The theory has been circulating for a decade. But the authors of What Really Sank the Titanic use a combination of physical evidence obtained from the wreckage (48 recovered rivets) and archival evidence from the archives of the ship's builder, Harland and Wolff, which is still in business, to make the case that the builders were building on such a vast scale and under so much time pressure that they simply couldn't come up with enough high quality rivets or riveters. So they cut corners. The result of which was that the ship's plates split open much more quickly than they might have with better materials. Better construction would have kept the ship afloat long enough for many more passengers and crew to be rescued.
In any case, not everyone believes the authors have made their case. And high on that list is Harland and Wolff, the Titanic's manufacture now accused of faulty or slipshod practices that resulted in the deaths of 1500 people. "There was nothing wrong with the materials," company spokesman Joris Minne said primly, before noting that one of Titanic's sister ships, Olympic, sailed for a quarter century without a hitch.
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