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Just 20 minutes short of midnight April 14 1912 the great new White Star Liner Titanic making her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York had a rendezvous with ice in the calm dark waters of the North Atlantic She brushed the berg so gently that nearly all of the passengers slept through it Tribute to the RMS Titanic A look at the Titanics catastrophic disaster at sea some 85 years ago the world has been captivated by the unsinkable ships history from the birth of the idea to the aftermath of the crash and sinking By the turn of the nineteenth century the race to build the largest and fastest steamship was in full swing The two leading sea liner competitors in Britain during this era were the Cunard Lines and the White Star Lines Both of these companies were striving to become the world leader in sea vessel manufacturing One summer night in 1907 the managing director of the White Star Line J Bruce Ismay met at the home of Lord James Pirrie a partner in the firm of Harland and Wolff the giant Belfast shipbuilder that built all the White Star vessels They met to discuss the plans for two very large ships the Olympic and the Titanic The two ships were almost identical in size but the Titanic was some 1000 gross tons larger due to the more extensive and elaborate interior furnishings Garys Titanic Page The hull of the Titanic was finished and launched on May 31 1911 but it would take another year to complete With a total of nine decks the Titanic was divided somewhat by social classes Each class first second and third had two decks for themselves that were separated from the other classes The first and second class passengers also shared an extra deck Among them were John Jacob Astor the richest man on the ship Isador Strauss founder of Macys department
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