Photos of the Titanic: These rare images will give you goosebumps

The RMS Titanic, one of three Olympic-class ocean liners built around the turn of the century, was marketed before her maiden voyage as the “unsinkable ship.” She was built using the latest technologies, including steel rivets, which were more durable than iron ones. People from all walks of life, from poor immigrants to the rich and famous elite, bought tickets for the luxury ship’s maiden voyage. Some were headed for a new life in the United States. Others were coming home from work. Others were looking for a fun seaside vacation.

On the afternoon of April 14, 1912, all these plans came to a halt when the Titanic, the unsinkable ship, struck an iceberg and sank in less than three hours. There is no record of these events beyond the stories of the survivors, but these photos may give an idea of what it must have been like to be aboard the doomed ship. Take a look at these rare photos of the Titanic and try not to shudder at the thought of what that fateful night must have been like.

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They called it ‘Titanic’ for a reason

The RMS Titanic was the world’s largest passenger ship when it opened in 1912. At 882 feet long, 175 feet tall and weighing 46,328 tons, there was simply nothing like it. 

The enormous size of the ship added to the almost mythological aura about her and made the sinking of the ship all the more shocking.

could have been even worse

The sinking of the Titanic was one of the greatest tragedies in modern history, with only 710 survivors out of 2,224 on board. While the loss of life was widely mourned and has gone down in history, the tragedy could have been much greater. 

However, as the Titanic was well below her capacity for her maiden voyage: her maximum capacity was actually 3,327.

third class died first

Many of the ship’s passengers were third-class families looking to start a new life in America. The accommodations for these passengers were towards the bottom of the ship and they were among the first to be flooded. 

There were doors on the stairs that were closed to keep the third class separate from the others. Because the stewards did not have time to open all the doors in the chaos, many of these passengers were trapped below decks and drowned.

The ticket prices were unbelievably high.

As a luxury passenger ship, the ticket price for the Titanic was high. First-class tickets ranged from $30 to $4,350 ($775 to $112,000 today). 

Second-class tickets were $12-$60 ($300-$1,500 today), and third-class tickets were $8-$40 ($200-$1,100 today). Even when inflation is taken into account, those are some pricey tickets.

disaster was predicted

Fourteen years before the Titanic’s maiden voyage, author Morgan Robertson wrote a novel called   The Wreck of the Titan: Or, Futility  , which dealt with the world’s largest ship disaster. The ship in the fictional story was called the Titan. 

Their measurements were nearly identical to those of the Titanic, as were the speeds they were going when they encountered disaster. In addition, both collided with an iceberg on the starboard side. Both also sank in April, in exactly the same spot, with as few lifeboats as the law allowed. Although people credited him with clairvoyance, Robertson claimed that he simply had extensive knowledge of ships and navigation.

RMS means something you wouldn’t expect

At the time of the Titanic’s voyage, all British ships bore the letters RMS, which stands for Royal Mail Ship. 

The term dates back to 1840, when the British government only hired the fastest and most reliable ships to carry mail. The RMS prefix became known as a sign of distinction and quality.

The crew was obedient to a fault.

There were 908 crew members aboard the Titanic. A higher percentage of crew members died than any other group, apart from the men of the second and third class. 

Many of these were lost when the boiler rooms were flooded in the initial impact; others died trying to save the passengers below decks. The five postmen died trying to save the mail they had been charged with protecting.

Many of the men knew they would not survive

John Jacob Astor IV was the richest passenger on board. He had an estimated net worth of $85 million. (That’s about $2 billion today.) He was traveling with his pregnant wife, whom he helped into a lifeboat through a side window. He told her; “The sea is calm. You’ll be fine. You’re in good hands. I will see you in the morning. Those were her last words to her. He died when the ship sank.

Many more almost fell

Many famous people bought tickets for the trip but didn’t actually sail. These included Hershey’s Chocolate founder Milton S. Hershey, pioneering inventor Guglielmo Marconi, and JP Morgan, the American banking and steel magnate. It’s safe to say that the future of the 20th century could have been very different if these men had tackled.

