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Updated: Nov. 24th, 2007

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30-cwt A Deck crane. Robert Hahn collection.

One of Olympic’s 30-cwt A Deck cranes from a period Stothert & Pitt advertisement. Robert Hahn collection

Daniel Klistorner collection.

A view from later in Olympic’s career, looking forward on her Poop Deck. The structure of these cranes remained unchanged throughout the life of the ship, and for that reason this rare view is of particular value because it shows, in great detail, the after side of these cranes.  Daniel Klistorner collection

Sunderland Forge Advertisement. The Shipbuilder / Author’s collection.

   Introduction - Titanic, like all transatlantic liners of her era, was designed to earn revenue from the carriage of cargo as well as passengers. In addition, every trip required provisioning the ship with stores (supplies, perishable and refrigerated foodstuffs), and loading the large amounts of baggage that came aboard with the passengers. As a Royal Mail Steamer, the carriage of Royal and U.S. Mail also comprised an important part of the cargo.

  It is worth remembering that in 1912 palletized freight, containerized shipping and semi-automated loading systems did not exist, and a ship like Titanic had to load and accommodate many different types of cargo in widely differing configurations, quantities and types of packaging. Some examples from Titanic’s varied cargo manifest include a cask of china, bales of straw, boxes of melons, cases of furniture, a case of machinery, rolls of linoleum, barrels of mercury and a quantity of oak beams. Each cargo had its own unique considerations for loading and stowage
. . (continued)


Image above, Sunderland Forge Advertisement - An original advertisement for the Sunderland Forge and Engineering Co., Ltd., which supplied the electric winches for Titanic.
The Shipbuilder / Author’s collection


   Electric cranes - There were two 30-cwt and six 50-cwt (hundredweight) electric deck cranes fitted on Titanic for cargo handling. They were supplied by Stothert & Pitt, Ltd., of Bath, and were mounted on cylindrical bases containing the motors, worm gearing and operating machinery, each base fitted with two watertight doors. Because of their proximity to passenger accommodations, electric power and worm gearing was chosen for these cranes to reduce noise levels. Each crane was capable of lifting and slewing motions, powered by separate motors. All controls were located on an operator's platform at the base of the crane’s mast. The platform for the operator was fitted with protecting handrails.

   The two cranes in the forward Well Deck servicing the No. 3 (Bunker) Hold had a radius of 27 feet, a height from the deck to the center of the pulley of 29 feet, and a total lift of 100 feet. The two in the after Well Deck servicing the No. 5 Hold had a radius of 28 feet
. . . (continued)


   Baggage handling - The handling of passenger baggage is expounded upon in a separate chapter. However, it is worth noting here that passenger baggage marked “Not Wanted On Voyage” was stowed in the hold under the supervision of one of the officers, at which point it became the responsibility of a Baggage Master. In most cases, the duty of supervising the stowage of cargo aboard ships of the White Star Line fell to the 2nd Officer, who had general charge of the baggage hold. “Not wanted” baggage was stowed in the Nos. 2 and 3 Holds in areas reserved for that purpose, and at the Orlop Deck level the baggage filled up the space around the Specie Room. As it was always desirable in port to unload the baggage in the holds as quickly as possible, when approaching port the greater part of it was got up on deck well before coming alongside the dock. Once docked, the baggage was then transferred to shore for customs inspections . . . (continued)


Other topics in this chapter:
Derrick - cargo spans - steam winches - Electric winches - rollers - Wire rope - tackles and purchases -
Mail handling - Outriggers and the loading of coal

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

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