An idea of the large demand for power will have been gathered from the numerous types of electrically-driven machinery already cited. A large proportion of this is taken by the fans, which number 76, and include 12 for the stokeholds from 40 in. to 55 in. diameter, and 64 for the ventilation of the accommodation, including both suction and delivery, the latter in some cases supplying warm air. The aggregate current taken for ventilating purposes amounts to 5,250 amps. The fans themselves are of Sirocco type throughout, manufactured by Messrs. Davidson & Co., and are driven by Allen motors, which latter are designed in accordance with Harland & Wolff’s specification, calling not only for hand control but also for automatic variation of speed to correspond with the particular system of trunks to which the fans they actuate are connected; this is very necessary, as, if running at a constant speed, they are liable either to be overloaded, or to fail to rise to the demands made upon them as, owing to the varying conditions, it is impracticable to determine beforehand the precise speed required for each fan.

The several stokeholds are supplied with air for boiler draught by means of the electrically-driven Allen Sirocco fans mentioned earlier.


The total number of incandescent lamps installed on board amounts to 10,000, of from 16 c.p. to 100 c.p., and for the most part are of the latest Tantalum ship type: In the first-class state rooms there are fitted sockets for electric portable lamps or fans, and special dimming lamps with two filaments, so that a light of small candle-power can be kept burning throughout the night, a feature which will appeal to nervous passengers. It may here be mentioned that in all passages, public rooms, compartments and decks throughout the vessel are placed emergency electric lamps. These are on special circuits and derive current from the emergency dynamos previously referred to, so that in the untimely event of an entire extinction of the ordinary lighting, there would still be available illumination at all points where passengers and crew would congregate; in fact, anyone could find their way from one end of the vessel to the other lighted at night by this means.

Most of the electric light fittings in the passenger accommodation are of majolica, which does not tarnish like metal, and in the public apartments, main entrances and suite rooms the electric fittings are of a magnificent character, of style to suit the particular period of decoration employed, ranging from severe Italian Renaissance to elaborate Louis XVI. The main staircase fittings are after original French models, no pains or expense having been spared in their selection, some costing many hundred pounds apiece.

There are also a number of electric illuminated signs distributed through the first and second class accommodation, to direct passengers to the respective main entrances and public rooms, whilst on view in the gymnasium are attractive illuminated multi-coloured pictures of sections of the “Olympic” and “Titanic,” and a map of the world with a network of the many White Star steamship routes, which circle the entire globe.


There are three passenger elevators at the forward first-class main entrance for conveying passengers between the upper and promenade and intervening decks. These are of Messrs. Waygood’s make, and accommodate 10 persons each. There is also an elevator in the second-class division running between the middle and boat decks. The necessity for these electric elevators will be apparent when it is recollected that the distance between the upper and lower decks served is 55 ft. The elevators are provided with interlocking safety gear, mechanical and electrical, of the most complete character, so as to ensure safety. The cages are guided by round turned steel runners, so as to give the smoothest possible movement. The controller is of their latest design for electric operation. It comprises a car switch in the cage and has a self-centring detachable handle. Special provisions are made to guard against overrunning in either direction in case of inattention on the part of the operator or any failure in the controller.

The other lifts are for the conveyance of stores, mail bags, and pantry supplies to the restaurant and officers’ quarters; these are controlled by push buttons placed at the several entrance doors shown.

(Ed. note: The article stops at this point and is concluded in the 04 August 1911 issue)


One of the little discomforts sometimes associated with modern ocean traveling is the noise caused by winches and other deck appliances, and although when on the high seas these are not much in evidence, yet when approaching port it is sometimes necessary to use them, as for instance when handling mails or passengers’ luggage preparatory to disembarkation. With a view to avoiding this on the “Olympic” the aid of electricity has again been invoked, with the result that all the winches in the vicinity of the passenger accommodation, and the cargo cranes are electrically driven. The latter (see Fig. 12) have been made by Messrs. Stothert & Pitt, six having a capacity of 50 cwt. each, and two of 30 cwt. each. These cranes are fitted at the three after hatches and at the forward hatch near the passenger quarters.

The 50-cwt. cranes have radii from 26 ft. to 29 ft. and the 30-cwt. crane a radius of 26 ft. 6 in. The height of lift is about 100 ft. for the larger cranes and 80 ft. for the smaller. The lifting gear is fitted with the “free barrel” system with interlocks, which contributes so much to the smooth and easy working necessary for cranes on a first-class passenger boat.

The cranes are operated by separate motors for lifting and slewing; the 50-cwt. cranes have 40 H.P. motors for the lift and 5 H.P. for the slew, whilst the 30-cwt. cranes have 30 H.P. motors for the lift and 3 H.P. for the slew. The larger cranes lift at 160 ft. per min, and the smaller at 200 ft. per min., the slewing speed being about 500 ft. per min. in each case. The brakes both of the slewing and lifting gear are interlocked with the controller, so that current cannot be given to the motors when the break is hard down.

