Interesting Facts

The RMS Titanic

RMS Titanic

RMS Titanic

Strange, but True:

British spiritualist, William T. Stead, wrote a tale similar to Futility (mentioned at the top of the page). "How the Mail Steamer went down in the Mid Atlantic, by a survivor"William Stead appeared in the March, 1886 issue of Pall Mall Gazette. In this story, Stead tells of a large steamship that sinks after colliding with another ship. Many lives are lost due to lack of lifeboats. Stead wrote that, "This is exactly what might take place and what will take place, if the liners are sent to sea short of boats". Stead was travelling to the United States at the request of President Taft to address a peace conference at Carnegie Hall on April 20, 1912. Stead sat calmly in the library reading a book as the North Atlantic sea water came rushing in as the ship he was traveling on sank. That ship was the Titanic. Stead did not survive.

William T. Stead also authored the novel From the Old World to the New. In this book, he describes the sinking of a ship in the North Atlantic after striking an iceberg. To add to the irony, the captain of the ship which picked up the survivors, was Edward J. Smith -- the eventual captain of Titanic.

Titanic Ticket - Click to enlarge

Price of a ticket (in 1912):

  • First Class: $4,350 (price of finest 1st class suite)

  • Second Class: $1,750
  • Third Class: $30
        (Ticket courtesy of Hugh Wilkinson. Click on image to enlarge.)


The Titanic carried a total of 20 lifeboats. 14 of these lifeboats were wooden and each one had a capacity of 65 persons, 2 were wood cutters with a capacity of 40 persons eachLifeboats on Boat deck. and 4 were collapsibles (wood bottoms and canvas sides) and each collapsible was capable of carrying 47 persons. The total capacity of all 20 lifeboats was 1,178 people. This was obviously not enough lifeboats to save all the 2201 people on board the Titanic. If every lifeboat left the Titanic filled to maximum capacity, 1,023 persons would have been left behind. Unfortunately, very few lifeboats were filled to maximum capacity when they were lowered from the Titanic into the icy water. This caused the death toll to rise dramatically. When the order came from Captain Smith to commence loading the lifeboats, the Titanic's Officers were probably unaware of the magnitude of the situation. Their apparent complacency did not instill a sense of urgency and therefore caused many passengers to balk at the opportunity to get into a lifeboat. To make matters worse, there were never any lifeboat drills and the crew had not been informed that each lifeboat could be safely lowered when filled to capacity. Only 711 persons were rescued and 1490 died. Luckily, the Titanic was not filled to capacity (3,547 persons). If this were the case, there would only be enough lifeboats to save one-third of the people (assuming that every lifeboat was filled to capacity).

Why so few lifeboats? Well, believe it or not, the Titanic actually exceeded the number of lifeboats required by the Board of Trade at that time. The regulations, ratified in 1894, applied to ships of 10,000 gross tons or larger. As ships increased in size over the years, the lifeboat requirements stayed the same. The Titanic was designed to carry a total of 48 lifeboats, but the White Star Line decided that passenger comfort was most important. They believed that an increase in the number of lifeboats (beyond 20) would have cluttered the decks and taken up valuable space. Harland and Wolff tried to persuade the White Star Line to install more lifeboats, but eventually gave up the fight. As they say, "the customer is always right".

When the lifeboat needs were finalized, the general feeling was that the modern ship was engineered and built so well that even if a ship was in a situation where it might sink, there would be plenty of time for other ships in the area to come to the rescue. It was also believed that the main purpose of the lifeboats was to ferry passengers and crew from the distressed ship to the rescue ship(s). The Titanic tragedy prompted laws requiring that ships carry enough lifeboats for all passengers and crew.

A Meal Fit for a King

Titanic was well stocked with food and supplies. The following provisions were loaded onto Titanic prior to sailing. Please note that although the lists are not complete, it does give insight into the vast quantities of supplies necessary to accommodate Titanic's passengers and crew.

Food and Beverage Provisions

Bacon and ham: 7,500 lbs
Cereals: 10,000 lbs
Coffee: 2,200 lbs
Condensed milk: 600 gals
Flour: 200 barrels
Fresh asparagus: 800 bundles
Fresh butter: 6,000 lbs
Fresh cream: 1,200 qts
Fresh eggs: 40,000
Fresh fish: 11,000 lbs
Fresh green peas: 2,250 lbs
Fresh meat: 75,000 lbs

Fresh milk: 1,500 gals
Grapefruit: 50 boxes
Grapes: 1,000 lbs
Ice Cream: 1,750 qts
Jams and marmalades: 1,120 lbs
Lemons: 50 boxes (16,000)
Lettuce: 7,000 heads
Onions: 3,500 lbs
Oranges: 180 boxes (36,000)
Potatoes: 40 tons
Poultry and game: 25,000 lbs
Rice,dried beans, etc: 10,000 lbs

