The name Titanic stands for a legend. It is most certainly the best-known ship of all. It can be argued whether it was the most luxurious, the largest, the safest ship of its time. It is a fact, however, that this passenger ship of the “White Star Line”, built by the British shipyard Harland and Wolf, was exceptional in many respects. When the Titanic was built at the beginning of the 20th century, there was poverty and hunger in many European countries. Many people emigrated to North America to make a new start. For that reason it could be just as profitable for shipping lines to take many poor emigrants on board as a few rich ones. However, the different classes were rigidly separated. That was also the case on the Titanic.
The rich had a great deal to choose from: the first-class passengers were accommodated on the first five levels between upper deck and promenade deck. They had several salons, a Turkish bath, an indoor swimming pool, a gym, library and writing-rooms, restaurants and four electric lifts. The second-class passengers were accommodated in the middle levels and also had their own library. The third-class passengers were below deck and at the back on the middle and upper decks. But even here there was wall panelling and furniture made of teak. At that time the protection of tropical forests was of no importance.
On the morning of 10th April 1912 the Titanic set sail on her first voyage to New York. During the first few days the crossing of the Atlantic caused no great problems for the Titanic. However, on 14th April the first warnings of icebergs were announced on the radio. In spite of that the voyage continued without reducing speed. At 11.40 pm the lookout reported an iceberg. Although the ship was just able to turn past it, the iceberg cut the hull beneath water level at a length of 90 m. Six of the watertight compartments were damaged. The shipping engineers on board reckoned that the ship could stay afloat for about another two hours. Signal rockets and distress calls were sent out, but most of the ships with which the Titanic had radio contact were too far away to be of assistance in time.
It is well-known that there were not enough lifeboats, some of which were not full to capacity. On 15th April 1912 at 2.20 am the Titanic broke apart and sank. 1,500 people drifted in the cold water and froze to death. One officer of the Titanic succeeded in getting the passengers of one lifeboat to climb into other boats. Together with some volunteers, he returned with the empty boat to where the Titanic had sunk in order to pull people out of the water. But they arrived too late. They were only able to rescue four people, one of whom died later. Hours later the passenger ship Carpathia arrived at the scene and took the people from the lifeboats on board. 705 people survived the tragedy. The last survivor, a woman, lived until 2010.
Countless questions remained: what would have happened if...: if the lookout had discovered the iceberg later, and the Titanic had rammed it head-on, it probably wouldn’t have sunk. On the other hand, the Titanic might have been able to avoid the iceberg if it had been constructed differently. It had three propellers. One of them was in the centre directly in front of the relatively small rudder. This central propeller could not change the direction of rotation to reverse. That is why it was stopped during the evasive manoeuvre. But in that way the rudder was partly in the shade of the current of the stopped propeller, so that the Titanic reacted extremely slowly to the rudder lock.
Length: 136 cm
Width: 15 cm
Height: 47 cm
Number of sheets: 25.5
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