The ship ran on coal fuel

The Titanic needed more than 600 tons of coal a day to keep the huge engines running, so it left Southampton with more than 6,000 tons of coal. That coal was shoveled into large boilers that had three ovens. Employees, called firefighters, shoveled coal into the furnaces in extremely hot and dirty conditions. Many of these men were among the first to die, as the rooms in which they worked were flooded and the watertight doors automatically closed in an attempt to prevent the rest of the ship from being flooded.

Titanic had four stacks

Titanic had four large funnels, also known as stacks. The ship’s engines ventilated the smoke through these funnels. Three of them functioned as chimneys and one as an air outlet. As the boiler rooms began to fill with water, there was great concern that cold seawater hitting the warm steam stored in the funnels would cause them to explode. In an attempt to prevent this, firefighters and engineers had to quickly vent as much steam as possible from the chimneys.

Many of the crew were not sailors

Waiters, waitresses, and waitresses were called stewards on the Titanic. Of the ship’s 421 stewards, only 60 survived, and 48 of them were women. Pictured above is steward Thomas Whiteley, whose leg was broken by a falling piece of debris while boarding a lifeboat. Another stewardess, Violet Jessop, was on Titanic’s sister ship, the RMS Olympic, when she collided with a British warship the previous year. She survived that, the Titanic disaster, and the sinking of her other sister ship, the Britannic, four years later. She became known as “Miss Unsinkable.”

The captain did not make the difficult decision

On the night of the sinking, the Titanic’s captain, Edward J. Smith, had retired for the night, leaving First Mate William McMaster Murdoch in charge. When Murdoch received the warning of the iceberg, he ordered the ship to turn immediately and the engines to stop. Unfortunately, it was already too late. Due to the enormous size of the ship, it did not turn in time to avoid the collision, and the starboard side hit the iceberg.

There were only seconds until impact

The iceberg was spotted by lookout Frederick Fleet (pictured) just a minute before the Titanic struck it. With the time it took him to deliver the message, the officers on the bridge only had about 30 seconds to decide what to do, leaving them open to more than a century of doubt. As it would happen, Fleet survived that night, but sadly suffered from depression for the rest of his life, probably due to the tragedy of the sinking. He committed suicide by hanging in January 1965.

The captain was one of the best.

Edward J. Smith, the Titanic’s captain, had had a long and successful career on the White Star Line, having transferred from Titanic’s sister ship, RMS Olympic, especially for this maiden voyage. His last words to the crew were: “Well, boys, do the best you can for the women and children, and take care of yourselves.” Smith planned to retire after the trip.

There were several ice warnings from other ships

The Titanic was warned about floating sea ice several times during the day leading up to the disaster. Several ships had reported “field and ice”, and had passed the messages to the Titanic. But because the radio operators had been dealing with a backlog of passenger messages from the previous day, only two of the six received made it to the bridge. Just nine minutes before the collision, the SS Californian had signaled that she had stopped for the night on an ice field. Tragically, radio operator Jack Phillips interrupted them, stating that he was busy transcribing the passengers’ messages.

There were no binoculars in the crow’s nest

Due to a mix-up in the port of Southampton, there were no binoculars in the top. However, this did not matter much, given the darkness of the night. Although it was clear, there was no moon, and the water was incredibly smooth and calm, so it was impossible to tell if the waves were hitting the obstacles ahead. However, crewman Frederick Fleet, who saw the iceberg, later testified at the inquest hearings that if he had been given binoculars, “we could have seen it (the iceberg) a little bit sooner. Well enough to get out of the way.

They had already sold tickets for the return trip

Before the Titanic’s journey across the Atlantic began, it docked at two different embarkation points: Cherbourg, France and Queenstown, Ireland. She was supposed to make a stop in Manhattan to allow the first and second class passengers to disembark, and then she would continue to Ellis Island so the third class passengers could clear immigration. The Titanic had a return voyage scheduled to leave New York on April 20, and several more scheduled throughout the year, ending on December 28.

