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Articles

Titanic Past and Present

What were the origins of this great ocean liner? Why was Titanic built? Why was she called unsinkable? Why did she sink? Why weren’t there enough lifeboats for everyone? Was third class prevented from getting into lifeboats? Who was at fault? What changed after the disaster? At the turn of the twentieth century Great Britain was pre-eminent; her largest shipping companies, Cunard and White Star, since the earliest days of transatlantic travel, battled for the greatest share of passenger business. By 1902 White Star had been purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan’s International Mercantile Marine Company (IMMC) whose dream was to…

Titanic’s “Brittle” Steel?

Olympic and Titanic were built using Siemens-Martin formula steel plating throughout the shell and upper works. This type of steel was first used in the armed merchant cruisers, Teutonic and Majestic in 1889/90. This steel was high quality with good elastic properties, ideal for conventional riveting as well as the modern method (in 1912) of hydraulic riveting. Each plate was milled and rolled to exact tolerances and presented a huge material cost to both yard and ship owner. The steel was not a new type, as already stated, but shows that yard and owner only put material and equipment into…

Miss Louise Laroche

A Haitian French Family Which Traveled in Second Class Aboard Titanic Miss Louise Laroche was an Honour Member of the Titanic Historical Society from the beginning until her death in 1998. Since she could not speak English, correspondence over the years was thin. When a young man from France joined the Titanic Historical Society who spoke fluent English, Edward Kamuda asked Olivier Mendez if he would pay her a visit and her story was published originally in the Titanic Commutator in 1995. The Titanic Historical Society receives inquiries from time to time asking if there were any black passengers onboard….

Ismay And The Titanic – by Paul Louden-Brown

Excerpted from “The White Star Line; An Illustrated History 1869-1934” J. Bruce Ismay at the time of the disaster, as chairman and managing director of the White Star Line, was held to blame for the loss of the Titanic by the American press; especially those controlled by William Randolph Hearst, a newspaper magnate and one of the richest and most powerful men in America. Ismay had met Hearst years before, when he was White Star’s agent in New York. The two men disliked each other intensely and Ismay’s refusal to cooperate with the press infuriated the newspaperman storing up problems…

The White Star Line and The International Mercantile Marine Company

The White Star Line, the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company was, from 1902 until 1927, a wholly owned subsidiary of the International Mercantile Marine Company (IMMC). From its inception thirty years earlier up to the turn of the century, it was probably the most successful of the British transatlantic carriers. Thomas Ismay, the Line’s founder, was both conservative and innovative. During a period of competitive turbulence and rapid technological advances, White Star earned an enviable reputation under his personal guidance not only for the quality of its steamers which became prototypes for the modern ocean liner, but also for consistently profitable…

Our Thanks to the US Coast Guard and The International Ice Patrol

 U. S. Coast Guard International Ice Patrol Once Again Remembers Those Lost on Titanic  On a cold but sunny April 15th over the treacherous iceberg invested waters of the North Atlantic the men and women of U. S. Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina and the International Ice Patrol once again paused to remember the 1500 plus souls lost with the RMS Titanic. Ice Reconnaissance Detachment (ICERECDET) #5 deployed from Elizabeth City on 14 April 2002. After a brief stop in Groton, Connecticut to pick up the “Ice Picks” from the International Ice Patrol the C-130 long-range maritime…

The Infamous “Titanic Menu”

The Titanic Historical Society published this article to its readers as a public service. Documentation is in the Society’s files. While in Denver in April, 1999 attending The Titanic Historical Society’s convention, a menu was shown on the television programme, “Antiques Roadshow,” whose owner in Boston claimed was an original from the Titanic worth $75,000.00. A few months later, an antique gallery in Texas had another that it was planning to auction online. That menu was found on the back of a framed picture and also was given a hefty appraisal. And as this article was being written, another was…

Titanic Myths

The Titanic disaster is a classic tale and now has become a modern folk story, but like all folk stories our understanding of what really happened has been clouded by the way the disaster has been recounted over the years following that terrible night in April 1912. As soon as the waves of the North Atlantic closed over her stern the myths began. It was said that the builders and owners of Titanic claimed she was unsinkable. Actually, the claim made was that she was “practically unsinkable.” Close enough, but nevertheless an unfortunate statement and one which would haunt both the builder…

Titanic, Olympic and Myths

The distribution of myths and misinformation about the Titanic, and their perpetuation is a situation we uncover ad infinitum. Thirty-five years of publishing in the Commutator, including Don Lynch’s survivor archives, Ken Marschall’s knowledge of Titanic’s structure, information from George Behe, Ray Lepien, Eric Sauder, Paul Louden-Brown and many more authors, make a lengthy list of talent. Books, reprints, new and old material that the THS or 7C’s Press offers are a convenient resource. It is not for a lack of material but more like the proverbial bringing a horse to water… how do you get him to drink it?…

Preservation Is An Ongoing Effort To Protect Artifacts

The sinking of Titanic was an event that shocked the world. Thousands of lives were touched by the tragedy. All that we know about Titanic comes from the accounts and the stories of the survivors, the rescuers and the people directly involved in the tragedy. There were countless acts of bravery and sacrifice that occurred that night. The stories of too many have been lost forever. Thankfully, many have been preserved through the continuing efforts of the Titanic Historical Society. What Edward Kamuda started in 1963 has grown to become an internationally known and recognized organization. A key focus of…

