Tag Archives: Jennifer Hooper McCarty

Thursday Titanic: Amazing Images, Brittle Steel, and Treasures

Amazing New Images

It is amazing what the new images of Titanic are showing. Once of them is a of a gold chain that featured the tooth of a Megalodon, a pre-historic shark. According to the Daily Mirror, this is one of the finds made possible with the technology used to examine the shipwreck giving us such deep details as this. Despite it being found, there is little chance it will ever be brought up. Its original owner is long dead and likely got a settlement from White State over its loss. No doubt it was stunning to wear.

Titanic Wreck Bow
Image: Public Domain (NOAA-http://www.gc.noaa.gov/images/gcil/ATT00561.jpg)

Brittle Steel Contributed to Titanic’s Demise

For most, there is little doubt what sank Titanic but what contributed to is sinking. The Daily Mirror reports that a new book by Jennifer Hooper McCarty and Timothy Foecke that provides more detail on their theory about how brittle steel contributed to making it easier for the ship to sink. McCarty made this claim in the National Geographic special Titanic: How It Really Sank. This was backed up when Timothy Foecke’s own study with the National Institute of Standards and Technology(NIST) which confirmed her findings. Examining steel and rivet samples from the Titanic debris field showed it had three times the amount of slag normally in iron. This allowed it to become brittle at cold temperatures and made it easier for the iceberg to pierce the hull. Sonar images and other things have been used to substantiate the claim.

Needless to say, this is controversial in the Titanic community. Harland & Wolff deny the claim and many Titanic researchers do as well. Nevertheless, this is not as outlandish as theory. Many ships built for the Great Lakes in the early part of the 20th century had too much sulphur or phosphorus in the steel. This made them highly susceptible to being damaged in powerful storms and contributed to ships breaking apart. So it is recognized that it can happen. The allegation in the documentary is that Harland & Wolff, in order to save costs, decided to go for less expensive rivets at the very front (a common practice). Now whether they knew this would make the ship more susceptible to damage and becoming brittle at cold temperatures is unknown.

Treasures of Titanic & Liability Law

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

It goes without saying that Titanic, thanks to all the wealthy people aboard, had lots of valuables that ended up at the bottom of the sea. The Daily Mail has a list of them for you to gaze at. When you consider the value of what was lost, it is amazing how White Star Line managed to use the then very limited liability laws to keep from shelling out millions of British pounds. In the U.S. and most maritime countries, liability is limited to the value of the ship. And the U.S. law that the owner of the vessel cannot be held financially responsible for loss of life since the ship has no value once it sank.

A terrible boat fire in 2019 aboard the dive boat Conception brought the issue to a head. 34 died in that fire but when it became known that the boat owners not only had no liability but sued under that law to limit liability, it sparked outage. So the old 1851 law was amended in 2022 and signed by President Joe Biden in 2023.. The new law allows that owner of a boat to be held legally responsible for their actions and allows claimants up to two years to file claims. No longer is the value of the ship or boat a factor. The owner of the Conception had been found at fault by the National Traffic Safety Board (it also found fault with the Coast Guard as well) with numerous safety violations and inadequate fire watch on the boat while anchored. The old law precluded much in the way of damages owing to limitations. That has now changed and other laws to add more safety laws to small vessels are being done.

Titanic News: Exhibits Coming To Toledo & Israel;Titanic II Update;Faulty Rivets and a Kosher Butcher

1. The Blade reports that Titanic:The Artifact Exhibition will be coming to Imagination Station on 15 Feb and runs till 15 June 2014. A number of special events are planned including a visit by Molly Brown’s great-grandaughter Helen Benziger. For information and tickets, go to imaginationstationtoledo.org.
Source: Titanic Display To Dock In Downtown Toledo(7 Jan 2014,The Blade)

2. Shalom Life reports a deal has been struck to bring Titanic artifacts to Israel Trade Fairs Center in Tel Aviv for about three months. Further details as to the date of the exhibition has not yet been disclosed.
Source:The Titanic Sets Sail for Tel Aviv(27 Dec 2013,Shalom Life)

3. Cruise Ship News reports that if all goes on schedule, the keel will be laid for Titanic II in March. So far it has all been model testing and using various companies that will contribute to its construction and outfitting.
Source: Titanic 2 Ship Progress Leap In March(6 Jan 2014,Cruise Ship News)

4. Willamette Week has an interview with Jennifer Hooper McCarty, a metallurgist who helped study 48 rivets pulled from Titanic. In her book What Really Sank the Titanic, her findings were that some rivets contained poor quality iron. These rivets in the bow and stern had excessive slag contributing to weak regions. However this was not detectable during normal safety checks but later resulted in rivet failure.
Source:Voices 2014: Faulty Rivets Sunk the Titanic:Jennifer Hooper McCarty, metallurgist
(31 Dec 2013,Willamette Week)

5. The Coventry Telegraph reports that the last living contact with J. Bruce Ismay passed away at age 100. Agnes Thwaite worked as a cook and kitchen maid at the household of Bruce Ismay in London. Despite the public perception of Ismay, she recalled he was kind and generous to his staff.
Coventry Woman Who Worked For Builder Of The Titanic Dies (31 Dec 2013,Coventry Telegraph)

6.Haaretz reports that the Kosher butcher shop that supplied Titanic will be preserved thanks to funding from late Jewish philanthropist Sir Isaac Wolfson. The iconic green-tiled Galkoff’s had been designated for demolition and building a new research wing for Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
Source: Iconic Kosher Butcher Shop That Supplied Titanic To Be Preserved(30 Dec 2013,Haaretz)

An interview with Rob Galkoff about the history of the butcher shop can be viewed at YouTube.