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11 Movies About the Titanic You've Probably Never Heard Of

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When James Cameron decided to make a film about the sinking of the Titanic, he wasn’t exactly venturing into uncharted waters. Ever since the disaster struck in 1912, there has been a steady stream of movies depicting the tragedy, including an early “talkie,” an '80s political thriller, and a bizarre animated musical that has to be seen to be believed. So if you’re not a fan of the DiCaprio version, know that plenty of other options are out there.

1. SAVED FROM THE TITANIC (1912)

On April 14, 1912 at 11:40 p.m., the RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean. During the wee hours of the next morning, she vanished beneath the waves, killing over 1500 people in the process. Then, on May 14 of that very same year, the first in what would become a long line of motion pictures about the disaster was released. That’s right: The first-ever Titanic film came out a mere 29 days after the boat sank!

Produced by Éclair Studios, the picture was called Saved From the Titanic. Today, it’s regarded as a movie of huge historical significance, and not just because of the release date. This film stars Dorothy Gibson, an actress who was saved from the real Titanic. When that vessel started to go under, Gibson was among the 2228 people aboard. Luckily for her, she managed to secure a spot on the very first lifeboat that was lowered into the water. A passing ship called the RMS Carpathia rescued her, along with many other survivors.

Saved From the Titanic is a fictionalization of Gibson’s harrowing experience. For some extra authenticity, she wore the same outfit that she’d donned when the Carpathia found her. Reliving the worst night of her life took an awful toll on Gibson. It was said that she’d often sob uncontrollably during the shoot, and the actress endured a mental breakdown after production wrapped. No known copies of Saved From the Titanic have survived to the present day—although a few promotional photos still exist.

2. IN NACHT UND EIS (1912)

Another silent drama, In Nacht und Eis (“Night Time in the Ice”) was directed by Mime Misu, a former barber. Filmed in northern Germany, the movie premiered at a Berlin theater on August 17, 1912. At 42 minutes from start to finish, In Nacht Und Eis was deemed unusually long by the standards of its period. Back in the early 1910s, most movies had a runtime of 20 minutes or less. Evidently, really long Titanic flicks are nothing new.

For decades, movie historians believed that In Nacht und Eis—like Saved From the Titanic—had been lost to history. But in 1998, two private collectors and a major German film archive all came forward with original copies of Misu’s film. The salvaged footage has since been re-edited into a shortened cut that can be viewed with English subtitles on YouTube.

3. ATLANTIC (1929)

Also known as Disaster in the Atlantic, this was the very first “talkie” to be inspired by the Titanic’s ill-fated voyage. It’s a cinematic adaptation of The Berg, a stage play that had recently opened to rave reviews in West London. Interestingly, while playwright Ernest Raymond extensively researched the Titanic catastrophe for his show, the play never actually mentions this ship by name. The Berg chronicles the final two hours of an unidentified ocean liner that’s just had a lethal run-in with a mass of floating ice. Similarly, the movie version refers to its vessel as the Atlantic. This was likely done at the request of the White Star Line, the British shipping company that had built the Titanic between 1909 and 1911. Still, some newspapers connected the dots anyway, describing the picture as a “Film of the Titanic.”

4. TITANIC (1943)

In 1941, Joseph Goebbels—Adolf Hitler’s Propaganda Minister—decided to create a big-budget film about history’s most famous shipwreck. Of course, it wouldn’t exactly be a faithful retelling. With World War II underway, Goebbels and screenwriter Harald Bratt envisioned this project as a way to smear Germany’s chief adversary: Great Britain. To do so, the script threw accuracy out the window. The movie’s villain is J. Bruce Ismay, an English businessman who’d presided over the White Star Line in real life and was on the Titanic when she sank. However, Goebbels’s film shows him bribing the captain to speed up the ship so that the voyage can set a new Transatlantic passage record. This is pure fiction, wholly unsupported by the evidence, and the only character who ever warns Ismay about the dangers of icebergs is a made-up German officer named Petersen. At the end of the movie, Petersen tries to bring this greedy scoundrel to justice before a board of inquiry. Since the ruling body is 100 percent British, Ismay—naturally—gets off scot-free. Titanic proceeds to hammer in its prejudiced message with a title card at the end of the film that says “The death of 1,500 passengers remains unatoned for, an eternal condemnation of England’s quest for profit.”

Director Herbert Selpin received a budget that was the equivalent of $155.8 million in modern U.S. money to make the movie. With that generous budget, his team was able to construct a 30-foot model of the doomed ship for the sinking scene. The government also gave Selphin more or less whatever he asked for—including an actual ocean liner that was used in exterior shots. In fact, despite the ongoing war, German soldiers were temporarily taken out of the front lines and utilized as Titanic extras.

Selphin never lived to see his propagandic masterpiece. Once word got out that he’d voiced some unpatriotic remarks, the director was hanged in 1942. Ironically, when Titanic was finished, Goebbels worried that audiences would see it as an anti-Nazi movie. Ismay’s foolhardiness, he feared, might be interpreted as a metaphor for Hitler’s recent military blunders. Ergo, the propaganda minister banned Titanic from German cinemas. (A heavily edited version was subsequently screened in Deutschland during the 1950s.)

