Most people are familiar with the tragic story of the Titanic – the “unsinkable” ship that collided with an iceberg and ultimately sank in the early 20th century. James Cameron’s 1997 film “Titanic” played a large role in popularizing the story, yet few people actually know what the real ship looked like following its construction in the early 1900s, and after its wreckage was discovered underseas in 1985.
The Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic was officially launched on May 31, 1911 by the White Star Line, a British shipping company. The Titanic was actually built as a response to competing ocean liners, which were breaking White Star Line’s records for speed and size.
Discovering the RMS Titanic Wreck
The wreck of the RMS Titanic was discovered in 1985 by Robert Ballard. Prior to this, there had been a number of unsuccessful discovery expeditions.
A Propeller Found Underwater
Thanks to Argo, one of the ship’s three propellers was found amongst the ship’s wreckage. This propeller was from the starboard side of the ship.
The Titanic’s side propellers were very large at 23-feet-long, whereas its middle propeller was just 16-feet-long.
An image taken near the end of the Titanic’s construction captures just how massive both the ship and its propellers were.
Honeymooners and Titanic
The Titanic carried various passengers, including two newlyweds, Mr. & Mrs. George A. Harder, who were celebrating their honeymoon aboard the ship. The woman survived the shipwreck, but unfortunately, her husband did not.
Construction of the Titanic
When the Titanic and her sister ship the Olympic were built, they were the largest ships ever created and there were no existing slipways to accommodate their construction.
The Stern & Rudder
The rudder is a vertical blade at the stern of a ship that is used to steer the vessel when in motion.
Titanic at Dock: Moments Before the Maiden Voyage
Compared to all other ships at the dock, the Titanic truly stood out. Yet moving the gigantic structure from land to sea was an extremely taxing and complicated process.
Sailing Out of Belfast
The RMS Titanic left Belfast with the help of five tugboats that helped guide the large vessel out of the dock.
RMS Titanic: The Crew
There were about 700 crew members on the Titanic. Edward J. Smith, the man with the white beard in the middle of the front row in the below photo, was the Captain. It was rumored that the Titanic’s maiden voyage was supposed to be his last trip before retirement.
The Captain of the Titanic: Edward J. Smith
Edward John Smith was the commanding officer for the White Star Line shipping company, as well as the Captain of the RMS Titanic. There are various accounts of Smith’s last words and actions as well as his death in the disaster, yet all suggest that his final actions were truly heroic.
Passengers Fleeing on Lifeboats
Many pictures of lifeboats filled with passengers fleeing the sinking ship were captured. However, the sad story behind the photos is that the lifeboats were not actually filled to capacity because crew members worried that the lines would not support the weight of the lifeboats at full capacity.
Passengers Being Rescued by Carpathia
Passengers aboard the ocean liner Carpathia were able to capture pictures of Titanic survivors being rescued from the lifeboats.
The Carpathia was the ship that responded to the Titanic’s emergency signal and came to rescue the survivors. Out of the ship’s 2,500 passengers, only about 700 people managed to be rescued.
Sparsely Filled Lifeboat
The passengers who made it onto the lifeboats spent about two hours in the freezing cold before the Carpathia arrived.
Lifeboats at Pier 54
After the passengers were brought to safety at Pier 54 in New York City, all the lifeboats were left empty.
The Titanic was well equipped with many luxurious amenities, such as a swimming pool, a squash court, a Turkish bath, and a gym.
Have you ever wondered what happened to the iceberg that caused the Titanic’s demise? It remained floating where it was, largely unscathed, except for a few black marks left behind from the paint on the Titanic.
The Grand Staircase
One of the most marvelous parts of the Titanic was its grand staircase, which was replicated and popularized in James Cameron’s movie about the ship. The Olympic, Titanic’s sister ship, had practically the same one.
The Grand Staircase After the Accident
Photos do exist of what was left of the grand staircase after the shipwreck, which is not much, unfortunately. While the movie Titanic was filmed, James Cameron stated that the replicated staircase broke off and floated away.
The first part of the Titanic found during Robert Ballard’s 1985 expedition was a large boiler. Ballard compared the boiler to the pictures of the ship from 1911 in order to determine that it was in fact from the Titanic.
Stern of the Ship
Ballard’s 1985 expedition also uncovered the ship’s stern, or at least what was left of it.
Captain Smith’s Bathroom
As a first-class passenger, Captain Edward Smith was treated to luxurious accommodations aboard the ship.
When the wreckage was discovered, one of the ship’s three anchors was found within its compartment.
Who Was the Real Jack Dawson?
It is believed that Jack Dawson’s character was inspired by Emilio Portaluppi, who boarded the Titanic with a second-class ticket. He was actually supposed to be on a different ship.
Who Was the Real Rose?
It is impossible to mention the real Jack without saying anything about the real Rose. Madeleine Talmage Astor was the wife of John Jacob Astor IV, a wealthy business mogul.
John Jacob Astor IV
John Jacob Astor IV was the wealthiest person to perish in the shipwreck. Back in the early 1900s, he was one of the richest people in the world.
Titanic Disaster Appears in Newspaper
After the incident, many newspapers started publishing stories related to the Titanic. Some mentioned the people who disappeared, such as Astor.
A picture of a menu from April 12, 1912 shows the array of gourmet food that was available for lunch aboard the Titanic.
The Ship’s Bow
An amazing image of the entire bow of the ship was taken during a return mission to the wreck of the RMS Titanic, almost 20 years after it was first discovered.
First-Class Passenger List
The number of first-class passengers was restricted to a few of the highest ranking crew members and a small number of wealthy families.
Families of the Survivors
After hearing about the shipwreck, a large number of relatives and friends of Titanic passengers and crew members went to Pier 54 in New York and waited for the survivors to arrive. Of course, many photographs were taken to record this event.