On April 14, 1912, the Titanic sank into the north Atlantic Ocean. Just four days into the ship’s journey, this massive ocean liner collided with an iceberg, which lead to the loss of most patrons and crew members on board. Poor lifeboat management, combined with the lack of a nearby ship, led to one of the biggest disasters of all time, and the wreckage of the ship still exists on the bottom of the ocean floor today.
Most people’s knowledge of the Titanic comes from the Leonardo DiCaprio/Kate Winslet film, but there’s actually plenty of information that the movie missed – or got wrong entirely. For instance, did you know that the Titanic was the first ship to have a heated swimming pool on board?
This list has some lesser-known fun facts about the Titanic, some of which will totally blow your mind. A fortune teller had predicted the wreck weeks earlier, for example. Newspapers originally reported that no one had died. There was a movie star on board who filmed a movie about the tragedy only 10 days after surviving it, while she was still wearing the same dress she wore when she was rescued. The list could go on and on, so check out the fun fats about the Titanic below.
On the Morning of the Accident, a Lifeboat Drill Was Canceled
The lifeboat situation was pretty dire when the Titanic went down. Some boats left early with room for more passengers on board due to extreme panic and confusion. This could have been avoided if the lifeboat drill that had been scheduled for that morning had not been cancelled. We’re not sure why the drill was canceled, but it’s safe to say that the crew definitely did not suspect that there would be any danger in the near future.Source: The Star
A Handwriten Letter from the Day of the Accident Still Exists
After over 100 years, the last surviving handwritten letter written on Titanic letterhead resurfaced for an auction. Esther Hart and her daughter, Eva, wrote a letter to Esther’s mother about the wonderful journey that they were taking together on the Titanic. Although her husband was tragically killed that day, Esther and Eva survived. They kept the letter in the family for decades, until it went up for auction in England and sold for $18,000.Source: The Daily Mail
All of the Third-Class Passengers Shared Two Bathtubs
The third-class accommodations on the ship were vertiably barbaric. Bunk beds in third-class had mattresses, pillows, and blankets, but no sheets or pillowcases. And only two bathtubs served all 700+ third-class men and women. Can you imagine having to wait your turn to take a bath at the end of a 450 person line?Source: The Telegraph
Three Dogs Made It Into the Lifeboats
Although nine dogs passed away aboard the Titanic, three lucky pups somehow made it onto a lifeboat. Two were Pomeranians, and one was a Pekinese. One of the dogs that survived belonged to Henry Harper, heir to Harper & Row publishing. When asked why he saved his dog over other people, he replied, ” There seemed to be lots of room, and nobody made any objection.”
The Titanic had its own newspaper, with a mini printing press, situated in the Chief Pursers Office called the Atlantic Daily Bulletin. The paper was printed every day on board the Titanic. It included news and society gossip (what the first-class passengers had worn to dinner, for example), on board tournament results, and how to hire deck chairs.
There Was a Closer Rescue Ship
Although the Carpathia eventually came to the Titanic’s rescue, there was another ship closer by that would have been more ideal for a rescue mission. The SS Californian and her Captain, Stanley Lord, became notorious for their failure to respond to distress signals sent up by the Titanic. It was alleged that the officers on the nearby vessel saw the flare signals and totally ignored them.Source: BBC
The Boat Delivered Mail
The “RMS” part of the title “RMS Titanic” stood for “Royal Merchant Ship,” but in this case, it had a double meaning. RMS also stood for “Royal Mail Steamer,” because the Titanic carried mail under the auspices of His Majesty’s postal authorities. It is said that the ship was carrying 3,500 bags of mail, and that over 7 million pieces of mail were lost when it sank.Source: The Denver Post
Only Around 340 Bodies Were Found
Experts are divided about whether or not there are still human remains aboard the wreckage of the Titanic at the bottom of the ocean. However, searchers recovered at least 340 bodies after the Titanic sunk, leaving 1,160 still lost at sea.Source: The New York Times
A Fortune Teller Predicted the Sinkage
Two months prior to the ship’s launch, passenger Alice Elizabeth Fortune met with a fortune teller in Egypt. The psychic told her, “You are in danger every time you travel on the sea, for I see you adrift in an open boat. You will lose everything but your life.” Fortune, who was 24 at the time, survived the disaster (even though her brother and father died), becoming one of the most famous passengers aboard Lifeboat 10.
Eight Workers Were Killed While Building the Titanic
In 2011, 15 -year-old Samuel Scott, the first casualty of the Titanic, fell from a ladder and died due to a fatal skull fracture. His headstone was set up in Belfast to honor his memory. Scott was the first of eight rumored deaths that occurred during the ship’s construction. At least 254 injuries were also reported.
