Birth of the Titans

The enormity of the White Star titans would be like nothing ever seen. Not only would the leading Cunard ships be a mere two thirds the size of Olympic and Titanic, but building Olympic and Titanic required Harland and Wolff to build special gantries and convert the area that ordinarily accommodated the construction of three ships. These berths would soon be fully occupied by two ships, both nearly a sixth of a mile in length. The third sister, Gigantic, subsequently renamed Britannic, was to be built at a later date.

About five and a half months after final approval of the plans, in December of 1908, construction began on Olympic. While work proceeded swiftly on Olympic, three and a half months in March of 1909, the keel of the second sister was laid. The construction of Titanic was underway. For over a year, nearly fifteen thousand workers at Harland Wolff toiled as the two ships took form side by side in their berths until October 10, 1910. Nearly two years after her construction began, Olympic was launched. She was the largest moving object ever to be created by human beings. Likewise, Titanic would be such, as she would be slightly larger than Olympic. Moreover, Titanic would receive modifications and advancements based on experience gained by Olympic's construction.

On May 31, 1911, Titanic was launched to the before thousands of spectators, including American financier J.P. Morgan, the owner of the White Star Line's parent companies International Mercantile Marine and the Oceanic Steam Navigational Company. Bruce Ismay was also in attendance, along with Lord Pirrie, his wife, and the mayor of Belfast. At 12:13 p.m., Titanic was released into the River Lagan.

Later that day, Harland and Wolff formally delivered Olympic to the White Star Line. The Olympic set sail for Liverpool that afternoon with Morgan and Ismay as proud passengers. While Titanic was being completed, Olympic would eventually leave on her maiden voyage and quickly capture the attention and applause of travelers.

History (3)

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