One of the most tragic figures in ocean liner history was born on 7 February 1873: Thomas Andrews Jr. was the naval architect in charge of the plans for Titanic (and many other fine Harland & Wolff vessels).
Andrews, born in Comber, Ireland (today Northern Ireland), had an “in” at shipbuilders Harland & Wolff—he was the nephew of Viscount Pirrie, the firm’s owner. Andrews left school at 16 to become an apprentice at his uncle’s firm. Over the years, he rose through the ranks to become the Harland & Wolff managing director in charge of design. Andrews became a member of the Institution of Naval Architects in 1901.
Andrews made it a practice to accompany White Star liners on their maiden voyages to study how his various design features functioned under real world conditions. When Titanic collided with an iceberg on 14 April 1912, Capt. Edward J. Smith consulted with Andrews, who predicted that the fatally damaged liner would sink in less than two hours.
Andrews’ recommendations that Titanic carry 46 lifeboats (instead of the 20 she sailed with) and be constructed with a double hull and watertight bulkheads that extended up to B deck, were ignored.
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