Titanic Blog


RMS Titanic, Inc. recovered this amazing artifact during our 1987 Expedition. This piece of luggage is a Gladstone style handbag; the Gladstone bag was named after Queen Victoria’s Prime Minister William Gladstone, who was said to frequently carry this type of leather bag.

During the sinking, Titanic's pursers stuffed hand bags like this one full of the jewelry and money that passengers had entrusted to the safe deposit boxes. Although most of these bags went down with the Ship, the pursers probably planned to load these valuables into the lifeboats and return them to passengers in New York. 

In addition to personal luggage, Titanic's general cargo included twelve cases of ostrich plumes, three cases of tennis balls, two barrels of mercury, two cases of olive oil, two cases of grandfather clocks, a marmalade machine, and a brand new Renault automobile. 

Fortunately for the Gladstone handbag, its turn-of-the-century tanning process repels the microorganisms that eat organic matter on the ocean floor. RMS Titanic, Inc. is then able to recover such incredible objects that sometimes have their contents intact. 


You can still see the beautiful detail on one of Titanic's bed frames. This bed frame rested at the bottom of the ocean for almost a century.

After artifacts are recovered from the Atlantic, they're carefully documented and stabilized for transportation back to the United States.  Each artifact is assigned a unique accession number.  This bed frame was inspected, measured, photographed, stabilized and wrapped for shipping.

Artifacts are transported in tubs of salt water designed to imitate the conditions of the environment from which they were recovered. 

Once back in the United States, artifacts undergo the long, slow conservation process.


This massive steel door was originally mounted in the side of Titanic's hull. It was the "front door" for the first-class passengers. Once through this door, passengers would hurry to reserve the best tables in the Dining Room or take the elevators to the Ship's rail and wave farewell to well-wishers on the pier below.

Click here to see the door being pulled from the Atlantic. 


From our 1994 expedition: discovery of bollards. Click here to see the bollards undergoing conservation, andhere to see bollards on display at an exhibition. 

These massive steel posts were used to tie Titanic to the pier using four-inch-thick manila ropes. Originally, these bollards were located at the stern on the Third Class Poop Deck, but as Titanic sank, they broke off and were later recovered from the seabed. Holes at the top of each post assisted in ventilating work spaces and the third-class public rooms on the deck below.




Titanic Artifact: Here, we see the Ship's whistles before recovery. Click here to see Titanic's whistles in the recovery basket, and here to see the whistles on display.


Each of RMS Titanic’s four funnels was fitted with a set of whistles, but not all of them were functional.Titanic’s two functional triple-chamber steam whistles were attached to the two forward funnels. Unlike later ships’ whistles, which give off a loud buzzing noise, Titanic’s whistles were organ pipes operated by steam from the boilers. Each of the three pipes was tuned to a different note, creating a pleasant tone when sounded. The whistles, which many claimed were audible for miles, coordinated tugboat movements and signaled the Ship’s departure from port. While at sea, Titanic’s crew tested the Ship’s whistles each day at noon.



Photo from our 1987 Expedition: a megaphone from Titanic on the ocean floor before recovery. Click here to see the megaphone after recovery. 

As the gravity of the situation became clear, Captain Smith ordered his officers and crew to load the lifeboats.  The Ship’s crew hurried to begin lowering the boats, though many passengers did not believe Titanic was in danger. One of two megaphones normally used for docking commands, this megaphone may have been used to coordinate launching the lifeboats on the night of the collision.


Titanic Artifacts: From our 2004 Expedition—photographing toast rack

 After Titanic artifacts are recovered, they must be properly documented and stabilized for transport back to the United States.  Each RMS Titanic artifact is assigned an accession number unique to that artifact.  The artifact is visually inspected and its general condition noted. It is then measured and photographed, stabilized, and wrapped for shipping.  Titanic artifacts are placed back into tubs of salt water in order to maintain the environment from which they were recovered.  Once back in the U.S., objects will begin the slow conservation process.


Pictures of Titanic:

Unlike the better-preserved bow section, RMS Titanic's stern is a mangled heap of steel plates. Here, large sections of hull plating (complete with portholes), have been ripped from the Ship's framework.


Pictures of Titanic:

Much of Titanic's steel covering has been ripped from the hull and lies in great piles on the sea floor.  The camera looks down on the inside of the steel plating, which shows portholes and stiffening frames. EvenTitanic's wreckage is vast: the scale of the image from left to right is three stories tall.