Construction on RMS Olympic was more or less completed in late summer of 1910, and she was launched without incident on October 20 of that year, ready to be fitted out for passenger service.
The total time for launching Titanic was just over sixty seconds, with the help of twenty-two tons of soap, tallow and train oil. It was said that the launching couldn't have been more perfect, although some of the more 'salty' spectators were concerned about the White Star Line tradition of not formally christening its vessels (not surprisingly, this fact would be cited by some as the true cause of the disaster.)
White Star would eventually push the maiden
voyage of Titanic back to April 10, 1912, and in the early days of that
month the new vessel was officially delivered to them by Harland &
Wolff and pronounced ready for service.
Although the ship's crew had been slowly assembling on board for the last two weeks, the majority still had to be hired, and on the 6th of April, mass recruitment took place in Southampton (the effect of this hiring spree would be disastrous, as after the sinking it would turn out that nearly every street in the city had lost a breadwinner.)
Of course, it was not only crew members that the great ship needed. Between April 3rd and April 8th, more than 5892 tons of coal would be loaded on board.
Getting the coal for Titanic seemed to be the
most difficult task for the White Star Line. The greatest coal strike
in British history had just ended, and the fuel source was, to say the
least, a rare commodity. In order to meet the commitment for Titanic's
maiden voyage, White Star canceled the departures of several of their smaller
liners and transferred their coal (and passengers) to Titanic. Still,
this was not enough, and White Star had to purchase coal out of the bunkers
of other ships in Southampton and move their passengers to Titanic as well.
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