The Titanic was a feat of engineering unlike anything the world had ever seen. It was considered unsinkable and was an incredibly sought after cruise liner. The ship was a British passenger liner that started her maiden voyage in Southampton and was headed to New York City. This was the second of three Olympic class liners which was operated by the White Star Line.
Built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, it was looked at as the flagship of the fleet. The architect of the Titanic, Thomas Andrews died during the sinking of the ship on April, 15th 1912. After the collision with the iceberg, the death-toll was one of the deadliest in modern peacetime maritime history. Of the approximately 2,224 passengers and crew aboard, somewhere around 1,500 died. There is much debate about the actual numbers, but most come in somewhere between 1,497 and 1,517 that did not survive the sinking.
This was not because of the ships lack of safety features. In fact, it had some of the most advanced safety features of all ships. These included watertight compartments and remotely activated watertight doors. The issue was that the outdated maritime safety regulations only required enough lifeboats to carry about half the number aboard.
The Titanic took 2 hours and 40 minutes from collision to sinking. As an unsinkable ship, this was a shock to the world and the following facts talk about the people, the experience and even some facts that are nothing more than shocking.
The question, though, is how did we become so arrogant? Why do we feel that we can create things that are claimed to be immune to the laws of nature? We live on this world and we have to play by its rules. There is never a surefire thing. The Titanic is proof of that. While the disaster could have been mitigated or even prevented as you will learn in the following pages, the fact that we were so sure that we could create something that could not be destroyed by nature was what doomed the ship from the start.
This story, as heartbreaking and fascinating as it is, is a story that can be learned from. The individuals that boarded this ship expected nothing but luxury and safety. Much like when we leave our house each day we expect to make it home that night without issue. The true lesson of the Titanic is that we can not take any one moment for granted. They are all just moments away from our last. Those moments may be decades from now or minutes from now. There is no way to tell. Remember that we are just a speck of dust in this universe and our time is short, so we have to enjoy it and understand that we have no control over what the world will throw at us. That is to say, live every moment as if it were your last.
40. That Is Some Anchor
The main anchor for the Titanic was so large and heavy that it required 20 horses to pull it. These aren’t just any horses either, they were Clydesdales. The procession that followed the anchor started towards Dudley Railway Station on April the 30th of 1911. From there, the anchors and chains would travel via rail to Fleetwood, located in Lancashire. It was late afternoon when the anchors arrived. It took some time after that, until May, for the anchor to arrive at the Titanic. The center anchor was the largest anchor ever hand-forged at the time.
39. Accepting Fate
Benjamin Guggenheim was an American businessman that died during the sinking of the Titanic. He was both an American and German citizen. After his father died, he inherited a great deal of money, which seems to have allowed him to launch his own career. He boarded the Titanic with his mistress, his valet (Victor Giglio), and a few others. When helping two of his party onto Lifeboat No. 9 he spoke to his maid in German, saying, “We will soon see each other again! It’s just a repair. Tomorrow the Titanic will go on again.”
He knew better, though, to what his fate was at this point. He and Giglio returned to his cabin to change into formal evening wear. He was heard to say, “We’ve dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen.” The last anyone saw of Guggenheim and Giglio was of the two sitting on deck chairs in the foyer of the Grand Staircase. There they sipped brandy and smoked cigars as they awaited their fate.