5 Rare Titanic Artifacts And The Stories They Tell
Despite being over a century since the ship struck an iceberg, people from all over the world still have a fascination with Titanic artifacts.
Over the decades, while the ship rests at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, divers have been able to rescue and preserve many of its beautiful items. From fragments of the destroyed ship to artifacts that bring the tragedy to life.
These are the most fascinating Titanic artifacts that have been recovered over the years and the stories they tell:
The backstory of this violin makes this Titanic artifact extremely rare and unique. This recovered violin was apparently being played by the bandmaster Wallace Hartley as the Titanic went down.
As depicted in the movie, the band continued to play on as the ship slowly sank. Band leader Wallace Hartley played ‘Nearer, My God to Thee’ on the violin while the ship went down.
While it was initially believed that the musicians on board the ship were ordered to keep playing, a historian later found that the band members were not employees of the ship and had the same rights as the other passengers to leave if they wanted to.
The band famously played on to calm the people down and minimize the panic. Found in a decaying condition, the violin was sold for $1.7 million in a UK auction in 2013.
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A whistle discovered in the wreckage of the Titanic belonged to fifth officer Harold Lowe, who is regarded as one of the many heroes of the Titanic tragedy.
Lowe is believed to be the actual whistleblower of the tragedy. He is also known to have commanded the 14th lifeboat and even rescued several survivors from the icy cold waters.
While the exact way the night unfolded and whether Lowe blew his whistle that night remains unclear. However, the whistle’s connection to one of the main figures in the Titanic’s story has made this artifact very important.
Another interesting artifact found in the Titanic wreckage is a pocket watch belonging to one of the ship’s victims. The rusty watch belonged to passenger John Chapman, who was on board the ship with his wife, Lizzie Chapman.
The fact that makes this watch so important and unique is that it has literally been frozen in time. The watch is stuck at 1:45 a.m., the exact time around which the ship is believed to have become submerged underwater.
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The menu of the ship’s last meal served to first-class passengers was auctioned off for $83,000 in 2012. The meal was the last one served on the day the ship crashed into the iceberg. There are several courses on the menu, including consommé fermier, eggs Argenteuil, and chicken a la Maryland.
One of the most exciting items recovered from the Titanic wreckage was the bell from the crow’s nest of the ship. It was recovered during the 1985 expedition. Today, the bell is a famous collection piece and is on display at the Titanic Museum in Massachusetts.
The bell is the same one that was rung three times by Frederick Fleet, the lookout when he spotted the iceberg ahead. Though his attempt to warn the ship about the iceberg ahead could not prevent the tragedy.