Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Morgan Robertson 1861-1915 .. In 1898 he wrote a novel about a terrible shipping disaster that in many ways came true 14 years later.

Morgan Robertson 1861-1915...

Wrote many books with a flair of upcoming technology.
He wrote a book in 1905 about submarines. In his book he described a periscope for the first time.
In 1905 there were no periscopes on any submarines, although there were experimental ones being used by Simon Lake. But at the time it was not public knowledge.
It was so unique he was asked by the Holland Submarine Company about it. He produced a model of it, in which he had said he had a patent for, and was paid $50,000 dollars for it!!!

Many of his books dealt with events of the future. Sometimes he was dead on, but more often not.
But the book in which we will deal with was most interesting.
He lived an interesting, abet short life. Dying in 1915 at 53 years of age.
It seems he died of an overdose of protiodide, which was prescribed for everything from acne to syphilis. So who knows what was going on there and with him.

A rare early copy of Robertson's Futility.

This is the book...It has the most uncanny story of any in which he wrote. For it's story sounds very,very much like another. It is a book about a disaster.

Read the first lines of the book and what it describes.......

She was the largest craft afloat and the greatest of the works of men. In her construction and maintenance were involved every science, profession, and trade known to civilization. On her bridge were officers, who, besides being the pick of the Royal Navy, had passed rigid examinations in all studies that pertained to the winds, tides, currents and geography of the sea; they were not only seamen, but scientists. The same professional standard applied to the personnel of the engine-room, and the steward's department was equal to that of a first class hotel.

Two brass bands, two orchestras, and a theatrical company entertained the passengers during waking hours; a corps of physicians attended to the temporal, and a corps of chaplains to the spiritual, welfare of all on board, while a well-drilled fire-company soothed the fears of nervous ones and added to the general entertainment by daily practice with their apparatus.

From her lofty bridge ran hidden telegraph lines to the bow, stern engine-room, crow's nest on the foremast, and to all parts of the ship where work was done, each wire terminating in a marked dial with a movable indicator, containing in its scope every order and answer required in handling the massive hulk, either at the dock or at sea--which eliminated, to a great extent, the hoarse, nerve wracking shouts of officers and sailors.

From the bridge, engine-room, and a dozen places on her deck the ninety two doors of nineteen water-tight compartments could be closed in half a minute by turning a lever. These doors would also close automatically in the presence of water, With nine compartments flooded the ship would still float, and as no known incident of the sea could possibly fill this many, the steamship Titan was considered practically unsinkable.

Unsinkable -- indestructible, she carried as few boats as would satisfy the laws. These, twenty-four in number, were securely covered and lashed down in their chocks on the upper deck, and if launched would hold five hundred people. She carried no useless, cumbersome life-rafts; but -- because the law required it -- each of the three thousand berths in the passengers', officers', and crew's quarters contained a cork jacket, while about twenty circular life-buoys were strewn along the rails.

Sound familiar????????????

The story is about the steamship TITAN. That was the largest, greatest, most fashionable, technologically advanced, practically unsinkable, Ocean Liner in the world.
Which in a voyage to New York in April, sped into an icefield, struck an ICEBERG and sank with a large loss of life! There were few life boats for this massive ship as they were not considered important. Since she was practically unsinkable, there were not many and they were not important.

The name, the size of the ship, the time of year, the loss of life, the power system, the lack of life boats, the speed in an area of ice, the system of water tight bulkheads, the rich and famous.

The whole amazing story is so like a disaster that took place just 14 years after the novel came out...I hardly need to mention its name But it was very much like Morgan Robertson's TITAN!

The Titanic! It was almost like they were following the script of Robertson's novel. Of course there are differences, but when you think of it. Just the ship's name in the novel is mind numbing.
But in April of 1912, the steamship TITAN-IC sped into an ice field, struck an iceberg, sank, with many of the rich and famous, as it did not have many lifeboats, as it was practically unsinkable!

Morgan lived to see this story come true.