Memories of the Olympic

The whistle let out a long, booming blast, and a light outside drifted slowly by the porthole, showing that the Olympic was under way. But that’s all I saw, for these were the days of midnight sailings, and I was around nine years old. It had been decreed that I must go directly to bed, and so I was never able to join the crowds that lined the rails as the great White Star liner eased from her New York pier on July 9, 1926. [If it had been daylight, it would have been similar to this scene of Olympic…

I Heard Titanic’s Call

ALEC BAGOT was a Marconi operator on Olympic when the Titanic struck an iceberg. He was an old man when he finished the last draft of his book, Roaming Around so his memories are faulty and tainted by pop culture about the Titanic. It should also be noted that he lived a much fuller life then most who were involved in the drama on that fateful night of April 14-15, 1912. Bagot served in the First World War, became a wealthy businessman, chaired a host of committees, was an elected Member of Parliament before becoming CEO of a major insurance company. The Titanic disaster wasn’t the biggest event of…

To Hell and Back, The Maiden Voyage of Britannic

Simon Mills, a long time friend and member of the Titanic Historical Society has written a special chapter for his latest book “To Hell And Back, The Maiden Voyage of Britannic” exclusively for The Titanic Commutator. We will be offering you a taste of the article here and the complete article will appear in the February/May 2003 issue of The Titanic Commutator. Her first voyage was a far cry from that originally planned for the ship. Early on the frosty morning of Tuesday 22nd December 1915, a taxi from the London & NorthWestern Railway Hotel pulled up alongside Liverpool’s Gladstone…

When Is A Rocket Called A Distress Signal Or Just A Flash In The Sky?

In April 1912 when the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank, the subject of distress rockets was a prime news event. To this very day, due to the United States and British Enquiries ignoring the International Regulations regarding the display of signals of distress, there is confusion. Strange as it may seem, some people including a few “experts” of the Titanic story, don’t fully understand distress signals. Sadly,it seems, no one on the Titanic that fateful night was aware of how to fire distress signals. Fourth Officer Boxhall at the United States Senate Hearing into the disaster on the witness…


Links

Titanic – The Legend Continues:  A state-of-the-art journey begins when passengers board the ship through an iceberg at the water’s edge. Once inside the real story unfolds as the great Titanic lives on — a towering symbol recreated in all her glorious splendor.You will relive the last hours of her fateful April 1912 voyage and emotionally connect to her passengers and crew through their words and stories. In the artifact galleries you will almost feel their presence in spirit where over 400 personal and private artifacts including some loaned from the Titanic Historical Society Collection are on display. There are no salvaged artifacts.Upon entry you will be handed a boarding pass bearing the name of a passenger. What happened to this person will be revealed on the Memorial Wall.
Some of the highlights…

  • Walk on an elegant replica of the Titanic’s Grand Staircase
  • Touch the frozen surface of an ‘iceberg’
  • Feel the North Atlantic chill of that clear, starry April night
  • You will marvel at the world’s largest, exquisitely detailed Titanic model
  • Stand on the mighty ship’s bridge and hear Captain Smith’s words
  • View life onboard in a life-like First Class stateroom and a typical Third Class cabin.
  • Explore world-class galleries containing rare historical artifacts
  • Interactive displays include: Try to send an SOS transmission from the ship’s wireless room
  • See an exclusive exhibit of Father Browne’s photos – the only known interior & exterior photos taken of Titanic.

THS Group:  This is a Members Only group, all current THS members are welcome to join.

Visiting the Titanic Museum? Coming to Indian Orchard, Massachusetts? Lodging, food & drink, things to do… 

Coast Guard Ice Patrol:  The sinking of the RMS TITANIC on April 15, 1912, was the prime impetus for the establishment of the International Ice Patrol. See Also our article on the Ice Patrol.

Encyclopedia Titanica:  A unique resource for anyone interested in the Titanic. Detailed passenger and crew biographies, regularly updated passenger and crew listings, exclusive research articles and ongoing discussions about the Titanic.

The Titanic Research and Modeling Association: Dedicated to the research of Olympic class ships and other great liners of the past.

Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management, Halifax, NS, has launched a virtual exhibit and searchable database built around a very rare archival document–the Disposition of Bodies ex Titanic Recovered up to May 13, 1912.

This printed list is the most complete known record of the dead recovered from the disaster site. The list has been scanned so that Internet visitors can experience the appearance of the original document, and the information it contains has also been migrated into a searchable database. The list enumerates 328 bodies retrieved from the North Atlantic and either buried at sea or brought to Halifax. Details for each include identity, if known; physical features and information about clothing and personal effects; and directions for the disposition of remains.

An accompanying virtual exhibit features nearly 80 historical photographs and documents, most of them presented online for the first time. Together, the list and the exhibit provide a striking visual record detailing the aftermath of Titanic’s catastrophic end.

Agawam Historical Association:  Agawam is a town rich in history – from its founding in 1636, to its incorporation in 1855, to having the first Zip Code in the United States. Browse through the web site and discover things from French and Indian War veterans graves to the largest amusement park in New England.