It was 31 years ago today, 73 years after it set sail, that the R.M.S. Titanic wreckage was finally found. Resting about 12,500 feet below the surface, about 400 feet off the coast of Newfoundland, a team of U.S. and French explorers finally found the ships final resting place.
Led by Dr. Frank Ballard, the team suddenly came upon the sunken ship the morning of September 1, 1985. The underwater robot craft, named Argo, came upon a broiler on the ocean floor. Soon after that, the hull was spotted for the first time in 73 years. He originally wanted to keep the location a secret to prevent others from desecrating the sacred grounds, but eventually decided to release the location.
As the years have gone on and technology has evolved, we’ve learned more and more about the Titanic disaster, both before and after the fateful crash. Books, documentaries, movies, and long studies have helped scientists and historians answer questions that were left unanswered for years…and slowly but surely the facts are starting to surface.
Though the ship only had a very short 4-day voyage, there are so many fascinating facts and stories surrounding this “ship of dreams”. To help commemorate this monumental day in American history, here are 33 Fascinating Facts About the R.M.S. Titanic.
The RMS Titanic was the world’s largest passenger ship when it entered service, measuring 882 feet in length. It was also crowned the largest man-made moving object on Earth at the time of its construction.
The Titanic was about as long as the Eiffel Tower is tall.
The ship burned about 600 tons of coal a day, which was all hand-shoveled into the furnaces by a team of 176 men. About 400 tons of ash were ejected into the sea during the ships 4-day run.
The interior of the ship was inspired by the Ritz Hotel in London. Amenities included a gym, pool, Turkish bath, a kennel for first-class dogs, a squash court, and an on-board newspaper, The Atlantic Day Bulletin.
There were 20,000 bottles of beer on board, 1,500 bottles of wine, and 8,000 cigars – all for the first-class passengers. Ironically, several of the wine bottles are still in tact at the bottom of the ocean.
Only 16 wooden lifeboats and four collapsible boats were carried on board, enough to accommodate 1,178 people, only a third of Titanic’s total capacity.
The last supper served to first-class passengers consisted of 11 courses.
First-class passengers were given a music book containing 352 songs. Musicians on board were required to know them all, in case requests were made.
John Jacob Astor IV was the richest passenger on board, with a net worth of around $85 million in 1912 (which is about $2 billion today). He was a real estate investor and was the brains behind the astounding Astoria Hotel in New York City. He died the morning after the sinking.
Remember this guy from the movie, Titanic? That’s Benjamin Guggenheim, an American businessman who also died the night of the sinking…and he is indeed quoted as saying, “We’ve dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen.” He was last spotted on deck drinking a brandy and smoking a cigar.
Numerous people held tickets for the maiden voyage of the Titanic, but did not actually board the ship, including Milton S. Hershey, founder of Hershey’s chocolate; Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of radio; and Alfred G. Vanderbilt, who ironically died on the RMS Lusitania three years later.
The Titanic is the only ocean liner ever sunk by an iceberg.
The iceberg that sank the Titanic was around 100 feet tall and most likely traveled from a larger glacier in Greenland. It’s also thought that this iceberg began its fateful journey around 1000 BC.
If the lifeboats on Titanic were all filled to capacity, 53% of the people on board would have survived. Since several of the boats were not filled, only 31% of passengers survived.
Just 37 seconds elapsed between the sighting of the iceberg and the collision.
If the Titanic were to have hit the iceberg straight on, it would not have sunk. As a matter of fact, if the first four compartments were to have flooded, the Titanic could still sail on without risk of sinking. However, since the ship was struck several times on the side of the boat, six compartments flooded, causing the front of the ship to sink.
The ship received six warnings about icebergs during the voyage.
A lifeboat drill was scheduled for the day of the sinking but was cancelled for unknown reasons.
Had the captain gotten word about the iceberg a mere 30 seconds before he actually did, the crash may have been avoided.
The ship broke in half around 2:20 am, sending several remaining passengers into the ocean. The temperature of the water was around 28 degrees F (remember, water freezes at 32 degrees F). Several wouldn’t have survived longer than 15 minutes in the water.
The chief baker of the Titanic survived the freezing cold water temperatures because he drank so much whiskey that it kept his organs fortified for two hours until he was rescued. WHISKEY SAVES LIVES, PEOPLE!
The wreck of the Titanic lies 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, about 12,500 feet below the surface.
There were only two bathtubs available for more than 700 third class passengers.
The budget for James Cameron’s Titanic was higher than the actual budget to build the original ship.
Cats were often brought on ships as a form of good luck and to control any rodent problem; however, there were no cats on board the Titanic. There were 11 dogs, 2 of which survived the disaster.
It took 73 years for scientists and explorers to actually find the wreck of the Titanic.
Captain Smith was planning to retire after Titanic’s maiden voyage.
Around 1,500 people died when Titanic sank, but only 336 bodies were recovered.
From the moment the ship hit the iceberg to the moment it sank took about 2 hours and 40 minutes…so if you started watching Titanic as soon as the ship hit the iceberg, your 2 hour 40 minute mark would be this part:
You can also watch the Titanic sink in real time here (I’ve watched this like 3 times…so neat!):
Once it broke in half, it most likely took Titanic another 15 minutes to actually hit the ocean floor…meaning the boat probably sank at a rate of about 10 miles an hour.
A first class ticket on the Titanic would have cost about $4,350 in 1912 (about $103,000 today). A second class ticket was about $1,750 (about $2,400 today) and a third class ticket was about $30 (about $700 today).
Want to experience the Titanic for yourself? You may be in luck! Titanic II, a replica of the original ship, is supposedly under works and planning to set sail in 2018. With a $434 million price tag, this will be one costly ship to build…and is planning to set sail from China and travel to Dubai.
Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!