Luxuries on the Titanic: In 1912 the Titanic, which was once the largest and most luxurious passenger ship in the world, sailed from the English coast to New York. A few days later, the ship sank after colliding with an iceberg.
In the early hours of April 15, 1912, the sinking of the largest ship built until then by the hand of man, which some described as unsinkable, took the lives of 1,495 people and gave rise to the greatest legend in the history of the Maritime navigation. The Titanic had lifeboats for about 1,200 people, but there were about 2,200 on board.
Immediately after the tragedy, chronicles were written, inquiries were made, assumptions were born of how the fateful day had passed.
Between Sad and Luxuries on the Titanic
For many years historians, treasure hunters, oceanographers, and businessmen have searched for the wreck. And it was in 1985 when the Titanic was located at the bottom of the sea, 4 kilometers deep and about 800 kilometers off the coast of Canada.
Then the task of recovering the remains of the Titanic began to learn more about its history and to preserve its memory. The recovery work is not over yet, but the salvaged objects offer information about how the tragedy developed.
The history of the Titanic, and that of its two twin ships, the Olimpic and the Britannic, had begun at the London mansion, owned by Lord James Pirrie, the majority shareholder of the world’s largest shipyards, Harland and Wolf. In this house, he met the night of June 10, 1907, with Bruce Ismay managing director of the shipping company White Star Line, and they decided to build the three largest ships in the world.
That night they also decided the names that would take each ship. The first would be called Olimpic, the second Titanic and the third Gigantic, name after the tragedy of the Titanic changed by Britannic. Interestingly, the house where the Titanic was born, is currently the Embassy of Spain in the United Kingdom.
The Construction of a Dream: The Titanic
Although Harley and Wolf’s shipyards employed 14,000 workers, there were about 3,000 men who, for 27 months, worked intensively to complete the construction of the Titanic.
The lifting of the great ocean liner took 27,000 tons of the best steel of the time. The hull of the Titanic was composed of steel plates, 2, 5 cms thick, which were joined with more than 3 million rivets.
When it sailed on April 10, 1912, the Titanic was the largest ship in the world. At 880 feet long and 175 feet high, it took a team of 20 horses to haul the Titanic’s huge anchor, and the ship was under construction for three years.
Bruce Ismay, managing director of the shipping company White Star Line, survived the tragedy but, for taking the place of a woman in a lifeboat, was rejected by British society and died in the solitude of his Irish mansion in 1937.
The Titanic Starts up
On April 10, 1912, the Titanic began its maiden voyage and departed from Southampton (England) to New York. The ship sailed with almost an hour of delay since when leaving it was on the verge of colliding with another boat that was moored in the port.
The Titanic Sailed With Around 2,224 People Aboard, Between Passengers and Crew.
The majority of those who carried the ticket were men and women who travel to look for a better future in the United States. Although, the luxury that was announced on the inside of the Titanic attracted many rich and famous.
All first-class cabins were spacious, comfortable and refined, with paneled walls rich in tapestries and draped and a profusion of moldings, a decorative trend inspired by the ornamentation of the Palace of Versailles, which was a constant in most rooms of the ship. An elegant furniture in Louis XV style completed the set.
Many curious people also approached to see the great transatlantic and crowded on the docks to say goodbye to the ship and its passengers.
The map shows the route followed in the inaugural trip of the Titanic. The x marks the place where the disaster occurred.
In spite of altering the course to move more to the south of the area of the great icebergs, the captain could not avoid the collision.
Luxury and Elegance on Board
The areas of the boat reserved for the first class were equipped with all kinds of amenities: swimming pool, gym, squash court, Turkish bath, … all decorated in a majestic way. Therefore, the ship also represents the class difference of the time, because the decoration was responsible for leaving in addition to tastes, the level, social class or the purchasing power of those who could enjoy it.
An example of this is the majestic imperial staircase that presided over the first class area of the ship. A decoration that summed up perfectly the sensation that was intended to transmit.
It was an impressive double-curved oak staircase, with a banister lavishly decorated in gold, and topped by a glass dome through which natural light entered. The angel decorating the staircase was rescued from the bottom of the sea in one of the first dives.
The deck B of the ship accommodated passengers of first class and in her, the Cafe Parisien was located, whose windows could be raised if the time allowed it to have dinner in the open air. Coffee was very popular among the young people who were traveling aboard the Titanic.
The Most Luxurious Advances of the Time
Gymnasium, Turkish baths and an indoor pool, three leisure spaces that had never been seen on a transatlantic to date encouraged even more so that the wealthiest class in Europe was encouraged to experience first-hand an experience, which they promised delicious, during the trip on the ship.
We must remember that the initial idea was of a ship made from the most modern and advanced vision in the art of shipbuilding; No expense was spared in its design.
Astor, One of the Richest Men in the World
The businessman John Jacob Astor IV was one of the richest men in the world when he died on the Titanic, with a fortune equivalent to 2,16 billion dollars today.
