Sunday, April 29, 2012


On Friday, Mom went to see an exhibit of stuff that came out of the actual Titanic where it is currently located at the bottom of the ocean.  This location is about 2.5 miles down, which is really, really deep.  The water pressure there is something like 6,000 pounds per square inch, and it would squash you like a bug, if you happened to be there in person.  So that's why it's really amazing that anything is still unsquashed down there, like dishes and eyeglasses and even pieces of paper.  And if stuff didn't get squashed, it seems like it would at least have rotted or dissolved by now.

But some things really were still lying around on the bottom of the ocean, even after almost 100 years, and they didn't even get broken when the Titanic came apart and sank.  So some people have been going down there in little submarines called "submersibles," and they were able to pick up items from the Titanic and bring them back to the surface.  After which, they preserved these things and put them in an exhibit and now they are making lots of money.  Or at least we think they probably are.

So like I said, Mom went to see the exhibit on Friday, and because she is so old, she got the senior discount, which made her happy.  And when everybody went into the exhibit, they got a Boarding Pass with a name on it of somebody who was really on the Titanic.  And at the end of the exhibit, there is a wall with all the names of people who lived or died, and you can find out what happened to the person on your Boarding Pass.

Mom's Boarding Pass said she was a lady named Mrs. Albert Francis Caldwell, whose maiden name was Sylvia Mae Harbaugh.  She was 26 years old, and she was traveling in 2nd class with her husband and 10-month-old boy, Alden.  The family had been missionaries in Siam (which is now called Thailand), and they were going to Roseville, Illinois.  When Mom saw that these people were in 2nd class, she knew right away that their chances weren't as good as the 1st-class passengers, but she thought at least Mrs. Caldwell and her little boy might make it into a lifeboat.

Then Mom went into the exhibit and looked at everything there, and she read all the little cards that explained what everything was.  And one of the things she saw was this pair of eyeglasses.  They are called pince-nez, which means "pinch nose" in French.  They don't have any ear pieces.  They just stay on by pinching your nose.  I don't think they look very comfortable to wear, which might be why people don't wear them nowadays.  Anyway, they were in somebody's luggage, and that's probably why they didn't get broken.

Another thing in the exhibit was money.  There were coins and also bills.  You could even mostly make out the designs and writing on the paper money.

Here is a very interesting thing called a gimbal lamp.  It was made so that it moved when the ship tilted, and the light always stayed level.

There were several types of dishes and silverware.  The blue-and-white Delft design was used in 2nd class, and it is still being manufactured today, at least according to the card on the display.

The blue-and-gold pattern was used in the 1st-class dining room.

And this type of plain china with the White Star logo came from 3rd class.

Here is what's called a "gladstone bag."  It has flexible sides and a rigid frame, and it opens flat to make two equal sections.  The gladstone bag was designed and marketed by a man named J.G. Beard.  He really admired British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, so that's why he gave the bag that name.

Hats like this are called bowlers. They were very popular at the time of the Titanic.  The reason why they were called bowlers was because they were first made by a family of hatters whose name was Bowler.  Mom also saw a silk top hat, but we couldn't find a picture of it.

When Mom got to the end of the exhibit, she looked at the wall of names to find out if she lived or died.  She was shocked to learn that she survived, her little boy survived, and so did her husband!  She decided that when she got home, she would go online to the Titanic site and see if she could find out anything else about the Caldwell family.

Then Mom went to the gift shop, and she was amazed to find out that there was an entire book written about Albert and Sylvia Caldwell by their great-niece.  It's called A Rare Titanic Family:  The Caldwells' Story of Survival.  And the author's name is Julie Hedgepeth Williams.  So Mom bought the book, of course, even though she doesn't know when she will ever find time to read it.

The worst part of the exhibit was that there was no mention of any of the dogs who were on the Titanic.  Mom says she can recommend the exhibit anyway, but at least she agrees that it would have been better to have something about dogs in it.


  1. This is pretty cool! Your mum seems to have had a fun time at this exhibit, and I liked her photos too. I hope she enjoys finding more out about the Caldwells.

  2. Cool...I was so concentrated on the artifacts and stuff that i didn't even get to take any pictures until it was the time I had to leave.

  3. I recently learned that there were 12 dogs on the Titanic, some in a ship's kennel. Three dogs survived, all small dogs, 2 Pomeranians and a Pekinese with an impressive bloodline. He was saved by being wrapped in a blanket and passed off as a baby. It is rumored that a young woman who had a Great Dane in the kennel asked if he would be rescued and told he wouldn't. She left the life boat and went to the kennel with her dog. The rumor continues that a woman was found clutching a large dog, both frozen, a few days after the sinking when they were picking up bodies.

    1. Dear Anonymous,
      Thanks for posting a comment on my blog. I wrote an entry back in April about the dogs who survived the Titanic, and you can read it here: It's very sad that more dogs did not survive, or that more people did not survive either. Also I had heard the story about the woman and her Great Dane, which is a very sad story, and touching because she loved her dog so much that she was willing to die with him. I don't know if my mom would do that for me or not. I hope I never have to find out!
      Sincerely, Piper