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April 6, 2012

Titanic at 100 years

The sinking of the RMS Titanic caused the deaths of 1,517 of its 2,229 passengers and crew (official numbers vary slightly) in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. The 712 survivors were taken aboard the RMS Carpathia. Few disasters have had such resonance and far-reaching effects on the fabric of society as the sinking of the Titanic. It affected attitudes toward social injustice, altered the way the North Atlantic passenger trade was conducted, changed the regulations for numbers of lifeboats carried aboard passenger vessels and created an International Ice Patrol (where commercial ships crossing the North Atlantic still, today, radio in their positions and ice sightings). The 1985 discovery of the Titanic wreck on the ocean floor marked a turning point for public awareness of the ocean and for the development of new areas of science and technology. April 15, 2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster. It has become one of the most famous ships in history, her memory kept alive by numerous books, films, exhibits and memorials. -- Paula Nelson (51 photos total)

The British passenger liner RMS Titanic leaves from Southampton, England on her maiden voyage, April 10, 1912. Titanic called at Cherbourg, France and Queenstown, Ireland before heading westward toward New York. Four days into the crossing, she hit an iceberg at 11:40 p.m., 375 miles south of Newfoundland. Just before 2:20 am Titanic broke up and sank bow-first with over a thousand people still on board. Those in the water died within minutes from hypothermia caused by immersion in the freezing ocean.(Frank O. Braynard Collection)

The luxury liner Titanic, in this photo dated 1912, as she left Queenstown for New York, on her ill-fated last voyage. Her passengers included some of the wealthiest people in the world, such as millionaires John Jacob Astor IV, Benjamin Guggenheim and Isidor Strauss, as well as over a thousand emigrants from Ireland, Scandinavia and elsewhere seeking a new life in America. The disaster was greeted with worldwide shock and outrage at the huge loss of life and the regulatory and operational failures that had led to it. The inquiry into the sinking of the Titanic began within days of the sinking and led to major improvements in maritime safety. (United Press International) #

Workers leave the Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast, where the Titanic was built between 1909 and 1911. The ship was designed to be the last word in comfort and luxury and was the largest ship afloat at the time of her maiden voyage. The ship is visible in the background of this 1911 photograph. (Photographic Archive/Harland & Wolff Collection/Cox) #

A 1912 photograph of a dining room on the Titanic. The ship was designed to be the last word in comfort and luxury, with an on-board gymnasium, swimming pool, libraries, high-class restaurants and opulent cabins. (The New York Times Photo Archives/American Press Association) #

A 1912 photograph of a second class area on the Titanic. A disproportionate number of men – over 90% of those in Second Class – were left aboard due to a "women and children first" protocol followed by the officers loading the lifeboats. (The New York Times Photo Archives/American Press Association) #

In this April 10, 1912 photo the Titanic leaves Southampton, England. The tragic sinking of the Titanic nearly a century ago can be blamed, some believe, on low grade rivets that the ship's builders used on some parts of the ill-fated liner. (Associated Press) #

Captain Edward John Smith, commander of the Titanic. The ship he commanded was the largest afloat at the time of her maiden voyage. Titanic was a massive ship - 883 feet long, 92 feet wide, and weighing 52,310 long tons (a long ton is 2240 pounds). It was 175 feet tall from the keel to the top of the four stacks or funnels, almost 35 feet of which was below the waterline. The Titanic was taller above the water than most urban buildings of the time. (The New York Times Archives) #

An undated photo of Titanic First Officer William McMaster Murdoch, who is treated as a local hero in his native town of Dalbeattie, Scotland, but was portrayed as a coward and a murderer in the multi-Oscar winning movie, Titanic. At a ceremony on the 86th anniversary of the ship's sinking, Scott Neeson, the executive vice-president of the film's makers 20th Century Fox, presented a check for five thousand pounds ($8,000 US dollars) to the Dalbeattie school as an apology to the bridge officer's relatives. (Associated Press) #

