One of the greatest news headlines of all times was actually never supposed to happen. The shocking news of the sunken ocean liner the Titanic shocked millions. The sinking itself probably wouldn't have even mattered except that the builders themselves said that the ship simply could not sink. The news not only hit the United States, but countries everywhere were saddened to hear the news of "The Unsinkable" and its grave end. In 1907 a man named J. Bruce Ismay, who was the manager of White Star Lines went to a dinner party at the mansion of the wealthy William James Pierre. Pierre was a chairman to one of the largest shipbuilding companies in Belfast, Harland and Wolff. At dinner the two discussed luxury ships like the Lusitania and the Mauretania. These two liners were more luxurious and faster than any other liner ever made and that was bad news for Ismay and Pierre. It was a problem because Cunard Lines, the maker of these two luxury ships, was White Star Lines' only competition. By the time dinner was over they had made up a plan to build three Olympic' class ships. These ships would be fifteen hundred gross tons larger and about one hundred feet longer than the Lusitania and the Mauretania. The building of the Titanic and the Olympic were to start immediately, with the Britannic to follow in the coming years. On July 29, 1908 White Star owners approved the design plan for the three ships. The final price cost of each ship was approximately seven million five hundred dollars. In order to build the ships, new special made slips had to be made to be able to carry their weight. On March 31, 1909 the construction on the Titanic began. The ships would all feature compartments that would seal off sections of the ship that may have taken on water in case of a collision. These compartments were a part of the brand new idea of a watertight compartment system. The Titanic was to be the most lavish of the three luxury vessels. It was to have ankle-deep beautiful carpet, wonderfully detailed ornamental carvings on the floor and ceiling. The Titanic was finished on February 3, 1912. (Domont, www.geocites
; Acheson, www.museum.gov)
The Titanic set out on its fateful voyage on May 31st, 1911 from Southampton to New York. On the way she stopped in Cherbourg and Queenstown. On the Titanic's voyage numerous iceberg warnings were received, warning them to turn around or choose another route to get to their destination. At approximately 11:40 P.M. the lookouts of the Titanic, which was moving around 20 ½ knots, sight a gigantic iceberg straight in their course. The warning bell is immediately sounded. Quick after, Sixth Officer Moody relays the message to First Officer Murdoch who calls the engine room and tells the engineers to turn off the engines and turn the ship hard. Thirty-seven seconds of heart stopping time later, the iceberg strikes the ship on the starboard bow side. The impact is not noticed by most of the passengers. After some time it is reported to the Capitan that the ship is taking on water rapidly, flooding the holds and boiler rooms. Thomas Andrews, Capitan Smith's assistant, calculates how much longer the ship can stay afloat and the estimation was two and a half hours only. The ship sends out distress signals, and many ships hear and prepare to assist the Titanic. At 12:20 A.M. orders are given to have women and children start to board lifeboats. Most lifeboats only left holding only a fraction of what they were capable of. The last words heard by neighboring ships by the Titanic were heard at 1:45 A.M. Still holding over one thousand five hundred people, the ships head sinks under water. All of the lights on the Titanic go out, and a huge roar is heard as all of the objects not bolted to the floor fly towards the submerged bow. At that point the ship breaks in two, and approximately two minutes later, the remaining stern settles again, fills with water and slowly sinks...
Cited: Acheson, P., & Conlin, D. (2000, March 29). Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Retrieved October 27, 2004, from http://museum.gov.ns.ca/mma/index
Butler, D. A. (1998). 'Unsinkable ' The Full Story. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books.
Domont, E. (1997, April 6). Titanic Homeport. Retrieved October 27, 2004, from http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/8921/
Heyer, P. (1995). Titanic Legacy: Disaster as Media Event and Myth. Westport: Praeger Publishers.
Spignesi, S. J. (1998). The Complete Titanic. Ontario, Canada: Carol Publishing Group.
Spignesi, S. J. (1998). The Complete Titanic. Secacucels: Carol Publishing Group.
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