White Star Liner Baltic (II)
White Star Line Baltic, one of the original "Big Four" 1904-1933
Baltic was built in 1904 in Belfast by Harland and Wolff for the White Star Line. She one of the original "Big Four." (Cedric, Celtic, Baltic, Adriatic) She was originally named Pacific but renamed Baltic prior to her maiden voyage. She was built for the Liverpool - New York route. She was lengthened by 20 feet during construction to 790 ft.. She had two funnels, four masts, 4 decks, shelter deck and was fitted with electric light and refrigerating machinery. She had water ballast. Propelled by twin screws; quadruple expansion engine with 8 cylinders. There was accommodation for 425-1st, 450-2nd and 2,000-3rd class passengers. (Later extended in 1927)
Baltic played the role of "rescue ship" more than once in her sea career. In 1909, she rescued survivors after the collision of the Republic and the Florida. And, again in 1929, she rescued the crew of the schooner Northern Lights off Newfoundland.In 1914, Baltic served (WWI) as a troop transport.
Capt. J.B. Ranson, RMS Baltic
John Barlow (JB) Ranson was the captain of the Baltic and first on the scene during the Republic-Florida collision. Responding to the first ever in history S.O.S., he had a great deal of difficulty locating the two sinking ships due to the heavy fog. Ranson used submarine bells, depth sounding, and radio signals to locate the drifting RMS Republic.
Submarine bells, invented in 1914 by Dr. Reginald Fessenden, were an predecessor to modern sonar utilizing a diaphragm, a sphere of compressed air, and an electromagnetic current. (see diagram below)
In a daring at-sea rescue he managed to transfer 1,600 passengers and crew from the sinking Republic. Ranson was awarded the Lloyd’s Life Saving Medal "as an honorary acknowledgement of his extraordinary exertions in contributing to the saving of life on the occasion of the steamships Republic and Florida being in collision in the vicinity of the Nantucket Lightship on the 23 January 1909".
As a joint expression of the gratitude of saloon passengers from the White Star's Baltic and Republic, Ranson received a special commemorative award CQD "Gold" Medal, in recognition of the gallantry of the seamen who had taken part in the rescue. Baltic made her final transatlantic passenger crossing in 1931 and was scrapped in Japan in 1933.
Submarine Bell box. Image (Courtesy of NOAA Photo Library.)
(Image: webmasters private collection)
1904 Baltic concert brochure (webmaster's private collection)
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