Salt and dried fish: 4000 lbs
Sausages: 2,500 lbs
Sugar: 10,000 lbs
Sweetbreads: 1,000
Tea: 800 lbs
Tomatoes: 2.75 tons

Beer and stout: 20,000 bottles
Mineral waters: 15,000 bottles
Spirits: 850 bottles
Wines: 1,500 bottles


Tableware, Glassware and Cutlery

Asparagus tongs: 400
Beef tea cups: 3,000
Beef tea dishes: 3,000
Breakfast cups: 4,500
Breakfast plates: 2,500
Breakfast saucers: 4,500
Butter dishes: 400
Butter knives: 400
Celery glasses: 300
Champagne glasses: 1,500
Claret jugs: 300
Cocktail glasses: 1,500
Coffee cups: 1,500
Coffee pots: 1,200
Coffee saucers: 1,500
Cream jugs: 1,000
Crystal dishes: 1,500
Cut glass tumblers: 8,000
Dessert plates: 2,000

Dessert spoons: 3,000
Dinner forks: 8,000
Dinner plates: 12,000
Dinner spoons: 5,000
Egg spoons: 2,000
Entrée dishes: 400
Finger bowls: 1,000
Fish forks: 1,500
Fish knives: 1,500
Flower vases: 500
Fruit dishes: 400
Fruit forks: 1,500
Fruit knives: 1,500
Grape scissors: 100
Ice cream plates: 5,500
Liquor glasses: 1,200
Meat dishes: 400
Mustard spoons: 1,500
Nut crackers: 300

Oyster forks: 1,000
Pie dishes: 1,200
Pudding dishes: 1,200
Salad bowls: 500
Salt shakers: 2,000
Salt spoons: 1,500
Soufflé dishes: 1,500
Soup plates: 4,500
Sugar basins: 400
Sugar tongs: 400
Table & dessert knives: 8,000
Tea cups: 3,000
Tea pots: 1,200
Tea saucers: 3,000
Teaspoons: 6,000
Toast racks: 400
Vegetable dishes: 400
Water bottles: 2,500
Wine glasses: 2,000



Aprons: 4,000
Bath towels: 7,500
Bed covers: 3,600
Blankets: 7,500
Cook's cloths: 3,500
Counterpanes: 3,000

Double sheets: 3,000
Eiderdown quilts: 800
Fine towels: 25,000
Glass cloths: 2,000
Lavatory towels: 8,000
Pantry towels: 6,500

Pillow slips: 15,000
Roller Towels: 3,500
Single sheets: 15,000
Table cloths: 6,000
Table napkins: 45,000
Miscellaneous items: 40,000

Statements by Titanic Captain Edward John (E.J.) Smith:

The following excerpt is from an interview with Captain Smith in 1907 after he brought the Adriatic to New York on its maiden voyage:

    "When anyone asks how I can best describe my experience in nearly 40 years at sea, I merely say, uneventful. Of course there have been winter gales, and storms and fog the like, but in all my experience, I have never been in any accident of any sort worth speaking about. ...... I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked, nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort".

Captain Smith

Another quote from Captain Smith about the Adriatic:

Other statements:

A Quote from a Titanic passenger:

A quote from a White Star Line employee at the launch of Titanic:

Spreading the Word:

As news of the Titanic accident started to trickle in, the newspapers reported any information they received. There was no reliable way to separate the rumors from the truth and fact from fiction. Most newspapers were reporting that the Titanic hit an iceberg, but all passengers were safe. The mood was very optimistic.




Even the White Star Line helped promote the feeling that all was well. A group of reporters gathered at the New York offices of the White Star Line and questioned the company's vice-president Phillip Franklin when he showed up for work. Franklin reassured everyone with the following statement:

Unfortunately, most of the newspaper accounts were wrong, but as the hours passed the reports still seemed to indicate a favorable outcome. Only one paper, The New York Times, decided run an article that presented the breaking Titanic story from a different angle. Using all of the information they received they were the first to report that Titanic actually sank. They ran the following headline:


Eventually, the rumors gave way to reality as the media began to report the actual events that tragically turned the "ship of dreams" into the world's worst nightmare. The headlines now read:



A statement issued by Eleanor Smith (Captain Smith's wife) following the sinking of Titanic:

Captain Smith Remembered:

Statue erected to honor Captain Smith

In 1914, a statue of Captain Edward John Smith was erected in Beacon Park in Lichfield Staffordshire, England.


