Written in partnership with RMS Titanic, Inc.

It has been 110 years since the all-too-short life and sudden loss of the RMS Titanic, and 37 years since the discovery of this great Ship and the reintroduction of the legend to the modern world.

Here are some highlights of the progress made over the years to recover artifacts and the latest discoveries surrounding the RMS Titanic. If you’re looking for even, deeper exploration including never before seen video, additional hidden treasures and more, visit discovertitanic.com.

The Sinking

On April 15th, 1912, at 2:20 in the morning, Titanic slipped beneath the surface of the North Atlantic and fell almost 2.5 miles to the ocean floor. Light cannot reach this inhospitable depth; the cold is inescapable (hovering around 33°-34° F) and Titanic became home to numerous deep-sea creatures — some so tiny that they could only be seen under a microscope. For decades, many expected to find the Ship intact and in one piece in its final resting place at the bottom of the ocean. Books were written, movies were made — but the only way to know was to find what was lost. The world was in store for a shock that changed history.

RMS Titanic Inc

The Great Discovery

September 1st, 1985: A expedition of American and French oceanographers set out to find the great Ship. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the French Research Institute for Exploration of the Sea (IFREMER) were using side-scan sonar and underwater camera systems from the research vessels Le Suroit and Knorr to scan the ocean floor in search of Titanic. It was about 2:00am when William Lange, world-renowned expert in underwater imaging, camera system design, and underwater surveying, saw something on the monitor lying on the ocean floor. He recognized it to be a boiler and drew a breath. This wasn’t just any boiler — it was from Titanic. Just at the beginning of his career, he was the first person in 73 years to see and recognize the RMS Titanic wreck site.

The legendary Ship was found, broken in two, 13 miles from the last recorded position and about 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland. Two years later, in 1987, RMS Titanic, Inc. made its first dive to explore the wreck site and recover artifacts, and in 1994 became the official and legal Salvor-In-Possession of the RMS Titanic and wreck site.

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RMS Titanic, Inc. — Expedition Titanic: 2010 & The Ongoing Oversight

Twenty-five years after Titanic was discovered, RMS Titanic, Inc. conducted Expedition Titanic 2010, a ground-breaking expedition that brought together a team of leading archaeologists, oceanographers, scientists, and technicians to produce the first comprehensive map of the entire Titanic wreck site using revolutionary acoustic and optical underwater imaging technologies, including 3-D photogrammetric imaging. This first-time mapping of the entire site provides RMSTI scientists and researchers with a base map for all future RMS Titanic, Inc. research to build upon. This on-going research at the wreck site is a crucial and important part of RMSTI’s stewardship of the wreck site and the preservation of the legacy of Titanic and the stories of those who experienced that fateful night.

William Lange
William Lange is now the Director of Advanced Imaging & Visualization for RMS Titanic, Inc.

The Artifacts

In addition to Expedition Titanic 2010, since 1987, RMS Titanic, Inc. through joint French, American, and Russian expeditions, has made seven research and recovery dives to Titanic’s wreck site and recovered over 5,500 artifacts to date. Every artifact recovered tells a story; here are just a few of them.

Most likely the last photo taken of Titanic on April 11th, 1912, as the Ship left Queenstown, Ireland, headed west to New York. Less than four days later, Titanic would be gone.


Originally gilded, this bronze statue resembles a rosy-cheeked, plump child (or wingless cherub) which was a popular decorative element in Edwardian England. It held an electrically illuminated torch (now absent), held aloft in both hands. Much smaller than the larger cherubs of the Grand Staircase, it is thought to be a light fixture from a side post newel on the aft staircase on C Deck which was destroyed when the Ship tore apart.



Howard Irwin and Henry Sutehall, two young carriage upholsterers from Buffalo, NY set out to travel the world. While on their adventure, Howard played this clarinet (which he carried in a large leather trunk along with his reeds, tools, sheet music, and postcards.) On April 10th, Henry boarded Titanic; Howard did not, yet somehow Howard’s trunk made it on the Ship. His clarinet and trunk were recovered 81 years later.

Clarinet Bottom


Bollards are massive posts that were used to tie Titanic to a pier using 4” thick ropes. These bollards, originally located at the stern (back) on the Third Class Poop Deck, broke off and were later recovered from the seabed. Made of cast iron, they were cleaned, desalinated, and stabilized to preserve them. The process took over two years. They weight about 5,000 pounds, which is about the same weight as a walrus or a BMW X5 SAV!



One of two telegraphs that once stood on Titanic’s bridge, these were used to relay engine speed or stop commands to the Engine Room. As soon as Officer William McMaster Murdoch received the ice warning from the Crow’s Nest, he threw the handles to “All Astern” to signal the engine room crew to reverse the engines.



The largest and most significant section of Titanic ever recovered, this 17-ton section of the starboard side hull had fallen away from the Ship. It measures 26’ 6” across and was from C and D Decks. The top portion is on display at TITANIC: The Artifact Exhibition in Las Vegas and was part of the unoccupied cabins C-79 and C-81. The bottom portion, on display at TITANIC: The Artifact Exhibition in Orlando, was a part of the dishwashing and china storage rooms.

RMS Titanic Inc


This wood fragment is part of a Second-Class dining saloon chairback with seat tag #191. Passengers could choose their dining room seat, but once they selected it, they were expected to remain there unless arrangements were made to change location.

Wood Fragment


In total, Titanic was equipped with 20 lifeboats, 14 of them were clinker-built wood lifeboats each lowered by two Welin davits. This piece is the lower half of a turnbuckle used to tighten the chains that secured the lifeboats to the Boat Deck while they were not being used.


Explore more artifacts at discovertitanic.com.