When she set sail on her doomed maiden voyage in April 1912, RMS Titanic was the jewel in the crown of the White Star Line, a company that American tycoon J. P. Morgan had acquired a decade earlier. The executives at White Star competed fiercely in the ocean liner market, prioritizing luxury and comfort over speed. A floating palace, Titanic was the largest and most technologically advanced moving object in the world. It spent barely five days at sea, but a skilled workforce of thousands of men and women had spent years building the ship in a remarkable feat of design and engineering. Here is the story of the riveters, who risked deafness from hammering millions of rivets that held together the enormous steel hull; the engineers, who had the gargantuan task of fitting engines to power the massive ship across the Atlantic at 23 knots; the electricians, who installed state-of-the-art communications systems and enormous steam driven generators, each capable of powering the equivalent of 400 modern homes; the carpenters, cabinet makers, and artisans who labored over every last detail of the opulent state rooms; and so many more. From the engine room to the ball room, here is a testament to those who designed, built, and fitted the “ship of dreams.”
Anton Gill is the author of more than twenty books, including Art Lover: A Biography of Peggy Guggenheim and Il Gigante: Michelangelo, Florence, and The David.