Futility, or The Wreck of the Titan, by Morgan Robertson, 1912  

title page of old book

This fictional story of a British passenger liner called Titan, first published in 1898, is eerily similar to that of the yet-to-be conceived Titanic|. Both ships were built to similar specifications. The Titan was described as "the largest craft afloat and the greatest of the works of men", "equal to that of a first class hotel", and "unsinkable". Titanic was the world's largest luxury liner and had been described in the press as being being "designed to be unsinkable" and "virtually unsinkable".

Aside from the coincidence of the name, the similarities to the real life disaster are remarkable, Titan in the fictional account hit an iceberg and sank around midnight in April in the North Atlantic.  Over half the 3000 passengers and crew were lost due to lack of sufficient lifeboats.  Both ships hit the iceberg on their starboard side and were 400 nautical miles away from Newfoundland in the North Atlantic when they were sunk.  

This copy of the novel was reprinted in 1912 after the Titanic disaster.

You can find out more about the actual Titanic in the major exhibition Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story|.

Discover more about our other archives relating to the Titanic with our online information sheet|.

Archive reference 340.TIT.ROB/R