Revealed: Things You Never Knew About The Real Titanic

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The Grand Staircase

Do you remember the glorious staircase that was the setting for one of the most epic scenes in the Titanic film? That staircase was real, and it descended down seven of the ship’s decks (there were ten total). There are several replicas that were made and can be found in the Titanic Museum located in Brandon, Missouri.

Titanic Grand Staircase

The Irony

In an ironic and sad twist of fate, there was a lifeboat scheduled for the very same day as the ship crashing into the iceberg. However, it ended up being cancelled by the captain, and did not end up happening. Perhaps if the crew of the ship as well as the passengers had gone through the training, they would have been better prepared for the disaster and potentially many lives could have been saved from the disaster.

Titanic Lifeboats

A Noble Farewell

This heartbreaking photo shows priest Reverend Hind leading a mass funeral and saying prayers over dozens of recovered bodies from the Titanic’s crash. After 1,512 deaths, these bodies were gathered nine days after Titanic had sunk in Atlantic. The photo was discovered a century after the disaster happened and clearly shows body bags stacked on the deck one of the recovery ships. In background can be seen survivors emotionally bidding farewell to friends and family, while on the right, two crewmen are tipping a body overboard.

Titanic Priest

Safety Measures

The RMS Titanic had 16 wooden lifeboats on deck, as well as four collapsible boats carried on the ship. Although these were more than the legally required amount, these lifeboats and collapsible boats could only accommodate 1,1,78 people in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, the total number of passengers traveling on the Titanic were roughly two times more than that number, which meant that sadly, many people did not make it out alive simply because there were not enough emergency boats.

Titanic Lifeboat

The Captain

The RMS Titanic was lead by captain Edward Smith, who did not survive the ship’s tragic accident either. His last words are said to have been: “Well boys, you’ve done your duty and done it well. I ask no more of you. I release you. You know the rule of the sea. It’s every man for himself now, and God bless you.” A statue has been erected in his honor and can be found in Lichfield, Staffordshire.

Edward John Smith

A Small Tribute

A third noteworthy on board the RMS Titanic shipwreck was the Countess of Rothes, who was named Noel Leslie. She actually survived the tragic shipwreck despite the chaos. Her name was mentioned in an episode of the popular PBS drama Downton Abbey. When the show references the Titanic drowning, the Countess of Grantham makes the remark upon hearing the news: “Isn’t this terrible? When you think how excited Lucy Rothes was at the prospect.”

Countess Of Rothes

The Iceberg

The fateful iceberg that would eventually cause the demise of the Titanic was spotted on April 14, 1912 at 11:40pm, by lookout Frederick Fleet, who exclaimed: “Iceberg! Right ahead!” The iceberg itself was about 100 feet high and it was later identified to have been originally a part of a glacier in Greenland. Only 37 seconds went by between the iceberg being sighted and the collision that would cause the ship to drown. Frederick Fleet ended up surviving the disaster.

Titanic Iceberg

Robert Hichens

If you’re wondering who was the man behind the steering wheel aboard the Titanic, let us introduce to Robert Hichens – the man who steered Titanic into the iceberg. Once the fate of the ship was seeled, Hichens quickly boarded a rescue ship and became one of the survivors. While on the life boat, Hichens got into a tiff with “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”, which made her famous for life. Hichens continued working aboard ships after the tragedy.

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The Dining Room

If you’re familiar with the film about the sinking of Titanic, you will know that the dining area played a big role aboard the ship, especially if you were a part of the second or the first class. The dining room was an area for the rich and famous passengers, for the middle class families, for the business passengers, and for the less fortunate who were trying to get to Manhattan to make dreams come true.

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Charles John Joughin

Charles Joughin was the chief baker aboard the RMS Titanic, and also a survivor, but by complete dumb luck. When the Titanic started to sink, Joughin was seen with several refills of whiskey, trying to sip away the sorrow. Witnesses say he was seen throwing chairs overboard so that people in the water could hold on to them. Although Joughin was assigned as captain to one of the life boats, he chose not to board in order to let other people get on. But then…

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Joughin’s Survival

During Titanic’s final plunge, Joughin was thought to be at the very top part of the ship, waiting for his death to come. According to his own testimony, Joughin paddled for two hours, hardly feeling the cold because he was drunk. When daylight broke, he managed to find one of the life boats upside down with 25 men holding on to it. Unfortunately, there was no space for Joughin, but another boat came to his rescue shortly after. He was rescued with nothing but swollen feet.

