A 2010 expedition took video of the sunken Titanic. In this picture, the bow (front) of the ship is seen crusted and deteriorating. (AP)

A 2010 expedition took video of the sunken Titanic. In this picture, the bow (front) of the ship is seen crusted and deteriorating. (AP)

A newspaper headline from April 16, 1912, tells the story of the sinking.

A newspaper headline from April 16, 1912, tells the story of the sinking.

This photo of the wreck of Titanic shows a davit from which a lifeboat was lowered. (AP)

This photo of the wreck of Titanic shows a davit from which a lifeboat was lowered. (AP)

On April 10, 1912, Titanic leaves Southampton, England, on her maiden voyage. (AP)

On April 10, 1912, Titanic leaves Southampton, England, on her maiden voyage. (AP)

In 1986, Alvin was the first submersible to dive and take pictures of Titanic on the floor of the ocean. (AP)

In 1986, Alvin was the first submersible to dive and take pictures of Titanic on the floor of the ocean. (AP)

Titanic Telegraph

Posted: May 1, 2020

Explorers have already plucked out silverware, china, and gold coins from the Titanic shipwreck. They’ve brought up chunks of the ship itself too. What will they recover next? Some have their eyes on the ship’s Marconi Wireless Telegraph Machine. That piece of history sent the ship’s final, grim messages: “We require immediate assistance” . . .  “Have struck iceberg and sinking” . . . “We are putting women off in boats.”

You may remember that Titanic was a grand British passenger ship. People boarded it in England in 1912. Before it could arrive safely in New York, the ship struck an iceberg. Ships and stations onshore received the messages of distress.

More than 1,500 people died on the Titanic. The ship sank in less than three hours. A team found the wreckage in 1985. The ship has rested on the seafloor near Newfoundland, Canada, for more than 100 years. Fish swim in and out of the wreck. It falls apart little by little. 

Thousands of items have been recovered from the site. The company R.M.S. Titanic keeps track of them. Now company officials want to save the telegraph machine too—nicknamed the “voice” of the Titanic. They may need to cut into the ship to get to it. 

But laws protect the wreck. May R.M.S. Titanic retrieve the telegraph? A judge will decide. Some say digging out the machine will honor Titanic passengers. Others disagree.The Titanic is more than an artifact, some say. It’s a gravesite. Leave it alone to show respect.

No Titanic survivors are left now to tell the tale of the ship. Only the wreckage remains—and not for long. The Marconi rests in a room on the ship’s deck. A gymnasium on the other side of the grand staircase has already collapsed. The roof above the telegraph machine is starting to tear apart. Should people remove the telegraph or not? Decide now, say officials from R.M.S. Titanic. Another year may be too late.