The Titanic radio department in 1912- a brief background
The Titanic's "wireless" equipment was the most powerful in use at the time in 1912 . The main transmitter was a rotary spark design, powered by a 5 kW motor alternator, fed from the ship's lighting circuit.
The equipment operated into a 4 wire antenna suspended between the ship's 2 masts, some 250 feet above the sea. There was also a battery powered emergency transmitter.
The main transmitter was housed in a special room, known as the "Silent Room". This room was located next door to the operating room, and specially insulated to reduce interference to the main receiver.
The equipment's guaranteed working range was 250 miles, but communications could be maintained for up to 400 miles during daylight and up to 2000 miles at night.
In charge was 25 year old John (Jack) G. Phillips (left), with 21 year old Harold Bride (right) as the deputy or second R/O. The R/O's remained at their posts until about 3 minutes before the vessel foundered... even after being released from their duties by the Captain.
Harold Bride remarked that water could be heard flooding into the wheelhouse as he and Jack Phillips abandoned the radio room. Jack Phillips was still sending as the power supply to the radio room failed...
The Titanic Radio Officers did great honour to their profession.
Jack Phillips died of hypothermia on or near Collapsible lifeboat B - his body was never recovered......
Harold Bride left the sea after WW1, and faded into obscurity. He died in
Scotland in 1956.
The left hand photo actually shows the Marconi wireless Room of the Titanic's sister ship Olympic, with Radio Officer Brent receiving a message.
In the right hand picture Phillips and another R/O (NOT Harold Bride) are shown on the White Star vessel "
Adriatic" (both photos from the Father Browne collection).
Olympic's Marconi Room - taken on her maiden voyage. Note the external porthole in the centre of picture.
Titanic's Marconi Room was located inboard (more detail later).
The Titanic Marconi room set from the James Cameron movie.
This set quite accurately portrays Titanic's sister ship Olympic's Marconi Room.
The Titanic set was based on archival pictures of Olympic, with the window omitted (see the Olympic photo below).
Another view of the Titanic radio room set from the James Cameron movie.
Clearly, no expense has been spared...note the Marconi uniform cap on the operating desk.
A Marconi wireless telegram from the RMS Olympic, Titanic’s sister ship, reports the Carpathia’s rush to the site where the Titanic went down.