Five Things You Didn’t Know About The Titanic
Oh no! Not more Titanic news! With the newly discovered images coming at any time now on the Titanic, it is time to do a trivia list on the famous ship. When the 1997 James Cameron movie came out, there were trivia bits going around everywhere and every person you met had all the facts on this ship wreck, but here are five new ones that might have gone unnoticed.
The White Star Line Was Not The Evil Mega-Corporation We've All Heard
The company that built the Titanic in 1911, is often blamed for not having enough lifeboats on board for all of its passengers. This is true. They didn't have enough, but don't look at them as the type of evil, big business that didn't care about people. Shipping laws only required Titanic to carry 16 lifeboats, which it did; it also carried four additional collapsible lifeboats, thereby exceeding its legal obligation. The obvious question is what kind of imaginary disaster these laws could possibly have been made for, given that they were only written to account for half of the ship's passengers. Unsurprisingly, this same question was raised after Titanic sank.
The Difference In The Classes
One of the things that may amaze people is the level of difference there was between the classes. This is what makes the story of the Titanic so unbelievable. There were the extremely rich (John Jacob Astor IV being the wealthiest) and then the poorest of the poor. Well, actually not THAT poor. In today's U.S. dollars, a ticket for Astor cost him about $93,000 for the trip (in 1912 dollars, that's $4200)! A third class ticket - which was the lowest you could go without hiding in the kitchen - would have cost you $825.00 today (only $36.25 back then). That's about the same cost as a Caribbean Cruise, today. That's a huge leap, but people weren't a dirt poor as you might have thought them to be. Of course, that could have been their life savings.
Nobody Would Have Called The Titanic "Unsinkable"
First off, people in 1911, just like they are today, were superstitious. Making a claim like that was like putting a jinx on the whole thing. Then again, maybe someone DID say it was unsinkable! Seriously though, no one person challenged God or anyone else to try and sink the ship. Likewise, the ship wasn't trying to break any speed records; it was actually sailing a long, slow route in order to avoid - you know - icebergs. However, history is made up of legends and reality is usually boring unless we reinvent everything to bludgeon humanity over the head with its own arrogance. At some point, the story turned into Man vs. Nature, with mankind taking a loss.
You Know Her Name! She's The Unsinkable...
...Violet Jessop. What? You thought I was going to say Molly Brown, didn't you? Yeah. This is another case of history attaching a story to make it more interesting. The story about Molly Brown is pretty good, mind you, but she isn't the one that survived all of the sinking ships. First off, her friends and family never called her "Molly". They called her Maggie. Her name was Margaret. You know her name because of some of the fame she got as being a rich survivor of the Titanic, some of the things she did that night, and because of a 1960 Broadway musical that renamed her Molly. Margaret was on lifeboat 6 when Titanic sunk. She coerced the sailors on board that lifeboat to go back and look for survivors. Once safely upon the Carpathia, the ship that rescued the survivors, Margaret Brown organized the female survivors and helped them cope with what went on in the sinking. Now, as for Violet Jessop, she was an Irish stewardess on the Titanic and a lifelong woman of the sea. In 1911, she was on the sinking ship Olympic when it collided with another ship, named the Hawke. We know where she was in April of 1912 and then she found herself on the doomed Britannic, which hit a mine and sank in 1916. She survived all of these disasters and died in 1971. When asked what was going through her mind when the ships were sinking she said, "I made sure to grab my toothbrush." And THAT'S not a joke!
The Freakiest Foreshadowing Of Disaster. Ever.
If you've been reading this blog for any period of time, this might not be new to you. I wrote about it in the article, Five Books That Foretold The Future. It deserves being mentioned again. In 1898, an American author named Morgan Robertson wrote Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan, a book whose similarities with the actual event are almost creepy. Aside from the obvious - about a similar ship with a nearly identical name - the fictional ship sails in the same month, is short on lifeboats, and is sailing from Southampton, England, when it collides with an iceberg and sinks into the Atlantic. Unlike the historical Titanic, the tale of the Titan contains a McGuyver-like hero who fights a polar bear while stranded on the iceberg, an addition which would certainly improve the quality of the current Titanic narrative. All things are better if someone knows how to kill a polar bear with a fork and a cloth napkin stolen from the dining room.