10 Ways the Titanic Influenced the World Around Us

By Tom Davenport on at

The earth has swung round the sun 100 times since the Titanic became a deep sea graveyard, but it continues to influence the world in ways you'd never expect. Here are ten examples of how the world has since changed, for better and worse:


1.) People stopped saying ships were unsinkable

The Titanic was declared 'unsinkable' thanks to 30 steel water-tight compartments, which could all be closed simultaneously by the captain with one lever should there be an accident. It was a sales pitch that seemed less compelling to the ship's 5,000 passengers when it eventually struck an iceberg and didn't work. The disaster inspired ship designers to develop a simple industry rule: always carry enough lifeboats. [The Scuttlefish]


2.) Deep sea research stepped up a few knots

As the epochal deep sea graveyard, the Titanic has inspired generations of scientists to find new ways of exploring undersea. Even in 2010, experts reckoned only 50 per cent of the wreckage had been explored, prompting the Expedition Titanic mission which captures the site as a 3D model with the latest sonar technologies.


3.) It inspired a memorial cruise which has already gone wrong

On the 100th anniversary of the original ill-fated voyage, the MS Balmoral is recreating the same journey down to the tiniest detail -- and it's already proving unlucky. One passenger suffered a heart attack by the second day, forcing a helicopter to airlift him for treatment.


4.) A live Twitter feed is recreating the Titanic's hopes and failures

Forget the movie, this is the real way to relive history. The account @TitanicRealTime is posting an account of the original voyage from the perspective of passengers, managing to be both hilarious and poignant. "Titanic is a marvel of modern engineering," it reads. "There is definitely more of a chill in the air today, but that is to be expected given the cooler waters we are approaching." Ooohh, ominous!


5.) You can sink your own wax Titanic

Is this a candle or just extreme merchandise? This wax Titanic will burn for 10 hours before sinking to a new watery grave, giving you plenty of time to throw ice at it like some sadistic sea giant.


6.) James Cameron became a deep sea diving superman...

While working on his Titanic movie, James Cameron became so obsessed by deep sea research that he eventually broke a world record by travelling to the deepest part of the ocean. His vessel, the Deepsea Challenger, sprung a leak while exploring the Mariana Trench, and so he returned after three hours -- but not before catching it all on film.


7.) ...who saves the planet from oil spills

Federal officials were clutching at straws during the Gulf oil spill crisis in 2010, and called on James Cameron alongside a bunch of real scientists thanks to his deep sea experience. It turns out the director has become an expert in remote vehicle technologies and filming underwater. Well, you would say that, wouldn't you. [HuffPo]


8.) People became stinking rich for selling junk to Titanic enthusiasts

One such piece of junk was a small set of rusty old keys, which didn't make it on the voyage and left the official iceberg spotter without access to the binocular cupboard. 100 years later, they sold for £90,000. Other artefacts being auctioned this week included original tickets, deck chairs and old telegrams, netting their owners tens of thousands in cash.


9.) It resulted in a record-smashing film, then a super detailed 3D remake

To me, the Titanic film just brings back bad memories of an awkward first date and an accident with a pot of ice cream. But a lot of people seemed to like anyway, and it became the first film to earn over $1 billion at the box office. That didn't stop director James Cameron reviving it for a 3D remake this year. He even made an effort to please pedantic star gazers who insisted they were all wrong in the original movie (sigh) and had them fixed for the 2012 version.


10.) Ignorant modern fools thought it was all a dream

You'd have to be a cultural cretin to think the Titanic disaster was just a movie, but a creative twitter search reveals dozens of these dummies. "The titanic was real holly shit im never gooing on a cruise [sic]" says one. Sadly, their ignorance probably goes way beyond this single snippet of history. Whatever you do, don't mention the war!

Tom Davenport is a freelance tech and music journalist from Wiltshire, and occasionally dabbles as a recording engineer too. Read his blog here, and follow him on Twitter here.