“Many brave things were done that night but none braver than by those few men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea…the music they played serving alike as their own immortal requiem and their right to be recorded on the rulls of undying fame.”
-Lawrence Beesley, Titanic Survivor
The sinking of the RMS Titanic in the early morning of April 15, 1912, is still considered one of the worst passenger ship disasters in history. Over 1,500 souls lost their lives that night due to the lack of lifeboats and a crew that was not prepared to handle such an incident.
There are many stories from the survivors and witnesses of that terrible night, recounting tales of heroism, as well as the deeds of cowards. The truth is that, unless we were there, it’s impossible to really know the fear and chaos that enveloped the passengers and crew as their “unsinkable” ship quickly descended beneath the waves.
While there are many known facts about the Titanic, many of them being featured in popular media, there are also quite a few things you might not know. From daring rescues to the unsung heroes of the night, we at FunnyAnd decided to compile a list of pretty incredible facts that might change your entire perspective on the sinking of the Titanic.
Personally, we found #37 quite chilling…
50. World’s Largest Ship
At the time the RMS Titanic went into service, it was the largest passenger ship in the world. The ship measured 269 meters (882 feet) and was the largest man-made moving object on the planet. Today, the largest passenger ship is the Harmony of the Seas, measuring 362.12 meters.
49. Not Environmentally Friendly
Environmentalists would be protesting in the streets if the Titanic were running today because the ship burned over 600 tons of coal a day. This was shoveled into furnaces by a team of 176 men. Every 24 hours, 100 tons of ash was ejected directly into the sea. We can’t imagine what damage that did to the ecosystem. Maybe we can look at this as one benefit of the ship’s sinking?
48. Putting On the Ritz
The Titanic is known for its stunning decor, but it wasn’t wholly original. The ship’s interiors were actually inspired by the Ritz Hotel in London. The facilities on board were really top of the line and included a gym, a Turkish bath, and a kennel for the first class dogs. There was even an onboard newspaper known as the Atlantic Bulletin that was printed every night, and it was offered in the First Class Smoking Room.
47. The First Class Passengers Loved to Drink
There was a very wide discrepancy between the first class passengers and those in the economy class. This was very clear in the amount of liqueur that was on deck for first class. According to documents, there were 20,000 bottles of beer, 1,500 bottles of wine, and 8,000 cigars on board.
46. The Grand Staircase
One of the most iconic locations on the Titanic was the Grand Staircase, which descended down seven of the ship’s ten decks. It featured stunning oak paneling, cherubs encased in bronze, as well as colorful, eye-catching paintings. There are replicas of the staircase at the Titanic Museum in Branson, Missouri, if you ever want to see it for yourself.
45. White Swan Hotel
The Titanic had a sister ship known as the Olympic with an identical Grand Staircase. The banisters from this staircase were incorporated into the staircase at the White Swan Hotel in Alnwick. According to documents, the staircase is identical to the one that was implemented on the Titanic.
44. Smokestacks for Show
While the Titanic’s design featured four smokestacks, in reality only three of them actually worked. The ship designers believed that the Titanic looked more impressive with four smokestacks, but there was no way to make all four functional. Therefore, one was built simply for aesthetics.
43. Women Were in the Minority
Today, the women’s movement would have a field day with how the Titanic treated the employment of women. Out of the 885 crew members that were on board, there were only 23 women. Most of them worked in maid services, while the men took on more of the interactive roles with the first-class passengers.
42. Musicians Had It Rough
If you worked on the Titanic as a musician your job was seriously tough. The musicians were expected to know all 352 songs listed in a songbook that was handed out to the first-class passengers. This was so the passengers could make requests at a moment’s notice. All of the musicians on the ship lost their lives during the sinking because they continued to play as the ship went down in an effort to keep the guests calm.
41. A Final Feast
The night of the Titanic’s sinking, the last dinner service was one to be remembered. The feast consisted of ten courses from a menu that featured oysters, cream of barley soup, and poached salmon. Of course, no one knew this would be the final meal served on the ship, but it’s an example of how well first-class passengers dined. Maybe they should have allocated some of that budget for more lifeboats!
40. Milton S. Hershey
Chocolate mogul and the founder of Hershey, Milton S. Hershey, was supposed to be a passenger on the Titanic. However, due to business meetings he needed to attend in New York, he decided to switch to another ship. Talk about dodging the proverbial bullet. We’re sure he and his family are thankful he decided to leave early.
