Built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, the Titanic, Olympic, and Britannic (originally Gigantic), were constructed to compete with Cunard Line’s Lusitania and Mauretani. These ships were purposely designed to be the most grandiose and luxurious ships to sail the seas. The Titanic’s overall length would come in at an outstanding 882 feet 9 inches, with the moulded breadth being 92 feet 0 inches, the tonnage 46,328 GRT, and the overall height from the water line to the boat deck being 59 feet. Lord Pirrie, Thomas Andrews, and Alexander Carlisle were the main designers of Titanic; each of which were Harland and Wolff and White Star director, Harland and Wolff’s construction manager, and the shipyard’s chief draughtsman and general manager, respectively. The Titanic’s construction was funded by the J.P. Morgan and his International Mercantile Marine Co., and began on 31 March 1909. Carlisle was responsible for the project design of the superstructure of the Titanic (the streamlined joining to the hulls, and the lifeboat davit design). However, Carlisle abandoned the project in 1910 to become a shareholder in Welin Davit & Engineering Company Ltd, which was the firm making the davits.
The hull of Titanic underwent construction on May 31, 1911, and was completed on March 31, 1912. Equipped with two reciprocating four-cylinder, triple-expansion steam engines, and a low pressure Parsons turbine that entailed the operation of three propellers. The 29 boilers included in Titanic were powered by 159 coal burning furnaces that gave her a top speed of 23 knots, or 26 mph. While she had four 62 ft funnels, only three were operational, the fourth serving for symmetry, ventilation, and to make her look even more grand. In total, the Titanic carried a maximum of 3,547 passengers and crew.
In its completion, Titanic was the definitive ship in luxury and class. This was due to the many features that she had, including: a swimming pool, gymnasium, Turkish bath, Verandah cafe, squash court, and electric bath. The rooms of the first-class were decorated with ornate wood paneling, but even third-class rooms were adorned with pine paneling and sturdy teak furniture. The Cafe Parisien served passengers gourmet cuisine, complete with a sunlit veranda for total decadence. There were even libraries and barber shops for first and second-class passengers. The expense for such luxury would cost first-class passengers on a one-way trans-Atlantic passage a total of $4,350. Compare that to today, and the price would exceed a whopping $95,860 dollars!