A record sinking

Once the Titanic hit the iceberg, it took the ship 2 hours and 40 minutes to sink. Ships in the past that had met the same fate took about 12 hours to fully submerge. If the Titanic had taken so long, help would have arrived on time, as the Carpathia arrived at the scene around 4 a.m.

The iceberg remained afloat near

The day after the Titanic sank, a steward on another ship took an ominous photo of a large iceberg. This photo, showing the clear black mark on the side of the iceberg, served as a chilling reminder of what happened the day before.

The youngest passenger became famous

Elizabeth Gladys Millvina Dean, the youngest surviving passenger on the Titanic, was just 9 months old when she boarded the ship with her mother, father and older brother, Bertram. She escaped with her mother and her brother, but her father died in the sinking. Her family was supposed to move to the United States, but with the death of her husband, Gladys’s mother decided to return to Southampton. Millvina was described as “the darling of the ship” all the way back to England.

no survivors

Millvina was the last living survivor of the Titanic sinking when she died in 2009, at the age of 97. After her death, she was cremated. Her ashes were scattered from the Southampton docks, where she boarded the Titanic with her family as a child.

Titanic restaurants

On deck B of the ship, the a la carte restaurant was for first class passengers only. Between this, the other cafe on board and the regular dining room, first class passengers had many interesting options for dining on board. À la Carte was owned by an Italian businessman named Luigi Gatti, who died on the Titanic. Of the restaurant’s entire staff of 66, only one clerk and two cashiers survived.

She was modeled after the Ritz Hotel

The luxurious interior of the Titanic is rumored to have been inspired by the world famous Ritz Hotel in London. It featured a grand staircase, squash courts, a swimming pool and a state-of-the-art gym. There were also several lounges, reading rooms, and smoking rooms. It was designed to be the absolute height of luxury.

The orchestra played happy melodies

As seen in the film, the orchestra played music during the sinking. They were doing their best to comfort the passengers. Most of the time they weren’t playing sad and dreary music: this would be seen as a bad omen and would only create more panic. Instead, they played ragtime and upbeat dance music. Only at the end, when the destination was certain, did they begin to play hymns at the request of the stranded passengers. There is debate to this day as to what the band’s last song was.

There weren’t enough rafts for everyone.

Many lives could have been saved if life rafts had been taken more seriously. There were only 20 rafts to begin with, only enough to accommodate about a third of the ship’s capacity. It had room for 64, but White Star Line wanted uninterrupted views of the ocean, and the rafts at the time were only intended to carry passengers from one rescue ship to another. A situation in which the ship sank in just under three hours was unimaginable. The crew was also not properly trained with the boats. They had only conducted one drill, and even then, most of the crew were unaware of their intended positions. Many have said that even if the ship had all 64 boats, it is doubtful that they would all have been successfully launched due to a lack of training.

Many were never found

Eight boats were used to search for and collect bodies from the Atlantic. Many of the bodies were not identifiable and received burials at sea. Some were not found until a month later, as was the case with the bodies left floating in collapsible boat A, which were found by the RMS Oceanic. Only a third of the bodies were recovered.

The ship did not remain intact

Experts believe that it only took 15 minutes for the Titanic to take its final resting place at the bottom of the ocean after it sank below the surface. She sank so fast that she dug big holes in the seabed where she landed. The force of the impact caused the decks to collapse on top of each other, further plunging the wreck into the seabed.

The shipwreck took 73 years to find

Since the wreckage of the Titanic was so deep in the ocean, it took a long time to find it. This difficulty was compounded by the fact that inaccurate coordinates of her location were provided before she sank, leading scientists, historians, and divers to search for her for decades. She was finally found, in 1985, by Robert Ballard, with great notoriety.

