Inside the Titanic: A look back to 1911 & 1912
In the White Star Line’s new triple-screw steamers Olympic and Titanic are epitomized all the science and skill of a century of steam navigation.
Figures speak most concisely and eloquently of the supremacy of the Olympic and Titanic. Nothing has been left to chance in the construction of these superb ships, and besides being the largest and heaviest vessels ever built, they are also undoubtedly the strongest.
Their towering hulls are molded to battle against the seven seas, and boast, in each ship, the presence of three million rivets (weighing about 1,200 tons) holding together the solid plates of steel.
The double bottom referred to extends the full length of each vessel, varying from 5ft 3in. to 6ft 3in. in depth and lends added strength to the hull. The subdivision of the hulls of the Olympic and Titanic into fifteen compartments separated by watertight bulkheads of steel further assures the safety of the vessels.
The Titanic’s spaciousness and beauty
A rapid survey of the 11 steel decks of the Olympic and Titanic reveals the most careful and comprehensive preparations in every department. Three elevators in the first class and one in the second class provide a comfortable means of access between decks, which, on ships so vast as these, saves the passenger much effort.
On the topmost deck –- cheerfully named the sun deck -– one finds a commodious open promenade with a large area for deck sports. All the enticing outdoor games that seem exclusively identified with the pleasant hours aboard ship are played here, and the ardent devotee of the putter and the niblick can keep in ‘top trim’ by assiduous attention to the fascinating pastime, deck-golf, with its 18-hole course.
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Here also is located the roomy gymnasium with its complete equipment, which will attract many passengers seeking mild and healthful diversion. Forward are the officers’ quarters and the wheelhouse and chartrooms.
Inside the Titanic: Comfort and luxury
On the vast area of the upper promenade deck A just below, the steamer’s chair brigade will be very much in evidence, as here are many sheltered nooks and corners where the bracing salt air can be enjoyed with the utmost comfort.
There is also abundant space for promenading. On this deck are situated several of the most charming public apartments. The extensive, richly decorated Lounge, one of the chief social centers, the spacious, elegantly fitted smoke room vie in interest with the exquisitely furnished reading and writing room with its delicate colorings.
All these public cabins have the spacious, graceful windows of the various colonial periods, which easily cause the impression that outside one might see lawns and trees; and, although this be not so, the view is one excelled by no other in the world –- the mighty grandeur of the ever-changing sea.
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The amateur photographers will be especially pleased with the photographic dark room, which is provided with fittings of the latest pattern, all available without charge.
The palm court and veranda café, where one may while away many a pleasant half-hour, are also situated aft on this deck, and will be found largely reminiscent of the delightful boulevard cafés of Paris and Vienna. The wide outlook from this vantage point adds greatly to the pleasure of those who visit its precincts.
On the upper promenade deck are also a large number of the choicest staterooms both as to location and luxurious furnishings, which are in excellent taste.
A striking and at the same time a pleasant feature of the promenade deck B is the glass-enclosed section. As a protection against inclement weather, its windows make it a pleasing and perfect shelter, while on cold, clear days when the windows are closed to prevent the ingress of icy breezes, the deck becomes a veritable sun parlor, and here at times promenade concerts by the ship’s professional string orchestra and delightful evening dances are held with every degree of comfort.
Under gleaming vari-colored electric light bulbs and with gay streamers adding their brightness, one could hardly wish for a more pleasurable scene.
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Inaide the Titanic: Passenger cabins & bedroom suites
On this deck are also many cabins and apartments deluxe, the latter consisting of several rooms en suite, having their own private bath and toilet arrangements, with rooms for servants adjoining.
The beautifully-appointed restaurant with its superior à la carte service, seats 160 people and is designed to cater to those travelers who prefer merely to engage their cabins and transportation, and as a separate transaction avail themselves of the restaurant’s facilities.
On the upper deck C, in addition to the passenger staterooms and apartments deluxe, one will find the ship’s inquiry office, where the business of this floating city will be transacted.
Afton this deck an important innovation is the special maids’ and valets’ saloon, where servants may congregate and where their meals will be served.
The saloon deck D, just below the upper deck C, has as its most prominent feature that important gathering-place, the grand dining saloon, seating 550 passengers, and extending the full width of the ship, 92-1/2 ft.
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Small tables are everywhere in attendance, and the alcoves, which congenial parties will find especially pleasant, lend an air of coziness to this apartment which is, at first view, so vast and impressive.
The large leaded glass windows about the sides of the room are an unusual feature, assisting materially in ventilating and lighting the saloon.
On this deck also is the beautifully decorated reception room, whose handsome furnishings and hangings add to it a distinct note of refined taste.
Among many other special attractions for passengers in the first class are the Turkish and electric bath establishment, completely equipped with a hot room, temperate room, cooling room, shampoo rooms and massage rooms.
More notably, the adjoining large salt water swimming pool, of even greater dimensions than that on the company’s well-known steamer Adriatic, which was the first ship to be equipped with these delightful innovations.
The remarkable dimensions of the Olympic and Titanic have also made it possible to introduce for the pleasure of passengers a full-sized tennis and handball court, 30ft long, extending through two decks, where these healthful exercises may be indulged in.
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The passenger accommodations
Throughout the passenger staterooms, the upper berths are of the folding or Pullman type, and a large number of ‘Bibby’ rooms, notable even on these great ships for their exceptional spaciousness, will please a host of passengers.
