On April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean, killing more than 1,500 people, making it the deadliest peacetime sinking of a superliner or cruise ship.
The second Olympic-class ocean liner operated by the White Star Line was built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.
The Titanic was a luxury ship with a gym, swimming pool, libraries, high-class restaurants, and first-class cabins. It had advanced safety features, like watertight compartments and remotely activated watertight doors, but only carried 20 lifeboats.
Titanic Facts for Kids
- On April 30, 1907, Ismay and Pirrie decided to build the Titanic.
- Construction took 3 years and cost $7,500,000.
- There were eight construction worker deaths.
- A crowd of 100,000 watched the Titanic launch in Belfast on May 31, 1911.
- She left Southampton for New York in April 1912.
- It was expected to break the 137-hour record from Queenstown to New York City.
- The Titanic sank with 492 passengers and 214 crew
- 25 engineers also died trying to keep the ship afloat.
- The Titanic sunk on April 14, 1912
A little bit of Background
The RMS Titanic was a ship built in Belfast, Ireland, that was the second of three Olympic-class ocean liners built for the White Star Line.
White Star Line faced a stiff challenge from Cunard and the German lines and proposed to upgrade their fleet by commissioning a new liner that would be larger than anything before as well as offering the last word in comfort and luxury.
The Olympic class ships were constructed by Harland and Wolff at the cost of £3 million (approximately £310 million in 2019). The shipbuilders were allowed to spend as much as they needed, plus a five percent profit margin.
Harland and Wolff designed the Olympic-class vessels, which were built for the White Star Line. They were overseen by naval architect Thomas Andrews, who calculated the ship’s design, stability, and trim.
Harland and Wolff and White Star Line executives approved the design for Olympic on July 29, 1908, which was later given the name Titanic.
How Big Was The Titanic
The Titanic was an exciting leap forward in travel technology, but did all that grandeur hasten its demise?
It was 882 feet 9 inches (269.06 m) long, 92 feet 6 inches (28.19 m) wide, had a draught of 34 feet 7 inches (10.54 m) and displaced 52,310 tons.
The Titanic was the biggest ship ever built by White Star Line and was designed to move faster than other ships.
The Titanic’s Engines
Titanic was equipped with three main engines: two reciprocating steam engines one low-pressure Parsons turbine, each driving a propeller. The two reciprocating engines provided 30,000 horsepower (22,000 kW), and the turbine provided 16,000 horsepower (12,000 kW).
The coal-fired furnaces in Titanic’s bunkers required over 600 tons of coal a day to be shoveled into them by hand, and 100 tons of ash a day were ejected into the sea.
The engines were attached to long shafts which drove the propellers. The propellers were large, and each of the three could be stopped but not reversed.
The electrical plant on Titanic was equipped with four 400 kW steam-driven electric generators and two 30 kW auxiliary generators but lacked a searchlight.
The Passenger facilities
The passenger facilities aboard Titanic aimed to meet the highest standards of luxury. She could accommodate 2,453 passengers, 900 crew members, and 1,006 third-class passengers.
Among its passengers were some of the richest people in the world as well as others seeking a better life in North America.
The Titanic was decorated in the styles of contemporary high-class hotels; the interior of the ship was to convey the impression that the passengers were in a floating hotel rather than a ship.
First-class passengers could enjoy a 7 ft deep saltwater swimming pool, a gymnasium, a squash court, and a Turkish bath, as well as dining in a 114 ft long by 92 ft wide Dining Saloon.
Third Class accommodations aboard Titanic were not as luxurious as First or Second Class but were still better than many other North Atlantic passenger ships of the time.
White Star Line ships provided private cabins, and single men were quartered in the forward areas, and single women, married couples, and families were quartered aft.
Third Class accommodations included their own dining rooms and public gathering areas, which were supplemented by a smoking room for men and a General Room for women.
Leisure facilities were provided for all three classes of passengers to pass the time, and it was not uncommon for mothers to introduce their daughters to wealthy bachelors.
Titanic’s Grand Staircase was built of English oak and opened onto seven decks of the ship before terminating in a simplified single flight on F Deck.
The Grand Staircase was a carved wooden panel containing a clock with figures of “Honour and Glory Crowning Time” flanking the clock face.
The ship carried a total of 20 lifeboats, with 14 standard wooden lifeboats and four collapsible lifeboats. The collapsible lifeboats were stowed on the boat deck and connected to davits by ropes.
The cutters were kept swinging out in the water while the other boats were stored on the roof. The boats carried food, water, blankets, and spare life vests.
The White Star Line decided to only carry 16 wooden and 4 collapsible lifeboats, giving her a capacity of 1,178 people.
Titanic had around 885 crew members on board for her maiden voyage. Most were casual workers, and many were only aboard for a few hours before the ship sailed.
Captain Edward John Smith, Henry Tingle Wilde, and David Blair were the first and second officers on the ship Titanic. Herbert Pitman was the third officer.
Titanic’s crew was made up of 494 men divided into three principal departments: Deck, Engine, and Victualling. The vast majority of the male crew members were either engineers, firemen, stokers, or stewards.
Most of the crew came from Southampton, and 40% were natives of the town. The crew varied in pay, with Captain Smith earning the most, with £105, and stewardesses earning £3 10.
On Wednesday, April 10, 1912, the Titanic’s maiden voyage began at Southampton. First Class and Second Class passengers were greeted personally, while Third Class passengers were inspected for physical impairments before boarding.
After making it safely through Southampton and the Solent, Titanic headed for the French port of Cherbourg and was met by two tender ships. The ship took on 274 additional passengers before leaving for Queenstown at 8 pm.
On Thursday, April 11, the Titanic arrived at Cork Harbour on the south coast of Ireland. There were 123 passengers who boarded at Queenstown – the last known photograph of the ship was taken by a crew member.
Setting Sail Across The Atlantic
Titanic was supposed to arrive at New York Pier 59 on the morning of April 17. However, she hit an iceberg and sank.
The weather cleared as Titanic left Ireland under cloudy skies with a headwind, but the following day it became very cold and clear.
The Titanic struck the iceberg and created a series of holes below the waterline, allowing water to rush in, and soon the ship began sinking.
Titanic was ill-prepared for an emergency, with only half of the passengers aboard, and lifeboats could only carry about a third of passengers; third-class passengers were left behind and became trapped below decks as the ship filled with water.
The ship broke in two pieces, with the stern remaining afloat and buoyant, and sank in two pieces, with the bow underwater. All passengers and crew were immersed in lethally cold water with a temperature of 2°C (28°F).
Nearby ships The SS Birma and the SS Californian failed to reach the Titanic before it sank, and the RMS Carpathia arrived around 4 am.
Carpathia’s captain described an ice field filled with 20 large icebergs and many smaller icebergs, including a number of ice floes and debris from Titanic.