The ICEBERG had nothing to do with it.

After extensive study of metallurgy, shipbuilding methods of the time, and the records of Harland and Wolff, the company that built the Titanic, Timothy Foecke and Jennifer Hooper McCarty have published a new book, What Really Sunk the Titanic.  In this book (I have not yet read it), they claim inferior iron rivets are to blame for the sinking of the ship.  The article review I read leads me to believe the shipbuilding company used some iron rivets of inferior quality due to the necessary speed of construction and the high demand for rivets at that time.  Since I have not read the book or done any similar research myself however, I remain unconvinced.  My favorite quote: “The company knowingly purchased weaker rivets, but I think they did it not knowing they would be purchasing something substandard enough that when they hit an iceberg their ship would sink.”  I know there has been debate about the design of the ship, and if it would’ve remained floating if it had hit the ‘berg straight on, but either way, it’s like running aground on a reef or wrapping your car around a telephone pole.  Even if you don’t die outright, you’re not going to just walk away from that.  And while I can understand that the authors are not trying to prove that the weak rivets alone didn’t sink the Titanic, the idea that it would have sunk more slowly if the rivets had been stronger seems obvious and unnecessary.  If the whole ship had been made of alien super-metal, it probably would’ve just crushed the iceberg to bits and gone on its merry way.

What tickled me most about the whole situation really has nothing to do with the Titanic or the Atlantic at all.  It’s about the retired naval engineer from Harland and Wolff.  he’s the one who handles technical questions about the Titanic, I guess as a personal hobby.  His name?  David Livingstone.  So far though, he hasn’t found the church or explored a largely unknown continent, as far as I can tell.  Still, it makes me wish I were named Stanley…


1 Comment

  1. sam said,

    May 27, 2008 at 7:28 pm


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