Tag Archives: J.Bruce Ismay

Titanic Sunk

Front Page, New York Herald, 15 April 1912 Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress,www.loc.gov)
Front Page, New York Herald, 15 April 1912
Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress,www.loc.gov)

23:40 (11:40 p.m.) Lookouts Fleet and Lee sight iceberg. Bell rung and call to bridge. Murdoch orders helm hard a-starboard and engines reversed. Starboard side scraped by iceberg for 300 feet puncturing hull in various places. Water fills forward compartments.

1200 (12:00 a.m.) Thomas Andrews tells Captain Smith ship is sinking estimating ship can stay afloat estimating no more than 2 hours. Lifeboats are lowered by hand, evacuation of passengers begins. Wireless is used to alert nearby ships. RMS Carpathia responds and begins moving towards Titanic.

02:20 (2:20 a.m.) Titanic sinks at 2:20 a.m.with over 1,500 lives lost.

0400 (4:00 a.m.) RMS Carpathia arrives and rescues approximately 710 from lifeboats. Captain Rostron of Carpathia said the area was an ice field with at least 20 large bergs measuring up to 200 feet in height and numerous smaller bergs.

18 April 1912 0930 (9:30 a.m.) RMS Carpathia docks at New York Pier 54. Prior to that it offloaded the only remaining piece of Titanic afloat, the lifeboats. Due to confusing communications, the initial reports were more promising about the the severity of the tragedy. The confusion was caused by mixed up bits of wireless communication resulting in erroneous reports of Titanic being towed to New York and less lives lost. By the time Carpathia arrived in New York, everyone knew that over 1,500 had died in the tragedy.


White Star Wanted More Wealthy Passengers Not Third Class

Photo courtesy George Behe
Photo courtesy George Behe

Titanic was built to make money but not on the backs of immigrants as some claim. Instead they were designed to make money from wealthy passengers who would travel both ways. Second class was designed for tourists and professionals who traveled less often but wanted the comforts such a ship offered. And finally you had third class (steerage back then) who paid the smallest fare but proportionally were the largest in numbers. However despite their numbers, they were a smaller revenue generator compared to first class passengers.

Joseph Mortati in Collision Course:How Good Business Decisions Sank the Titanic and Why refutes the standard thinking by going through the concept of the new White Star ships and how they were designed to make money. Cunard, which had the faster ships of the day that broke records, sacrificed speed for comfort. The line was also subsidized by the British government to prevent it from being bought out by a foreign entity. That gave them a 2-1 advantage over White Star. They had speed and government backing. Ismay had to come up with a way to compete that would make money. Competing on speed would be difficult and expensive. They could still market to immigrants seeking to cross over to United States but they knew it was a diminishing trade over time.

Focusing on repeat travelers then became important. And not just any repeat travelers but ones who were very wealthy and willing to pay extra for comfort. They could charge higher tickets for them and provide amenities a hotel on land would provide. It was a daring and bold plan that hinged on getting the wealthy to buy tickets. It required a marketing campaign to convince them that ships like Olympic or Titanic were the ships to be on and be seen on. What Mortati found was that Olympic compared to Lusitania would make 40% more per round trip because of those higher ticket prices. And while immigrants still comprised 50% of passengers aboard, revenue from them was 20%. Which means 80% came from first and second class passengers and mostly from first class.

Now that debunks the myth. Had Olympic, Titanic, or Brittanic been built to make lots of money from immigrants, the proportions would have been very different. Instead you would have third class being the significant revenue generator and first and second class bringing around 20% combined of the total revenue.

Source:
Mortati, Joseph Collision Course – How Good Business Decisions Sank the Titanic and Why (2013, Amazon Kindle Edition)

Red Bull Does Titanic–And Gets Called “Despicable”

Red Bull advertising executives thought they had a clever idea. They created an advertising cartoon which showed a crate containing Red Bull being being loaded on a ship. The captain walks by and asks what it contains. When he learns it is an energy drink, he is insulted pointing out they only drink champagne on his ship and orders it brought down. The deckhand says the drink gives you wings (an advertising slogan of the drink). The captain responds by saying there is no need for wings on a ship, And then the crate reveals the name of the ship–Titanic–as the captain walks away.

According to The Telegraph:

The ad has also outraged some of the relatives of the 1915 disaster which saw more than 1,500 lose their lives when the ‘unsinkable’ ship hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Clifford Ismay, 57, a relative of Titanic owner Joseph Bruce Ismay, condemned the advert as “despicable.” He said: “I have a sense of humour but I really don’t like the idea – in fact I find it quite sickening considering so many people died on that night. “With their slogan ‘Red Bull gives you wings’ I can only assume that they are referring to the idea that if all those people had Red Bull – or wings – then they would have been ok. “It’s despicable. I think the Titanic, and the people involved, should be treated with dignity and respect.”

42 complaints have been lodged with Advertising Standards Authority over the ad. The Titanic Heritage Trust condemned the advert. Its founder, Howard Nelson, is considering filing a formal complaint.

