100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Archive for the category “Titanic”

Astor Heir Receives Inheritance

John Jacob Astor IV was born into the Astor family in 1864, a prominent wealthy dynasty that began with his great grandfather John Jacob Astor whose fortune in opium, fur trade and real estate made the Astor family one of the wealthiest families in the US. Astor graduated Harvard and made a fortune in real estate but was also an inventor patenting a bicycle brake, a pneumatic device for road improvement, and helped develop a turbine engine. In 1897 Astor built the Astoria Hotel in New York City adjoining the Waldorf Hotel owned by his cousin, William Waldorf Astor. The complex became known as the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Astor also wrote a science fiction novel A JOURNEY TO OTHER WORLDS in 1894 about life in the year 2000 on the planets Saturn and Jupiter.

In 1891 Astor married Ava Lowle Willing. The couple had two children before their divorce in 1909. Divorce was considered a scandal and it didn’t help when Astor announced that he would marry again at the age of 47 to 18-year-old Madeleine Talmage Force in 1911. The couple went on extended honeymoon in Europe and Egypt waiting for the gossip to calm down. The Astors are traveling with Astor’s valet, Ava’s maid, her nurse, and Kitty, Astor’s pet Airedale. Ava Astor became pregnant and her husband, wanting their child to be born in America, booked passage home. Unfortunately they chose the maiden voyage of the RMS TITANIC.

John Jacob and Eva Astor and their dog Kitty

The Astors and their servants and dog boarded the RMS TITANIC April 12, 1912 in Southampton, England. Their staterooms had working fireplaces and adjoining quarters for servants and cost $4,000. Captain Smith of the RMS TITANIC made $6,250/year. After the iceberg hit the ship Astor reassured his wife that the damage did not appear serious. As people were being loaded into lifeboats Astor said “We are safer here than on that little boat.” At 1:45AM Astor helped his wife into the lifeboat. He asked if he could accompany her due to her “delicate condition”. When told that no men could enter until all the women had been loaded he threw his gloves to his wife, lit a cigarette and stood back. He and his dog Kitty were last seen on deck. He did not survive.

In August 1912 Ava Lowell Willing Astor gave birth to John Jacob Astor V 4 months to the day after his father’s death. He will inherit a portion of his father’s fortune on his 21st birthday.

On November 15, 1912 Vincent Astor, a son from John Jacob Astor IV previous marriage, reached his 21st birthday and inherited a large portion of his father’s fortune – $150 million ($3.4 billion today.)

Postmarked August 20, 1912

Two RMS TITANIC survivors write each other

933 Paskifise St,
Brooklyn, NY.Hope you posted the cards. Drop a line and let me know all news.

A Cara Delia

Got home safe at 3.30. Hope you keep well until we meet again and rem. me to be ever you friend.

Eoghan O’Dalaigh

A survivor XXX
_____________________________

A Cara (O Friend) Delia {? diminutive of Bridget: Dilis ? Sweet]

Got home safe at 3.30. Hope you keep well until we meet again and rem. me to be ever you friend.

Eoghan O’Dalaigh [Eugene Daly]

A survivor XXX

Miss Mulvihill
City Hospital,
Providence, R. I.

Eoghan O’Dalaigh (Eugene Daly)to Bertha Mulvihill, his fellow Irish steerage passenger on the RMS TITANIC.

RMS Titanic postcard
written between two survivors
August 20, 1912

John Jacob Astor V Is Born

John Jacob Astor IV was born into the Astor family in 1864, a prominent wealthy dynasty that began with his great grandfather John Jacob Astor whose fortune in opium, fur trade and real estate made the Astor family one of the wealthiest families in the US. Astor graduated Harvard and made a fortune in real estate but was also an inventor patenting a bicycle brake, a pneumatic device for road improvement, and helped develop a turbine engine. In 1897 Astor built the Astoria Hotel in New York City adjoining the Waldorf Hotel owned by his cousin, William Waldorf Astor. The complex became known as the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Astor also wrote a science fiction novel A JOURNEY TO OTHER WORLDS in 1894 about life in the year 2000 on the planets Saturn and Jupiter.

