April 10, 1912: RMS Titanic sets sail from Southampton on her maiden voyage.
Titanic was built as part of a trio, one of three Olympic-class ocean liners - at the time, it, along with its sister ships Olympic and Britannic, were the largest, most luxurious ships in the world. Measuring nearly 900 feet long and 100 feet tall, the Southampton dock from which it launched had been specially built to accommodate the huge dimensions of the Olympic liners.
Of the over 2,000 people aboard, 885 were crew members, including Captain Edward Smith, who had been working at the White Star Line for thirty years. In terms of passengers, over half of the 1,317 aboard were travelling third class; ironically, the ship was actually under capacity, capable of carrying some 2,500 passengers, even though its lifeboats could only carry a thousand. Some of the first-class luminaries aboard included Macy’s owner Isidor Straus, John Jacob Astor (the fourth), Sir Cosmo-Duff Gordon, Benjamin Guggenheim, plus other millionaires and celebrities who could afford First Class tickets - which could go for up to £60,000 in today’s money.
Leaving Southampton at around noon, the RMS Titanic would sail for less than five days before it began receiving reports of the worst ice conditions in the North Atlantic in decades.