Story of Titanic
Why was Titanic built?
In the summer of 1907, Lord William Pirrie (chairman of Harland & Wolff Shipbuilders) invited Bruce Ismay (director of the White Star Line of steamships) to his summer residence. After dining together, the gentlemen made plans for building three large passenger ships, which were to surpass all other steamers on the Atlantic by their size and luxury. The need for new ships was serious since Cunard, a competing shipping company, had used a generous support from the British Government to build two large steamships that were then called the miracles of the century. Those ships, Mauretania and Lusitania, were the biggest and fastest steamers in the world. Achieving greater speeds was rather complicated and energy-consuming, which was why the managers of White Star decided to invest in comfort and luxury instead of racing against Cunard.
Who built Titanic?
The three gigantic steamers — Olympic, Titanic and Britannic — were built in Belfast, Ireland. Harland & Wolff shipbuilders had had a long-standing cooperation with White Star Line and had built a number of innovative ships.
The construction of Olympic begun earlier. The keel of Titanic, bearing the yard number of 401, was laid on 31 March 1909. The ship had a double bottom and 15 watertight bulkheads, which were meant to keep the ship floating even in the case of a major leakage. More than 3 million rivets were used for the ship’s hull. Titanic was 269 metres long and 28 metres wide. The hull was launched on 31 May 1911 and thereafter, the entire ship was completed at a fitting-out berth and in dry dock. On 2 April 1912, i.e. two days after the completion of the ship, the sea trials began. Over the course of about twelve hours, Titanic was driven at different speeds, her turning ability was tested and a ‘crash stop’ was performed, in which the engines were reversed from full ahead to full astern. On 4 April 1912, Titanic arrived in Southampton in order to take aboard the crew and passengers and to set out for her maiden voyage.