Captain Smith was born in Stoke Staffordshire, England. In light of all of the recent publicity and interest surrounding Titanic, the city of Stoke has been trying to have the statue moved there. As for now, it looks like Captain Smith will remain in Lichfield.


All statue photos are courtesy of Nick Carter and are used with his permission.

Click here for more Captain Smith related photos

Iceberg Facts and Figures:

What is an iceberg?Iceberg
An iceberg is a large piece of ice that has broken away from a glacier. Most icebergs are found in the ocean, but all consist of frozen fresh water. Icebergs are usually white, blue or green and extend above and below the water surface. They may extend downward 1,000 feet (305 meters) and reach a height of more than 200 feet (61 meters). The degree of submergence depends on the density, rock content and shape of the iceberg.

Icebergs float because the density of ice is lower than the density of seawater. The ratio of these densities tells us that 7/8 of the iceberg's mass must be below water. Usually, icebergs are 20 to 30% longer under water than above and not quite as deep as they are long at the waterline.

The term "iceberg" probably originates from the Dutch term "ijsberg", which means ice hill. In German, the word "berg" means mountain.

How do icebergs form?
Glaciers form on land as a result of a net accumulation of snow over thousands of years. Successive layers compress earlier accumulations until glacial ice is formed. Glaciers "flow" or "creep" outward under their own weight like a viscous fluid. When the edge of a glacier advances into the ocean, the pieces of ice that break off are what we call icebergs. The majority of icebergs in the North Atlantic come from about 100 iceberg producing glaciers along the Greenland coast.

Classification of iceberg size: (Source: International Ice Patrol)


HEIGHT (above water)



less than 1 meter

less than 5 meters


1-4 meters

5-14 meters


5-15 meters

15-60 meters


16-45 meters

61-120 meters


46-75 meters

121-200 meters


greater than 75 meters

greater than 200 meters

The largest Northern Hemisphere iceberg on record was encountered near Baffin Island in 1882. It was 13 km (7.9 miles) long, 6 km ( 3.7 miles) wide and had a freeboard (height above water) of about 20 m (66 feet). The mass of that iceberg was in excess of 9 billion tons - enough water for everyone in the world to drink a liter (1.05 quarts) a day for over 4 years. Despite this staggering statistic, icebergs from Antarctica may be many times larger than this. In 1987 an iceberg with an area of 6350 square kilometers broke from the Ross ice shelf. That berg had a mass of around 1.4 trillion tons and could have supplied the world with 240 tons of pure drinking water.

This may be the actual iceberg responsible for sinking Titanic. The photo was taken in the vicinity where Titanic reportedly struck the iceberg.

The iceberg that supposedly sank Titanic

Compared to others, the iceberg that Titanic hit was fairly small. Titanic survivors estimate that its height was about 100 feet above the water. It is estimated that the iceberg extended 500 feet below the surface.

What ever happened to the "Titanic iceberg"?
It kept floating south until it reached warmer waters and eventually melted away.

How cold are icebergs?
The interior temperature of icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland is in the range of -15° to -20° C (+5° to -4° F). Only at the surface does the temperature increase to 0° C (+32° F) -- the melting point. Oddly, icebergs in warm water appear colder than those in cold water because the fast melting steepens the internal temperature gradient exposing the cold interior.

What shapes do icebergs come in?
A fantastic variety of shapes result from the deterioration process of icebergs. Despite the fact that no two icebergs are the same, there are certain categories of shapes that are used for iceberg observation.















How stable are icebergs?
Often, icebergs are very unstable. Their highly random shape and non-uniform melting and breakup lead to frequent shifts in orientation. Tabular bergs are generally the most stable, whereas domed and wedge shaped bergs may roll completely over in seconds without any apparent provocation.

Other cool icebergs facts!
Icebergs are not salty. Remember that icebergs are comprised of pure fresh water. There may be some dust embedded in the ice and salt water may be on the surface, but it does not penetrate the ice. Icebergs are quite safe to consume.

When an iceberg melts, it makes a fizzing sound. The sound comes from the popping of compressed air bubbles which are in the ice. The bubbles form when air is trapped in the snow layers which are compressed to form glacial ice. Note that the released air is as old as the ice - thousands of years!

Icebergs appear mostly white because of the air bubbles in the ice. The bubble surfaces reflect white light giving the iceberg an overall white appearance. Ice that is bubble-free has a blue tint which is due to the same light phenomenon that tints the sky.

In Newfoundland, iceberg ice is "Harvested" for bottled water and vodka production. More products should be expected as more people enter the iceberg ice business.

Most of the iceberg information presented here is courtesy of Dr Stephen Bruneau, Ph.D., P.Eng. from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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