 hour 21 minute, difference. For this we must look at the last part of Boxhall’s distress coordinates, 50° 14’ W. Figure two, below, clearly shows that this time was derived from Boxhall’s distress coordinates, a coincidence that has also not been over looked by other researchers.

Figure 2: 1hr 39min time based on Boxhall's coordinates.

Conclusion

With a two-clock system, time onboard Titanic could be adjusted using the two clocks individually, and not all at once. This would allow not only for a time change to occur, but also allow for no clock to go past midnight, and as such, no change of watch until both clocks would read midnight. This would work by stopping one clock system at 11:37pm and restarting it when the other clock hit 12am, at which time that clock system would be stopped. The other clock system would be started again when the clock system previously paused at 11:37pm, hit 12am.

Due to the collision though, only one clock system was paused, while the other clock system was never stopped. This adjusted clock system, which was paused at 11:37pm, was to be restarted again at 12am on the running clock, but instead was restarted 6 minutes late. This led Boxhall to believe that the collision time of 11:46pm equated to 10:13pm New York time, and subsequently is what led to his erroneous distress coordinates. It would possibly have also factored into Captain Smith’s erroneous distress coordinates had he factored in a 23-minute time change to the clock which already showed a 29-minute time change.

Such a time change allows us to finally understand Bride’s testimony as it explains his 10-minute difference between his 11:45pm time of awaking and his stated ship’s time of about 11:55pm. It also allows for the first distress signal to be put out about 10 minutes after his awaking. It even allows for Boxhall’s belief that the distress call went out 35 minutes after the collision as 10:25pm New York time was 11:58pm Titanic time using Boxhall’s 1 hour and 33 minute time, to which Boxhall merely added the time change of 23 minutes, giving him 12:21am, which is 35 minutes from 11:46pm, the time he used in creating his distress coordinates.

It also helps explain the odd times given by some passengers and crew, while also suggesting why Bright went up for his watch late. Such adjustments also explain why someone like Rowe would naturally begin speaking in ship’s time that was 23 minutes after 12am on MC2 time, while also saying he did not do anything with his watch.

Overall, such a scenario helps explain some of the oddities within Titanic’s story. However, there is no proof that such a system for a clock change took place or was even practiced, and there probably never will be. What this merely shows is that such a practice could have been used and would have worked. It also shows that if such an error, as suggested occurred, one would see the discrepancies presented within Titanic’s survivor’s accounts.

Resources

Comment and discuss

  1. avatar

    B-rad said:

    A quick correction also, when it says latitude 0 degrees it should be longitude. My bad...

  2. avatar

    Jim Currie said:

    Hello Brad, a most detailed bit of work if I may say so. Well doneit should be clearly understood that clock changes on a ship only directly effected the working hours of a single group - those who were on duty during the period the change was made. Consequently, since these were completed between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am the following morning, only those on duty at that time would either work more minutes going West or work fewer minutes going East. On... Read full post

  3. avatar

    B-rad said:

    First of all, thanks for reading the paper. As always you bring up very valid points, some of which draw pause to my thoughts, and I appreciate that. I will look further into what you wrote as time allows (I am about to leave for work... yay?), but I wanted to thank you for reading my article and offering your in site! As for the above quote, unfortunately I did not know this, as my navigational skills are (for lack of better terms) very... Read full post

  4. avatar

    Jim Currie said:

    First of all, thanks for reading the paper. As always you bring up very valid points, some of which draw pause to my thoughts, and I appreciate that. I will look further into what you wrote as time allows (I am about to leave for work... yay?), but I wanted to thank you for reading my article and offering your in site! As for the above quote, unfortunately I did not know this, as my navigational skills are (for lack of better terms) very landlubber. I have found an excellent series of books, 'Self-Instruction in the Practice and Theory of... Read full post

  5. avatar

    Jim Currie said:

    By the way, Brad, I forgot to add another pointer, this time from Passenger Colonel Gracie. Gracie first stated So that would indicate the time between the collision and the time... Read full post

  6. avatar

    Samuel Halpern said:

    Thank you Brad for your contribution. Always interesting to see other people's views and fresh insights to a very complicated and misunderstood subject.

  7. avatar

    B-rad said:

    I will look into this more when I get home. Thanks for reading my article!!

  8. avatar

    B-rad said:

    As far As far as the chronometer u posted I post a pic of what it appears is a following book of the Chinese Titanic Exhibit ... This was not part of the Magneta clock system. As far as any other... Read full post

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  9. avatar

    Jim Currie said:

    had 2 chronometers. Some ships had 3. The one illustrated shows Eastern Standard Time of 15d-00h-39m-??sec.. It has been described by some as having been tampered with. However, chronometers were kept in special velvet-lined carrying boxes located in the chartroom. The instrument dials were hermetically sealed. In another thread, pressure has been discussed. The crack on the chronometer crystal might demonstrate this. The next controversy was the time indicated was EST instead of GMT. Modern chronometers show Greenwich Mean Time only.. the time used by Navigators. Years... Read full post

  10. avatar

    B-rad said:

    Its definitely the same chronometer in both pics based on the crack in the glass and the chip on the upper right, so I guess the question is which pic came first, the one I posted where the hand is loose or the one posted by Steve of which both hands are in place with the small in a different position. Steve's pic looks like a better restoration. ???

  11. avatar

    Samuel Halpern said:

    It is a restoration. A photograph of the recovered chronometer in the 1998 Zürich exhibit booklet shows much of the dial blackened, while the lower left quadrant of the glass covering the instrument was covered in a rust-coloured substance. The hour hand was pointed toward a position that indicated about 6:45, although there was no evidence of the retaining nut in the photo. The minute hand was laying across the top of the dial, completely dismounted.

  12. avatar

    Cam Houseman said:

    woah B-Rad, congrats! I loved it

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    Jim Currie said:

    Sorry but both of these are fakes. The first one has a the crystal cracked at 2 minutes to the number eleven. The Chinese water colour painting version has the crack nearer to the number... Read full post

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    Steven Christian said:

    Yes I would say its the same clock also. Definantley it was semi restored. Where I got the pic said it was in the RMS Titanic Inc exhibits. I've been twice but don't remember seeing that... Read full post

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    B-rad said:

    It appears to me that the glass was reset differently when it was restored. Or the dial card was placed differently.

  16. avatar

    Jim Currie said:

    Here's another version this time inside the remains of the case, One of the gimbal rings is lying just out of shot.: The card is held in place by four very small japanned bolts, Brad, Two were at the extreme edge.. at 10-30 and at 1-30 o' clock the other 2 were at 5 -30 and 6-30. You could not locate the card improperly because of the necessity of locating spindle in fixed hole positions. If I remember rightly, The bessel ring holding the glass in place was engaged using a special sealant. It would have taken a clock expert to dismantle and reassemble... Read full post

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    Cam Houseman said:

    The card is held in place by four very small japanned bolts, Brad, Two were at the extreme edge.. at 10-30 and at 1-30 o' clock the other 2 were at 5 -30 and 6-30. You could not locate the card improperly because of the necessity of locating spindle in fixed hole positions. If I remember rightly, The bessel ring holding the glass in place was engaged using a special sealant. It would have taken... Read full post

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Citation

Encyclopedia Titanica (2020) A Hypothesis of Times Gone Wrong (Titanica!, ref: #181, published 10 October 2020, generated 29th October 2020 05:44:41 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-a-hypothesis-of-times-gone-wrong.html