Date of birth: 27 January 1850 Place of birth: Hanley, Staffordshire, England Marital status: Married Spouse: Sarah Eleanor Pennington Children: Helen Melville Smith (1898–1973) Address: Woodhead, Winn Road, Portswood Southampton Hampshire England Crew position: Titanic's Captain Date of death: 15 April, 1912 Cause of death: Unconfirmed; body never recovered
Captain Smith and the Titanic Wreck
When the wreck of the Titanic was discovered in 1985 there are three key items connected to Captain Smith that were discovered - his bathtub, room heater and megaphone. Find out more below:
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One of the most famous images of the Titanic wreck is Captain Smith's bathtub, still visible in his quarters. It has become something of a barometer of the decay of the ship, as the wreck slowly disappears as it is consumed by the ocean. The porcelain tub has intricate plumbing for both freshwater and seawater and is surprisingly intact considering the violence of the decent on the night of April 15, 1912.
The bath taps, clearly showing hot and cold, were allegedy recovered in an earlier expedition many years ago.
A recent 2021 expedition revealed that the roof of the officer quarters - the roof above Captain Smith's cabin, had collapsed, almost entirely covering the bath.
One curious item discovered in the wreck is a room heater in the forward well deck. There has been speculation that it was originally from Captain Smith's Sitting Room and in 2021 Titanic author and researcher Bill Sauder agreed that the data supports such a conclusion.
The heater itself is in the forward port corner of the well deck.
Bill Sauder notes: The heater itself is in very good condition. Notice there are two switches embedded in the legs of the unit. The higher power units have multiple circuits to control the heat produced. This can be seen more clearly in this in situ photograph from one of the 'deluxe' suits.
Bill Sauder: This "two switch" arrangement suggests that that this is one of three 2000 watt heaters for "Ship's officers" - a deluxe model that is reserved for only three persons in the crew, The captain, and then most likely the Chief Engineer and the Purser. "ordinary" officers get the smaller, more commonly seen 1000 w models - so the Capt's sitting room is definitely a contender."
Bill Sauder: If it IS from the Capt's cabin, it has a relatively short, direct line of flight, carried forward by inertia and the momentum of water created by the sudden stop of the bow section.
Images (C) RMST Titanic, Inc: Map Underlay (C) RMST and information courtesy of Bill Sauder.
The megaphones on Titanic were supplied by the same company that made the whistles the officers used - J. Hudson and Co. ACME Whistles. The company is still in existance, based in Birmingham, UK (https://www.acmewhistles.co.uk/). In a Facebook post dated 4 September 2019 the company posted a photograph of a production version of the megaphone with the following information:
The ACME Stentor Megaphone:
It's fairly well known that ACME supplied the Titanic with whistles but people are much less aware that we also supplied the famous liner with a megaphone for use on the bridge of the ship.
A production version from our archives that was manufactured at around the same time, is pictured here next to the original tooling station in our factory that was used to make them.
The chair to its right gives you some idea of the scale.
Too large to hold for any length of time by hand, it would likely have been mounted on the bridge and used for communication with the crew on deck.
It's not hard to imagine it being used by Captain Smith, or one of his officers, to pass on instructions as they were loading the lifeboats.
As the years passed after the sinking our knowledge of the megaphone, and the fact that we had supplied it, was lost.
Eventually, a century later, some discussions with the Titanic expert and author Andrew Lound revealed that we had supplied two megaphones each to both the Titanic and her sister ship the Olympic.
One of them had even been photographed on the ocean bed, next to the ill-fated liner.