In 1891 Astor married Ava Lowle Willing. The couple had two children before their divorce in 1909. Divorce was considered a scandal and it didn’t help when Astor announced that he would marry again at the age of 47 to 18-year-old Madeleine Talmage Force in 1911. The couple went on extended honeymoon in Europe and Egypt waiting for the gossip to calm down. The Astors are traveling with Astor’s valet, Ava’s maid, her nurse, and Kitty, Astor’s pet Airedale. Ava Astor became pregnant and her husband, wanting their child to be born in America, booked passage home. Unfortunately they chose the maiden voyage of the RMS TITANIC.

John Jacob Astor IV, his wife Ava and their dog Kitty

The Astors and their servants and dog boarded the RMS TITANIC April 12, 1912 in Southampton, England.  Their staterooms had working fireplaces and adjoining quarters for servants and cost $4,000. Captain Smith of the RMS TITANIC made $6,250/year. After the iceberg hit the ship Astor reassured his wife that the damage did not appear serious. As people were being loaded into lifeboats Astor said “We are safer here than on that little boat.” At 1:45am Astor helped his wife into the lifeboat. He asked if he could accompany her due to her “delicate condition”. When told that no men could enter until all the women had been loaded he threw his gloves to his wife, lit a cigarette and stood back. He and his dog Kitty were last seen on deck. He did not survive.
On August 13, 1912 Ava Lowell Willing Astor gave birth to John Jacob Astor V  four months to the day after his father’s death. He will inherit a portion of his father’s fortune on his 21st birthday.
Madeleine Astor

Madeleine Talmage Force Astor

The Radio Act Of 1912

At the location where the RMS TITANIC struck an iceberg and sank, another British ship, the CALIFORNIAN, is thought to be as close as 10 miles away. The CALIFORNIAN had stopped because of ice and sent an iceberg warning to RMS TITANIC April 14 at 7:00pm NYT. The RMS TITANIC’s radio had been down for almost 24 hours and the on-duty wireless operators were busy working off a backlog of personal messages. When the ice warning was sent, the relative close proximity made the CALIFORNIAN’s signal was so loud it bled with signals the RMS TITANIC operator was listening to from the wireless relay station at Cape Race, Newfoundland. The operator on the RMS TITANIC sent the message : “Shut up, shut up! I am busy; I am working Cape Race!” The CALIFORNIAN wireless operator listened until 11:30pm NYT turned off the wireless and went to bed. 10 minutes later the RMS TITANIC struck the iceberg.  The RMS TITANIC sank at 2:20am NYT. The wireless operator on the CALIFORNIAN turned on his radio at 5:30am and found out that the RMS TITANIC had sunk overnight. If they had arrived in time, they could have save every person 0n the RMS TITANIC. A US Senate sub committee was convened immediately to investigate the disaster and proposed changes to the Wireless Ship Act of 1910.

The CALIFORNIAN

On August 13, 1912 the Radio Act of 1912 was enacted as US Federal law. It mandated that vessels have the continuing capability to receive messages on two wavelengths: 300 meters and 600 meters.  This meant that vessels would need to have an operator on duty at all times. The Radio Act of 1912 established licensing for all radio operators and station to combat the occurrence of amateurs forging naval messages and issuing fake distress calls. It prohibited amateurs from transmitting over the main commercial and military wavelengths and limited transmitting signals that were below a wavelength of 200 meters (1.5 MHz). Besides being limited by wavelength, amateurs were also limited to location and operating hours. In times of war or national peril, the President was authorized to close down any or all radio stations in the US.

1912 radio transmitter

Liner Hits Iceberg In North Atlantic

The SS CORSICAN had its maiden voyage in October 1907. It is owned by Allan lines and travels to and from Canada.

On August 12, 1912 the SS Corsican was sailing from Montreal to Liverpool with over 200 passengers when it struck an iceberg at 4pm 120 miles east of the Strait of Belleisle. It stopped and two passenger ships in the area came to its aid. They stayed nearby while repairs were made. The ship ceased travelling for 42 hours claiming there would have been no chance of being picked up for there was fog bank was 100 miles wide.that it was waiting for heavy fog to clear away. The stem of the SS CORSICAN above the waterline was injured, but no serious damage was done and the ship. Her bows smashed in as a result of a collision.

