WHAT HE INVENTED
He designed the Titanic.
Irish shipbuilder Thomas Andrews started working for industrial company Harland and Wolff at 16, a job he secured thanks to his uncle, Viscount Pirrie, a co-owner of the business. His apprenticeship at the company alone lasted five full years, more time than any contemporary Americans are willing to dedicate to basically any pursuit, let alone something relatively mundane like building ships. (Once a YouTube video takes more than 15 minutes to edit, the agonized tweets about “hustlin’ 24 hours a day” begin.) In 2013, you could get your PhD in Shipbuilding in that time.
Anyway, in 1907, after nearly 20 years toiling away for H&W, Andrews was given a big assignment: overseeing construction of a pair of new vessels for the White Star Line as naval architect. These were the Olympic and the Titanic.
SEGUES! Yes, Andrews was the designer of the ill-fated Titanic superliner, a project that took an five additional years to complete. The RMS Titanic was the largest ship afloat in the world when it struck out on its maiden voyage from Southampton, UK to New York City in 1912.
Some of the luxury accommodations and features included a gymnasium, several restaurants, a squash court and libraries. Not to mention horny debutantes just itching to do some nude modeling for artistically-minded strangers.
SO WHAT HAPPENED?
You must be new around here. Basically, the Titanic sank… with Thomas Andrews and 2,223 other unfortunate souls on board. He and his team of experts (known as the “guarantee group”… ugh…) always went on the maiden voyages of the ships to assist the crew and troubleshoot any issues that arose.
Andrews had been going over blueprints and plans in his cabin on April 14, 1912 at 11:40 pm, when the Titanic hit an iceberg. He didn’t notice the collision at all until he was summoned by Captain Smith to help assess the damage. Nonetheless, Andrews is frequently held up as one of the heroes of the disaster, working out an estimate of how long the ship would take to sink into the North Atlantic and helping women and children to find their way to lifeboats, while stoically remaining behind to go down with his ship.
Apparently, Andrews spent his final moments poetically. He was last seen in the first-class smoking room staring at a painting depicting Plymouth Harbor, which Titanic would have visited on its return voyage to England. He was 38 when he died and left behind a wife and 2-year-old daughter.