Now I am no fan of tacky Titanic themed products, but this ad does not get me that angry. I understand why people are offended. On the scale of offensive, I put it in the mild category. When the deckhand says it is an energy drink, Captain Smith scoffs at serving anything less than champagne. If anything, it pokes fun at the aristocratic mentality that abounded at that time. Whether it ought to use Titanic is another issue. Then again, they had to know using Titanic was going to draw ire from some. And perhaps that is what they wanted.

I had not seen the ad, so I quickly tracked it down on YouTube. I actually watched both English and German versions. So they are getting eyes on the ad but whether it translates into sales, that is something they have to determine later. I actually thought the German version more funny than English. It is how it is said in German that makes it so. At any rate judge for yourself. The English version is below but if you want to see the German one, click here.

Source: Red Bull Criticised For ‘Tasteless’ Titanic Advert (13 Sep 2013, The Telegraph)

Monday Titanic News

Terry Ismay With Students
Louth Leader

1. A local school in the UK has developed a unique connection to Titanic  due to a local man descended from J. Bruce Ismay.  Terry Ismay, a great-grandnephew (with several greats in that) of J. Bruce Ismay, has been given a spot on Titanic II by Clive Palmer. His two children attend Cordeaux Academy in Louth so he decided to give them access to the new ship through the Internet. They will have access to the ship’s development with regular updates and where the construction is going on. There is also the possibility they will have their own flag on the ship.
Source: Louth School Forges A Unique Link With ‘The New Titanic”(16 May 2013,Louth Leader)

2. James Cameron is to be be honored by Scripp’s Institution of Oceanography in California with the 2013 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest. The award is given to those who further understanding of the sea. Cameron’‘s sole dive in the one man submarine Challenger Depth on 26 Mar 2012 went 6.8. miles down, the first solo diver to that depth. Additionally he donated the lander used on that mission to Scripps. He also plans to donate the $25,000 Nierenberg prize money to Scripps for the new Lander Lab.
Source: Filmmaker, Explorer James Cameron To Be Honored With Science Prize(16 May 2013, UPI)

3. Writing in Huffington Post, Stephen Coan–president and chief executive of Sea Research Foundation–is not happy with Titanic’s salvage and that artifacts raised by RMS Titanic, Inc, are to be auctioned off. He cites a Marist poll indicating the wreck ought to be a memorial. 65% of those polled agree with the proposition it ought to be a memorial site. I am puzzled by the timing of this piece. There are not going to be further salvaging by RMS Titanic, Inc (now part of Premiere Exhibitions) which holds the legal right awarded by a federal court in Virginia. And it has been declared a maritime preserve by the United Nations with the consent of the Canada, Britain, France, and the United States. There will be no further dives down to look at it either (which cost about $30,000) for tourists to look at the wreck. As for the auction, that is still up in the air. No one is saying what is going on in that regard. It seems the only point of the piece is to tell the world that Mystic Aquarium has a Titanic exhibition without using Titanic artifacts.
Source: Let Titanic And Its Victims Rest In Peace(17 May 2013, Huffington Post-blog)

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Titanic Musings: Ismay Home For Sale; Titanic II update, THS Reviews and more!

1. Normally a house sale would not be here except it was once the home of J. Bruce Ismay, J. Bruce Ismayformer chairman of the White Star Line and Titanic survivor. No need to rehash that story except to note some news reports erroneously connect him as the person who boarded a lifeboat wearing women’s clothes (nope, that was not Ismay). Costello Lodge, in Casla, Galway Ireland was once his home from 1914-1939. Also some reports indicate he exiled himself there after Titanic’s demise but that is not true. He did other things but led a quieter life outside the public. The property has changed hands over the years and the current owners, Jack and Agnes Toohey, purchased it in 1981. It goes up for auction tomorrow and you can read the details of the property here.

Needless to say this has generated a buzz with many people wanting to see the place where Ismay once lived. A recent auction of things inside the house drew a large crowd though very little was from Ismay. According to Galway News, so many people showed up they had an overflow crowd. The auction lasted from 12 noon until 9pm, the longest that auctioneer had ever conducted an auction. There was some Titanic memorabilia but most came from the current owners. 74 years after his death, Ismay still generates interest.

2. Titanic II Updates-Signs that Titanic II is proceeding forward are indicated with Palmer’s White Star Line inking an agreement with V.Ships Leisure that will be providing ship management services. According to Marine Log: “V.Ships Leisure 200 shore-based and 7,000 crew members provide services to more than 120 cruise ships, ferries and super yachts. These services are in many cases customised to meet the specific needs of clients including the ability to provide integrated deck and engine and hotel management as part of the same service offering.”

Clive Palmer also reports that applications to work on Titanic II are coming in. While some are applying to captain it, Palmer says the best jobs will be the activities director along with the head of food services. If recent meals at his Titanic announcement parties are any indication, you will not be taking Titanic II for its low calorie food.

