I was never particularly good at history in school, but there are a few topics within that subject that I am fascinated by and very interested in. One of those is the sinking of the ship Titanic. Since the 103rd anniversary of the disaster is coming up on April 15th, I thought I would write about this as one of my weekly blog topics. A few years ago Discovery Times Square hosted the Titanic Exhibition and I had a chance to go. I have to admit I did find it a bit eerie in atmosphere for some reason but it was very interesting. They had glass cases filled with artifacts that have been pulled from the wreckage beneath the ocean, one hallway was made up to resemble a hallway aboard the ship, a replica of the grand staircase, and even a bit of what seemed like ice that was made to be the same temperature as the water was that night that you could touch. If you ever get a chance to go to one (it travels), you should go just for the experience. There are well known facts about the Titanic and then there are things that only people who consider themselves “Titanic history buffs” would know. Here are a few of those lesser known facts:
– The Titanic had four funnels. Only three of them were functional. The fourth was purely aesthetic.
– There was a book written in 1898 called ‘Futility’ by Morgan Robertson about a ship sinking that had many things in common with the Titanic. The ship’s name was ‘Titan’, it also had triple screws (which wasn’t typical at the time), and sunk after striking an iceberg. The Titan also sunk in the month of April in the Atlantic Ocean, with not enough lifeboats available for the passengers aboard.
– The closest ship to the Titanic at the time of its’ striking the iceberg was the Californian. Crew members aboard this ship stated during testimony at the Senate Disaster Hearings that they had in fact, seen lights in the distance. Those lights were the flares the Titanic had sent up in distress. They woke the captain to alert him but he didn’t issue any orders. Plus, the Marconi wireless operator for the Californian had just went to bed and missed the distress calls Titanic was sending out. The Californian was within 19 miles of the Titanic and could have arrived in 2 hours to rescue remaining passengers.
– The Titanic had many wealthy passengers on board. The Marconi wireless operator for the Californian had previously sent a message to the operators on the Titanic about the packs of ice nearby. However, the operators had so many messages coming in for their 1st class passengers to sort through, that they told him to “shut up”.
There were many coincidences on that particular night in question. Many things that led to what happened. It can really make you wonder.