A Titanic task: Motor specialists Haynes produce a manual for the “unsinkable ship”

A Titanic task: Motor specialists Haynes produce a manual for the “unsinkable ship”

RMS TITANIC was 882ft long, weighed 46,328 tons, and was capable of carrying 3,300 passengers

What if they had this book when the Titanic hit the ice-berg… who knows how it might have all turned out?

Nearly a century after the ill-fated luxury liner sank on its maiden voyage to the depths of the freezing the North Atlantic, those masters of the motorists’ car manual at Haynes have diversified into a fascinating new area with the “RMS Titanic Owners’ Workshop Manual 1909-12 (Olympic Class).”

The 160-page hardback tome covers both the technical specifications of the superlative steam ship and the all too human tragedy which befell the passengers and crew after the ship’s owners and captain tempted fate too far – and lost.

Details range from the making and fitting of its three giant propellers to the furnishing of the luxury state rooms, and from the creation of its three vast anchor to the choice and fitting of rivets – many of which failed.

A whole chapter is devoted to the intricate design of lifeboats – of which there were sadly and scandalously far too few.

The new and “missing” manual has been published exactly a year ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking in April 1912.

And who knows, with lessons learned since the tragedy and the location of the wreck, this fascinating technical tome might just might have made a difference.

The book includes hundreds of photographs and illustrations showing how the ill-fated ocean liner was designed, built, launched, fitted out and operated – from launching the lifeboats to repairing a rivet, firing up the vast boiler furnaces, and running the giant refrigerator to produce ice for the champagne of the super-rich.

In its day, the Titanic’s scale was simply epic as it sacrificed speed in favor of size, luxury and space on the North Atlantic passenger route.

Stretching 882ft long with a 104ft navigating bridge sitting 104ft above the keel, weighing 46,328 tons, and capable of carrying 3,300 passengers. Yet this Leviathan, which then cost £2million to build, had only 20 full-sized life-boats capable of carrying 65 passengers each.

Cutaways and technical illustrations show key machinery and equipment, including features such as the Titanic’s 15 watertight bulkheads that were supposed to make her ‘practically unsinkable’ even when holed.

But they didn’t extend high enough. So the water went over the top and into the next compartment, dragging the ship down. Illustrations also include fatigue cracks in Titanic’s sister ship Olympic – at exactly the point where Titanic broke in two.

Power: Steam for the Titanic’s huge engines was generated by 29 boilers fed by 129 furnaces eating 850 tons of coal a day

A spokeswoman for Haynes said: “Most people know us for our car owners’ workshop manuals.  But as the centenary of the Titanic’s loss approaches, we thought it fitting that the world’s most famous passenger ship should finally gets the Haynes treatment.  We wanted to take people right in to the heart of the ship – behind every nut, bolt and rivet.”

Titanic was the second of the Olympic Class liners.

She wasn’t revolutionary in design, but was remarkable for her size, say the authors: “It reveals everything from the opulence of the first class accommodation that made her the talk of Edwardian Britain, to the squalor of the engine rooms, where 48 firemen stoked the fires at any one time.”

The stokers were known as the ‘Black Gang’ or the ‘Black Feet Brigade’ and tended 159 furnaces that consumed 850 tons of coal a day.

“This unrelenting work, deep in the bowels of the ship, meant that suicide rates amongst stokers on coal-fired ships like Titanic were alarmingly high.”

Daily life on board the White Star Line’s flagship vessel is also described, including the many responsibilities of Captain Edward John Smith – known as “the Commander” – the most senior officer in the whole of the White Star Line.

It sets out how the Chief Engineer kept the mighty ship and its systems running and how an army of staff toiled below deck from the engine rooms to the kitchens.

Of the 1,320 passengers and 900 crew on board the Titanic when it sank, just 706 survivors were rescued by the Carpathia which picked up their distress call sent out by the Marconi radio operators using the new ‘SOS’ message. Only 339 bodies were recovered from the sea.

White Star Line chairman and managing director Joseph Bruce Ismay was among the survivors. He managed controversially to escape into a collapsible lifeboat but ‘he did not look back at the sinking liner he owned’, says the book.

Captain Smith, of course, went down with his ship as the band, famously played on.

Click here to order book from AMAZON…

Our thanks to the London Daily Mail…

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About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

One comment

  1. Great website. Such a terrific look at social history. I’m spending hours on the site!

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