This is believed to be the iceberg that sank the Titanic on April 14-15, 1912. The photograph was taken from the deck of the Western Union Cable Ship, Mackay Bennett, commanded by Captain DeCarteret. The Mackay Bennett was one of the first ships to reach the scene of the Titanic disaster. According to Captain DeCarteret, this was the only berg at the scene of the sinking when he arrived. It was assumed, therefore, that it was responsible for the sea tragedy. The glancing collision with the iceberg caused Titanic's hull plates to buckle inward in a number of locations on her starboard side and opened five of her sixteen watertight compartments to the sea. Over the next two and a half hours, the ship gradually filled with water and sank. (United States Coast Guard) #

Passengers and some crew members were evacuated in lifeboats, many of which were launched only partly filled. This photograph of Titanic lifeboats approaching the rescue ship Carpathia, was taken by Carpathia passenger Louis M. Ogden and was on display during a 2003 exhibition of images related to the Titanic disaster (bequeathed to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, by Walter Lord). (National Maritime Museum/London) #

Seven hundred and twelve survivors were taken aboard from the lifeboats by the RMS Carpathia. This photograph taken by Carpathia passenger Louis M. Ogden shows Titanic lifeboats approaching the rescue ship, Carpathia. The photo was part of a 2003 exhibition bequeathed to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, by Walter Lord. (National Maritime Museum/London) #

Though Titanic had advanced safety features such as watertight compartments and remotely activated watertight doors, she lacked enough lifeboats to accommodate all of those aboard. Due to outdated maritime safety regulations, she carried only enough lifeboats for 1,178 people – a third of her total passenger and crew capacity. This Sepia photograph depicting the recovery of Titanic passengers is among memorabilia set to go under the hammer at Christies in London, May 2012. (Paul Treacy/ EPA/PA) #

Members of the press interview Titanic survivors coming off the rescue ship, The Carpathia, April 17, 1912. (American Press Association) #

Eva Hart is pictured as a seven-year-old in this photograph taken in 1912 with her father, Benjamin, and mother, Esther. Eva and her mother survived the sinking of the British liner Titanic on April 14, 1912 off Newfoundland, but her father perished in the disaster. (Associated Press) #

People stand on the street during Titanic disaster, awaiting the arrival of the Carpathia. (The New York Times Photo Archives/Times Wide World) #

A huge crowd gathered in front of the White Star Line office in New York's lower Broadway to get the latest news on the sinking of the luxury liner Titanic on April 14, 1912. (Associated Press) #

The New York Times newsroom at the time of the sinking of the Titanic, April 15, 1912. (The New York Times Photo Archives) #

After the sinking of the Titanic, crowds read bulletins in front of the Sun Building in New York City. (The New York Times Photo Archives) #

Two messages that were sent from America to insurers Lloyds of London in the mistaken belief that other ships, including the Virginian, were standing by to help when the Titanic sank. These two messages are among dramatic memorabilia set to go under the hammer at Christies in London, May, 2012. (AFP/ EPA/Press Association) #

Titanic survivors Laura Francatelli, and her employers Lady Lucy Duff-Gordon and Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon, while standing on the rescue ship, Carpathia. Francatelli reported hearing a terrible rumbling noise, then anguished cries for help as her rowboat pulled away from the sinking ocean liner Titanic that dreadful night in 1912. (Associated Press/Henry Aldridge and Son/Ho) #

This vintage print shows the Titanic shortly before leaving on her maiden voyage in 1912. (New York Times Archives) #

A photograph released by Henry Aldridge & Son/Ho Auction House in Wiltshire, Britain, 18 April 2008, shows an extremely rare Titanic passenger ticket. They were the auctioneers handling the complete collection of the last American Titanic Survivor Miss Lillian Asplund. The collection was comprised of a number of significant items including a pocket watch, one of only a handful of remaining tickets for the Titanic's maiden voyage and the only example of a forward emigration order for the Titanic thought to exist. Lillian Asplund was a very private person and because of the terrible events she witnessed that cold April night in 1912 rarely spoke about the tragedy which claimed the lives of her father and three brothers. (Henry Aldridge & Son/Ho) #

An item bequeathed to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, by Walter Lord, shows a Marconi cable form. Miss Edith Russell (Titanic survivor and journalist) to Women's Wear Daily: 'Safe Carpathia, notify mother' Carpathia 18 April 1912 . (National Maritime Museum/London) #

An item bequeathed to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, by Walter Lord shows the Titanic luncheon menu signed by survivors of the Titanic. (National Maritime Museum/ London) #

