Monday marks the 107th anniversary of the tragedy that struck RMS Titanic when it sank into the depths of the ocean, after hitting an iceberg on its path to the United States from the United Kingdom, April 15, 1912.
The ship hit an iceberg in the northern Atlantic Ocean, four days after the Titanic began its journey. Since the crew members weren’t prepared for the massive scale damage that occurred following the accident, the maiden voyage of one of the most luxurious ships of that age, ended 24 hours later. While more than 1,500 people lost their lives in the tragedy, over 700 lives were saved. The tragedy inspired the creation of the 1997 Oscar-winning movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
Here are a few interesting and lesser-known facts about the famous ship that you may have been unaware of:
- With the desire to give passengers the feel of being in a luxurious hotel, the interiors of the ship were loosely based on the designs of the Ritz hotel in London. The ship included a gym, a pool, a squash court, Turkish bath and a kennel for first class dogs. There was also an onboard newspaper made available for guests – the Atlantic Daily Bulletin. However, while the third-class accommodations on the Titanic were much better than those on an average ship, about 700 to 1,000 passengers of the lower strata had to share two bathrooms between them, Insider reported.
- Edward Smith, the ship’s captain went down with the ship. “Well boys, you’ve done your duty and done it well. I ask no more of you. I release you. You know the rule of the sea. It’s every man for himself now, and God bless you,” Smith told the ship’s crew before his death.
- The richest passenger onboard the ship was John Jacob Astor IV, who had an estimated net worth of a net worth of $85 million (presently approximately $2 billion). The youngest passenger onboard the ship was Millvina Dean, who was just two months old at the time. While the former did not survive the tragedy, the latter got lucky in that regard. According to the Telegraph, since Astor IV was a man of humor and wit, his last words were, “I asked for ice, but this is ridiculous.”
- The ship’s band is said to have played music till the very end in order to calm the passengers. Although all of them died with the sinking ship, one of them – Roger Bricoux, Titanic’s cello player – was not officially declared dead until 2000.
- According to the official 1912 inquiry findings, the time between actually seeing the iceberg and deciding what course of action to take was only 37 seconds, which could be because the ship’s lookouts, Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee, did not have access to binoculars during the journey. It is believed that the binoculars were kept in a locker and the ship’s second officer forgot to hand off its key to the staff. The key was auctioned in 2010 for over $130,000.
- One of the controversies surrounding the sinking of Titanic was its lack of onboard lifeboats. The ship carried wooden lifeboats enough to accommodate only 1,178 people, which is one-third of Titanic’s total capacity.
- It has also been speculated that the Titanic would not have sunk if it struck the iceberg head-on. When First Officer William McMaster Murdoch ordered the ship to change direction, it was too late for the mammoth vessel to avoid the tragedy ahead.
- Everyone knows that the word “unsinkable” was famously linked to the Titanic, making its sinking extra-tragic. However, according to historians, the word did not become synonymous with the ship until it met its end, according to FOX 51.