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Updated: Nov. 20th, 2007

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Author's Collection/Engineering

The drawing office at Harland & Wolff. A half model of the Olympic mounted to a board is seen in the back. Author's Collection/Engineering

Author's Collection/The Engineer

Fitters Shop. Author's Collection/Engineering.

H&W works map - The Harland & Wolff works as it appeared in 1909. Author’s Collection/The Engineer

  Titanic conceived - The order to proceed with the design of both of White Star’s new mammoth liners was signed April 30, 1907, and the shipyard was given orders to proceed with construction of Olympic (yard number 400) and Titanic (yard number 401) on September 17, 1908. As ship names were only used officially by the builder after the ships were launched, most plans and specifications provided for the construction were titled by yard numbers only. Since the first two of the three planned Olympic-class ships would be built simultaneously, they would share many of the same construction plans. As construction progressed on Olympic, any changes decided upon for Titanic were indicated by notes written on the plans, indicating the hull number to which they applied; in instances where the differences were considerable, separate drawings were made for Titanic . . . (continued)



Image above, H&W works map - The Harland & Wolff works as it appeared in 1909.
Author’s Collection/The Engineer


  Construction plans - After the overall dimensions and form of the ship had been settled and the preliminary design and general arrangement of the ship had been approved, several steps were required before actual construction could be undertaken. First, structural plans had to be prepared by the shipbuilder for submission to the Board of Trade for its approval. These plans consisted of general specifications of the hull, and the sizes or “scantlings” of all steel, iron and wood forming the structural parts of the vessel. All of these features were to be distinctly marked according to the requirements of the Board of Trade. For Olympic and Titanic, among these plans were those for the construction of the watertight bulkheads, designed in accordance with the requirements specified in the latest report of the Board of Trade’s Bulkhead Committee. Titanic’s plans were delivered for the Board’s review on June 3, 1908. Once approved, they were returned to Harland & Wolff, which then proceeded to order the steel and iron. At that point, the draftsmen proceeded to prepare detailed structural plans for the workmen in the shipyard . . . (continued)


   The Mold Loft - The initial fairing of the lines was done by the draftsman during the laying-out of the Preliminary Lines plan. Upon completion, the preliminary lines and offsets were then turned over to the loftsmen, whose domain was the Mold Loft. Harland & Wolff, as with other shipyards, had a special building constructed for the purpose of laying out the design of each ship before it was constructed. The Mold Loft was a large floor upon which the loftsmen chalked the lines of the cross sections of a ship at full size, and the length at quarter scale. The work of the Mold Loft also included making templates, or “molds,” of heavy paper or thin wooden boards for all the structural parts of the ship. A template for a steel plate consisted of a full-size pattern of the plate marked out and showing in detail all punched or countersunk holes, scarfs, bends and angle lines. The use of paper had disadvantages as the material would contract or expand with changes in humidity, sometimes necessitating multiple corrections on the ship. Templates of basswood or white pine were superior to paper and could be stored more easily. The Mold Loft at Harland & Wolff occupied the upper floor of the Plumber’s Shop and was over several hundred feet long and a hundred feet wide. There, the lines were carefully laid out . . . (continued)


Other topics in this chapter include: Preparation of drawings - The lines plan - Half-breadth plan - Profile plan - Body plan - Fairing - Offsets - Preliminary lines - Beveling - Scantlings - Ordering and construction of parts - Laying the blocks - Tonnage

Copyright 2007 Beveridge, Hall, Andrews, Klistorner and Braunschweiger.

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