R.M.S. Titanic's bow in 1999. (P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology) #

This Sept. 12, 2008 image shows one of the propellers of the RMS Titanic on the ocean floor during an expedition to the site of the tragedy. Five Thousand artifacts are scheduled to be auctioned as a single collection on April 11, 2012, 100 years after the sinking of the ship. (RMS Titanic, Inc., via Associated Press) #

This Aug. 28, 2010 image, released by Premier Exhibitions, Inc.-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, shows the starboard side of the Titanic bow. (Premier Exhibitions, Inc.-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) #

This July 5, 2003 image shows the Titanic's crow's nest. (David Bright) #

The Titanic's port bow rail, chains and an auxiliary anchor boom. Dr. Robert Ballard, the man who found the remains of the Titanic nearly two decades ago, returned to the site and lamented damage done by visitors and souvenir hunters. (Institute for Archaeological Oceanography & Institute for Exploration/University of Rhode Island Grad. School of Oceanography) #

The giant propeller of the sunken Titanic lies on the floor of the North Atlantic in this undated photo. The propeller and other portions of the famed ship were viewed by the first tourists to visit the wreck site in September 1998. (Ralph White/Associated Press) #

This 1998 image shows a 17-ton portion of the hull of the RMS Titanic as it is lifted to the surface during an expedition to the site of the tragedy. The piece along with 5,000 other artifacts is set to be auctioned as a single collection on April 11, 2012, 100 years after the sinking of the ship. (RMS Titanic, Inc., via Associated Press) #

This July 22, 2009 image shows the 17-ton section of the RMS Titanic that was recovered from the ocean floor during an expedition to the site of the tragedy, as it was displayed. The piece along with 5,000 other artifacts is set to be auctioned as a single collection on April 11, 2012, 100 years after the sinking of the ship. (RMS Titanic, Inc., via Associated Press) #

A gold plated Waltham American pocket watch, the property of Carl Asplund, is displayed in front of a modern water color painting of the Titanic by CJ Ashford at Henry Aldridge & Son auctioneers in Devizes, Wiltshire, England, April 3, 2008. The watch was recovered from the body of Carl Asplund who drowned on the Titanic and was part of the Lillian Asplund collection, the last American survivor of the disaster. (Kirsty Wigglesworth Associated Press) #

Currency, part of the artifacts collection of the Titanic, is photographed at a warehouse in Atlanta, Aug. 2008. The owner of the largest trove of artifacts salvaged from the Titanic is putting the vast collection up for auction as a single lot in 2012, the 100th anniversary of the world's most famous shipwreck. (Stanley Leary/Associated Press) #

Photographs of Felix Asplund, Selma and Carl Asplund and Lillian Asplund, at Henry Aldridge & Son Auctioneers in Devizes, Wiltshire, England, April 3, 2008. The photographs were part of the Lillian Asplund collection of Titanic related items. Asplund was 5 years old in April 1912, when the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage from England to New York. Her father and three siblings were among 1,514 people who died. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press) #

Artifacts on display at "TITANIC The Artifact Exhibit" at the California Science Center: Binoculars, a comb, dishes and a broken incandescent light bulb, Feb. 6, 2003. (Michel Boutefeu/Getty Images,Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times) #

Eye glasses found among the debris of the Titanic wreck were among a sampling of Titanic artifacts on display, Jan. 5, 2012 in New York. The complete collection of artifacts recovered from the wreck site of the RMS Titanic will be auctioned by Guernsey's Auction House in April, 100 years after the sinking of the ship in 1912. (Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press) #

A golden spoon found among the debris of the Titanic wreck was among a sampling of Titanic artifacts on display, Jan. 5, 2012 in New York. The complete collection of artifacts recovered from the wreck site of the RMS Titanic will be auctioned by Guernsey's Auction House in April. (Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press) #

A chronometer from the bridge of the Titanic on display at the Science Museum in London, May 15, 2003. The chronometer, one of more than 200 artifacts raised from the wreck of the Titanic, was on display at the launch of a new exhibition commemorating its ill-fated maiden voyage along with vials of perfume oil. The exhibition took visitors on a chronological journey through the life of the Titanic, from its conception and construction, to life on board and its sinking in the Atlantic in April 1912. (Alastair Grant/Associated Press) #

