Why is there Titanic so well known compared to other sinking ships?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by mauriceq, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. b0ned0me Well-Known Member

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    IMO the reality of the matter is that the vast majority of domestic disasters and tragedies just don’t interest people abroad unless there is some majorly glamorous or exceptional (biggest ever!) aspect to it. How many people in the US or Philippines have even heard of the MV Estonia? If it made the news it would have been for few days max. The Dona Paz is a fixture of the “worst ever” lists but unfortunately there is a major ferry tragedy every few years in Asia and they all blur together.

    As has been already described the Titanic had a whole bunch of exceptional factors that made it very very memorable long-term, in a way that run-of-the-mill “stupid stuff was done, masses of people died” just does not achieve.
     
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  2. eltf177 Well-Known Member

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    My understanding was that most pairs hadn't been delivered when Titanic sailed, so the lookouts didn't have any.
     
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  3. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

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    Considering the weather conditions at the time, binoculars wouldn't have helped anyway. The main way icebergs were spotted at night was by looking for the waves breaking at the base of the berg, the wave action would stir up phosphorescence allowing lookouts to spot the glow from farther away. The night Titanic sank the water was so flat calm that the officers on Titanic made special note of it, with several saying that they had never seen the ocean so flat before. The iceberg wouldn't have been spotted any quicker than in reality.
     
  4. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    That in itself should have had the officers on watch show some caution and slow the ship down.
     
  5. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

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    Why? It's a flat calm. That's literally the condition you beg to run in. The sky also appeared completely clear. Saying they should have slowed down is an argument that only works in hindsight
     
  6. eltf177 Well-Known Member

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    But seeing as there had been iceberg warnings that would seem to indicate that slowing down in poor visibility is prudent.
     
  7. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

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    And less than half those warnings ever made it to the ship's officers. Most never left the radio room. So as far as the officers knew, the ice was no worse than usual and their precaution of turning the corner later than usual was working to keep them free of ice
     
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  8. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    If the sea is doing something unusual it is ALWAYS a warning sign of something.
     
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  9. eltf177 Well-Known Member

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    Did not know this, need to drag out A NIGHT TO REMEMBER and read it again (it's been a long time)...
     
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  10. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    A bit of back story. The White Star line had a cash flow deficiency in pervious years. It had sought investors to boost capitol for building new ships like the Britantic & Titantic, and to cover any gaps in current operating expenses. A opportunity was seen by the like of US billionaire JP Morgan & some of his peers. As might be expected they were putting pressure on the White Star management to get results and boost the companies revenue. Setting transatlantic records with a shiny new high tech millionaires boat would be a big step in that direction. Captain Smith probably wqas aware of all this & perhaps felt pressured, becoming sloppy in his decisions?
     
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  11. Mort the Reaper Well-Known Member

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    That's a myth. The RMS Titanic wasn't fast enough to break any transatlantic records and everyone knew it.
     
  12. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    The radio operators were swamped with outgoing messages, and some incoming, from passengers. Since these were the wealthy businessmen and other millionaires priority in comm ops went to where the money was. Bad juju to delay Mr or Mrs Astors messages for administrative items like redundant ice warnings. Right?
     
  13. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    Never the less the pressure was on. To get results, make goals, and push limits.
     
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  14. RossN Member

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    That's debatable. As Walter Lord noted the officers had a lot of trouble persuading people to get into the boats early on when the Titanic seemed safe and warm compared with a small lifeboat. That combined with a lot of uncertainty over how many the boats could actually take and you end up with a lot of the earlier boats going off half full.

    There was also the time issue, especially since the first boat wasn't launched til an hour after the collision. The last two lifeboats 'launched' were Collapsible B and Collapsible A - the former was washed overboard upside down and the latter was the right side up but half flooded. Adding more lifeboats would probably have meant some of them would still have been in their davitts when the ship foundered.

    Basically 'more lifeboats' might have saved a few lives but without a lot of human differences aboard (exstensive lifeboat drills and assigned seating) I think sadly the death toll would still have been enormous.
     
  15. RossN Member

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    Same here. I'm 38 so admittedly the discovery of the wreck was a big deal but I was still a Titanic buff as a kid. For a while A Night to Remember was one of my favourite movies and I had some issues with Cameron's epic because of it.
     
  16. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    I'm 49 and I first learned of the Titanic when I was about 6 watching repeats of The Time Tunnel. Even then the story was compelling and once I learned it actually happened even more so.
     
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  17. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

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    Not really. Phillips and Bride were swamped with message traffic. But it was because the wireless set broke down early in the voyage and there was a backlog to work through. There's also the fact that the radio operators were not employees of White Star Line but were employed by the Marconi Company. As such, they were not required to place priority on ship's traffic.

    That's actually not true. It's a myth that makes story telling better, but has no basis in reality. The holder of the Blue Ribband in 1912 was the RMS Mauritania. That ship was some 5 knots faster than the Olympic class were. White Star and Harland and Wolff had decided when the ships were designed to concede the speed record and instead wow passengers with luxury on ships of an unprecedented size. There was never any push to break speed records. In fact, just the opposite. Standard operating procedure for White Star vessels on their maiden voyage was too not run at full speed, but to instead gradually break the engines in by slowly increasing speed each day. A procedure that you can see was being followed by the lighting of additional boilers each day.

    Keep in mind also, WSL was a shipping company that operated on a set schedule. There was absolutely no incentive for Titanic to arrive in New York early. All that would do is add additional costs to the voyage as there would be additional docking fees from the Harbor Authority. Not to mention completely disrupting the already scheduled stevedores, coaling barges, victualling vendors, etc.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  18. unclepatrick Well-Known Member

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    There was the Sultana Tragedy that was overshadow by the Shooting of Lincoln.

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    The Eastland Disaster that killed 800 people in 1915

    Both of these should be as well know as the Titanic.
     
  19. Mort the Reaper Well-Known Member

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    It would've also earned the wrath of many of the passengers - whose hotel and travel arrangements were scheduled for later - and irritated US Customs officials in New York. Very bad for business.
     
  20. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

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    A few hours later, no, you're absolutely right. But arriving nearly an entire day early? That would cause problems.
     
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