Happy 100th Birthday, Titanic. by Julian Oddo, staff reporter

This April is the 100th Anniversary of the RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage and sinking. In the late 19th and early 20th century the ocean liner industry was a very important business.The wealthy wanted to cross the ocean in luxury while there was a huge flow of immigrants who wanted to get to the new world.The two main rivals in this business were the Cunard Line and White Star Line. Cunard main priority was building the quickest ships while White Star cared more about size and luxury.In 1907 the Cunard liners Luisitania and Mauretania made their maiden voyages.These new ships would not only get the Blue Riband(Mauretania set a speed record that lasted until 1929) but at 30,000 plus tons were the largest ships ever built.In response White Star decided to order a new class of ocean liners.The new ships would be 50% larger and nearly 100 feet longer than the Cunard ships and while not as quick were the quickest ships White Star had ever built and would be more luxiorous than any other ships.This was how the idea for the Titanic the second of the three ships was formed.On March 31 1909 at Harland and Wolf shipyard(the shipyard that built all of White Star’s ships)the Titanic’s construction began.On May 31st 1911 the Titanic’s hull was launched in front of a huge crowd.The Titanic was finially completed on March 31st 1912.The Titanic was the largest and longest moving object in history at 46,328 tonnes and 882 ft.The Titanic was a triple screw ship with two conventional reciprocating engines powering the outer propellers and one steam turbine powering the center propeller(The steam turbine was a new idea at the time and had been used on the Cunard ships).Powering the engines were 29 boilers.The Titanic could travel at a top speed of 23 knots in contrast to the Cunard Ships 26 knots.The Titanic had four funnels(one was a dummy funnell to make the ship look impressive).

The Titanic was also very opulent as every class had its own deck and two first class cabins came with their own promendades.The ship had public rooms with paneling in addition the dining rooms and was the third ocean liner to have a swimming pool on it in addition to a gym and suash court.Most importantly the Titanic was widely seen as the saftest ship the world had ever seen being dubbed by Shipbuilder Magazine as “Practibally unsinkable”.Their was actually legitamate evidence to back up that claim as the ship had a double bottom and was divided into 16 watertight compartments.The ship could stay afloat with any two compartments breached 3 of the first 5 breached or the foward four breached.No one imagined any damage exceeding that.As a result White Star only outfitted the Titanic with 20 lifeboats which could carry only 1,178 people when the ship had a carrying capacity 3 times that.The Titanic had it’s sea trials on April 2nd after a 1 day delay and on April 3rd arrived in Southampton where the ship would depart on it’s maiden voyage.

Back in 1912 the maiden voyage of a new ship was a major newsworthy story and many of the most wealthy and famous people in the world were scheduled to sail on the Titanic. On April 10th after a week in port at Southampton, England the Titanic departed under the command of Captain e.j Smith the most experienced captain in the White Star Line. As the Titanic was leaving port the gigantic ship’s suction pulled the New York off its berth and very nearly collided with Titanic. As a result departure was delayed by about an hour.The Titanic made stops at Cherbourg, France and Queenstown, Ireland that evening and the following noon to pick up passengers.The Titanic would then depart for New York scheduled to arrive at Pier 59(now the Golf Driving Range at Chealsea Piers) on the morning of Wednesday April 17th.

1911 had had a very mild winter.The result of this being that there were a lot more Iceberg’s much further south than usual in the spring of 1912. On Sunday April 14th  the Titanic was ahead of schedule and was expected to reach New York on Tuesday Night instead of Wednesday morning which would make the front page of the morning paper’s.Titanic would make the front page though for different reasons.The Titanic had received several ice warnings over the Course of Sunday Morning and Afternoon from the Caronia, Baltic and America and as a result changed the course several miles south. However due to the mild winter this course change wasn’t enough to take Titanic out of the path of the ice Field.The Titanic would miss several important ice warnings from the Californian and Mesaba that warned of Ice directly in the Titanic’s path.These were missed due to an upbeat in passengers wireless traffic (the wireless was just as popular as the iphone is now).

To make matters worth, the conditions that night were very bizzare as the ocean was calm making it difficult for the Lookouts to see. At 11.40 pm the Titanic was speeding along at 22 and a half knots when the lookouts spotted an iceberg dead ahead.The officer on duty ordered the Titanic to hard a port around the berg but it was too close as only 37 seconds passed between the sighting of the berg and the collision.The Titanic avoided a head on collision but the Iceberg scrapped along the side of the ship.The result was the foward five compartments being flooded with water the Titanic could only float with four flooded.The Titanic was doomed.The Titanic was sinking fast with only enough lifeboats for half the people on board.

The Titanic had 2,220 people on board while the lifeboats full capacity was only 1,178.To make maters worse due to the continued belief among passengers that the ship was unsinkable and the crew’s “women and children first” policy many of the lifeboats left with tons of empty seats.Also the ship sent out a wireless distress code in the process sending the first ever SOS signal but all other ships were too far away to reach the Titanic in time.The Titanic sank deeper and deeper by the bow until the hull broke in two after which the bow pulled the stern down with it. In total it took Titanic 2 hours and forty minutes to sink.The Titanic would launch 18 of the twenty lifeboats and saved 675 lives (an additional 31 would be saved by hanging on to the two collapsibles that were’nt launched in time.Around 1,500 people had perished.

There are no pictures or videos of the Titanic after it left for New york, so very very little other than what stated can be confirmed about it’s sinking. What’s above are simply the basic facts of how the largest man made moving object in all history with three different classes of society (celebrities and aristocrats,doctors and professionals and immigrants looking for a new life in the new world and sank on it’s maiden voyage.The Titanic’s story is amazing because it’s like a drama that would never get on the air because the likelihood of something like it happening are almost impossible.Yet it did happen and in real life to boot.The Titanic’s sinking is one of if not the most amazing story in all history and though the details of the soap opera that played out among the most famous people of the day on the sinking ship’s deck will never be known the story holds true as the end of a lost era The Gilded Age a very different time which was encored by the Titanic sinking the first of many unbelievable things to happen in the twentieth century.

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