The Building of the Titanic

Between 1909 and 1912, the ocean liner known as the Titanic was built in which city?

And the answer: Belfast.    

Built over three years in Belfast, Ireland, the Titanic started its maiden voyage in April 1912 from Southampton, England, towards New York. The luxury ocean liner was touted as "unsinkable," but two days into its journey, it hit an iceberg and sank. More than half of its 2,200 passengers didn't survive.

Photo credit: maritime-executive

In the 19th century, travel on the seas began to reach a fever pitch. Shipping companies and passenger ships embarked on a newfound fight to be the best and fastest ship on the sea as the technology rapidly expanded to allow it. In 1907, managing director of White Star Line, Bruce Ismay, and senior partner and chairman of the shipyard Harland and Wolff, Lord Pirrie, conspired to build a ship bigger and better than its rival company. In fact, they would build three: the Olympic, Titanic, and the Gigantic (later renamed the Britannic), respectively.

That same year, work began. The Olympic was the first in line, and required the construction of the largest gantry ever before completed, just to be able to reach and install the many steel plates. In 1909, work on the Titanic began. In total, over 14,000 men worked to complete these gargantuan ships. In the hull, the Titanic had 29 boilers, containing 159 furnaces, which powered two reciprocating engines. The reciprocating engines were the largest ever built at nearly 40 feet tall and 9 feet in diameter. The boilers were also massive; looming at two stories tall. In 1912, when the ship was completed, it was the largest human-made object ever to be built.

While the Olympic and the Titanic were similar in size, the latter won the seat as largest ship due to its increased weight. However, it was ultimately the Olympic which outlived its counterparts. Unlike the other ships in the class, Olympic had a long career, spanning 24 years from 1911 to 1935.

Learn more about the creation of the Titanic here.


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