The Titanic is known all over the world. Everyone has heard the infamous story. The unsinkable ship met its demise at the hands of an iceberg. In 1997, a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet created by James Cameron became a box office smash hit. Celine Dion became a household name with her song, “My Heart Will Go On” thanks to said movie. But, how much do we really know about the ill-fated Titanic? What are some of the secrets that it holds within its steel walls? Here are fifteen jaw-dropping facts about the Titanic that will blow your mind.
1. Saved from the Titanic
Among the 700 survivors of the Titanic, one of them was a silent actress named Dorothy Gibson (May 17, 1889 – February 17, 1946). What did she do after surviving one of the biggest ocean disasters? Why make a movie, of course. The film, Saved from the Titanic, was released in May 1912 and was the first film to depict the events of the sinking ship. Gibson even went as far as to wear the same clothes and shoes she wore at the time of the actual sinking. Saved from the Titanic was successful but sadly it is now a lost film. The only known print was destroyed in a studio fire.
2. “Going Down with the Ship”
Speaking of survivors and movies, another survivor named Lawrence Beesley (December 31, 1877 – February 14, 1967) was on the set of the movie, A Night to Remember. It was said that he tried to jump into the scene of the sinking ship as a way to go down with it in a symbolic way. The director, Roy Ward Baker, would not let him go through with it because it was against union policy and could halt production. Beesley would later go on to write a memoir titled, The Loss of SS Titanic.
3. YOD: 2000
Can you imagine being missing and not being declared dead until years later? This is what happened to French cello player Roger Bricoux. (June 1, 1891 – April 15, 1912). He was only twenty-one years old when he died. Bricoux died with the other musicians on the ship. He was not declared dead until 2000. To add insult to injury, the French Army called Bricoux a deserter when he failed to show up to fight for World War I. It took Eighty-eight years for the Association Française du Titanic (French Association of the Titanic), to call his name and put him to rest.
4. All Eyes on Deck
There could have been many things that could have prevented the sinking of the Titanic. One of which would have been good eyesight. The ship’s lookouts, Frederick Fleet (October 15, 1887 – January 10, 1965) and Reginald Lee (May 19, 1870 – August 6, 1913), only had their eyes to rely on this ill-fated voyage. What went wrong? Fleet and Lee did not have access binoculars at the time of the sinking. Turns out, said binoculars were locked in a locker with no access to the key. What happened was that the ship’s second officer was a last-minute replacement and he forgot to hand off the key. As a result, Fleet and Lee could not see very far. The fate of the key? It resurfaced in 2010 and was sold over $130,000. On top of that, one of the lookouts, a prankster, removed a memorial wreath from Fleet’s gravestone and replaced it with binoculars and a note saying, “Sorry for bringing these 100 years too late.” Ouch.
5. Bad Omens
The Titanic was plagued with problems even from the start. Eight men died during the construction of the doomed ship. Only five of them had known names: Samuel Scott, a fifteen-year-old catch boy, John Kelly, a nineteen-year catch boy, William Clarke, a twenty-seven-year-old driller, James Dobbin, a forty-three-year-old shipwright, and Robert Murphy, a forty-year-old rivet counter. Belfast finally gave them their final respect in 2012. This would not be the only time that this would be ill-fated.
6. Go Out with All the Money in the World
There are many rich people that wish to die with their wealth. Well, John Jacob Astor IV (July 13, 1864 – April 15, 1912) died that way in a sense. Not only that, he was believed to have been the richest man in the world when he died. His worth? Oh, about $150 million or $3.5 million by today’s standards. Astor was coming home from a month-long honeymoon with his eighteen-year-old bride named Madeleine Talmage Force (June 19, 1893 – March 27, 1940). This honeymoon was a way to escape from the gossip following them because Astor just divorced his previous wife of two years. He was last seen smoking a cigarette on deck with an American journalist and mystery writer Jacques Futrelle. When Astor’s body was found, he had $2,440 in his pocket. By today’s estimate, that would equal $60,000.
7. Liquid Courage
Alcohol is an amazing drink. So many stories
8. Fake News Even Back Then
Even back then, news had a tendency to get things wrong. When the Titanic sank, newspapers around the world rushed to get the news out first. They probably should have done their homework first – h
9. Bad Omens II
Throughout history, there have been quite scary coincidences around the world. This is one that really takes the cake. In 1898, Morgan Robertson published a novella titled Futility, or The Wreck of the Titan. The story is about a man named John Rowland who boards a ship called the Titan. The Titan is declared unsinkable, but it hits an iceberg in Northern Atlantic. Plus, there were not enough lifeboats. Fast forward fourteen years later and life imitates art. The Titanic was unsinkable, but hit an iceberg and did not have enough lifeboats. It did not help that the real-life ship was two letters off from its fictional counterpart. Cue the goosebumps!
10. Not Her Time
Bad luck just loves to cling to people. One such person was a stewardess and nurse named Violet Jessop (October 2, 1887 – May 5, 1971). Poor Jessop. She ended up on two sinking ships. The first one was called the Titanic. Jessop was twenty-five years old when she was instructed to go to the lifeboat. Years later, she ended up on the ill-fated ship called Britannic. This one sank because it came across a mine planted by a German U-boat in 1916. (The papers dubbed it as the Titanic 2.) Jessop survived that one with serious head injury that changed her life. She went on to write about her experiences. Jessop probably stayed off of boats for the rest of her life.
11. Ladies First
When the Titanic sank, women and children rescued first. There was a rumor that men took advantage of this by dressing up like women. Some of these rumors even led to divorce. In 1916, Dickinson and Helen Bishop were granted a divorce. Helen cited that her husband was an abusive drunk, but the cross-dressing rumors didn’t help either. Dickinson’s excuse was there was no official rule saying women and children first. He was not the only one who was rumored to dress up like a woman to escape. J. Bruce Ismay, William Carter, and William T. Sloper were all accused of pulling the same trick.
12. Last Honeymoon Ever
As mentioned above, John Jacob Astor IV and his young bride, Madeleine Talmage Force, were on their honeymoon on the Titanic. They were not the only ones. According to Titanic Love Stories, a total of thirteen couples were on their honeymoon aboard the ill-fated ship. Not a way to start a marriage.
13. YOD: 2030
The ship is under ocean. However, that might not last long. Scientists have predicted that the remains of the wreck could be gone by 2030. What is killing the rest of the wreck? Plain old bacteria eating away at it at the bottom of the ocean. More specially, it is new rust-eating bacteria.
14. Drink Up
As mentioned above, Charles Joughin survived in the freezing water because he drank so much whiskey. Whiskey was not the only alcoholic beverage served on the ship. According to the Telegraph, “20,000 bottles of beer on board and 1,500 bottles of wine”. Only those in first-class were allowed to partake.
15. VIP Treatment
Cruises of today were not the first ones to make their passengers feel like royalty onboard. The VIP class got the lavish part of the Titanic. They were gifted with a Parisian cafe, a heated swimming pool, tea gardens, squash court, smoking room, barbershop, a gym, kennel, library, elevators, reading and writing rooms, and so much more. What a way to go out with style.