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Chapter One, p.1

SHE was the largest craft afloat and the greatest of the works of men.
In her construction and maintenance were involved every science,
profession, and trade known to civilization. On her bridge were officers,
who, besides being the pick of the Royal Navy, had passed rigid examinations
in all studies that pertained to the winds, tides, currents, and geography of the
sea; they were not only seamen, but scientists. The same professional standard
applied to the personnel of the engine-room, and the steward's department was
equal to that of a first-class hotel.

Two brass bands, two orchestras, and a theatrical company entertained the
passengers during waking hours; a corps of physicians attended to the temporal,
and a corps of chaplains to the spiritual, welfare of all on board, while a well-drilled
fire-company soothed the fears of nervous ones and added to the general
entertainment by daily practice with their apparatus.

From her lofty bridge ran hidden telegraph lines to the bow, stern engine-room,
crow's-nest on the foremast, and to all parts of the ship where work was done, each
wire terminating in a marked dial with a movable indicator, containing in its scope
every order and answer required in handling the massive hulk, either at the dock or
at sea - which eliminated, to a great extent, the hoarse, nerve-racking shouts of
officers and sailors.

From the bridge, engine-room, and a dozen places on her deck the ninety-two
doors of nineteen water-tight compartments could be closed in half a minute
by turning a lever. These doors would also close automatically in the presence of
water. With nine compartments flooded the ship would still float, and as no
known accident of the sea could possibly fill this many, the steamship Titan
was considered practically unsinkable.

Built of steel throughout, and for passenger traffic only, she carried no combustible
cargo to threaten her destruction by fire; and the immunity from the demand
for cargo space had enabled her designers to discard the flat, kettle-bottom of
cargo boats and give her the sharp dead-rise - or slant from the keel - of a steam
yacht, and this improved her behavior in the seaway. She was eight hundred feet
long, of seventy thousand tons' displacement, seventy-five thousand horse-power,
and on her trial trip had steamed at a rate of twenty-five knots an hour over the
bottom, in the face of unconsidered winds, tides, and currents. In short, she was a
floating city - containing within her steel walls all that tends to minimize the dangers
and discomforts of the Atlantic voyage - all that makes life enjoyable.

Unsinkable - indestructible, she carried as few boats as would satisfy the laws.
These, twenty-four in number, were securely covered and lashed down to their
chocks on the upper deck, and if launched would hold five hundred people. She
carried no useless, cumbersome life-rafts; but - because the law required it - each of
the three thousand berths in the passengers', officers', and crew's quarters contained
a cork jacket, while about twenty circular life-buoys were strewn along the rails.

In view of her absolute superiority to other craft, a rule of navigation thoroughly
believed in by some captains, but not yet openly followed, was announced by the
steamship company to apply to the Titan: She would steam at full speed in fog,
storm, and sunshine, and on the Northern Lane Route, winter and summer, for
the following good and substantial reasons: First, that if another craft should
strike her, the force of the impact would be distributed over a larger area if the
Titan had full headway, and the brunt of the damage would be borne by the other.
Second, that if the Titan was the aggressor she would certainly destroy the other
craft, even at half-speed, and perhaps damage her own bows; while at full speed,
she would cut her in two with no more damage to herself than a paintbrush could
remedy. In either case, as the lesser of two evils, it was best that the smaller hull
should suffer. A third reason was that, at full speed, she could be more easily steered
out of danger, and a fourth, that in case of an end-on collision with an iceberg - the
only thing afloat that she could not conquer - her bows would be crushed in but
a few feet further at full than at half speed, and at the most three compartments would
be flooded - which would not matter with six more to spare.

So, it was confidently expected that when her engines had limbered themselves,
the steamship Titan would land her passengers three thousand miles away with the
promptitude and regularity of a railway train.

The similarities between his fictional SS Titan,
and the real RMS Titanic
show up best in tabular form:

TITANIC **************************** TITAN
British ............ Flag ........... British
882 Feet .......... Length .......... 800 Feet
60,250 tons .... Displacement ....... 70,000 tons
Three .......... Propellers ........ Three
24 knots .........Top Speed ......... 24 knots
15 ........ Watertight Bulkheads .... 19
3,000 people ......Capacity ......... 3,000 people
April ......... Departure Date ...... April
2,200 ....... April Passengers ..... 2000
20 .............. Lifeboats ........ 24
Starboard ....... Side Hit ......... Starboard


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