Since its launch and eventual sinking in 1912, the Titanic has captured the imagination of men, women and children on both sides of the Atlantic for over a century.
Built in Belfast and famed for its size, this feat of early 20th century engineering would eventually contribute to its demise.
The Titanic was 883ft and towering in its sheer scale.
How Big was the Titanic?
To start, let’s look at the size of the Titanic in both metric and imperial measurements.
- Length: 269m
- Width: 28m
- Height: 18m
- Length: 883 ft
- Width: 93ft
- Height: 60ft
Although by modern standards the Titanic is relatively normal (even if modern ships are shorter and taller), back when it was built in 1911, this ship was extraordinarily large. At that stage, it was the largest moving man-made object ever.
This is why it gained so much media attention on both sides of the Atlantic, and why many were so keen to travel on it.
How Big were the Rooms on the Titanic?
Fans of the Oscar-winning movie will know that room size varied depending on the type of ticket you had, but those in first-class were bathed in space and luxury.
These passengers would receive an en-suite room, which measured 11ft by 18ft. And to dine, they would eat in a hall with an area of 1000m2, capable of seating 554 passengers. Other leisure activities for the first class included the 20 by 30-foot squash court and the 12 ft wide lounge.
The second-class dining saloon measured 70 ft long and sat 394 people. Whereas the third-class dining saloon was 100 ft long and fit 473 people.
Even if you had to slum it in third class, it was still significantly more spacious than many other ships at the time.
How Tall were the Masts on the Titanic?
The measurements mentioned above do not include the masts, which stood tall on the ship deck.
The Titanic, like most ships, had two masts. A forward mast, measuring 101.5ft, and an aft (back) mast, at 87.5ft.
But hold on, why did the Titanic have masts? Aren’t masts to fix the sails to? Of course, the Titanic didn’t have sails but it used these masts to hold wireless aerials. The wireless signals could better be received by a high mast.
So, although the Titanic never used sails, it still had use for a mast.
Why was the Titanic so Big?
The primary purpose of the Titanic was comfort. While other ships presented themselves as incredibly fast, the Titanic knew that it could never compete on speed. Still, it could blow the others out of the water with comfort, style and luxury.
Since the Titanic would travel on a route hundreds of other ships also traveled, the creators White Star Line felt it needed to stand out. In the end, the Titanic was considered of such luxury that the second-class cabins were nicer than first-class cabins on many other ships.
Did Size Contribute to the Sinking of the Titanic?
From the beginning, people knew that the Titanic’s size would come with problems.
Before it launched, shipbuilders warned it would be too big to dock. Despite various warnings the White Star Line became intoxicated by the idea of creating the worlds largest ship, both as a feat and as a marketing claim.
This gargantuan size lead to multiple issues in time.
Most ships have below-deck compartments to take on water in the event of a crash. However, they were not watertight on the Titanic, leading to it to become increasingly heavy due to the water intake.
Also due to its size, the Titanic took longer than normal to redirect. If it needed to change course, as it should have done, adjusting its controls would take far longer than it would on a smaller ship.
And lastly, a ship as large as the Titanic needed large propellers. Because of the weight of the propellers, the ship split in half as the back became heavier via elevation.
All of these issues contributed to the eventual iceberg collision and sinking.
The Titanic vs Seawise Giant
Although in 1911, the Titanic was the largest ship ever built, today, that title goes to the Seawise Giant.
The Seawise Giant is 5.6 times larger than the Titanic, double the width, and 69% longer. Here are the measurements of the Giant, currently the largest ship ever constructed:
- Length: 1504ft/458m
- Width: 225ft/69m
- Height: 98ft/30m
When it launched in 1911, the Titanic was the largest ship ever, measuring 883 by 93 by 60 feet. Its large size enabled it to become a luxurious ship that gave passengers plenty of room and a more enjoyable voyage.
But it also played a significant role in making it more difficult for the crew to avoid crashing into the fateful iceberg when it was eventually noticed.
Today, although the title of ‘largest ship ever’ has been passed onto the Seawise Giant, the Titanic still holds a special place in history as a turning point for shipbuilding, transatlantic transportation and Irish legend.