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Surviving Crew Members, 1912

Although thousands of crew members and passengers didn’t make it to the rescue ship, there were some crew members who managed to survive and continue to live very long lives. This photo depicts the surviving crew members of the Titanic, rescued after spending a long period of time on the life boats. It appears that many were terrified and in shock after the rescue mission, but there was a lot of treatment provided aboard the ship.

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Ida and Isidor Straus

Ida and Isidor Straus (co-owner of Macy’s department store) were an elderly couple in first class who boarded the Titanic in Belfast in 1912, just like everybody else. The difference is – they were one of the only first class passengers who voluntarily chose not to board a rescue boat, staying together aboard of the sinking ship. Their story made headlines for a reason, one that will bring tears to your eyes…

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The Love Story

According to previous recounts, the couple refused to get on the rescue boats. Other people on the sinking RMS tried to convince Isa to get on one of the life boats, but she refused to leave her husband behind. Witnesses described this scene as the most remarkable display of love and devotion. As she refused to get on the boat, Isa stated, “I will not be separated from my husband. As we have lived, so will we die, together”.

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The Aftermath

Isidor and Ida were last seen standing arm in arm on the deck of the ship. Once the rescue ship decked at the port, survivors told the reporters about Ida’s loyalty and love for her husband. Isidor’s body was recovered later on, but Ida’s was never found. There are several memorials dedicated to Ida and Isidor Straus, including the cenotaph at Woodlawn Cemetery and one on the 34th street by the main entrance to Macy’s in Manhattan.

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Second Class Cabin

Although it looks like only the first class passengers on the Titanic had it good, it seems like they weren’t the only ones tasting a little bit of luxury. The photo below shows one of the second class cabins, which looks like it could compete with the first class rooms. Sadly, a man in first class had a much higher chance of surviving than a child in the steerage, which, for the most part, is what happened.

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The Final Letter

One of the passengers – John Snyder – managed to escape death the night of the sinking after entering one of the first rescue boats on the ship. After the tragic incident, Snyder wrote a heartbreaking letter to his father describing the incident. The letter states, “We were both asleep when the boat hit… We were almost the very first people placed in the Lifeboat… Finally, the bow went under — the finest boat in the world was doomed”.

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Rowing Towards Rescue

The photo was barely recovered from the incident, but luckily it’s clear enough to see the struggle even survivors faced. This photo depicts survivors in lifeboats in the middle of the ocean, rowing towards the rescue ships that were luckily not too far away. When Titanic sent out the call for help, the Carpathia – a ship that was also heading to New York – answered the call and steamed to the rescue of survivors in life boats.

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An Example of Luxury

The interior of the RMS Titanic was designed to emulate the design style of the Ritz hotel in London, England. The ship was a luxury one and included a wide array of high-end amenities. These amenities included a Turkish bath, a swimming pool, a kennel for the dogs traveling first class, as well as a full squash court. The ship also produced its very own newspaper, which was called the Atlantic Daily Bulletin.

RMS Titanic Ritz

Optical Illusion

Due to poor conditions and the specific atmosphere the night the Titanic sank, it his believed that an optical illusion was created and the ship could not be seen by other ships that were sent to help. According to an article in Smithsonian magazine: “Atmospheric conditions in the area that night were ripe for super refraction, [British historian Tim] Maltin found. This extraordinary bending of light causes miraging, which, he discovered, was recorded by several ships in the area. He says it also prevented the Titanic’s lookouts from seeing the iceberg in time and the freighter Californian from identifying the ocean liner and communicating with it.”

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Noteworthy Victim

There were several noteworthy individuals traveling on the RMS Titanic who did not make it out alive. One of these victims was John Jacob Astor IV, who was the richest passenger on board of the ship. His net worth at the time was $85 million, which today would equal around $2 billion. One legend tells that as the ship was crashing into the iceberg, Astor turned to his waiter as said, “I asked for ice, but this is ridiculous.”

John Jacob Astor IV

Another Victim

Another noteworthy victim aboard the doomed ship was American business man Benjamin Guggenheim. When he realized the ship’s fate, he and his valet, Victor Giglio, reportedly changed into their finest evening wear. He is said to have remarked: “We’ve dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen.”  Benjamin Guggenheim and Victor Giglio were noted for last being seen lounging on deck chairs while smoking cigars and drinking brandy one last time together.

