The Titanic Ship: Some Facts and Information

Do you want to learn about the Titanic? So did we, so we put together an article containing lots of information about the Titanic. (This is information about a great ship, so we are offering “titanic information” in two senses of the term “titanic.”) In this particular article, our focus is on Titanic facts – that is, facts about Titanic the ship (as opposed to, say, the movie. We also won’t focus on the Titanic wreck, as we have covered that in a separate article marking the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking. With out further ado, some facts and information about the Titanic:

To begin, the Titanic was part of the Olympic class, a group of three ships owned by White Star Line. The other two ships in the Olympic class – Olympic and Britannic – are also rather famous, particularly the latter because it also sank (although this outcome, while tragic, was far less disastrous in terms of loss of life than the sinking of the Titanic). The Olympic class was commissioned by White Star Line to better compete with other shipping companies at the time, especially Cunard, which had in their fleet the two fastest passenger ships then in existence, Lusitania and Mauretania. (The Lusitania, for the record, also met a catastrophic end, as it was torpedoed by a German U-boat, an attack that killed nearly 1,200 people.) White Star Line decided not to compete with the Cunard fleet in terms of speed, so instead the company decided that big ships would be their selling point.

When the Titanic took its maiden voyage, sailing away from shore on its ill-fated journey across the Atlantic, it was the largest vessel afloat in the world. The ship had the capacity to hold well over 3,000 people. More precisely, it was designed to accommodate 2,435 passengers and a crew of 892. The Titanic was 882 feet (269 meters) long, and if measured from the keel (the ship’s bottom) to the top of the funnels (the four iconic stacks that line the ship), the ship has a height of 175 feet (53.3 meters). It was a big ship, and was correspondingly heavy, weighing 46,328 tons. Even by today’s standards, this is a fairly large ship, although there are vessels that are much larger. (We invite you to check out our article on the world’s largest cruise ship for comparison’s sake.)

The Titanic was made primarily of steel. (Technically, it is still made primarily of steel.) Steel essentially made up the frame of the ship, as basic components of the vessel – like the hull and decks – were largely made out of this material. There was a great deal of steel in the ship’s machinery (e.g., the engines and boilers) as well. The Titanic was an elegantly finished ship, however, so obviously it wasn’t just a huge mass of steel. Lots of wood and fabrics were used in the making of the ship, and plenty of glass was used as well.

Like modern cruise ships, the Titanic had several decks. The very top deck was known as the “boat deck.” This is where the (woefully inadequate number) of life boats were stored. This is the deck that for the most part was uncovered, and it can be thought of as the top of the ship. Below the boat deck were seven decks labeled A through G, with A coming right below the boat deck. In general, the higher decks were reserved for the higher classes. (There were three classes, for the record, called “First Class,” “Second Class,” and “Third Class,” naturally enough). The A Deck, for example, was reserved exclusively for First Class, and the B Deck was largely for First Class as well, although some Second Class accommodations (like the Second Class smoking room) were on this deck as well. Most of the rest of the decks followed this pattern of mixed-class accommodations, where, say, the cabins of one class were on the same deck as the public spaces of another class. But, again, as you worked your way down the ship, there were more Third Class accommodations and fewer spaces for the higher classes. The lowest level of the ship consisted of the “Orlop Decks” and the “Tank Top.” The former were used for cargo, and the latter was where the ship’s engines were set. This lowest level of the ship is considered one deck, meaning the Titanic had nine decks in total.

In addition to determining where your accommodations were located on the boat, the class of a passenger was highly relevant to his or her survival prospects, as is clearly shown by these percentage: 63% of First Class passengers survived, 43% of Second Class passengers survived, and only 25% of Third Class passengers survived. Precisely why the percentages break down this way is less clear. First and Second class passengers were certainly given more opportunities to board life boats (and there are even reports of Third Class passengers being physically restrained from getting to life boats), but these opportunities seem to have been largely linked to where the life boats were placed on the ship (namely, on the boat deck at the top of the vessel), and were not necessarily the result of the officials on board engaging in last-minute acts of prejudice. The First and Second Class Passengers, given their position on the ship, were simply closer to the life boats, and so were offered the chance to board them before other passengers had access to them. This is not to say that class had nothing to do with who was allowed to board a life boat, but it must be remembered that the Titanic sank in less than three hours – it was a frantic scene at the end, and there presumably wasn’t much time for drawing lines between classes. (Also of great importance to passengers’ survival prospects was their age and gender. Woman and children survived at far higher rates then men.)

Of course, much more could be said about a ship as large and intricately designed as the Titanic, but we have decided to stick to the basics, including only important Titanic facts and other information about the Titanic. Even with all the elaborate cruise ships that are commonplace today, the Titanic’s size and design inspire awe. Unfortunately, the ship could only be enjoyed for four days before sinking to the ocean’s floor, leaving over 1,500 hundred people behind to perish in the freezing Atlantic Ocean.

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