RMS Titanic Eccentric Strap
On Sunday, 14 April, 11. 40 pm, the R. M. S. Titanic struck an iceberg. By 2. 20 am on Monday 15 April, Titanic sank in the cold Atlantic Ocean. The Titanic presently rests 12,460 feet (2. 5 miles) below the surface of the North Atlantic Ocean, 450 miles southeast of Newfoundland. The bow and stern are separated by 2,000 feet, their contents scattered, forming what is referred to as the debris field.
We worked closely with Premier Exhibitions, Inc. (formerly R. M. S. Titanic, Inc.), the salvor-in-possession, to preserve the collection. Preservation includes providing services such as complete treatments, periodic assessments, maintenance of touring artifacts, display mount design and fabrication, and consultation.
In 2006, our conservators performed the final treatment of the 2-ton cast iron Eccentric Strap with a Babbitt (copper-tin alloy metal) bearing surface. The strap was a spare for one of Titanic’s enormous steam engines. The strap was recovered in 1993 and underwent initial desalinization by others. As it was such a unique piece, the strap was even displayed for a period in water while it was undergoing electrolysis.
Treatment of the strap included surface cleaning with waterjets; stabilization of the fragmented graphitized cast iron; conversion of the surface iron oxides with a tannic acid treatment; and final coating with a wax containing corrosion inhibitors. In addition, a travel and display mount was designed and fabricated for the piece, which reduced the amount of handling required each time the strap was transported to a new exhibition venue.