A ticket to the Titanic is still expensive

What many people don’t know is that you can actually visit the Titanic at the bottom of the ocean. She’s breaking down a little fast now, so she won’t be around forever, and you can only go if your pockets are pretty deep. A ticket to take a private party to the wreckage costs $59,000 per person. Anyone rich enough can take the plunge through a private company called Deep Ocean Expeditions.

There could be a Titanic II

An Australian millionaire named Clive Palmer made plans to build a replica of the Titanic, called Titanic II. It was originally planned for 2016, then pushed back to 2018. As recently as October 2018, the project now has a slated release date of 2022. It’s worth noting that Palmer is famous for coming up with weird plans that he never sees, like a replica  from Jurassic Park  at its golf course and a Zeppelin trading company. It’s better if it doesn’t come to fruition, because many saw the Titanic II plan as rude and insensitive.

George Washington Vanderbilt II changed his plans at the last minute

George Washington Vanderbilt II was the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, heir to the Vanderbilt fortune. He was scheduled to be on the Titanic, but his sister-in-law talked to him about the potential problems of traveling on a ship on her maiden voyage, and she changed her mind a few days before he was due to leave. However, he sent his luggage and one of his servants on the Titanic. The servant, a second-class man (the group with the highest mortality rate aboard the ship) died.

Theodore Dreiser almost met disaster

Famed author Theodore Dreiser also changed his plans and did not board the ship, following his publisher’s advice to take a less expensive one. After the Titanic sank, he wrote: “To think of a ship as vast as the Titanic, shiny and new, sinking into endless fathoms of water. And the two thousand passengers were kicked out like rats from their berths only to float helplessly in miles of water, praying and crying!

Henry Clay Frick was saved by a sprained ankle

American steel magnate Henry Clay Frick intended to board the Titanic. However, her wife sprained her ankle days before the trip and they decided it would be better for her to stay behind and rest. Definitely happens to be the luckiest sprained ankle of all time.

Guglielmo Marconi’s personal paperwork kept him alive

Nobel Prize winner and noted inventor of the telegraph Guglielmo Marconi had been offered free passage on the Titanic, but instead decided to travel on the Lusitania. His daughter later said it was because she had paperwork to do and preferred that ship’s telegraph operator to that of the Titanic.

alcohol fueled survival

Titanic’s chief baker, Charles Joughin, survived the sinking, clinging to the ship and “riding” it as it sank, then reportedly swimming in the frigid Atlantic waters for nearly two hours before being picked up by a lifeboat. According to Joughin, he was able to keep his cool and stay afloat thanks to the generous amount of whiskey he drank before leaving ship. He was played by Liam Tuohy in the James Cameron movie.

economic inequality indeed

One of the most opulent and luxurious areas of the Titanic was its great Turkish bath. The area, which included steam baths and massage tables, was available to first-class passengers only. On the other hand, the 700 third class passengers had to share two bathtubs.

Engineers made the ultimate sacrifice

Every single one of the Titanic’s engineers died in the sinking, as they stayed below decks maintaining power so others could escape for as long as possible rather than try to abandon ship. A monument to the heroic engineers of the Titanic (pictured above) was built in Southampton in 1914.

a tragic headline

Early newspaper accounts of the Titanic disaster incorrectly reported that no lives were lost. Unfortunately, it took a few days before the truth came out.

haunted honeymoon

13 couples were celebrating their honeymoons on the Titanic’s maiden voyage, including the aforementioned John Jacob and Madeleine Astor (photos). Of those pairs, three died entirely in the sinking, four saw half of the pair live while the other perished, and six pairs survived.

The Mysterious Lifeboat Drill Canceled

A lifeboat drill was scheduled for the morning of April 14, the day the Titanic hit the iceberg. For unknown reasons, Captain Smith canceled the drill. While it’s unlikely many more lives would have been saved had the drill happened, the cancellation of it still feels like an ominous coincidence.

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