Titanic: birth of a legend  (article)

Titanic: birth of a legend (article)

A Story by Tobias Bathory

One century ago today the RMS Titanic was launched after three years of construction. Today we celebrate and remember one of history's greatest works of art.

“I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern ship building has gone beyond that. God himself could not sink this ship.” - E. J. Smith, Commander of the Titanic.

Almost 100 years has elapsed since the calamity of the influential ocean liner, the ‘R.M.S Titanic’, in the early 20th century. It was undoubtedly a traumatic occurrence in maritime’s, and the world’s, history. Today however happens to harbor historical importance in Titanic’s legacy; it was on this very day one century ago, on May 31st 1911, that the Titanic was launched. 

Construction of the Titanic initially commenced March 31st, 1909. Over 300 workers were employed into the services of ‘Harland and Wolff’, the shipyard in Belfast, Ireland, where production operated. Lord Pirrie, the proprietor of Harland and Wolff, had been an acquaintance of Bruce Ismay, managing director of ‘White Star Line’; the company which the Titanic was fabricated for. Over a period of three years, both men oversaw the assembly; a project that resulted in an overall expenditure of $7.5 million. 

As a result of the hefty amount of human resources involved in the construction of the vessel, the fundamentals of Titanic were constructed in record time. The ocean liner was formed from 20th century standard iron, which contained elevated levels of sulphur; this meant that the lower the ocean temperature fell, the more vulnerable the iron became to cracking. She was equipped with three steam powered propellers, 24 double ended boilers, six coal furnaces and four funnels (one of which was purely for show). Human achievement fashioned a tremendous vessel which measured in length an implausible, 882 ft. 9 in. 

The elegance in the décor was apparent in the various styles of furnishings that flourished throughout the vast interior of Titanic. Inspired from bygone periods of Louis XIV, Georgian, the Italian renaissance and Queen Anne, up to the Edwardian era of 1912. The many Byronic influences were evidentially present in the teak, oak and maple woodwork, draped throughout the ocean liner. This continuous theme of antiquity was displayed in the design of Titanic’s two grand staircases that were second to none, and through the many conveniences Titanic had to offer. 

An abundance of facilities and activities were on board Titanic. Titanic was the first of the early 20th century ocean liners to include a swimming pool and gymnasium; also integrated within the interior were several libraries, Turkish baths, a barber shop and a squash court, all bearing impeccable architectural construction. The fine crockery and refined furniture used in the dining rooms only added to the decadence. Titanic was unrivalled in magnitude and opulence by any other ocean liner in the world when it departed Southampton on April 10th, 1912.

The Edwardian era may have disappeared into the minds and hearts of history, however it appears that people of today still share the same mentality that existed back then; that in which they allow themselves to consume all that the media throws upon them. Does the word ‘unsinkable’ ring any crow’s nest bells? 

I now leave you with perhaps one of the most haunting quotes surrounding Titanic's infamous legacy prior to her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York: “I know this isn’t scientific, but this ship’s warning me she’s gonna die and take a lot of people with her.” - Thomas Andrews; Managing Director of Harland and Wolff Shipyards.

© 2011 Tobias Bathory

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Added on May 29, 2011
Last Updated on May 29, 2011
Tags: shipping, maritime, Titanic, history, art


Tobias Bathory
Tobias Bathory

Gold Coast, Australia


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