When the RMS Titanic struck iceberg on the night of April 14th, 1912, the world was shocked to hear how the greatest, biggest, most grandest ship in the world, was in serious trouble. The information coming into New York City was too remarkable to believe. The biggest ship in the world, that had been making headlines since its inception, was hailed as being unsinkable, but now something was happening. The RMS Titanic carried on her decks over 2200 people, and had been proclaimed as unsinkable to the world, but now something had gone horribly wrong, and this famous ship was now in jeopardy. What in the world could have happened? Was the RMS Titanic actually sinking or was this some cruel joke that some people were playing? The awful truth was that despite this ship being the biggest in the world, and state of the art, something had happened to it, and now there were over 2200 people that were in trouble. The RMS Titanic was in trouble, and there were people being put into lifeboats, and while that was bad enough, who could possibly know that something like a cane could turn out to be a hero on the most unforgettable night in history?
1. The Biggest Ship in the World Sets Sail from England
Since J. Bruce Ismay, and Lord William James Pirrie, had gotten together to decide on the fate of the White Star Line, the RMS Titanic had been making news. The two men, Ismay and Pirrie, truly had a crystal ball, and the two men saw the future of the shipping industry. The bread and butter of the shipping lines back in 1912, was the trans Atlantic shipping lines from Europe to America. However, while empty hulls in big ships, could be filled with immigrants, but what if ships could bring immigrants to America, but also be luxurious? Both Pirrie and Ismay had their sights set on the future, and it involved three giant ships that would forever change the future. Fast forward a few years, and after her sister, the RMS Olympic left port, her famous sister, the RMS Titanic, would set sail from Southampton, England, with over 2200 people on board. The ship’s whistles went off at 12 noon on the dot, and the Titanic would then sail from England straight into the history.
2. A Small Cane with a Big Feature That Helped Saved Lives
Ella White was traveling with a woman believed to be her domestic partner, which was something literally unheard of back in 1912. The two women boarded the RMS Titanic in Southampton, and shared a cabin as the big ship made its way across the hostile North Atlantic Sea. White, who was then 55 years old, used an unusual cane to help her navigate the Titanic’s many decks. The cane she used was black ebony, but it was topped with a bakelite that was amber colored. What made White’s cane unusual? The fact that the amber colored bakelite would become a small glowing lamp when the batteries were turned on, would prove to be more than just a novelty for its time. The fact was, that when the RMS Titanic had struck an iceberg, and began to sink, this little feature would prove to be more than just a state of the art toy. Whilst in a lifeboat, waiting to be rescued, Ella White would turn on her remarkable little light, and the cane would prove to be life saving because if not for that little light, the RMS Carpathia would not have seen the lifeboats adrift in the North Atlantic. Who knew that an amber bakelite would actually help save the 705 Titanic survivors?
3. The Famous Titanic Cane Is Going Up for Auction
After the Titanic disaster, Ella White ended up in New York. Whilst it is reported that White did get married, to a man named John Stuart White, the marriage only lasted three years. White would end up living at the famous Plaza Hotel with Marie Grice Young, a woman who she shared the rest of her life with. On January 31, 1942, Ella White passed away, and left the bulk of her estate to Young. After her death, the famous light up walking stick remained in her family, but now the family has decided to put the cane up for auction. The sale will take place in the Century at Sea auction, and is expected to fetch a sum ranging from $300,000 to $500,000 dollars.
The night of April 15th, 1912 saw the world’s biggest, and most famous ship, battle against Mother Nature and lose. The 2200 people on board would be in terrible danger, and only 705 of them would be able to make it into a lifeboat. Among the saved, was a woman named Ella Bertha Holmes, later Ella Holmes White, was traveling on the famous ship heading to New York. When disaster struck, White was able to enter a lifeboat, and when all seemed lost, her light up cane was the one object that the survivors could count on to get help. White had a special cane with batteries, and a light up bakelite that was amber colored, and the light from it would help guide the rescue ship Carpathia to find the 20 lifeboats filled with survivors. Now, over 107 years later, Ella Holmes White’s famous light up cane is going to auction, and wherever the cane may end up, the new owner will be proud to know that it saved lives.