In 1902, the International Mercantile Marine Company (headed by J.P. Morgan) purchased the White Star Line for £10,000,000.

5 short years later, the managing director of the White Star Line, Bruce Ismay, attends a dinner party hosted by Lord James Pirrie, a partner in the firm of Harland & Wolff. The two discuss the possibility of the construction of three luxury liners, the likes of which had never been seen. They were to be the grandest ships to ever grace the seas.

Plans were established to construct the first two ships, and leave the third for later. Blueprints are drawn up for construction of three "Olympic Class" ships. Special considerations had to be made for construction of ships such an enormous size, so three of the construction slips at the Harland & Wolff shipyards were refitted, and converted into two larger slips.

Construction of the first ship began on December 16, 1908, laying the keel for the steamer "Olympic." On March 31, 1909, during construction of the Olympic, construction began on the second steamer, "Titanic."

Construction of the two ships is not unnoticed by the town of Belfast, as their tremendous outlines become the largest part of the landscape. Construction continues until October 20, 1910, when the Olympic's hull is launched, and towed to the fitting-out basin.

At 12:13PM on May 31, 1911, the 26,000 ton hull of the Titanic is towed to the fitting-out basin, just 15 days shy of the launch of her sister Olympic.

The Titanic, now nearly finished, is dry-docked in the Thompson Graving Dock for her finishing touches on February 3, 1912. Titanic is fitted with three propellers, the Marconi Radio is installed, tested, and assigned the call letters "MGY", a final coat of paint is applied to the ship's hull, and finishing touches begin on the interior. 4 funnels are added - three of which are active. The fourth funnel is simply for aesthetic value, and ventilation.

By March 31, 1912, the Titanic is complete, at a cost of $7.5 million. The maiden voyage is scheduled for April 10, and is to be commanded by Captain Edward J. Smith. The crossing of the Titanic would be Smith's last command before his retirement.




For technical reasons behind the sinking, please see Why the Titanic Sank.

For a transcript of the radio communications during the time of the disaster, please see CQD MGY.