Benjamin Guggenheim

A Close Call

Several people had purchased a ticket to board the RMS Titanic but did not actually show up for the journey when the ship set sail. Among these would-be passengers include Milton S. Hershey, who was the founder of Hershey’s chocolate, Guglielmo Marconi, and Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt would eventually die on a different ship, the RMS Lusitania, three years after the Titanic made its fateful journey. Additionally, the last remaining survivor of the Titanic disaster was Millvina Dean, who passed away in May 2009 at age 97, and was only two months old while on the Titanic.

Millvins Dean

The Life Boats

The lifeboat situation aboard the Titanic wasn’t well thought out. There were 20 life boats aboard the ship, which could only accommodate 1,178 passengers in total; there were approximately 2,224 passengers on board, and the maximum capacity was 3,327. Many of the lifeboats were only half full, and by the time other passengers wanted to get on, the boats were too far away. It turned out later that the crew on board wasn’t properly trained for emergencies.

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The Sad Truth

At around 2:20am on April 15th, 1912, the RMS Titanic broke in half after hitting the iceberg. As it split in two, it began to sink, which meant that all the passengers that remained on board were not able to make it out of the ship in time. The temperature at the time would be around -2 degrees Celsius, meaning that few of the passengers could have survived for more than 15 minutes in the water and it is estimated that nearly one in five passengers would have perished within two minutes due to the shock from the cold.

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A Drunken Win

Reportedly, the ship’s baker, named Charles Joughin, managed to survive the freezing temperatures of the water and was eventually rescued. He was able to tread water for around two hours before he was rescued, with seemingly little to no ill-effects. When asked about how he was able to do this, he claimed that he did not feel the effects of the freezing cold water because he had drunk a large amount of whiskey beforehand.

Charles Joughin

The Musicians

Passengers were given a music book that had 352 songs if they were first-class passengers. Each of the musicians on board was expected to know all of these songs, in case a passenger were to make a request. Much like in the scene in the film, the musicians were playing as the ship sank. It is reported that the musicians persisted and continued to play for about two hours and five minutes as the ship was sinking.Titanic Music Book

The Survivors

A little more than four hours after the ship initially hit the iceberg and two hours after the ship plummeted into the depths of the ocean, the RMS Carpathia arrived at 4am on April 15th, 1912, in order to pick up the survivors of the shipwreck. The ship took the survivors to New York City’s Pier 54, where they were greeted by a crowd of 40,000 who came to show their support for the remaining survivors of the disaster.

RMS Carpathia

Blame It On The Moon

There are several scientists that believe that the moon could be at fault for the sinking of the Titanic. Astronomer Donald Olson who hails from the Texas State University in San Marco, “That full moon, on January 4, 1912, may have created unusually strong tides that sent a flotilla of icebergs southward—just in time for Titanic‘s maiden voyage.” He continued: “It was the closest lunar approach, in fact, since A.D. 796, and Earth won’t see its like again until 2257.”

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The Remains

Of all of the passengers that perished when the ship sank, only 306 bodies were recovered. These bodies were taken to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in order to be properly buried. There is now a memorial dedicated in their honor located there. Additionally, the Maritime Museum there has an entire section that is dedicated to the RMS Titanic. There, visitors can find mortuary bags, a deck chair that was found from the wreck’s remains, and also a shoe from an unknown victim.

Titanic Halifax

Finding The Wreck

The remains of the RMS Titanic disaster were found in the year 1985, 73 years after the ship initially sank. It was found about 370 miles off of the coast of Newfoundland and was located in around 12,500 feet below the sea level. Deep Ocean Expeditions, a marine dive specialist organization, used to organize trips to the ship’s wrecks in a Mir submersible that was charted by the Russian Academy of Sciences. The berths went for around $59,00, but were discontinued in 2012.

Titanic Remains

Titanic The Movie

James Cameron’s 1997 film was certainly the most successful of all the films and documentaries made about the tragic ship. The film was a huge critical and box office success, garnering nearly $2 billion total since its release. It was also awarded 11 Oscar Awards. The main theme “My Heart Will Go On,” by Celine Dion, was 1998’s most successful single. The most prominent covers of the song were done by artists such as Neil Diamond, Sarah Brightman, and Kenny G.