39. The Youngest Survivor
The youngest survivor of the Titanic was Millvina Dean. She was only two months old when she was on the Titanic with her family. Dean would go on to live to be 97, passing away in 2009. Dean’s parents had been on the Titanic because they had decided to leave the United Kingdom and emigrate to Wichita, Kansas. It was Dean’s father who felt the collision of the iceberg that fateful night and told his wife to take Dean and her brother up on deck. They managed to escape in Lifeboat 10, but sadly her father perished in the sinking.
38. Surviving on Whiskey
Charles Joughin, the ship’s baker managed to survive the sinking after spending over two hours in the frigid waters. According to him, he had drunk a lot of whiskey before the sinking, which he credits for keeping him from succumbing to hypothermia. Seeing as most of the people in the water froze to death, he should consider himself lucky.
37. No Life Boat Drill
The day of the sinking a lifeboat drill had been scheduled to take place. Unfortunately, Captain Edward John Smith canceled the drill with no explanation. No one has ever found out why it was canceled, but many believe it could have been beneficial the night of the sinking, which was completely unorganized and chaotic.
36. The Richest Passenger on Board
The wealthiest passenger on the Titanic was John Jacob Astor IV. He was worth $85 million and sadly went down with the ship. His wife and children were loaded into Lifeboat 4 and it has been mentioned Astor asked if he could accompany his wife in the boat. However, due to the women and children only policy, he had to remain on the ship. His body was discovered when the lifeboats returned to find survivors.
According to documents, he was identified by the A.V. on his handkerchief. He also had a gold pocket watch on him that his son ended up claiming and wearing the rest of his life.
35. Newspapers Misinformed the Public
After the sinking of the Titanic, it took some time for the correct details to reach the mainland. In the meantime, the media misreported quite a few facts about the sinking. At first, they reported there were no casualties; however, once the real numbers started to come in, the public responded in earnest. Many different groups and individuals banded together in order to raise money for the families of the victims and those that survived.
34. The First Film About the Sinking
You might find it surprising, but the first film about the sinking of the Titanic was released less than a month after the incident. Released in May of 1912, the movie titled Saved from the Titanic was a silent film starring Dorothy Gibson. Gibson had actually been on the Titanic and narrowly survived the sinking. She was one of 28 people that had boarded the first lifeboat to be launched. The survivors were rescued five and a half hours after the sinking. She ended up co-writing the script when she returned to New York. The film included stock footage of icebergs and film reels of the Titanic’s sister ship the Olympic.
33. Benjamin Guggenheim
An American businessman, Guggenheim is another notable victim of the Titanic sinking. When he came to the realization that the ship was sinking, he and his valet Victor Giglio changed into their evening wear. It’s reported he said: “We’ve dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen.” According to reports from those that survived, both men were last seen sitting on deck chairs, smoking cigars while drinking brandy. If you’re going to go out, it might as well be in style, right?
32. Trying to Steer Clear
After the iceberg was first sighted, there were only 37 seconds before the ship hit. First Officer William McMaster Murdoch ordered the ship to turn, but due to its sheer size, there was not enough time. Experts believe that the ship would not have sunk if it had hit the iceberg head-on due to the makeup of its structure. Sadly, Murdoch would end up going down with the ship.
31. Going Down with the Ship
Captain Edward Smith made no attempt to escape the sinking of the Titanic. He knew it was his duty to remain with the vessel until its final moments. Reports conclude that his last words were: “Well boys, you’ve done your duty and done it well. I ask no more of you. I release you. You know the rule of the sea. It’s every man for himself now, and God bless you.”
A memorial statue of the captain can be found in Lichfield, Staffordshire, for any of you history buffs that wish to do some sightseeing.
30. Iceberg Warnings Were Abundant
It’s important to point out that there were iceberg warnings throughout the entire fated voyage of the Titanic. It’s been reported there were a total of six warnings relayed to the crew, but the captain refused to take them seriously. This was due to the fact he wanted to make the maiden voyage shorter than expected and kept ordering more speed.
29. The Infamous Split
Due to the sheer size and weight of the Titanic, the ship broke in two pieces around 2:20 am on April 15, 1912. This moment sent the remaining passengers clinging to the vessel plunging into the freezing ocean. According to weather experts, the ocean would have been around -2 degrees Celsius and most of the passengers would have died within fifteen minutes of being in the water. Some would also have experienced cold shock, with death being a certainty in less than two minutes.
