100 years ago the R.M.S. Titanic sunk. I own a piece of the history: a Styrofoam cup.
In 1986, Dr. Robert Ballard and two others were the first people to visit and see the Titanic on the ocean floor (they discovered it a year earlier in 1985). My father, Perry Thorsvik, was also aboard the research ship, Atlantis II, taking still photographs of the expedition with the National Geographic Society.
There were 11 dives made to the Titanic on this expedition.
July 22, 1986 – Dive #1713 – Major goal of the day to “photograph the entire exterior surface of the ship.” R. Ballard from a radio broadcast while on board. See all the broadcasts here.
Three members, including Dr. Ballard, left the Atlantis II and crawled into the Alvin: a deep-ocean research submersible. On this dive, my father and others drew on cups, put them in a mesh bag and then tied the bag to the outside of Alvin before it descended to the Titanic. When the Alvin went down 3,800 meters or 12467 feet, the pressure compressed the cups to the size of your thumb.
Note* If that isn’t enough of a visual (remember I’m a photographer not a writer!) click here to see the front cover of TIME Magazine on August 11, 1986 of Alvin at the Titanic.
So, I own one of the cups (front and back image below). I’m sure there are more out there somewhere! My cup has been under a glass dome since 1986 and I thought the 100-year anniversary of the Titanic would be a good day to show it off! Thanks Dad!