When was the titanic built?

By admin • Facts and Trivia • 3 Apr 2012

Titanic was ordered on September 17, 1908. The work to build Titanic was laid down on March 31, 1909. The ship was officially launched on 31st March 1911 and completed on April 2, 1912.  Titanic set for her maiden voyage on April 10, 1912 and met with a sinking fate on April 15.

Titanic built in Belfast, Ireland, UK was the second of the three Olympic-class ocean liners, the other two being RMS Olympic and RMS Britannic (known originally as Gigantic).  They represented British shipping company White Star Line’s fleet which boasted of 29 steamers.  The White Star Line had competition from its rival Cunard, which had floated two ships Lusitania and Mauretania, known for top-speed in those times. The German ships Hamburg America and Norddeutscher Lloyd were also quite popular for speed.

White Star Line’s chairman J.Bruce Ismay and American businessman J.Piermon Morgano who owned White Star Line’s parent company, the Internaional Merchantile Marine Co, felt that they could do with ships that could be a formidable competition in terms of size if not speed.  The onus was to give a truly royal, luxurious feel to their ships, which had been never experienced before.

Belfast shipbuilders Harland and Wolff were given the task to build the ships; these builders already had a long relationship with White Star Line from early 1867.  Harland and Wolff presented the blueprint of the three ships on July 29, 1908 to  Bruce Ismay and other White Star Line executives. Two days later, the work of construction started. Olympic had no name and was just referred to as ‘Number 400’ because it was their 400th hull and Titanic which was an upgraded version of Olympic was called ‘Number 401’.

The ships were built on Queen’s Island which is now famous as the Titanic Quarter in Belfast Harbor.  While Olympic’s hull was laid down on December 16, 1908, the work on Titanic started on March 31, 1909.

The time taken for Titanic to build was 26 months and Olympic also took near about the same time.  More than 15,000 people work to build the ships.  Constructing the ships was a dangerous activity ridden with risk. Six people died while building the ship, two died in the sheds and shipyard workshop and one died just before the launch due to a piece of wood falling on him.  There was no safe equipment like tough hats or hand guards while working on the building material.  There were 246 injuries recorded, of which 28 turned severe which resulted in arms being severed and legs crushed under the impact of steel.

Titanic was launched at 12:15 pm on 31 May 1911 in the presence of Lord Pirrie, J. Pierpoint Morgan and J. Bruce Ismay and 100,000 onlookers. The ship was towed to a fitting-out berth where, over the course of the next year, her engines, funnels and superstructure and interiors were worked on. There were changes in design to be incorporated and the finishing took longer than expected. There was a temporary pause in work because the workers had to work on repairing Olympic, which had met with a collision in September 1911. It is understood that if the Titanic had finished early, she may have well not collided with the ice-berg.

The first series of sea trials to see how well Titanic was for its maiden voyage, started from 6 am on Monday April. This was 8 days before her very first voyage from Southampton.  There were 78 members including 41 crew members.  The owners Thomas Andrews and Edward Wilding of Harland and Wolff and Harold A. Sanderson of IMM. Bruce Ismay and Lord Pirrie were too ill to attend.

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