SS CORSICAN

Inventor Creates Lifeboat Launcher

There were 14 standard lifeboats on the RMS TITANIC designed and built by ship’s builders Harland & Wolfe. They measured 30′ 0″ by 9′ 1″ by 4′ deep with a capacity of 60 people. Port side were even numbered, starboard odd numbers. Each boat had oars, blankets, provisions and flares. There are built of elm, oak and yellow pine and held together by double fastened copper nails. Lifelines are fitted around the gunwales of the boat. Sails are supplied and stowed in canvas bags as well as an anchor. A spirit boat compass and a fitting to hold it are on board and provision tank and water beaker have been supplied.

There were 2 emergency cutters 25′ 2″ long by 7′ 2″ wide. Their purpose was for emergencies such as a man overboard and are smaller than the standard lifeboats with a capacity of 40.

4 Englehardt collapsible lifeboats were on board that measure 27′ 5″ by 8′ 0″ with a depth of 3′ which could hold 47 people. These had collapsible canvas walls and could be stored on a wall taking up a small amount of deck space.

In total there were 20 lifeboats on the RMS TITANIC with a capacity for 1178 people. There were 2,224 passenger and crew. The lifeboats could only accommodate 52% of the people on board. A large percentage of the lifeboats were not filled to their maximum capacity, one notably holding 13 passengers, 6 of them crew. Many of the boats were launch with great difficulty. Although the boats could have held 1178, only 710 were saved. Legislation was passed almost immediately requiring ships to carry enough lifeboats to accommodate all passengers and crew aboard.

RMS TITANIC’s lifeboats in New York harbor upon the arrival of the RMS CARPATHIA
April 18, 1912

On August 6, 1912 perhaps in reaction the the RMS TITANIC tragedy, a Mr Greenfield presented his invention – a mechanism for launching lifeboats on a grand scale.

Mr. Greenfield’s model of a lifeboat launcher
August 6, 1912

British Investigation Into RMS TITANIC Sinking Ends

After intercepting telegraph messages that the White Star Lines wanted to send the surviving crew members of the RMS TITANIC back to Great Britain as soon as they landed in the US, Senator William Alden Smith of Michigan convened a Senate sub-committee to investigate the tragedy as soon as the rescue ship RMS CARPATHIA reached New York harbor.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=365336893502729&set=a.189903124379441.35396.189896404380113&type=3&theater

In Great Britain, a week after the disaster President of the British Board of Trade requested the Lord Chancellor to appoint a Wreck Commissioner to investigate the disaster.

On July 30, 1912 after 36 days of testimony the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry into the sinking of the RMS TITANIC turned in its final report into the circumstances attending the loss of the loss of 1,490 lives.

“The Court, having carefully inquired into the circumstances of the above mentioned shipping casualty, finds, for the reasons appearing in the annex hereto, that the loss of the said ship was due to collision with an iceberg, brought about by the excessive speed at which the ship was being navigated.”

The entire transcripts of the British Board of Trade Wreck Commission Inquiry :http://www.titanicinquiry.org/BOTInq/BOT01.php

Wreck Commissioner Charles Bigham, Lord Mersey of Toxteth, President of the Probate, Divorce & Admiralty Division of the High Court

Taft Sign Bill For Radio Safety At Sea

For hundreds of years a national flag flown upside down was a signal for distress. A ship flying no flags might also be understood to be in distress. In the mid 1800’s various countries had different maritime regulations and the advent of steam power made it necessary to deal with discrepancies. In 1863 a new set of rules were drawn up by the British Board of Trade, in consultation with the French government. By 1864 the regulations had been adopted by more than thirty maritime countries, including Germany and the US. In 1889 the US convened the first international maritime conference in Washington DC and in 1890 the resulting Washington Conference rules were adopted and were effected in 1897. It set regulations for distress signals which included guns or explosives fired at minute intervals, rockets or flares to be colored red fired at regular intervals, orange smoke and a square flag flown with anything resembling a ball.

The Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company was formed by Guglielmo Marconi inventor of the long range radio transmitter in July 1897. In 1900 he formed the Marconi International Marine Communication Company with the purpose of providing security to life and property at sea with wireless radio apparatus. Land telegraphs had used the Morse code message “CQ” from the French “secu” from “securite” to identify alert messages of interest to all stations along a telegraph line. It was used for ships as well. The Marconi company added a “D” (“distress”) to CQ in order to create a distress call. “CQD” was used by wireless operators to mean, “All stations: distress.” It was announced in January 1904 and became effective February 1904 for Marconi installations. It does not stand for “Come Quick, Danger”, “Come Quickly Distress”, or “Come Quick — Drowning!” Between 1899–1908 9 documented rescues were made by the use of wireless.

