Monday, May 21, 2007

Titanic's Funnels, or Smokestacks

Now you may say, hmm... what is there to say about the Titanic's funnels? Well there is a little bit to say.......
The first time the Titanic's funnels became an issue was when Bruce Ismay was inspecting a model of the ship, before he signed the contract to have them built. He asked again how many engines the Titanic would have, thinking that maybe he hadn't heard right, three was the reply. Then why four funnels, he inquired? The reply was plain and straight to the point, the Mauritania, and Lusitania, both have four funnels, we didn't think that you would want your ship to have less. Besides it will make the ship look more powerful. With third class passengers of the time, they thought that the more funnels the ship had the faster it would go, and a ship this big would look out of place with only three funnels.
The Titanic's funnels were constructed away from the site and then transported to the fitting out wharf for installation.
They weighed 60 tons apiece and they were big enough to drive two locomotives through at the same time.




















I think that the Titanic's funnels really made the Titanic stand out among other ships. It gave the ship a majestic look, as it was truly Queen of the seas.



















Once they were fitted out, they were cabled down to the decks by guy wires. The fourth funnel was just a dummy and was used to vent the engine room and kitchen galleys. They were painted bronze at the bottom and a black buff at the top, typical of the White Star Line.
The funnels only had a few days to glory in the bright sunlight. I have looked for the fate of them, but I have not really come up with anything. They are somewhere...... perhaps rust eaten, and almost gone now, but they were once the crowning glory of what has be come the most famous shipwreck of all time.

18 comments:

Doni M said...

I think you're right. I don't think anyone has ever found anything more than a few fragments of the Titanic funnels.

Her sister ship Britannic didn't sink nearly as far down, and isn't resting in as harsh an environment as the Titanic. One of Britannic's funnels lies next to the ship, the others about 500 feet away. Although flattened, all four are in a very good state of preservation.

But the Titanic had further to fall, and more time during that fall for currents to scatter the debris. And she rests in far more severe conditions. Unlike the Britannic, the Titanic is in a much poorer state of preservation. If the funnels still exist, and could be found, they are probably in very bad condition by now.

Daniel said...

You speak of the harsh environment that the Titanic lies in. I have heard that somewhere, seems like the Titanic is laying in a spot on the Atlantic where the salt, or something in the water is higher, to where steel doesn't preserve as well. They said if anywhere else, and she would not look half as bad!
Not only did the Titanic have to sink, but she didn't even sink in a good spot. Not that there is a good spot for a ship to sink, but at least she would have lasted longer.

I'm going to have a post on the Titanic's sister ships sometime!

Doni M said...

Wouldn't it have been awesome to see the Olympic's four funnels tower into the sky today, even if just for appearance's sake?

By the time the surviving sister, the Olympic, was scrapped in the 1930's, I'm not sure anyone had a really big interest in the Titanic anymore. The Great War and the Depression had been a much bigger events. Interest in the Titanic wouldn't really be revived until "A Night to Remember" (book and movie), and that was still a couple of decades in the future.

But in retrospect, it's almost a shame that the Olympic ended up scrapped. She could have become a museum. And since she looked so much like the Titanic, it would have been a way to preserve something of Titanic's memory as well.

Daniel's mom said...

That is just WHY you should keep everything and not get rid of anything. You never know when somebody will want to use it in a museum.

Daniel said...

I have thought of that a whole lot! Why in the world did they scrap the Olympic? But like you said, much bigger things happened, and the Titanic was put to the side until the mid 50's.
Hmm..... now I'm getting all worked up about the Titanic's sister ships!

Doni M said...

I guess you could say she kind of got "laid off."

White Star Line merged with Cunard in 1933, and the new "Cunard White Star Line" scrapped all but a very few of the WSL's old ships to make room for a new breed of superliners. Sadly, Olympic ended up on the chopping block. But a notable old Cunard ship was scrapped as well -- the Mauretania.

Many of the Olympic's inside parts (paneling and furniture, etc.) did go to places like museums and private homes and restaurants and the like. Olympic's clock (from her Grand Staircase) still exists at the Southampton Maritime Museum. (see link)

Doni M said...

There is still one White Star Line vessel in existence today -- the tender SS Nomadic that was used to transport passengers to the Titanic and Olympic in Cherbourg. The Nomadic Preservation Society is aiming to have her fully restored by the 100th anniversary of the Titanic.

CONNIE'S THOUGHTS FROM THE HEART said...

Good post, Daniel, I learned something. I don't think I knew that one of the funnels was a fake. It does make it look all powerful. Grandma

Peach said...

Which funnel was the fake?

Anonymous said...

hello i am not sure if Britannic's 4 funnel had smoke coming out of it

Anonymous said...

i love TITANIC and BRITANNIC

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up!
And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but only this time! :)

Justin said...

Wow, I love it when google leads me to things like this. To add on to what you guys were talking about earlier, I'm so (for lack of a better word) ticked that the Olympic was scrapped. I would have loved to go and spend the night, or even just walk through a ship that was nearly identical to the famed Titanic. Sadly, that will never be done. I guess I'll just have to settle for the Queen Mary...

Tyler said...

I really love the Titanic!! I'm making a project on the titanic, and wondering if I should make the 4th funnel have smoke, just for visual???

Tony Z. said...

Tony Z. says that on old footage of the Titanic, no smoke is eminating from the rear funnel i.e. the 4th one along from the front of the ship. So does this prove that this one is the dummy ... and only used as a vent to lower decks? Hope this helps.

Daniel said...

yes tony the fourth funnel was just a dummy, added to make the Titanic and sister ships look more impressive.

louisabenjamin said...

The fourth funnel did have some smoke, from the fireplaces and ovens etc...the front 3 funnels smoke came from the boilers/furnaces.

Dallas said...

That bit about Ismay questioning a model with four funnels is bogus. Ismay and Lord Pirrie planned the Titanic together and knew how it would be designed. Further, the number of engines has NOTHING to do with how many funnels a ship has. The number and placement of boilers along the hull determines how many funnels will be needed. Smoke vented through the funnels comes from the boiler uptakes, not the engines. Only steam went into the engines and any leftover after all possible use was recycled through the condensers.