The RMS Titanic was an incredible ship. Construction began on the 31st March 1909 and she was finished and ready for passengers on the 2nd April 1912. It was an amazing feat of engineering, with 10 decks, and was the biggest ship of its time at just over 882 feet long (269 metres). That made it the largest moving man-made object at its launch. This is actually quite small in comparison to cruise ships we have now – The ‘Oasis of the Seas’ built in 2009 is over 1180 feet long and has 16 decks!
Here are 18 things you might not know about the RMS Titanic:
- The RMS in the name RMS Titanic stands for Royal Mail Ship. It was given only to ships contracted by and carrying mail for British Royal Mail. There are actually 3 ships still in service today with the status of Royal Mail Ship.
- There were 3 MILLION rivets holding the hull of the RMS Titanic together. It took around 3000 shipbuilders in Belfast to construct her. 8 people lost their lives and 246 were injured while building her. It took 20 horses just to transport the main anchor to the construction site.
- The cost of a First Class suite for the voyage was $4350 – this would be around $50,000 today. Far out of the reach of most people at the time. There were also First Class rooms for $150 (about $1750 today), Second Class rooms for $60 (about $680 today) and Third Class rooms for $40 (about $450 today).
- Although the RMS Titanic had 4 funnels, only 3 of them were used for the engines. The fourth was for looks and also ventilation for the kitchens.
- As it left the port, it caused a suction effect so strong that it snapped the rope holding a nearby ship at the dock. It nearly collided with the RMS titanic.
- The RMS Titanic had 3 engines and used 825 TONS of coal per day. She could travel at 23 knots (over 26mph) and had over 45,000 horse power!
- Passengers on the RMS Titanic expected the very best. To keep everyone well fed the RMS Titanic set sail with an incredible amount of food on board. This included 75000 lb of fresh meat, 40000 fresh eggs, 11000 lb of fresh fish and 36000 oranges. The passengers would also use about 14000 gallons of drinking water in a single day.
- There were around 885 crew on board for the maiden voyage of RMS Titanic and around 1310 passengers. That means that there were only 3 passengers to every 2 crew. It’s one of the ways that they could provide extravagant service for their guests. Another way was to provide all of the luxuries of the time including 15000 bottles of beer, 1000 bottles of wine, 850 bottles of spirits and 8000 cigars.
- There was an entire deck reserved for first class passengers only. deck A, otherwise known as the promenade deck ran for 546 feet of the ship. It contained First Class cabins, a lounge, a smoking room and reading and writing rooms.
- Aside from the exclusive deck A there were also two luxury restaurants on deck B (the Bridge Deck) – the A La Carte and the Cafe Parisien. These too were for the First Class passengers. This was in addition to the First Class Dining Saloon down on deck D!
- The RMS Titanic also had some impressive technology on board. The interior of the ship was divided by 15 bulkheads which could be made watertight in an emergency. They extended from the bottom of the ship to well above the waterline. The entire ship was also fitted with a complex heating system. Heated water could be pumped through a network of pipes and valves. In an emergency they could even distil fresh water from sea water.
- The rudder used to steer the RMS Titanic was so large and heavy (over 100 tons) that it needed its own engines to move it! She also had to use 5 anchors just to hold position.
- RMS Titanic carried 20 lifeboats. 14 of these were standard wooden boats that could carry up to 65 people. There were 4 canvas sided collapsible lifeboats that could carry 47 people each and finally there were 2 emergency ‘cutters’ (a type of small sail boat) that could carry an additional 40 people each. This means that there was a total lifeboat capacity of only 1178 people compared to the roughly 2200 people on board.
- Despite the shortages, over 470 lifeboat seats were not used in the panic. In fact one of the first lifeboats was carrying only 28 people with a capacity of 64. There were however enough life jackets on board and most people were wearing one.
- On the day that the RMS Titanic collided with the iceberg, there had been 6 warnings of ice which had been ignored by a wireless operator who was busy sending all of the passenger messages.
- The iceberg which was struck was not a normal white iceberg. It had a clear look which reflected the night sky and the water. This made it very difficult to see at a distance.
- When the iceberg was spotted, the engines were put into reverse in an attempt to avoid a collision. This was actually a poor choice as the ship turned more quickly the faster she was moving forwards. She may have avoided the iceberg if she had continued forwards with full turning.
- Today the RMS Titanic lies underneath over 2.3 MILES of water in the Atlantic Ocean. As she sank the ship split into 2 pieces. These pieces lay over 1900 feet from each other at the bottom of the ocean. It wasn’t found for 74 years after sinking, in 1986.