12 Feb 2011


I've just been pointed towards issue 34 of Voyage, the official Journal of the Titanic International Society (Autumn 2000). Contained within is what I've been searching for since Christmas, an article focusing on the printers onboard the titanic. The article written by Bob Richardson (London Branch Secretary of the British Printing Society) gives a great insight into their backgrounds, conditions of work, possible equipment used and likely onboard roles as printers ie. what they may have been printing on the ship in the days before it went down.

The chief printer was Abraham Mansoor Mishellany (born 1860) and his assistant was Ernest Theodore Corbin (born 1885). For their services for White Star Line they were paid £1.50 and £1 per week respectively. 'Both men earned a few extra shillings by printing private dinner menus, visiting cards and luggage labels for wealthy passengers.'

They were likely to have been kept busy on a boat the size of Titanic but because they were such skilled compositors, they 'would have made short work of restaurant menus which he (Ernest) could easily have been set up in 20-30 minutes. Printing each batch on an "Arab" treadle press would take perhaps anothter half hour.'

'... many items, particularly those bearing the vessel's name, were produced on board. There varied from menus and waiters' notepads for the many restaurants through to tickets for the Turkish bath. A large number of different menus were printed on board Titanic. Some were basic black text on white card but these were sometimes presented in an attractive folder decorated with a colour illustration of White Star training ships, one of which was the Mersey. These folders were reused with different inserts for each meal. A surviving second class menu was printed on white card which carried a coloured banner at the top featuring the British and American flags, surmounted by a pair of beaming white stars and framing a painting of the liner. Some others such as the first class luncheon menu on April 14th, were simple white cards with the company flag printed in scarlet and the gold embossed monogram of White Star's parent company beneath it. The full-colour printing was carried out onshore, and Albert and Ernest added only the black text when at sea.'

Other likely printing jobs consisted of 'raffle tickets, programmes of events on board, lists of pieces to be played in musical recitals and general stationery for the purser's office.'

1 comment:

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