13 Things You Didn’t Know About the Titanic

For the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking, we bring you surprising bits of trivia and Titanic facts you've never heard.

By Damon Beres
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    1. A full moon may have caused the fatal iceberg to cross paths with the ship

    Scientists recently arrived at a new theory that the full moon months before could be to blame for the collision, which killed about 1,500 people.

    Quoting astronomer Donald Olson of Texas State University-San Marcos, National Geographic's Richard A. Lovett wrote, "That full moon, on January 4, 1912, may have created unusually strong tides that sent a flotilla of icebergs southward—just in time for Titanic's maiden voyage."

    This wasn't a normal full moon, though: "It was the closest lunar approach, in fact, since A.D. 796, and Earth won't see its like again until 2257," wrote Lovett.

    Video: Watch interviews with Titanic survivors >>

    2. Nearly five Titanics could be built with the money James Cameron's Titanic movie has made worldwide

    According to the California ScienCenter, the Titanic would cost about $400 million to build today. James Cameron's Academy Award-winning film Titanic has earned over $1.84 billion worldwide since its release in 1997—enough to construct about 4.6 complete replicas of the ship. That's not counting money earned from the 3D re-release of the film in spring 2012.

    Video: Watch a clip of "James Cameron's Last Mysteries of the Titanic" >>

    3. New research says an optical illusion prevented the ship from receiving help

    British historian Tim Maltin believes that the atmosphere on the night of the sinking created conditions that made it difficult for the crew to spot icebergs—and for other ships to spot the Titanic.

    Smithsonian magazine reported, "Atmospheric conditions in the area that night were ripe for super refraction, Maltin found. This extraordinary bending of light causes miraging, which, he discovered, was recorded by several ships in the area. He says it also prevented the Titanic’s lookouts from seeing the iceberg in time and the freighter Californian from identifying the ocean liner and communicating with it."

    Video: Watch a video clip about the sinking of the Titanic >>

    4. Researchers completed a map of the wreck site in 2012, using over 100,000 photos taken by underwater robots

    The Associated Press reported in early March that a team of researchers completed "what's believed to be the first comprehensive map of the entire 3-by-5-mile Titanic debris field," a milestone that could lead to more insights as to what happened when the ship sank on April 15, 1912.

    "An expedition team used sonar imaging and more than 100,000 photos taken from underwater robots to create the map, which shows where hundreds of objects and pieces of the presumed-unsinkable vessel landed," wrote AP reporter Clarke Canfield.

    Though the site wasn't fully mapped until now, the Titanic's wreckage was first discovered in September 1985 by underwater explorer Robert Ballard.

    Video: See footage of the Titanic wreck site >>

    5. $95,000: The expected auction price for the Titanic's final lunch menu

    The Telegraph reports that the actual menu will likely fetch big bucks when it hits the auction block. Millionaire Titanic passenger Benjamin Guggenheim (left), may well have eaten the meal, which included grilled mutton chops and smoked sardines.

    6. More than 5,000 other artifacts will also be up for grabs
    Collectors with deep pockets will be able to bid on everything from silverware to pieces of the actual boat, reports CNN. The collection of items had been priced at $189 million previously.

    Video: Watch a documentary clip about how the Titanic sank >>

    7. Did an 1898 novella anticipate the Titanic disaster?

    The plot of Morgan Robertson's Futility bears an uncanny resemblance to the events surrounding the sinking of the Titanic, published 14 years before the voyage.

    The book tells the story of the Titan: "The largest ship ever built, billed as 'unsinkable' by its British owners and the press, strikes an iceberg one April and goes down. Due to a lack of lifeboats, more than half the passengers perish in the North Atlantic," wrote The Portland Press Herald of the book's plot. Sound familiar?

    Futility has since been renamed The Wreck of the Titan, and it's available for free on Google Books.

    8. There's an app for that
    Those looking for more of a 21st century experience will find tons of information in The History Press' "Titanic: Her Story" iPad app. It includes a photo slideshow, sinking timeline, and more. Other new-tech ways to follow the voyage: live tweets of the voyage in real time on Twitter from The History Press @TitanicRealTime:

    9. You can take a cruise that echoes the Titanic experience

    Leaving exactly 100 years after the Titanic began its ill-fated voyage, a memorial cruise will make its way to Halifax, where many Titanic victims were laid to rest, and later arrive at the spot in the Atlantic where the ship sank for a day of reflection. No guarantee on spotting an iceberg.


