When challenged by rival cruise line Cunard's revolutionary Lusitania and Mauretania, whose cutting-edge engineering would go on to make them the last word in passenger ship travel, the chairman of British shipping company White Star Line, J. Bruce Ismay, responded with a vessel unlike any other ever before seen - RMS Titanic.
A record breaker not in speed, as were both its Cunard competitors, but rather in size, comfort, and luxury, Titanic's construction began on March 31, 1909 on Queen's Island, in Belfast Harbour, at the hands of shipbuilding company Harland and Wolff. Due to the design's enormous dimensions, the shipbuilders were forced to reform the site almost entirely, not only installing a new gantry fashioned by the Scottish firm also responsible for the building of London's Tower Bridge, Sir William Arrol & Co., but also replacing the existing slipways with bigger ones in order to accommodate the ship's sheer size. The construction process, carried out by a total of 3,000 workers, was completed three years later, in March, 1912.
With an overall weight of 46,000 tons, a length of 882 ft., and the height of a 16-story building, RMS Titanic's cumbersome body required a lot of torque to be spurred into motion. To power the ship were 20 state-of-the-art boilers, coupled with 162 furnaces, which wolfed down roughly 650 tons of coal per day, translating to an output of around 16,000 horsepower and a top speed of 24 knots produced by the floating palace's three, three-story high engines.
The ship's nine decks were fitted with the utmost opulence and elegance, boasting an onboard swimming pool, gym, and turkish bath, not to mention the top-of-the-line restaurants - all of which were kept in pristine condition by the 900-strong crew responsible for the maintenance of the vessel.
The craft, designed to house 800 first-class, 600 second-class, and 1000 third-class passengers, was loaded with 75,000 lb. of meat, 15,000 bottles of beer, and 40 tons of potatoes, just to name a few (History.com, "Titanic").
A high price tag was, of course, to be expected. Ranging from $4,300 1912 USD for First, to $36 for Third (roughly $450,000 and $4000 USD in present-day currencies, respectively), White Star Line's RMS Titanic undoubtedly became the most pricey, exclusive, and top-notch luxurious transatlantic cruise liner of the early 20th Century.