Together with his wife Madeleine, the couple left for their honeymoon at RMS Olympic from New York and made a trip to Egypt. When they returned, they decided to board the RMS Titanic in Cherbourg as first class passengers with their dog Kitty, a valet (valet), a maid and a nurse, the latter since Madeleine was five months pregnant.
On the night of April 14, 1912, Astor informed his wife that the ship had collided with an iceberg. They both climbed onto the boat deck.
Astor helped his wife board the boat, asked if he could accompany her because of his “delicate condition”, a request that was denied because the premise “women and children first” prevailed.
Madeleine and her companions were rescued by the Carpathia, but her husband and valet died in the sinking and Astor’s body was recovered on April 25.
Four days after starting their first trip, the crew began receiving messages from other ships warning of several icebergs along the way.
However, some of these recommendations were not taken seriously and Captain Edward J. Smith went to his room at 9:20 p.m. The lookouts were trying to be a little more diligent with the observation, but the ship kept going at full speed.
At 23:40 this indestructible ship hit an iceberg. The night was clear, but the moon did not shine and the lookouts did not have binoculars, so they could only see the iceberg when it was in front of them.
When the alarm was given, it was ordered to turn to starboard (to the left) and put the motors in reverse. Although I had room to do it, it was not enough.
A few seconds after the alarm signal the Titanic hit the iceberg on its right side.
The passengers did not realize the situation because the blow was barely felt, but at 00:05 hours the lifeboats were already being deployed and five minutes later emergency calls were being made. Two hours and forty-five minutes after the collision, the ship had sunk completely.
The Coveted Boats
In spite of complying with the legislation of the time, the ship only took lifeboats for approximately half of the travelers.
The company was so sure that the ship could not sink that there were only 20 lifeboats. The boats were then necessary, but unfortunately not enough …
Those who did not reach the lifeboats (a large part of the crew and third-class passengers) had life vests, which were of no use to them in the icy waters of the North Atlantic.
Even some that did manage to climb the lifeboats died frozen in the open, as the boats were rescued at 03:30 in the morning by the transatlantic Carpathia.
Together Until Death
Isidor and Ida Straus were co-owners of Macy’s department store chain in New York. In February 1912, the Straus and one of their granddaughters, Beatriz, traveled to Germany.
The couple left their granddaughter in Germany and traveled to England, where they decided to take out tickets in the new RMS Titanic.
After the collision with the iceberg, the Straus and his staff are guided to the gym to wait for the possibility of being boarded in a lifeboat.
They are assigned to boat #8 and in consideration of their age Isidor Straus is invited to board the boat with his wife and maid Ellen Bird; But Isidor Straus refuses, saying: “I will not get on that boat before any other man.” His wife Rosalie Ida then leaves her place and says: “We have been living together for many years and wherever you go, I go”.
They Died Together Aboard the Ship After Refusing to Be Separated.
His maid was the only one who does not leave the boat and by his testimony, the truth of the behavior of the Straus was learned in the last moments of the RMS Titanic, his story caused the great commotion in the Jewish community and is used until today as an example of courage and fidelity.
The “Unsinkable” Molly Brown
Margaret Brown was known in her early years as “Maggie” Tobin, one of the youngest daughters of a very humble family, but her fate changed when she married Jim Brown, a new rich man thanks to the profits in the American mines.
The first thing Brown did with his sudden status as a millionaire was to educate himself. He went on to study art and after a few years, he spoke fluent French, Italian, German and Russian.
In 1912, he was traveling through Egypt when news reached him that his eldest granddaughter was seriously ill. He decided to return immediately on the first ship that had a direct trip to New York. This ship, of course, was the Titanic.
After the shipwreck, Margaret had spent her time helping people get to the boats until the ship’s crew convinced her to board the boat number 6. However, when she noticed that they were beginning to move away without having filled the passenger boats, a battle began. camp with the captain.
The man in charge of the boat, Robert Hitchens, feared that if they came close to the Titanic they could be dragged by the suction or the number of extra people could sink them.
The action that would make her go down in history would be the threat to the captain in which she said she could choose: “they would go back or throw it into the sea and she would take the boat by force”. This is how she became known as Margaret “Molly” Brown nicknamed “Unsinkable” after driving her lifeboat to rescue passengers stranded in the middle of the ocean.
The Carpathia was an ocean liner that had sailed from New York. When receiving the news of the disaster, the captain Arthur Rostron sent to divert the course to go to assist the survivors. The Carpathia managed to rescue 704 passengers and brought aboard the boats of the extinct vessel.
Of the 2,222 people traveling on board, only 32 percent of the passengers were saved but had the boats filled, 1,778 travelers would have been saved.
In the Deep Sea
The prow of the Titanic lies at the bottom of the North Atlantic, about 400 kilometers southeast of Newfoundland.
This pocket watch, belonging to one of the passengers, stopped at 01:50 hours on April 15, 1912, an hour and a half after the Titanic began to sink.
The Last Survivor
Millvina Dean (1912-2009) was the last survivor of the sinking. Besides, she was the youngest passenger, since she was only two months old when the Titanic sailed. Her father died in the accident and, after the disaster, she and her family returned to England.
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