Titanic Jack and Rose

Survivor’s Guilt

Although a majority of the ship’s passengers did not survive the fateful iceberg crash, one would think that the remaining survivors would be accepted back into their communities with open arms. That was not the case for one Japanese passenger who survived the Titanic disaster. When he returned to Japan, he was actually shamed and called a coward for returning home instead of dying alongside the rest of the passengers on board the ship.

Japanese Survivor

Initial Reports

The initial reports about the Titanic sinking in many news publications offered some false information. In publications such as British newspaper London Daily Mail, it was reported that “Titanic Sunk, No Lives Lost,” found in the April 16th, 1912 edition of the newspaper. The same kind of headlines were offered in other publications such as The World newspaper publication. It was only until some time had passed that the truth came out, and that many people did lose their lives.

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New York Times Coverage

Despite the initial incorrect reports that claimed that no people were killed in the accident, the New York Times later reported the correct information. In fact, the publication dedicated about 75 pages to the accident within the first week of the disaster. The front page title read: Titanic Sinks Four Hours After Hitting Iceberg; 866 Rescued By Carpathia, Probably 1250 Perish; Ismay Safe, Mrs. Astor Maybe, Noted Names Missing. The names of those who did not survive were slowly released over time.

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Propelling To America

Like the ship itself, the RMS Titanic’s propellers were some of the biggest of its time and possibly ever. Each propeller measured 23 feet and inches, weighed a staggering 38 tons and was powered by its own engine, producing up to 30,000 hp. The center propeller was made of manganese bronze and built in one piece, while the two outer propellers were built in parts. The propellers were driven by a small low-pressure steam turbine, which used exhaust steam from the two main engines.

Titanic Propellers

Let’s Get Physical!

If first class passengers wished to keep fit during their long cruise, they had easy access at the Titanic’s gymnasium. For an ocean liner of its time, having a gym with its own electric camel, electric horse, cycling machine and rowing machine was a true innovation. The gym’s physical educator, Mr Thomas McCauley would supervise the passengers, who were required to pay one shilling per session. The gym was open for ladies from 9am-midday, gentlemen 2-6pm and for children from 1-3pm.

Titanic Gym

The Titanic’s Irish Origins

Before setting of to sail from Southampton, the Titanic’s origins lay elsewhere. The ship was built by the Harland & Wolff heavy industrial company in Belfast. Once completed, the Titanic was released from a slipway at Queen’s Yard of the Harland & Wolff shipyard. On May 31st, 1911, the Titanic was first launched into the Victoria Channel. Of the 15,000 people who worked at Harland & Wolff’s, about 3,000 were involved with the creation of the RMS Titanic. At 25 stories high and weighing 46,000 tons, the Titanic was ready to set sail.

Titanic Launch

The Aftermath

Here can be seen a victim of the RMS Titanic lying motionless aboard the rescue vessel CS Minia. The body was being prepared for a make-shift coffin in April or May, 1912. The body was in the process of being embalmed, suggested by the equipment next to the body and the tubes that can be faintly seen in the embalmers hands. Halifax-based cable ship CS Minia recovered 17 bodies and with other rescue ships, a total of 128 bodies were buried at sea and another 209 were brought to Halifax.

Titanic Coffin

Longing For Their Loved Ones

This photo shows a long line of people in Southampton (April, 1912) checking a list of the Titanic’s survivors, which was posted outside the White Star Line office. A total of 706 people, including 492 passengers and 214 crewmen, survived the destruction. This means that 31.6% of all who were aboard the RMS Titanic survived. At a time without advanced technology and internet, civilians painfully waited for their loved ones too return. Sadly, some did not receive such good news after reading the list.

Titanic Survivor List

Wreck Site Map

According to an article in the Associated Press, a group of researchers have put together a complete map of the entire Titanic debris field that takes up a 3-by-5-mile radius. This map can help dig into more insight about what really happened that night. The report states that: “An expedition team used sonar imaging and more than 100,000 photos taken from underwater robots to create the map, which shows where hundreds of objects and pieces of the presumed-unsinkable vessel landed.”

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Auction Deals

Many artifacts that were found from the remains of the ship are up for auction. Many items have already been auctioned off, including a collection of artifacts that were found on the ship have gone for $189 million. According to reports from CNN, the artifacts include silverware and also real pieces of the actual ship. Another item that will be auctioned off, according to The Telegraph, will be the actual lunch menu that was found on the ship. The menu included smoked sardines and grilled mutton chops.