Everywhere the important item of ventilation has received the most painstaking attention and the system employed assures a constantly changing atmosphere without drafts.
The White Star Line is justly famed for the superior excellence of its cuisine and the careful attention paid to all passengers by its well-trained corps of servants, a large percentage of whom have been in its service for many years.
On the Olympic and Titanic, the culinary arrangements are most complete: and the cuisine will continue to be a prominent feature to which the most watchful supervision will be given.
In second class, the preparations for the comfort of passengers are thorough. On the promenade and bridge decks are situated the library and smoke rooms, and on the saloon deck, a great dining hall, seating 400.
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What is most essential, all the passenger staterooms, centrally situated, are of the latest modern type, handsomely fitted, and with every creature comfort.
In the third class, every attention is paid to the needs of passengers. The rooms and berths are all most comfortable, and special rooms for families and two-berth rooms for married couples are provided.
Large dining saloons, lounges, smoking room, and social halls for passengers in the third class speak of the detailed care with which this section of these ships has been planned.
The Olympic and Titanic are scheduled in the fast mail service of the White Star Line’s New York-Plymouth-Cherbourg-Southampton, the favorite English Channel route to England, and all parts of the Continent.
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Land comforts while at sea: Stories touting the Titanic’s luxurious accommodations (1911)
Of course, what would have been merely an interesting insight into what were then considered the most luxurious ships ever, takes on an entirely new meaning when looking back through the lens of history.
Take one line in this story: “The Titanic will have a golf course of eighteen holes, with the hazard under the lifeboats.”
It’s all but impossible to read that without thinking of those too-few lifeboats, all used on the ship’s maiden voyage — just eleven months after this story was published.
An onboard golf course
The growing tendency to amuse the voyager and make him forget he’s at sea leads to the construction of a golf course of eighteen holes.
The announcement that a squash racket court will be one of the features of the great White Star line steamship Olympic, soon to be in service, and the Titanic, now building, calls attention to the constantly growing tendency to give the sea traveler every comfort and luxury that can be obtained ashore.
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The squash racket court will be placed directly above the keel, five levels up from the skin of the ship, counting the bottom as one, double bottom as two, bed plates, lower orlop and orlop. The court, which will be available for tennis, handball, squash or rackets, will be on the lower deck, also designated as the “G” deck.
The court will be 30 by 20 feet in size. It will extend up through the middle of “G” and “F” decks as high as the main, or “E” deck, for the Olympic and the Titanic are each fifteen stories high, as follows: Floor, double bottom, bed plates and lower orlop, orlop, lower, middle, main, saloon, upper, promenade, upper promenade, boat and sun docks and extra compass platform.
The White Star liner Adriatic now has a swimming pool, but the Olympic and the Titanic will have tanks 32 by 13 feet, as well as Turkish and electric baths, with a hot room 16 by 20, a cooling room 20 by 32 and a gymnasium 46 by 18 feet.
The Titanic will have a golf course of eighteen holes, with the hazard under the lifeboats; also will the same kind of links be laid out on the sun deck of the Olympic. Roller skates will be available to all.
ALSO SEE: How I was saved from the Titanic: A Titanic survivor’s story (1912)
Titanic: 45,000 ton monster ready for service (1912)
The Tacoma Times (Tacoma, Wash.) March 04, 1912
Only the other day, the Lusitania and her the Mauretania were the world wonder sisters of the briny. Now they must yield the palm to a new pair of marine twins: the Olympic and the Titanic. This pair has just been filled out by the completion of the Titanic, the Olympic being already in commission.
The Titanic, which is shown here lying at the dock at Belfast preparatory to her trials, is 882 feet long and of 92 feet beam. She is nearly 100 feet longer than any other ship in the world except her sister — and her tonnage of 45,000 is 13,000 in excess of that of the biggest of rival liners. Her engines — 50,000 horsepower — are both turbine and reciprocating, are expected practically to eliminate vibration.
She has accommodations for 5,000 passengers. She cost $7,500,000. The Titanic is not a speed marvel — she makes but 21 knots as against the Mauretania’s 25 — but she is the last word in the way of comfort and luxury in trans-Atlantic travel.
MORE: How I was saved from the Titanic: A Titanic survivor’s story (1912)
First photograph of completed Titanic
The Sun (New York, NY) March 17, 1912
New White Star steamship Titanic
While the first photograph of the new steamship Titanic received in New York shows a ship in most respects like the Olympic there is a pronounced difference in the deck, or what is on the Olympic the lower promenade deck. On this deck on the new ship, there is no public promenade at all.
Instead, the staterooms are brought out flush with the outside of the superstructure, and the rooms themselves made much larger. The sitting rooms of some of the suites on this deck are 15 x 15 feet. In fact, this deck is the most luxurious of the vessel.
The restaurant is much larger than that of the Olympic, and it has a novelty in the shape of a private promenade deck on the starboard side, to be used exclusively by its patrons. Adjoining it is a reception room where hosts and hostesses may meet their guests before going into the restaurant.
Tho biggest novelty is two private promenades connected with the two most luxurious suites on the ship. These suites are about the most expensive ever installed on a ship so far as the passenger is concerned. It will be possible for the occupants to be just as exclusive on shipboard as in their own homes.
The suites are situated about amid-ships, one on either side of the vessel, and each is about fifty feet long. One of the suites comprises a sitting room, two bedrooms and a bath. In one of them, a passenger may disappear upon the ship’s leaving New York and never be seen all the way over, though he will be able to take the air at any time on his own private porch.