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The Birth Of Titanic and Olympic
(original page previously displayed on Titanic and other lost liners.)

Bruce Ismay

The story of RMS Titanic begins in July 1907, in a Victorian mansion. It was the home of Lord Pirrie and his wife. That night Lord Pirrie had invited two friends, Mr. and Mrs. J.Bruce Ismay
to Dinner.
Afterwards the men started to relax and talked about future developments in the ship building trade. Lord Pirrie was the chairman of Harland and Wolff, while Bruce Ismay was the chairman of the White Star Line ( a subsidiary of International Mercantile Marine "IMM", Owned by the American Financier J.P Morgan . )
During the conversation Lord Pirrie brought up his concern of the White Star Line's rivals Cunard. They had recently had much success with their two new ships the Lusitania and the Mauretania. The Mauretania had just won the Blue Ribband Award for crossing the Atlantic in
the quickest time in 1907. Bruce Ismay agreed that something had to be done as more people were traveling with Cunard.

Cunard's Lusitania

The hours went by and as they got more into the idea the men had thought of a magnificent vessel. Soon they realised that to keep up the publics love for their ships, they would have to run a regular service, they decided that to keep this up that they would have to make three ship instead of just two. They decided that these would be called the Olympic, Titanic and Gigantic (later to be called Britannic).
(The names Titanic and Gigantic had previously been suggested to the White Star Line by
Mr. David Banks a former United States consul at the Court of Siam.)
They then realised that the Lusitania was 30,000 tons and 790 ft. long, and their ships needed to be much bigger than this, that would be a problem, as neither Harland and Wolff or any other shipyard had a gantry, large enough to construct these ships and a new one one would have to be built.

The 200ft. high gantry

They also concentrated on the fact that these ships would care more about Luxury and comfort than speed. This meant that the ships would be so big that there would be hardly any vibration from the engines. J.P Morgan had agreed that a 220 foot high gantry was needed and that he would finance it.
While all this was going on in Ireland, Bruce Ismay was in New York making negotiations about extending the length of there harbour, New York would not agree though. Pierre had also decided that instead of the usual three funnels their ships would have four, this was to
be used as a ventilator for the boiler rooms, but others thought that this was to make the ship look better.

By December 1908, all the plans and designs had been finished and Olympic's keel plate was laid, three months later Titanic's keel plate was laid, and in New York there were still arguments over the extension of the harbour, so representatives of the harbour went to Washington DC to speak with the War Department who had control over the harbour, and they gave the permission for the harbour to be extended.

Olympic's (left) and Titanic's (right) Launch

On October the 20th 1910 the Olympic was launched and was towed to where she would be fitted out. Then almost a year later on May 31 1911 Titanic was launched. Titanic was 1004 tons larger than Olympic and because of this, the Titanic got much more publicity than the Olympic, she was also much more luxurious than Olympic. Neither the Titanic or the Olympic were christened as it was not customary for the White Star Line and Harland and Wolff to do so.

Titanic and Olympic Information

Attribute Olympic Titanic
Length 882ft. 9in 882ft. 9in
Height   175ft.
Extreme Breadth 92ft. 6in 92ft. 6in
Gross Tonnage 45,324 46,328
Displacement tons 52,000 unladen 52,250 unladen
Watertight bulkheads 15 15
Horsepower (reciprocating engines) 15,000 x 2 15,000 x 2
Horsepower (turbine engine) 16,000 16,000
Cruising speed   23 to 24 knots
Launch Date 20/10/10 31/5/11
Maiden Voyage 14/6/11 10/4/12

© MadLeoFan 1999
Edited & Proofread Ashley Runt Nov. 1999

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