S O S was first adopted as a distress signal by the German government in radio regulations effective April 1905 and became the worldwide standard under the second International Radiotelegraphic Convention signed on November 1906 and became effective on July 1908. It was easier to transmit 3 dots, 3 dashes, 3 dots in a continuous stream than “CQD”. It does not stand for “save our ship”, “save our souls” and “send out succour”. The first ship to transmit an SOS distress call appears to have been the Cunard liner Slavonia in June 1909. But as of 1912 there is still some resistance among the Marconi operators to the adoption of the new signal and many operators use both in emergencies.

When the RMS TITANIC struck an iceberg and sank in April 1912 another British ship, the CALIFORNIAN, was thought to be less than 10 miles away. The CALIFORNIAN had stopped because of ice and sent an iceberg warning to RMS TITANIC April 14 at 7:00pm NYT. The RMS TITANIC’s radio had been down for almost 24 hours and the on-duty wireless operator was busy working off a backlog of personal messages. When the ice warning was sent, the relative proximity made the CALIFORNIAN’s signal  so loud it blew out the signals the RMS TITANIC’s operator was listening to from the wireless relay station at Cape Race, Newfoundland. The operator on the RMS TITANIC sent the message : “Shut up, shut up! I am busy; I am working Cape Race!” The CALIFORNIAN’s wireless operator listened until 11:30pm NYT turned off the wireless and went to bed. 10 minutes later the RMS TITANIC struck the iceberg.  The RMS TITANIC sank at 2:20am NYT.  The wireless operator on the CALIFORNIAN turned on his radio at 5:30am and found out that the RMS TITANIC had sunk overnight. If the radio on the CALIFORNIAN had been on, they quite possibly could have saved everyone on the RMS TITANIC.

On July 23, 1912 in reaction the the RMS TITANIC disaster, US president William Howard Taft signed a bill requiring ships carrying 50 or more persons to carry at least two radio operators, with one on duty at all times. It extends to not only all sea-going vessels but those travelling on the Great Lakes as well.

Text of the Radio Bill signed by Taft July 23, 1912 : http://earlyradiohistory.us/1910act.htm

RMS TITANIC’s radio antennae

 

 

Issued June 29, 1912

Louis Fancher was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1884. He studied with various artists and is an illustrator in San Francisco as well as in New York. Fancher illustrated this June 29, 1912 cover for July 4th showing a young patriot playing Gulliver to his toy British soldiers.

COLLIER’S
June 29, 1912

Harrison Fisher was born in Brooklyn, NYC but spent most of his youth in San Francisco until he turned 21 years old. He then moved back to New York where he began his highly successful career as a magazine illustrator. Harrison Fisher never married, but his “secretary,” Kate Clemens, was also his lifetime partner. Fisher’s portraits of women rival Charles Dana Gibson’s “Gibson Girl” for popularity at the time. One of Fisher’s favorite models who he helped make famous was Dorthy Gibson who survived the sinking of the RMS TITANIC.

Cover Girl Dorthy Gibson

A month after the tragedy, Gibson starred in a movie about the doomed liner.

https://100yearsagotoday.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/rms-titanic-film-released-starring-real-survivor/

On June 29, 1912 Fisher once again used Gibson for a SATURDAY EVENING POST cover.

Dorthy Gibson on the cover of THE SATURDAY EVENING POST
June 29, 1912

RMS TITANIC Victim Recovered

As soon as they could, the White Star Line sent ships to the site where the liner RMS TITANIC struck an iceberg and sank to recover bodies.

https://100yearsagotoday.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/rms-titanic-survivors-and-victims-body-recovery/

After the Mackay-Bennett was sent, White Star sent the Minia.

https://100yearsagotoday.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/rms-titanic-recovery-ship-returns-to-canada/

Other ships have been on the serach as well.

On June 6, 1912 the SS ALGERINE, a 505-ton cargo and passenger ship that was sometimes used for sealing, which had been searching the area where the RMS TITANIC sank for over a month, returned to port. They have only recovered one body that of James Grady, salon steward and that was in the first week at the site. Since then nothing else was found. It is the opinion that all the bodies have long since gone to the bottom of the ocean and there is very little chance of any others being found.

The SS ALGERINE

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