3. Titanic Commutator, the official publication of Titanic Historical Society, had reviews for two books in its recent edition of current interest.  One is Steven Turner’s The Band That Played On about the famous Titanic musicians. Tim Trower gives this book mostly high marks saying it is well researched and gives good overview of who these musicians–including that of Wallace Hartley–were. Yvonne Carroll’s book, A Hymn for Eternity, is focused on Wallace Hartley although it covers the other musicians as well. Turner is enthusiastic about this book. “During a time that has seen a plethora of ”must have” books, this reprinted (and corrected) slim volume of  A Hymn For Eternity is a book that I would willingly spend part of my rapidly diminishing book budget on…” (Okay, full disclaimer here. This site is partnered with Amazon so I will shamelessly plug these books in this blog. It is your choice to buy them or not.)

4. Gordon Ramsey, the fiery chef of Hell’s Kitchen(HK), recently admitted in a news interview that many cheftestants were chosen not for their cooking skills but entertainment value. Really? I am shocked like Claude Rain’s character was in Casablanca to learn there was gambling going on. Everyone who has watched this show long enough knows they stack it either with actors or those with low kitchen skills to create drama for the show. And it works since it usually gets Ramsey yelling that they are a bunch of donkeys! In Kitchen Nightmares(KN) it is no secret they often have people come in to specifically say how bad the food is (which is not so hard considering that Gordon has tasted the food already). KN is a different show from HK with real restaurants run by the clueless, foolish, and sometimes arrogant owners who have totally messed up their business. And usually the restaurants are in dire need of his help because things are going bad. They just do no realize how bad until he digs around and shows them.

I have been watching, thanks to Netflix streaming, not only the UK version but now the U.S. version as well. I have gotten to the end of season 2 and it really is astonishing what he does find. Statistics are also interesting. 7 out of 9 restaurants in the first season (US) closed. In season 2 all the restaurants are closed. The reasons for closure can vary but fall into distinct groups:

1) Failure to change
Not long after the show aired, the owner/chef decided to go back to the way it was. Customers dropped off again leading to closure. They usually blame it on Gordon for changing the menu.

2) Financial
Debts are so high that even if the restaurant is successful, it cannot be sustained.

3) Government shut down/Eviction by landlord
Restaurants have to pay taxes and if they do not, the state shows up and shutters the place. That has happened to several restaurants Gordon helped. Sometimes the owner goes on and establishes himself elsewhere. Others fold up and go away. Another reason is the landlord raises the rent forcing the restaurant out of business. This happened in the UK version and in the U.S. one as well.

4) Economic downturn/Changing tastes
Many restaurants folded in recent years due to the economic downturn. People stopped spending money in restaurants and financing became tougher to obtain. Another reason is customers tastes change. Many notable old fashioned Italian restaurants in San Francisco have closed in recent years. These old style family places are out of sync in a city that wants more trendy, lighter fare (but there are exceptions to that rule). Their clientele became older and younger people were no longer coming in.

Of course that recent fellow down in Nashville, the one who wears that silly toque and stripped pants, falls into category 1. He knew KN would show the unsanitary conditions, how he cooked fish and meat together (a major faux pas) and generally disdainful of the local people would get bad press for him. So he picked up the phone and called that prize winning newspaper, National Enquirer, to vent before the show aired. He claimed Gordon had wrecked his business by changing the menu, making him wear real pants and take off the toque, and really cook good food again. Yet we know his restaurant is suffering. A news report from 2012 says he was near foreclosure but obviously managed to get financing. He was forced to admit, just before the show aired, that people were going to see things they did not like. Since he has returned to the old menu (and one one wonders that hideous décor), he too may be closing his doors in a year like many others. Blaming it on Gordon is convenient but in the end the restaurant owner has to take responsibility.

Sources:
Ismay House
1) For Sale: Infamous Titanic Survivor’s Connemara Retreat(3 May 2013, Daily Business Post)*
2) Connemara Auction Generates ‘Titanic’ Spending Spree(7 May 2013, Irish Times)*
3) Thousands Turn Out For Titanic Auction(9 May 2013, Galway News)*

Titanic II
1)V. Ships Leisure To Be Titanic II Ship Manager(7 May 2013, Marine Log)
2) Clive Palmer Says Staff On Titanic II Will Receive More Than A Pay Cheque(8 May 2013, The Australian)

Hell’s Kitchen/Kitchen Nightmares
1)Gordon Ramsay Admits Some Hell’s Kitchen Chefs Not Cast For Their Talent(blog)(6 May 2013, realityblurred.com)
2)Exclusive Interview: “Gordon Ramsay Wrecked My Business!”(26 Mar 2013, National Enquirer)
3)Chappy’s On Church Facing Foreclosure(25 Jan 2012, Nashville Business Journal)

*We do not provide links to Republic of Ireland newspapers due to policy of demanding payment for links.