Friday, June 1, 2012

Diversion:  The Wreck of the Titan Predicted the Wreck of the Titanic

A comparison of Futility, 1898 novella, and the actual sinking of the Titanic 14 years later ....

Although the novel was written before the Olympic-class Titanic had even been designed, there are some remarkable similarities between the fictional and real-life counterparts. Like the Titanic, the fictional ship sank in April in the North Atlantic, and there were not enough lifeboats for the passengers. There are also similarities between the size (800 ft long for Titan versus 882 ft 9 in long for the Titanic), speed (25 knots for Titan, 22.5 knots for Titanic) and life-saving equipment.

Beyond the name, the similarities between the Titanic and the fictional Titan include:

  • Both were triple screw (propeller)
  • Described as "unsinkable"
    • The Titanic was the world's largest luxury liner (882 feet, displacing 63,000 long tons), and was once described as being practically "unsinkable".
    • The Titan was the largest craft afloat and the greatest of the works of men (800 feet, displacing 75,000 tons, up from 45,000 in the 1898 edition), and was considered "unsinkable".
  • Shortage of lifeboats
    • The Titanic carried only 16 lifeboats, plus 4 Engelhardt folding lifeboats, less than half the number required for her passenger and crew capacity of 3000.
    • The Titan carried "as few as the law allowed", 24 lifeboats, less than half needed for her 3000 capacity.
  • Struck an iceberg
    • Moving at 22½ knots, the Titanic struck an iceberg on the starboard side on the night of April 14, 1912 in the North Atlantic 400 miles away from Newfoundland.
    • Also on an April night, in the North Atlantic 400 miles from Newfoundland (Terranova), the Titan hit an iceberg while traveling at 25 knots, also on the starboard side.
  • Sinking
    • The unsinkable Titanic sank, and more than half of her 2200 passengers and crew died.
    • The indestructible Titan also sank, more than half of her 2500 passengers drowning.
    • Went down bow first, the Titan actually capsizing before it sank.

For more, see Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan, on May 26, 2012 at Wikipedia.

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