Classic ocean liners
The RMS Titanic in detail
The tragedy of the RMS Titanic is printed in Naval History as an almost unique event for the vessel in question was considered
extraordinary. She was furnished with so much luxury that she was, without exaggeration, a truly floating palace. For those who
embarked on the RMS Titanic, the travel promised to be an unforgettable experience. She adopted the most modern technology to allow
her passengers to reach their destination as soon as possible but without affecting comfort.
Being in the moment of her launching the biggest vessel ever built, the RMS Titanic had an overall length of 269.1 meters, a beam
of 28 meters, a draught of 10.5 meters and a height of 53.3 meters from the keel to the top of funnels. Her tonnage reached 46328
gross register tonnes and the displacement was 52310 tonnes. The hull was assembled with over three millions of rivets, which weighed
alone over 1200 tonnes.
The heavier anchor weighed almost 16 tonnes and the rudder weighed over 100 tonnes, being steering necessarily assisted by
a steam engine. The rearmost funnel was installed to give the RMS Titanic a more impressive appearance; it did not exhaust any smoke
but served as an efficient ventilation duct.
To propel such a large vessel were installed 29 huge boilers, each weighing 91.5 tonnes and capable of holding 48.5 tonnes of water.
They gave energy to two triple-expansion four-cylinder reciprocating steam engines actuating on two three-bladed seven-meter in diameter
outer propellers, and to one Parsons low-pressure steam turbine actuating on a non-reversible four-bladed five-meter in diameter center propeller.
The boilers gave a regular power of 51000 horsepower that could be increased to a maximum of 59000 horsepower, allowing a service speed
of 21 knots and a maximum speed of 24 knots. As waste the propulsion plant generated 100 tonnes of ash each day, which had to be thrown
into the sea.
Around 7700 tonnes of coal could be carried and the 159 hand-feed furnaces could consume more than 700 tonnes of coal each day. 176 stokers
were constantly attending the relentless, dirty and dangerous work of feeding the furnaces with mere hand shovels; they were the other side
of the coin in the luxurious RMS Titanic, and albeit they were relatively well paid, the suicide rate was unusually high in such workers.
The crew was a total of 892 people and up to 2435 passengers could be accommodated in three classes, which was the typical layout in the
golden days of transoceanic passage. The first-class dining room could accommodate 500 sitting diners and the second-class one almost 400.
The number of decks was ten, eight of them allowed for passengers. The storage for fresh seafood had more than five tonnes of capacity.
The power plant, which comprised four 400-kiloWatt generators and two 30-kiloWatt auxiliary generators for emergency use, produced more power
than the average urban power station. Its location in the stern section allowed the lights to be on until the last few minutes before the ship
sank. The communications room was equipped with a Marconi radiotelegraphic spark-gap transmitter/receiver able to broadcast on a radius of
563 kilometers with a frequency of 500 kiloHertz (600-meter wavelength). The wire antenna extended over 180 meters between the two masts.
The RMS Titanic was equipped with eight electric cranes, four electric winches and three steam winches to lift cargo and luggage in and out
of the hold. It is estimated that the ship used about 415 tonnes of coal, while in Southampton, only to operate the cargo winches and provide
heat and light. First and second-class luggage alone occupied about 551 cubic meters.
Being primarily a passenger liner, the RMS Titanic also carried a substantial amount of cargo and her designation as RMS (Royal Mail Ship)
indicated that she carried mail for the Royal Mail (but also for the United States Post Office Department). For the storage
of letters, parcels and other valuables about 760 cubic meters of space in her holds was allocated. All this material was manned by five
postal clerks, who worked 13 hours a day, seven days a week, sorting up to 60000 items daily.
Saving money was not a priority for the White Star Line when ordering the RMS Titanic and her twin RMS Olympic; each ship costed 1.5 millions
of sterling pounds. However, the high price of the passage should have covered the investment in not so long time. The most luxurious
cabins had a price of 800 sterling pounds, which was more than the annual income of most captains commanding a passenger liner, and
equivalent to the salary of eight years for the average shipyard worker, who was exposed to frequent - and often fatal - accidents.
The construction of the RMS Titanic caused the death of nine workers and crippling injuries to over twenty, with hundreds of less severe
injuries going on during the works.
The elegant cafe (32) was during daytime the meeting point of the young people traveling in first class.
First-class passengers accessed the common areas through a twin-ramp grand staircase (52), sumptuously decorated with bronze statues.
Above the stairs there was a cupola made of wrought iron and glass (50) from which a 21-candle chandelier hanged.
The finely decorated tea salon, located at larboard side, was one of the diverse first-class amusement rooms.
The elegant furnitures of the bedroom on the first-class cabin B 38 were a clear example of the luxury that the passengers onboard the
RMS Titanic could enjoy. The first-class cabins, decorated with diverse contemporary styles, were all different to each other. The most
expensive ones costed over 800 sterling pounds, a huge amount in that time, and each one had its own exit to the deck.