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August

Forgemasters recreates history with Titanic anchor project

13 August 2010

The famous Titanic lies at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, but an exact replica of the ship's anchor has been re-created by Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd (SFIL) for a new five-part Channel 4 series.

The famous Titanic lies at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, but an exact replica of the ship’s anchor has been re-created by Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd (SFIL) for a new five-part Channel 4 series.  

Weighing approximately 16 tonnes, the anchor is the result of more than six months of meticulous planning, casting, forging and machining at the company’s Brightside Lane base.  

Created as part of a Channel 4 documentary series: ‘We Built Titanic’, SFIL is the only company in the UK capable of manufacturing the heavy components required for the anchor.  

The finished product will be hammer tested - a tradition Edwardian method which uses a 10lb sledge hammer to test its durability - before being transported for display in Netherton, Dudley, where the original anchor was manufactured.  

Roger Richardson, director of the foundry at SFIL said: “The anchor has been a very rewarding project to work on.  “The Titanic was the most famous ship in modern history, its story captivates people all over the world and to be involved in recreating part of that story is a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

“At Forgemasters we still use some of the traditional techniques and processes that would have been used to make the original anchor, but we combine these with some of the most state-of-the-art technology and equipment in the world.” 

Planning for the anchor started in February 2010 with the creation of detailed engineering drawings of the component.  

Roger said: “None of the original engineering drawings have survived, so our team had to carry out extensive research, collecting photographs and patents of the anchor and calculating its dimension from its known weight. 

“We then had to use this research to compile our own extremely precise engineering drawings to work from.” 

The replica is made up of two separate components – the cast head and the forged shank – which have been assembled to create the full-size anchor.  

Roger said: “The casting of the head began with the creation of a full-size wooden pattern which then acts as a template for a sand and resin mould. Molten steel is then poured into the mould, before being heat treated in a furnace at 960 degrees celsius to improve the properties of the steel.” 

The shank of the anchor was forged from a solid steel ingot, using Forgemasters’ 4,000 tonne press.  

Channel 4 History Commissioner, Julia Harrington, said: “This series will provide a new perspective on the Titanic, by exploring the British working classes whose collective effort and extraordinary feats of manual labour created what was then the biggest, most luxurious and most advanced man-made moving object in the world.

“Filming the creation of the Titanic anchor at Sheffield Forgemasters was a fascinating experience and a definite highlight. The huge amount of expertise and care that goes in to creating something on that scale is unbelievable.” 

The five part series will begin on Channel 4 in the Autumn.