28. Most of the Bodies Were Never Found
Despite 1,500 people going into the sea after the sinking, only 306 bodies were pulled from the sea. The dead were transported to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where their belongings were collected and the process of identification began. The Maritime Museum has a dedicated section to items pulled from the sea, with a deckchair and mortuary bags being a few items on display. There are also the shoes of an unknown victim that had been pulled from the freezing waters.
27. Discovery of the Wreckage
It would be 1985 when the wreck of the Titanic was finally discovered 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland. It’s roughly 12,500 feet below the surface. At one point, marine dive specialists for Deep Ocean Expeditions offered trips to the wreck via a Mir submersible that was charted from Russia. The trip cost $59,000 per person, but they were discontinued in 2012. Sounds like the adventure of a lifetime.
26. I Will Not Go
A priest named Father Thomas Byles that was onboard the Titanic refused to take refuge in a lifeboat not once, but twice. He apparently chose to stay behind so he could hear confessions of those on board and provide absolution. This priest was featured in a key emotional scene in James Cameron’s film Titanic in 1997.
25. Ostracized for Surviving
The single Japanese passenger onboard the RMS Titanic was Masabumi Hosono, a Japanese civil servant. He managed to survive the sinking, but later was fired from his job and labeled as a coward. The Japanese public believed he shouldn’t have saved himself, but instead should have gone down with the ship.
24. Lack of Lifeboats Explained
Although the Titanic was equipped to carry 64 lifeboats, only 20 were ever positioned on the deck. This was barely enough for a third of the passengers on board. The reason why there were so few lifeboats on deck was a design choice. The designer didn’t want the deck to seem cluttered, therefore they only used a few for looks rather than function.
23. No One Believed The Ship Would Sink
After the Titanic struck the iceberg, the officials waited over an hour before launching the first lifeboat. There was much confusion after the crash and many of the people in charge believed the bulkhead doors would prevent the ship from sinking, unaware that the function only worked under certain limits.
22. Third Class Passenger Treatment
The treatment of third-class passengers was quite horrible on the Titanic. Not only were they confined below deck, but all 700 of the third-class passengers had to share two bathtubs. While the Titanic was sinking, the gates to the upper decks were locked, trapping the third-class passengers below deck.
21. The Heroic Engineers
All of the engineers working on the Titanic went down with the ship. This was due to their loyalty to their jobs. They all stayed behind to keep the power running as long as possible so other passengers had a chance to escape. In fact, the power on the ship stayed on until its infamous split at 2:20 am.
20. The Worst Honeymoon Ever
The Titanic was considered to be one of the most luxurious ocean liners in the world, so it makes sense that newlyweds would select it for their honeymoon. There were a total of 13 couples enjoying their honeymoon on the Titanic when it sank. Unfortunately, records can’t confirm if they all survived. Since men were not allowed on the lifeboats, it’s possible the joy of being newlyweds was shortlived.
19. Raise the Titanic
Researchers throughout the years have weighed in the possibilities of raising the Titanic wreckage for further study, but the idea works better in theory than in reality. One movie in the 1980’s titled Raise the Titanic proposed the theory of filling the wreckage with ping-pong balls and letting it float to the surface. Of course, this was before they realized the wreck had actually split in two.
18. A Love Story for the Ages
Isidor Straus, co-owner of Macy’s department store and his wife Ida were both first-class passengers on the Titanic. When his wife was loaded onto a lifeboat, he refused to take a seat next to her, believing the women and children should take priority. At this point, Ida got off the lifeboat, refusing to leave her husband behind. The couple was last seen holding onto one another at the far end of the ship, waiting for the end.
James Cameron depicted this couple in his 1997 film in a scene where an elderly couple held on to one another on a bed while the water quickly rushed in.
17. Ignoring Distress Calls
The closest ship to the Titanic at the time of its sinking was the SS Californian at less than 20 miles away. The Titanic sent out multiple distress signals to the ship, but the wireless operator had already gone to bed. Over 58 miles away was the SS Carpathia, who jumped into action and headed for the Titanic at full speed. Unfortunately, it still took them over four hours to get there.
16. One Unlucky Passenger
There was one passenger on board the Titanic that had survived a fire and sinking of a ship in 1871. He had boarded the Titanic in an effort to face his fears and overcome the trauma of his past. Sadly, when the ship sank he perished with it. Talk about your bad luck!
15. The Wreckage Is Running Out of Time
For those researchers looking to explore and document the Titanic wreckage, they are running out of time. It’s been discovered that a rust-eating bacteria known as Halomonas titanicae will consume what’s left of the wreck in less than 20 years. Soon, there will be nothing left of this once magnificent ship.
