15 Amazing Titanic Artifacts Found in the Ship’s Wreckage
The sinking of the RMS Titanic remains a tragedy of epic proportions. More than 1,500 died when the British passenger liner sunk on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912. It remains the deadliest sinking of an ocean liner in history and it wasn’t until 1985 that the wreckage of the Titanic was found on the bottom of the ocean floor.
Since then there have been several salvage attempts, chiefly by RMS Titanic Inc, with more than 5,500 artifacts brought up from the deep. These range from people’s possessions to parts of the ship, such as the Titanic deck bell that rang out moments before the ship hit the iceberg.
If you are fascinated by the Titanic and what explorers and salvage experts have found, read on and discover 15 amazing Titanic artifacts found in the ship’s wreckage.
1. Titanic Deck Bell
One of the most important and historical artifacts found was the Titanic deck bell. It was rung three times by lookout Frederick Fleet just minutes before the RMS Titanic crashed into the iceberg that eventually sunk it.
The bell was recovered in 1987 and is on display at the Titanic Museum in Massachusetts. While it might not be worth as much as some of the artifacts discovered, it is a very important part of the Titanic story.
2. A Pair of Women’s Gloves
A delicate pair of women’s gloves were retrieved from the wreckage. The white gloves are damaged, as you would expect considering they have been underwater for almost a century, but are still quite remarkably preserved. The gloves have been on display as part of a variety of Titanic exhibitions but in 2016 they were placed in a conservation facility to keep them safe.
3. Women’s Alligator Purse
Researchers managed to trace the owner of an alligator purse found amongst the debris of the sunken ship. Third-class passenger Marion Meanwell had the purse in her possession when the Titanic went down. Her being on the ship in the first place was a tragic accident, as her original ship was canceled so she purchased a ticket for the Titanic. She was traveling to America to live with her daughter.
Inside her purse, salvagers found a marriage license, a note from her landlord, and a receipt for a canary she was transporting for another relative. Unfortunately, Meanwell didn’t make it to the States, perishing when the Titanic went down.
4. The Violin That Played As the Ship Sank
If you’ve seen James Cameron’s Titanic, you’ll remember the band playing as the ship went down. Well, that actually happened. As the ship slowly sank, the band played “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” According to CCN, the violin played by bandleader Wallace Hartley was recovered from the ship and somehow made its way into an attic in Britain, where it was found in 2006.
The damaged violin was authenticated through saltwater tests and eventually put up for sale at auction. It sold for an astonishing $1.7 million to a private collector in 2013.
The saddest part of this story is that Hartley lost his life, with his body pulled from the water a few days after the Titanic sunk. His violin case was still stuck to his back, with one of the rescuers taking it as a souvenir.
5. Vials of Perfume
Another extraordinary find by the team at RMS Titanic Inc was these vials of perfume found in a closed pouch. Speaking with ABC News, salvage expert Dik Barton explained how “We didn’t know what we discovered until we hit the surface.” Barton and his crew opened the pouch in question and found it was chock full of an entire lab of Edwardian perfume.
62 vials of perfume were contained in the pouch, with researchers believing they belonged to a first-class passenger, 47-year-old perfume maker Adolph Saalfeld. Manchester-born Saalfeld left the samples behind when he abandoned the ship. He was one of the lucky ones who managed to get to safety.
The discovery led to the creation of Legacy 1912, a fragrance by Eau de Parfum that is said to smell like “delicate lemon and nerolis, alongside blushing rose and warm, sheer amber.”
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6. A Menu of the Ship’s Last Meal
Ever wondered what the guests ate on the Titanic? A menu recovered from the Titanic wreck detailed the extensive list of choices that spanned several courses. Eggs Argenteuil, consomme fermier, and chicken a la Maryland were some of the dishes first class passengers could dine out on.
The menu sold at auction for roughly $90,000, with auctioneer Andrew Aldridge telling the BBC, “It’s a fascinating snapshot of life on board as a first-class passenger. What we have to consider is that the Titanic was regarded as the finest restaurant afloat and this does illustrate that point. There are over 40 different options for one lunch.”
7. Bronze Cherub
Part of the “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” which was once housed at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, contained a very special item: a bronze cherub. It’s believed the cherub was part of a light fixture by the “aft staircase that connected the C Deck to the Promenade Deck.”
Cherub figures were scattered throughout the Titanic, although they were mainly found along the five-level grand staircase.
8. 15-Carat Rose Gold Bracelet
This bracelet was discovered by the RMS Titanic Inc inside a women’s Gladstone bag. It’s made of 15-carat rose gold with a silver overlay. It also has the name “Amy” written in script and encrusted with diamonds. Although the bracelet has a name, the owner has never been identified.
Many different items have been found at the site where the Titanic sank. One that was part of the actual ship is the logometer that was used to determine the speed at which the ship was sailing. It could also track how the ship had sailed.
It was originally part of the boiler room and recorded 268 nautical miles before the Titanic hit the iceberg and began to sink. It has been a big Titanic museum attraction over the years since arriving at the Discovery Center of Idaho.
10. Sheet Music Played by the Band
Although they went down with the ship, the band’s sheet music was miraculously recovered from the North Atlantic. A piece of sheet music for the song “Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey” was discovered by divers. The song is from the 1910 Broadway production of Madame Sherry and has been displayed in many Titanic exhibitions over the past decade.
11. A Bowler Hat
Recovered in 1993, this bowler hat remains in pretty good condition considering it was found sitting on the bottom of the ocean surrounded by Titanic wreckage. Not much is known about the owner of the hat, but it was a very common accessory for men during that time period, so could have been any of the hundreds of men on board.
12. Keys To Access Lifeboat Lanterns
This special set of keys was instrumental in saving hundreds of lives. They were used by crewman Samuel Hemming to recover the lifeboat lanterns that helped provide light for those abandoning ship. The room the lanterns were kept was below deck, meaning Hemming risked his life to recover them.
Hemming survived the sinking and kept hold of the three keys for the rest of his life. They were passed down through the generations before being sold to a private collector. These aren’t the only keys that have been put up for auction, with a Titanic locker key going for $100,000 in 2016.
13. A Woolen Vest
This is another piece of clothing owned by third-class passenger William Henry Allen. Unfortunately, he died during the accident, with his vest found inside a suitcase “pressed and ready to wear.” The vest was one of many sold at auction by Guernsey’s Auctioneers in 2012.
14. A Piece of the Hull
Nicknamed “the Big Piece,” this large section of the Titanic’s hull was rescued from the depths of the ocean. Weighing a hefty 15 tonne, the piece of the hull was first spotted in 1994 during a salvage operation. An attempt to bring it to the surface in 1996 failed before it was successfully salvaged in 1998.
Measuring 13-by-30-foot, the brown hunk of metal formed part of the “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition.” “When you see this standing up, you feel like you’re next to the Titanic,” said Tom Zaller, vice president of Premier Exhibitions, the company responsible for exhibiting the artifact.
15. A Fur Coat
A fur coat made from beaver is one of the only items from the Titanic that was found intact. It was worn by first class stewardess Mabel Bennett who escaped on a lifeboat wearing only her nightgown. Someone gave her the coat to keep her warm. As The Telegraph reported, it later sold at auction for $177,000.
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