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Was It Predicted?

In the novel Futility by author Morgan Robertson, the plot line is frighteningly familiar. The book was written 14 years before the Titanic sank. The ship in the novel is called the Titan, and its story was summed up in the Portland Press Herald: “The largest ship ever built, billed as ‘unsinkable’ by its British owners and the press, strikes an iceberg one April and goes down. Due to a lack of lifeboats, more than half the passengers perish in the North Atlantic.”

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Titanic Tourist Trap

The Titanic was build on the historic Belfast dock in Ireland, which cost around $2 million to preserve, according to BBC News. The dock, called the Thompson Graving dock, is considered to be “the largest single investment ever made by the Department of the Environment in support of an historic monument.” The reason the investment was made was because the site is one of the biggest local attractions in the area. A Titanic expert and guide shared with the Associated Press: “tragedy plus time equals tourism.”

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The Titanic Experience

In April 2012, a cruise line was launched that would retrace the route that the Titanic took while simultaneously honoring the victims who did not survive the shipwreck. The ship was meant to travel from Ireland to Halifax, Canada, as this is the site where many of the fallen were laid to rest. However, as the memorial cruise ship set sail, carrying 1309 passengers, it was forced to head back to the port just hours after it set out as a passenger suffered from a non life-threatening heart condition.

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Several Replicas

If anyone would want to undertake the project of recreating the iconic ship, it would set them back around $400 million. James Cameron’s Titanic film is one of the most successful films of all time, raking in more than $1.84 billion since its initial release in 1997, not including the money made from the film’s 3D re-release in 2012.. This massive amount of money would be enough to cover the cost of constructing 4.6 complete replicas of the original ship.

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The Odell Family

When the Titanic set sail, 11-year old Jack Odell was one of the passengers who survived the crash. 80 years after the event, Odell signed this photo of himself standing next to the roof of the First Class Lounge, but he would never have imagined how important the photo would become. His family were able to get off the Titanic using tenders, small ferry boats, that dropped off other passengers. This iconic photo was taken by his sister, Kate Odell.

Jack Odell Titanic

The Story

There have been many films, documentaries, and other forms of retelling of the story of the RMS Titanic that have been created about the fascinating story. A film about the Titanic commissioned by Joseph Goebbels in 1943 was rather controversial due to the fact that it featured brave German passengers while discrediting the American and British businessmen. The epilogue of the film stated: “the deaths of 1,500 people remain un-atoned, forever a testament of Britain’s endless quest for profit.”

Titanic Goebbels

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

Once the iceberg had been spotted, Scottish First Officer William McMaster Murdoch decided to make the order to turn the ship around, however, due to the ship’s massive nature, it could not do so in time. Some analysts have suggested that had the ship hit the iceberg head-on, it would not have sunk at all. Murdoch did not survive the disaster. There is a memorial dedicated to him in his hometown Dalbeattie, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. In this photo of the crew, Murdoch is sitting in the front row, furthest to the right.

William McMaster Murdoch Crew

Current Issue

Even though it has been over a century since the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank, icebergs still pose as a significant threat to many major ships today. According to a report in BBC News Magazine, “Only last year, an iceberg tore a hole in the hull of a Russian fishing boat cruising around the Antarctic. The 32-person crew threw cargo overboard to lighten the ship while waiting nearly two weeks for rescue.”

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Holy Ship

When the RMS Titanic was launched, it was the largest passenger ship to ever exist in the world. It measured 882 feet (269 meters) and was considered to be the largest moving object on Earth that was built by humans. It no longer holds this record, however. The new current holder of title of largest moving object is the MS Allure of the Seas. The Allure of the Seas is the largest passenger vessel in the world, and measures at 362 meters.

Allure Of The Seas

The Last Photo

This photo is believed to be the last taken of the RMS Titanic during her maiden voyage at Crosshaven, Ireland. It was only three days after this photo was taken when 1,514 people lost their lives and the ship sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic. This photo, according to Time Magazine, was taken by Jesuit priest Francis Browne, who was aboard the ship during the first leg of its journey. Browne was originally going to stay on the ship for the entire journey, but after receiving a letter from his superior in Cobh, Ireland, he was ordered not to sail on with the Titanic.

Titanic, Last Image, 1912

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