5. TITANIC (1953)

An unhappily married couple struggles to settle their differences on the Titanic’s ill-fated trip in this 1953 offering from director Jean Negulesco. Starring Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb, the movie mostly consists of fictional characters modeled after real passengers. For the climax, Stanwyck found herself seated on a replica lifeboat that was suspended some 47 feet above a frothing, outdoor tank at the studios of 20th Century Fox. These circumstances really gave her pause. “I thought of the men and women who had been through this thing in our time,” she later said. “We were recreating an actual tragedy and I burst into tears. I shook with great raking sobs and couldn’t stop.” At the 1954 Academy Awards, Titanic received an Oscar for Best Writing (Story and Screenplay).

6. A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (1958)

When producer William MacQuitty was 6 years old, he watched the RMS Titanic depart from Belfast, where she’d been built. This was an experience he never forgot. In 1956, MacQuitty optioned the movie rights for A Night to Remember, historian Walter Lord’s bestselling book about the ship’s demise. Released in 1958, the completed film recycled some of the sinking footage from Selphin’s picture. Despite this, A Night To Remember was beloved by critics and is sometimes cited as the most historically accurate Titanic movie ever made. While Lord was putting the book together, he interviewed no less than 64 survivors. MacQuitty wisely recruited him as a consultant, and the man’s expertise heavily influenced the final script. Lord would go on to become an advisor for James Cameron’s Titanic decades later.

7. S.O.S. TITANIC (1979)

A made-for-TV movie, S.O.S. Titanic sees Cloris Leachman of Young Frankenstein fame playing the famous Titanic survivor Molly Brown—whom we’ll discuss in more detail shortly. Additionally, Helen Mirren makes an appearance as an Irish chambermaid.

8. RAISE THE TITANIC (1980)

Although he’s a world-famous novelist, very few of Clive Cussler’s books have been turned into films. Here’s why: In 1976, Cussler’s third published book, Raise the Titanic!, made an enormous splash. The thriller spent 22 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, much to the surprise of its author. “I was dumbfounded,” Cussler recalled, “It was such a far-out idea—raising the Titanic—that I thought nobody would buy it. I didn’t realize what a fascination so many people have with that grand old ship.”

The plot revolves around a rare, fictional mineral called byzanium, which can be used to build a revolutionary new anti-missile defense system. Suspecting that a treasure trove of this material was stored on the Titanic when she sank, America’s government hatches a wild plot to recover the bounty by lifting the entire vessel out of her watery grave.

ITC Entertainment swooped in to secure the movie rights, but before shooting started, the movie ran into some behind-the-scenes trouble courtesy of its star attraction: the Titanic itself. A 55-foot, 11-ton scale model of the famed ocean liner was meticulously constructed at a cost of $5 million. On top of that, the effects team built a $3.3 million tank in which to film their colossal miniature. Additionally, certain scenes featured a retired cruise ship, which had to be heavily modified so that it could pass for the real Titanic. Expenses like these put the film massively over-budget and its final price tag ended up exceeding that of George Lucas’s The Empire Strikes Back. Alas, that spared-no-expense mentality didn’t result in much box office success. Raise the Titanic became one of 1980’s most notorious bombs, earning an abysmal $7 million in the U.S. Moreover, Cussler was infuriated by the film’s numerous departures from its source material. As such, he didn’t allow any of his other novels to become motion pictures until Sahara got the Hollywood treatment in 2005.

On a different note, you’ll notice that Raise the Titanic shows the eponymous vessel ascending towards the surface in one piece. Those who saw the boat sink gave conflicting reports about whether or not it had broken in two before submerging. Some eyewitnesses swore that the Titanic more or less descended intact, others disagreed. This debate was settled in 1985, when the wreck was discovered by a French-American team. We now know that the stern indeed broke off from the prow—although the separation probably bore little resemblance to what we see in Cameron’s Titanic.

9. THE CHAMBERMAID ON THE TITANIC (1998)

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Adapted from a novel by Didier Decoin, Chambermaid is about a poor French foundry worker who wins an annual coal-toting contest. The grand prize? A trip to watch the RMS Titanic depart from Southampton, England on her first—and last—voyage. The night before, he meets an enchanting chambermaid who’s scheduled to depart with the ship.

10. TITANIC: THE LEGEND GOES ON (2001)

Rapping dogs, anyone? This Italian-made animated musical follows a family of mice who hitch a ride to America aboard the Titanic, where they eavesdrop on some kindly humans. Like many films on this list, Titanic: The Legend Goes On includes a romantic subplot. But, uniquely, it also comes with a shaggy canine who, at one point, grabs a boom-box and starts freestyling like a ‘90s hip-hop artist. We are dead serious about this. Incidentally, the year 2001 saw the release of yet another animated Titanic movie—one which posits that the boat really sank because some evil sharks tricked a Godzilla-sized octopus into hurling an iceberg at it.