    10. $2 million: How much it will cost to preserve the historic Belfast dock where the Titanic was built
    According to BBC News, over $2 million has been set aside for work on the Thompson Graving dock in "the largest single investment ever made by the Department of the Environment in support of an historic monument." A new building will be constructed to safeguard the area against flooding.

    11. It's still one of the biggest local attractions and shows no sign of stopping: “Tragedy plus time equals tourism”
    That's what one Titanic expert and guide told the Associated Press, and the theory's now being put to the test as a new exhibit about the ship opens in Belfast.

    12. Even today, major ships still get "iced" by ocean bergs

    Ships continue to struggle with icebergs to this day. "Only last year, an iceberg tore a hole in the hull of a Russian fishing boat cruising around the Antarctic. The 32-person crew threw cargo overboard to lighten the ship while waiting nearly two weeks for rescue," wrote Lauren Everitt for BBC News Magazine.

    13. Its appeal keeps growing, even 100 years after the tragedy
    As John Williams of The New York Times' Arts Beat explains, a smorgasbord of Titanic texts were released for the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking. That includes The Titanic for Dummies.

    Read the Reader's Digest Classic, "The Unsinkable Titanic" >>

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    Your Comments

    • Wud Da Heeelll!

      Flet

    • Anonymous

      I’m looking for things I don’t know about the Titanic. But some of these “facts” are mere speculation.

      • piper

        I know right @Mimiburton278

    • Mimiburton278

      yeah right to number one most of theese are fake

    • Mike Hunt

      Now if it sinks, that would be realistic.

    • Rafael

      last  one  handred   to  remember  the  titanic    all  that   is   sad  for  recording

    • Bud Vitoff

      That’s not Benjamin Guggenheim, it’s his brother Simon.

    • Legend of zelda fan #1

      i’ve read more titanic books and 81% of them say that there was a southeasternly wind, normally it could have been a south or south west wind but it was mostly south usually but the berg that hit it was unavoidable since the look-outs on deck forgot there binoculars back at the docks and there was no waves smashing into the berg and normally thered be a small white foam ring around the bottom but that night there wasent and the moon wasent out to ilumanate the iceberg ( which is odd since there was no clouds and there wasent a new moon that night) so basically the wind was bassically to blame, but some say that a builder painted on the hull “may god sink her” and if thats true than the paint would probbably still be there just like the numbers on the proppellers, and another person to blame the captian was makeing the ship go as fast as it could just to break a F___ing record held by another line of shiplines

      • Wes

        Unlikely that Titanic was trying to break any speed record. Cunard ships went for speed with Steam Turbines, while White Star went for economy and comfort using a mix of Steam and Reciprocating engines.

        It’s also been proven that Titanic hadn’t lit all her boilers before she sank. Leaving boilers unlit would hardly help them get the Blue Riband.

      • Raymundo

         At least utilize ‘spell-check’. Your spelling is atrocious and you should be embarrassed
        to ‘broadcast’ same.

      • Raymundo

         At least utilize ‘spell-check’. Your spelling is atrocious and you should be embarrassed
        to ‘broadcast’ same.

      • Anonymous

        It’s unlikely they were trying to break the record, which has become known as the Blue Riband. It’s far more likely that they felt it unnecessary to slow down in adverse weather, since people believed modern shipbuilding had advanced to the point as to make ships virtually unsinkable.

        And if you’ve read up on this subject, you might know that Cunard built for speed, (Mauretania held the record from 1909-1929, and Titanic would have needed to maintain an average speed of 26.07 knots to beat it).

        White Star ships were built for comfort; ie: floating hotels. The very use of the reciprocating engine (which produced less power than the steam turbine) in Titanic indicates that they weren’t going for speed.

      • Jbriggs

        Actually, not having the binoculars did not hinder them whatsoever, particularly since they hit at night. Typically men in the crows nest could see an iceberg up to 30 minutes before possible impact. However, because of refraction caused by the extreme temperature change between the water and air, the officers didn’t see it until about 30 seconds before impact making it impossible to turn in time.

    • Space

      Not that anyone cares, but in #1 it’s Texas State University-San Marcos, not San Marco.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Glen-DeGelnor/1750369706 Glen DeGelnor

        Me care.

    • Sarahilyas29

      the novel and james cameron ones are really amazing

    • Frank

      The last one was really dumb.