This Day in Wall Street History: The Titanic Sinks On Her Maiden Voyage

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The majestic Titanic sank on her maiden voyage from England to New York City in the early hours of April 15, 1912. 

The vessel only carried enough lifeboats for 1,178 people—about half the number on board. All told, more than 1,500 people perished in the disaster, which was met with worldwide shock and outrage at the huge loss of lives.

The Titanic was the second of three Olympic-class ocean liners—the first was the RMS Olympic and the third was the HMHS Britannic. They were the largest vessels of the British shipping company White Star Line, and the Titanic was the largest ship afloat at the time she entered service. It was considered the height of luxury travel at the time.

White Star placed a large investment of two years and $174 million dollars in today's currency to build the vessel. A first class ticket would cost about $80,000 today, second class $1,375, and third class $350-$900.

Despite its casualties, the company retained a prominent hold on shipping markets around the globe before falling into decline during the Great Depression. The American Immigration Act of 1924 and the Great Depression hit the profits of the shipping lines.

Some survivors sued the White Star Line for damages connected to lives lost and baggage; the Supreme Court ruled in the company’s favor.

The Radio Act of 1912 was passed to regulate the use of certain bandwidths between the U.S. Navy and amateur radio operators. The International Ice Patrol (IIP) was established. In response to the disaster, ships’ hulls were made stronger to prevent them from being breached and flooded by objects such as icebergs.

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