In addition to the electric cranes, there are four 3-ton electric cargo winches at the hatches, as well as four 15-cwt. electric boat winches made by the Sunderland Forge and Engineering Co. (Ltd.) A 3-ton cargo winch is shown in Fig. 13.


In all there are 150 motors on board varying from 1/2 to 40 H.P., to which it is impossible here to refer in detail. Special mention may, however, be made of several novelties; for instance, there are Kilroy stoking indicators which automatically transmit orders from the engine room to each stokehold for the firing of each of the furnaces at correct and predetermined intervals of time, thus ensuring good combustion with resultant economy. There are also illuminated telegraphs in each boiler room which enable the engineer on watch in the engine room to communicate his orders to each stokehold; in addition to which he can speak to those in charge there by means of a loud-speaking telephone and thus be in communication even when all water-tight doors are closed, and each compartment therefore isolated, as would obtain in thick weather. The convenience and additional security gained by this may be gauged when it is considered that there are no fewer than six boiler rooms and 11 stokeholds, the forward one being no less than 320 ft. from the engine room. Evershed helm indicators, for so many years fitted in the Navy, have been supplied and indicate on the bridge the position of the rudder. All these signalling devices have been manufactured by Messrs. Evershed & Vignoles in accordance with the builders’ specified requirements. Some of these devices are shown in Figs. 9 to 11.

The steam whistles, previously referred to, are also electrically controlled, the officer on the bridge having merely to close a switch to give the blast, whilst there is also an electric time control arrangement whereby the whistle is automatically blowing for 8 to 10 seconds every minute without further attention during thick weather, the mechanism being Mr. W. J. Willett Bruce’s patent.

The watertight doors are also electrically controlled from the captain's bridge, the arrangement being such that by merely closing a switch all the doors can be simultaneously shut, a bell having previously been rung to give warning below decks.


The clocks, of which there are 48 throughout the vessel, are all actuated electrically, and worked in complete synchronism so that each registers exactly the same time; they are controlled by a master clock (see Fig.14) placed in the chart room under the control of the officers, who can set them backwards and forwards according to the longitude.

The equipment, like that on many large liners of recent years, has been supplied by the Magneta Time Co., Ltd., and consists of the same type of Magneta apparatus that is installed in the chief postal buildings of London, with the modifications necessary for ship conditions, the balance escapement of the master clock being of similar class to that used on marine chronometers. The master clock is capable of running 100 secondary clocks. Specially designed junction boxes have been fixed throughout the vessel, so that extra dials can be added at any time without disturbing the existing wiring. As in all Magneta installations, batteries and contact points are abolished, and no outside source of current is resorted to; there is, therefore, nothing to maintain or renew.


The heating of the ship is effected in several ways, partly in conjunction with the ventilation system, which latter is installed in an elaborate and probably more perfect way than any yet attempted on board ship. Broadly speaking, the principle adopted is that in the large third-class compartments hot air is driven by means of the fans above referred to through insulated trunks in all directions, thus maintaining a pleasant temperature even in the coldest weather at the extremities of the vessel. The ventilation and heating of the first-class accommodation, on the other hand, involves some special problems, as the passengers’ demands are so various; for instance, an American travelling from the Southern States frequently requires and is accustomed to an amount of heat which to a Britisher is well-nigh unbearable. With a view to meeting all requirements it was decided, after careful thought, to provide the first-class accommodation with ventilation both in the passages and individual state rooms—the latter under the control of the passengers —by means of air which is warmed to a moderate degree so as to maintain an even and pleasant temperature. This may be regarded as a warm-air system only, as distinct from a hot-air one, on the “Plenum” method. Each first-class room is in addition fitted with an electric heater of ample capacity, so that passengers requiring additional warmth can obtain it to the desired extent, whilst those who prefer the cooler atmosphere are equally catered for. In addition to the hot and warm air delivery fans referred to there are a large number of “suction” fans drawing the foul air from the lavatories, galleys, pantries, and other quarters, so that not merely is fresh air brought into the ship but all vitiated air is removed through that portion of the accommodation which, unless ventilated, might in itself prove objectionable.. The mechanical system of ventilation adopted incidentally renders superfluous the imposing array of cowls so noticeable on the decks of many liners, ventilator cowls being on the “Olympic” and “Titanic,” to use an Irishism, conspicuous by their absence. There are no fewer than 520 Prometheus electric heaters installed throughout the vessel, taking a collective current of over 5,000 amps.

Needless to say, the gymnastic appliances are also electrically driven, and include riding and rotating machines and other apparatus for physical drill. There are also electric Turkish baths.