The Titanic Was the First Boat to Ever Have a Heated Swimming Pool Onboard
The Titanic had a heated swimming pool on deck, the first of its kind for a luxury ocean liner. Considering the fact that the ocean was only 28 degrees Fahrenheit, the heated swimming pool was kind of an ironic twist. The first unheated swimming pool was built aboard the SS Olympic, which had set sail the year before.Source: Titanic for Dummies
The Captain Was About to Retire
Edward John Smith, the captain of the Titanic, was set to retire after this final voyage. Many people are torn about Captain Smith – some say he was responsible for one of the worst disasters of all time based on his negligence, while others call him a hero, as he bravely went down with the ship.Source: BBC
The Interior Was Designed to Resemble the Ritz Hotel in London
If the interior of the Titanic looks familiar, it’s because it was modeled after the Ritz hotel in London. The contemporary style included dining rooms with ornate ceilings and plush carpets, as well as first-class cabins designed after some of the suites at the Ritz. There was even a restaurant situated on B deck for the first-class passengers known as “The Ritz Restaurant.”Source: The Daily Mail
Of the 885 Crew Members, Only 23 Were Female
Of the 885 crew members aboard the Titanic, only 23 of them were women. 21 of the women were stewardesses, and the other two were restaurant cashiers. The stewardesses’ duties were similar to the male stewards, but usually served women passengers only. 20 of the female crew members managed to survive. One of the survivors was Violet Jessop (pictured above), who also survived the sinking of the HMHS Britannic.Source: Wikipedia
The Last Survivor Died in 2009
In 2009, the last living survivor of the Titanic died at the age of 97. Millvina Dean was only eight weeks old when she boarded the luxury liner, and she died on the same day of the year that the Titanic sunk… 97 years later. In 1998, Dean, whose father died in the disaster, stepped foot on board a ship for the first time, taking the exact same course the Titanic had taken years prior.Source: LA Times
13 Couples Were Honeymooning on That Fateful Voyage
Before Leo and Kate had the romance of a lifetime aboard the Titanic, 13 couples were celebrating their honeymoons aboard the ill-fated ocean liner. One of those couples was Mr. & Mrs. George Harder of New York (pictured above). They both survived, but some of the other couples were not so lucky. There’s even a book about the love stories aboard Titanic called, Titanic Love Stories.Source: People
After doing his part to rescue as many passengers as he could, baker Charles Joughin got a little drunk. According to Joughin’s own recollections, after saving women and children and drinking a fair amount of alcohol, “he made his way to the starboard side of the poop deck and on to the outside of the rails of the ship. When he was lowered into the water, Joughin claimed he simply swam away and, as daylight was breaking, made his way to collapsible lifeboat B.”Source: British National Archives
You Can Actually Go Visit the Wreckage
For a small fee of $60,000 dollars, you can dive down to the wreckage of the Titanic and see it first-hand. Concierge service Bluefish offers to take divers to the wreckage on the Atlantic floor, where you can observe the grand staircase, as well as several prominent rooms. The trip takes anywhere from 11 to 12 hours just to dive the 12,500 foot depth. More people have been to outer space than have visited the wreckage.
Even though it took 3,000 years for the iceberg to form, it separated from the glacier it was part of most likely in 1910 or 1911, and only existed for two to three years after. After this infamous iceberg hit the Titanic, the warm temperatures of the ocean melted the giant chunk of ice almost instantly. Source: Wired
The Last Supper Had 11 Courses
When diners on the Titanic sat down in the first-class dining room on the evening of April 14, 1912, they were treated to an 11-course feast served in a style developed by elite French chef, Auguste Escoffier. The menu included cream of barley soup, poached salmon, chicken Lyonnaise, Pate de foie gras, and Waldorf pudding.Source: The Huffington Post
Milton Hershey Was Almost on Board
Milton Hershey, the man behind the Hershey Kisses and chocolate bars, was vacationing in France and scheduled to head back stateside on the Titanic. Due to a business matter, Hershey and his wife had to take an earlier ship, thus avoiding the tragic fate of the Titanic. Other notable people who narrowly missed sinking with the ship were Guglielmo Marconi, Alfred Vanderbilt, and Frank Seiberling, founder of Goodyear Tires. Source: The Smithsonian
One of the Smokestacks Didn’t Work Properly
The Titanic is visually known for its four iconic smokestacks spanning the length of the ship, but apparently, one of the smokestacks was nonfunctional; it was purely for looks. The funnel was not connected to the furnaces, but did act as a ventilator. The filmTitanic, however, depicted smoke coming out of all four of the smokestacks – something James Cameron clearly didn’t catch.Source: National Geographic Kids
No One Ever Called It “Unsinkable”
Contrary to popular mythology, the Titanic was never described as “unsinkable” until after she sank. Some trades, however, did call it “practically unsinkable.” Harland and Wolff – the constructors of the ship – never made the “unsinkable” claim, and the White Star Line called it “the largest and finest steamer in the world.” The term “unsinkable” was ironically only used after the disaster occurred.
If the lookout had had access to binoculars, they may have been able to see the iceberg sooner and avoid the crash. However, the binoculars were in a lock box, and the crew members couldn’t find the key. It turns out that the key’s owner, Second Officer David Blair, had been removed from the crew at the last minute, and forgot to hand it off to his replacement.
The Daily Mail Initially Reported That “No Lives Were Lost”
The day after the Titanic sunk, the Daily Mail reported “No lives were lost.” Due to the lack of communicable technology, the newspaper had no clue about the reality of the situation and simply ran with hope. The next day, however, the headline was a bit darker, reading, “Boat loads of women. Few men among survivors. 868 saved. 1,490 missing.”
Just like on Gilligan’s Island, there was indeed a movie star on board the Titanic – American silent film star, Dorothy Gibson. Gibson survived the wreckage, and went on to star in the popular film Saved from the Titanic, which began filming only a week after the crash. In the film, Gibson wore the same evening gown, sweater, and gloves that she had worn the night she escaped.
While waiting for the lifeboats, an unknown woman threw her shawl over 22-year-old Daniel Buckley, which ultimately saved his life. Buckley had gotten into one of the boats, but was ordered to exit because he was a man. Buckley testified to the Senate, ” I was crying. There was a woman in the boat, and she had thrown her shawl over me, and she told me to stay in there. I believe she was Mrs. Astor. Then they did not see me, and the boat was lowered down into the water, and we rowed away from the steamer.”
In 1943, Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels made a “Nazi film” version of the sinking simply calledTitanic, which portrayed the disaster, only with a German officer as the “hero” of the film. The film served as an attack on British society, and has been called “one of the most expensive and ambitious movies ever made” at the time. Ultimately, the movie tanked, and the director ended up hanging himself.