14. A Smell in the Night Air
One of the passengers on the Titanic, Governess Elizabeth Shutes, was very troubled by the smell of the air the night the Titanic sank. She was witnessed telling other passengers that it reminded her of the air inside an ice cave she once visited. Thankfully, she managed to make it onto a lifeboat and survive. It seems she was saved by her nose!
13. A Very Bad Fortune
Passenger William Edward Minahan was a doctor from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin who visited a fortune teller prior to the Titanic’s departure. She predicted that he would die aboard the ship via a horrible tragedy. Sadly, Minahan did not take her warning seriously and perished when the Titanic sank.
12. Where Did the Iceberg Come From?
Researchers and oceanographers became obsessed with the iceberg that sank the Titanic, wondering where it could have possibly come from. They were able to trace its route based on the currents and determined that it was a piece of ice that had broken off of Greenland.
11. The Power of the Moon
A recent scientific theory has been proposed that the moon was extremely close to the on January 4, 1912. This would have created extra strong tides in that area of the Atlantic, which could have sent a large array of icebergs south. The currents would have placed the icebergs directly in the Titanic’s path. Scary, right?
10. The Stillness of the Ocean
Witness accounts around the time of the sinking mentioned the ocean was particular calm that night, with very little motion on the surface. This would have made it almost next to impossible for the lookouts to see the iceberg. Why? Well, without waves lapping at the base of the iceberg there would be nothing to indicate that something was out there.
9. Watertight Compartment Failure
According to experts, the Titanic would have stayed afloat if only four of the watertight compartments had been breached. Unfortunately, the engineers of the Titanic did not account for the fact that the compartments would spill over into the next when flooded. Six of the compartments ended up filling after the iceberg hit, sealing the fate of the ship.
8. Wrong Distress Signals
The crew of the Titanic failed to fire the proper distress signals after the fateful iceberg crash. According to the British inquiry, random rockets were fired in a pattern that did not signal “distress.” The pattern from the rockets was signaling that the Titanic was having a “navigation problem.” It’s possible if the proper signals had been fired, more of the passengers would have been saved.
7. The Scent of the Ocean
Perfume salesman Adolphe Saalfeld had brought a case of rare perfume samples on board the Titanic that he lost during the sinking. Thankfully, he survived the tragedy and, when the wreck was discovered years later, his perfume bottles were found—even better, they were still intact with the scents still inside. They would go on to be exhibited to the public. How cool is that?
6. Crimes and Bribes
Both Lady Duff Gordon and her husband survived the Titanic sinking. They were two of the biggest fashion designers of the time. However, they were later accused of bribing the crew to abandon ship with only 12 people in her lifeboat. After a lengthy investigation, they were both cleared of any wrongdoing. It’s important to point out that many first-class passengers (particularly men) tried to get off the ship through bribes.
5. Jumping for Her Life
The third-class passengers on the Titanic really had the short end of the stick and only 25% of them managed to survive. Not willing to take her chances with the crew, passenger Rhoda Abbott and her two sons jumped from the deck into the icy waters. Sadly, her two sons drowned, but Abbott managed to survive. She was the only female Titanic survivor to be pulled alive from the water when the lifeboat returned.
4. Whiskey to Share
An Italian immigrant who had taken his chances in the water swam over to one of the last lowered lifeboats. According to a passenger, Alice Johnson, he was dragged onto the lifeboat when he mentioned he had a bottle of whiskey. We’re guessing most of the survivors on that boat were having a good time when help finally arrived.
3. Only Three Dogs Survived
First-class passengers were allowed to bring their dogs on the ship and, according to records, there were a total of 12 on board when the Titanic sank. Sadly, only three of the dogs survived the sinking—two Pomeranians and a Pekingese. Most of the dogs had been abandoned in the first-class kennel and drowned.
2. U.S. Senate Gets Involved
After the sinking, the United States Senate launched an inquiry into the disaster. After it concluded, it was recommended that the statues be changed to require all passenger ships to carry enough lifeboats to accommodate every passenger on board. This also included all members of the crew. It’s crazy that this had not even been thought of before then.
1. The Titanic II
An exact replica of the RMS Titanic known as the Titanic II was proposed by millionaire Clive Palmer and was supposed to start construction in 2012. The ship would have been an exact replica of the original ship from the decks to the interior, except it would have included enough lifeboats and an updated navigation and propulsion system. Originally set to launch in 2016, it was delayed until 2018 before being abandoned. The plan was for the maiden voyage to follow the exact route of the original Titanic, with a memorial planned at the site of its sinking.