A logo meter used to measure the Titanic's speed and a Gimbal lamp were among artifacts recovered from the RMS Titanic wreck site and displayed at a press preview of a Titanic artifact auction at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, January 5, 2012 in New York City. On April 11, 2012, the 100th anniversary of the maiden voyage of the Titanic, Guernsey's will auction the complete collection of more than 5,000 artifacts recovered from the Titanic wreck site. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

Artifacts of the Titanic displayed at a media-only preview to announce the historic sale of a complete collection of artifacts recovered from the wreck site of RMS Titanic and showcasing highlights from the collection at the Intrepid Sea, Air & SpaceMuseum, January 2012. (Chang W. Lee/The New York Times) #

A cup and a pocket watch from the RMS Titanic displayed during a news conference by Guernsey's Auction House, Jan. 5, 2012. Guernsey's will auction the largest collection of artifacts recovered from the wreck site of the Titanic as a single lot in an auction timed for the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the famed ocean liner. A uniform button stamped with the White Star Line flag and a small porthole displayed at "The Titanic Artifact Exhibit" at the California Science Center, Oct. 2002 in Los Angeles. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images, Brendan McDermid/Reuters, Michel Boutefeu/Getty Images-2) #

These spoons, salvaged from the wreckage of the Titanic on the ocean floor, were part of an exhibit at the Maritime Aquarium, in South Norwalk, Conn., Feb. 1, 2002. RMS Titanic, Inc. is the sole salvage company allowed to remove items from the ocean floor where the luxury liner sank in the North Atlantic. (Douglas Healey/Associated Press) #

A gold mesh purse is among the artifacts recovered from the RMS Titanic wreck site shown at a press preview of a Titanic artifact auction at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, January 5, 2012 in New York City. On April 11, 2012, the 100th anniversary of the maiden voyage of the Titanic, Guernsey's will auction the complete collection of more than 5,000 artifacts recovered from the Titanic wreck site. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

The April 2012 edition of National Geographic magazine (and the on line version available on the ipad) will take your breath away as you see new images and graphics from the wreck of theTitanic that remains on the seabed, gradually disintegrating at a depth of 12, 415 feet (3,784 m). Few disasters have had such far-reaching effects on the fabric of society as the sinking of the Titanic. View more at http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/04/titanic/sides-text (National Geographic) #

With her rudder cleaving the sand and two propeller blades peeking from the murk, Titanic’s mangled stern rests on the abyssal plain, 1,970 feet south of the more photographed bow. This optical mosaic combines 300 high-resolution images taken on a 2010 expedition. (COPYRIGHT© 2012 RMS TITANIC, INC; Produced by AIVL, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) #

The first complete views of the legendary wreck. Ethereal views of Titanic’s bow offer a comprehensiveness of detail never seen before. The optical mosaics each consist of 1,500 high-resolution images rectified using sonar data. (COPYRIGHT© 2012 RMS TITANIC, INC; Produced by AIVL, WHOI) #

As the starboard profile shows, the Titanic buckled as it plowed nose-first into the seabed, leaving the forward hull buried deep in mud—obscuring, possibly forever, the mortal wounds inflicted by the iceberg. (COPYRIGHT© 2012 RMS TITANIC, INC; Produced by AIVL, WHOI) #

Titanic’s battered stern, captured here in profile, bears witness to the extreme trauma inflicted upon it as it corkscrewed to the bottom. (COPYRIGHT© 2012 RMS TITANIC, INC; Produced by AIVL, WHOI) #

Titanic’s battered stern is captured overhead here. Making sense of this tangle of metal presents endless challenges to experts. Says one, “If you’re going to interpret this stuff, you gotta love Picasso.” (COPYRIGHT© 2012 RMS TITANIC, INC; Produced by AIVL, WHOI) #

Two of Titanic’s engines lie exposed in a gaping cross section of the stern. Draped in “rusticles”—orange stalactites created by iron-eating bacteria—these massive structures, four stories tall, once powered the largest moving man-made object on Earth. (COPYRIGHT© 2012 RMS TITANIC, INC; Produced by AIVL, WHOI) #



 
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