Titanic Construction: An Overview
The Titanic construction took place in Belfast by the shipbuilding company Harland and Wolff. The company was owned by Lord Pirrie, a friend of Bruce Ismay, managing director of the White Star Line (pictured below, left). The chief designer of the Titanic was his son-in-law, Thomas Andrews (pictured below right).
Construction of the Titanic began in 1909. Harland and Wolff had to make alterations to their shipyard (larger piers and gantries) to accommodate the giant liners, Titanic and her sister ship Olympic. The two ships were to be built side-by-side.
The giant gantries constructed by Harland and Wolff
Titanic Construction: Watertight Compartments
Titanic was constructed with sixteen watertight compartments. Each compartment had doors that were designed to close automatically if the water level rose above a certain height. The doors could also be electronically closed from the bridge. Titanic was able to stay afloat if any two compartments or the first four became flooded. Shortly after Titanic hit the iceberg it was revealed that the first six compartments were flooded.
Titanic Construction: Boilers
There were twenty-four double ended boilers and five single ended boilers which were housed in six boiler rooms. The double ended boilers were 20 feet long, had a diameter of 15 feet 9 inches and contained six coal burning furnaces. The single ended boilers were 11 feet 9 inches long with the same diameter and three furnaces. Smoke and waste gasses were expelled through three funnels.
Titanic Construction: Funnels
Titanic’s four funnels were constructed away from the site and were then transported to the shipyard for putting on the Titanic. Only three of the funnels were used to expel smoke and waste gasses. The fourth was added to make the ship look more powerful.
Titanic Construction: Propellers
Titanic had three propellers which were powered by steam. The rotation of the propellers powered the ship through the sea.
Titanic was launched in 1911.
The next ten months were spent completing the interior of the ship. Details and pictures of the interior can be viewed on the layout page of this site.
The total cost of the RMS Titanic was $7.5 million (1912).
This article is part of our larger selection of posts about the Titanic. To learn more, click here for our comprehensive guide to the Titanic.