85 years before movie-goers were mesmerized by James Cameron’s Titanic, the titular ship was captivating the world. The enormous vessel was the largest of its kind, and it was all but sinkable, until it did just that.
But did you know that many fascinating facts about the ill-fated ship remain unknown to most of the world to this day?
1. The Titanic was equipped to carry 64 lifeboats. It only carried 20. Most lifeboats were not even filled to capacity.
2. Chief Baker Charles Joughin reportedly swam for two hours in freezing waters before he was rescued. He attributed his survival to the generous amount of whiskey he had before the Titanic sank.
3. After sideswiping a massive iceberg, it took two hours and forty minutes for the Titanic to sink beneath the surface.
4. Thirteen couples were on their honeymoon when the Titanic went under.
5. Fourteen years before the Titanic sank, Morgan Robertson wrote the novella Futility. It was about the large, unsinkable ship “Titan” hitting an iceberg in the Northern Atlantic. Both the Titanic and the fictional Titan did not have enough lifeboats for the thousands of passengers on board.
6. Musicians played for two hours and five minutes as the ship sank.
7. A lifeboat drill was scheduled the day the Titanic sank, but was cancelled by Captain Edward John Smith for unknown reasons.
8. The 15 bulkheads on the “unsinkable” Titanic were individually watertight. The fatal flaw? Water could spill from one compartment into the next, the weight of the water pulling the ship down into the ocean.
9. There was a true love story on the Titanic. Isidor Straus, co-owner of Macy’s department store, and his wife, Ida, were first-class passengers. They were married forty-one years before passing away arm-in-arm on the sinking ship. Isidor refused a seat next to his wife on one of the last lifeboats, insisting that all women and children board first. Ida stepped off the lifeboat; she refused to leave without him. Witnesses reported seeing the couple walk to the opposite end of the ship where they held each other and peacefully awaited the end.
10. The length of the titanic was 882 feet 9 inches. That’s approximately two-and-a-half football fields from bow to stern.
11. First class amenities included a Parisian cafe, tea gardens, gymnasium, library, reading and writing rooms, squash court, barbershop, kennel, elevators, smoking room, a heated swimming pool, and more.
12. A new rust-eating bacteria, Halomonas titanicae, will consume what is left of the Titanic within twenty years.
13. A passenger who lived through the traumatic fire and sinking of a ship in 1871 faced his fears and boarded the Titanic in 1912. He sank with the ship.
14. After striking the iceberg, 60 minutes passed before a lifeboat was finally released.
15. When the Titanic sank, the temperature of the ocean water was only 28 degrees. That’s four degrees below the freezing point.
16. The remains of the Titanic were lost for seventy-three years. In 1985, the shipwreck was found 12,500 feet deep in the ocean near the coast of Newfoundland.
17. The first newspapers to release the story of the Titanic reported that no lives were lost. It took two days before an accurate report was released.
18. The opulent Turkish Bath was designated for first class passengers only. More than 700 third class passengers had to share two bathtubs.
19. The richest passenger on board the Titanic was John Jacob Astor IV. His net worth was around $5 million, or $2 billion today. Astor perished with the Titanic. He was last seen smoking a cigarette on deck with American journalist and mystery writer Jacques Futrelle.
20. More than 1,500 passengers died during the sinking of the Titanic. Only 306 bodies were found.
21. Every engineer aboard the Titanic went down with the ship. They stayed behind to run the power so others could have the chance to escape.
22. On April 14th, 1912, the Titanic radio operators were warned six times of drifting ice in the North Atlantic.
23. It really was “women and children first.” The overall survival rate for men was only 20%. The survival rates for women and children were 74% and 52%, respectively.
24. A Japanese survivor was deemed a coward when he returned to Japan for not dying with the rest of the passengers.
25. The last known photo taken of the Titanic before it sank.
26. The budget for the movie Titanic was higher than the Titanic itself.
27. 825 tons of coal per day was used during its journey.
It sounds like there was a lot of room for human error in the Titanic’s voyage. It’s a good thing people learned their lesson, or did they?
Share these incredible Titanic facts with your friends who love history. They’re absolutely fascinating.