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View Diary: How regulation came to be: The Eastland Disaster (56 comments)

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  •  Was British lifeboat law only 16 years old (5+ / 0-)

    at the time Titanic sank? I'd always heard it dated from the days when ships were built of wood and much, much smaller than Titanic, which is why the maximum number of lifeboats required by law was so inadequate for such a huge ship.

    •  Steamboat technology... (9+ / 0-)

      ...was evolving at breakneck speed.  Actually, 16 years is a mistake on my part, which I'll fix in a sec., but not by much.  The law in effect at the time of the Titanic sinking was passed in 1894, so it was actually 18 years.

      Considering the first steamboat was built in the 1780's, and the first ocean-going ships running exclusively on steam power didn't appear until the 1840's or 50's, the evolution that took place in the last decade of the 1800's and the first of the 1900's is pretty amazing.

      One of the most significant drivers was immigration.  I dabble in family history, and I've done a bit of reading on the immigration waves of that period.  The numbers of immigrants going to America in that period are pretty astounding.  I don't have them at hand at the moment, but let me throw one out that I do have handy.  In the German Kreis my ancestors came from (approximately equivalent to a county in the US), which had a population of 66,750 in 1861, 18,000 residents are documented to have emigrated to America between 1816 and 1933 (and most between 1860 and 1910), and there may have been as many as another 50% of that number who slipped out illegally.

      The ship builders knew an opportunity when they saw it, and ramped up their production and the size of of the ships they were building to accommodate the demand, and quickly left the assumptions in the requirements laid out int he 1894 law in the dust.

      We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Justice Louis D. Brandeis

      by dsteffen on Sun May 23, 2010 at 03:38:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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