The Titanic Construction
The construction of the Titanic
The idea of the luxury liner was first conceived of in 1907, but the Titanic construction did not actually begin until March 31, 1909 in Belfast (Ireland). The construction of the Titanic was handled by Harland and Wolff.
The luxury liner and her sister ships made up the 'Olympic class' vessels of the White Star Line and were designed to cater to the most elite of passengers. From the beginning, the Titanic was designed to be the largest ship to ever take to the seas. As such, the White Star Line was determined that no expense would be sparred in the Titanic construction. It took 3 years for building of the Titanic to be completed and in the end it cost $7.5 million dollars for the ship to be finished. More than 3000 men were employed in building the Titanic during that time span. In the months, and even years, leading up to the maiden voyage of the Titanic; the White Star Line published numerous marketing materials claiming that the ship was 'designed to be unsinkable.'
At the time, the construction methods used in the building of the Titanic were considered to be second to none. Titanic construction included sixteen compartments that were reported to be watertight. Builders of the Titanic had included steel doors that were supposed to have been capable of being shut in 25 seconds or less; thereby enclosing any water that might have seeped in to threaten the safety of the ship and her occupants.
Of course, we now know from the photographs taken of the ship's wreckage, that in all likelihood many of the nearly 3 million rivets that were employed to hold the ship's hull plates together popped loose when the vessel struck a massive iceberg. Without the rivets to hold the plating together, they quickly buckled, allowing water to seep into the ship. New theories have suggested that the iron used in the Titanic construction may have been less than the best quality, containing high degrees of sulfur, which made the hull plates particularly susceptible to the icy cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Builders of the Titanic can hardly be blamed for the iron's contribution to the tragic sinking, however. The iron used in the construction of the Titanic was standard for the first part of the 20th century. While the high sulfur content in the iron may have surely played a role in the tragic history of the Titanic, it was not the sole reason the ship sank.
Reports from surviving crew members indicate that the ship had been ordered to proceed through the waters of the Atlantic Ocean faster than safety allowed. There has been debate regarding whether or not the owner of the White Star Line, Bruce Ismay, instructed Captain Smith to attempt to break a speed record in the Trans-Atlantic crossing. Regardless of whether or not he gave those orders, following the sinking of the Titanic (which he survived) he was asked to step down from his role in the company's management.
Numerous other vessels had reported the presence of several ice floes in the area on the day the ship sank, yet the Titanic made no effort to slow down her speed. When it became obvious that the ship was about to collide with a huge iceberg crew members attempted to turn the ship, hoping to avoid the berg all together. They were unsuccessful, however, and the ship sustained numerous gashes along the hull. Some theories speculate that had the ship hit the iceberg head-on, the damage to the ship would not have been nearly so traumatic and the Titanic and her passengers would have been able to complete their journey.
It is quite possible that no one will ever positively know be able to lay the blame of the Titanic's destruction on one single factor, however; the history of Titanic and the fate of her passengers will forever live on.