11. TITANIC II (2010)

Set 100 years after the iconic ship sank (ie: 2012), Titanic II tracks the journey of a luxury cruise liner whose name gives the movie its title. Just as you’d expect, disaster strikes, though it is worth noting that a tsunami is what does this particular vessel in. Titanic II was created by The Asylum, an independent production company best known for its 2013 surprise smash, Sharknado.

BONUS: THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN (1964)

Although the Titanic doesn’t play a huge role in this MGM movie musical, it warrants a mention anyway. Based on a Broadway show of the same name, the film depicts the life and times of Margaret Brown (1867-1932), an American socialite and women’s suffrage advocate.

In 1912, she took a vacation through Rome, Paris, and Egypt, accompanied all the way by her daughter, Helen. The trip was spoiled when Brown learned that her grandson had grown ill back home. While Helen stayed behind in London, Margaret took the next available stateside ship: The RMS Titanic. One night on the open ocean, she was abruptly thrown out of her bed by some violent collision. Brown was soon informed that the vessel had run into an iceberg and was told to grab a lifesaver. Fortunately for her, she received a seat on life boat number six, along with 23 other passengers.

At roughly 4:30 a.m. on April 15, rescue came when Brown and her companions were hauled onto the Carpathia. Once aboard, she started combing the ship for blankets to help cover those who lay shivering on the floors. Realizing that many survivors had lost everything when the Titanic went down, Brown also convinced her fellow first-class passengers to set aside some money on behalf of their less-fortunate counterparts. By the time the Carpathia docked in New York City, $10,000 had been raised for these needy travelers. Word of Brown’s heroism spread, turning her into a national hero. From Denver gossip columnist Polly Pry, she received a catchy nickname: “the unsinkable Molly Brown.”

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13 Fascinating Facts About Nina Simone
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Nina Simone, who would’ve celebrated her 85th birthday today, was known for using her musical platform to speak out. “I think women play a major part in opening the doors for better understanding around the world,” the “Strange Fruit” songstress once said. Though she chose to keep her personal life shrouded in secrecy, these facts grant VIP access into a life well-lived and the music that still lives on.

1. NINA SIMONE WAS HER STAGE NAME.

The singer was born as Eunice Waymon on February 21, 1933. But by age 21, the North Carolina native was going by a different name at her nightly Atlantic City gig: Nina Simone. She hoped that adopting a different name would keep her mother from finding out about her performances. “Nina” was her boyfriend’s nickname for her at the time. “Simone” was inspired by Simone Signoret, an actress that the singer admired.

2. SHE HAD HUMBLE BEGINNINGS.


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There's a reason that much of the singer's music had gospel-like sounds. Simone—the daughter of a Methodist minister and a handyman—was raised in the church and started playing the piano by ear at age 3. She got her start in her hometown of Tryon, North Carolina, where she played gospel hymns and classical music at Old St. Luke’s CME, the church where her mother ministered. After Simone died on April 21, 2003, she was memorialized at the same sanctuary.

3. SHE WAS BOOK SMART...

Simone, who graduated valedictorian of her high school class, studied at the prestigious Julliard School of Music for a brief period of time before applying to Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. Unfortunately, Simone was denied admission. For years, she maintained that her race was the reason behind the rejection. But a Curtis faculty member, Vladimir Sokoloff, has gone on record to say that her skin color wasn’t a factor. “It had nothing to do with her…background,” he said in 1992. But Simone ended up getting the last laugh: Two days before her death, the school awarded her an honorary degree.

4. ... WITH DEGREES TO PROVE IT.

Simone—who preferred to be called “doctor Nina Simone”—was also awarded two other honorary degrees, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Malcolm X College.

5. HER CAREER WAS ROOTED IN ACTIVISM.

A photo of Nina Simone circa 1969

Gerrit de Bruin

At the age of 12, Simone refused to play at a church revival because her parents had to sit at the back of the hall. From then on, Simone used her art to take a stand. Many of her songs in the '60s, including “Mississippi Goddamn,” “Why (The King of Love Is Dead),” and “Young, Gifted and Black,” addressed the rampant racial injustices of that era.

Unfortunately, her activism wasn't always welcome. Her popularity diminished; venues didn’t invite her to perform, and radio stations didn’t play her songs. But she pressed on—even after the Civil Rights Movement. In 1997, Simone told Interview Magazine that she addressed her songs to the third world. In her own words: “I’m a real rebel with a cause.”

6. ONE OF HER MOST FAMOUS SONGS WAS BANNED.

Mississippi Goddam,” her 1964 anthem, only took her 20 minutes to an hour to write, according to legend—but it made an impact that still stands the test of time. When she wrote it, Simone had been fed up with the country’s racial unrest. Medger Evers, a Mississippi-born civil rights activist, was assassinated in his home state in 1963. That same year, the Ku Klux Klan bombed a Birmingham Baptist church and as a result, four young black girls were killed. Simone took to her notebook and piano to express her sentiments.

“Alabama's gotten me so upset/Tennessee made me lose my rest/And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam,” she sang.

Some say that the song was banned in Southern radio stations because “goddam” was in the title. But others argue that the subject matter is what caused the stations to return the records cracked in half.

7. SHE NEVER HAD A NUMBER ONE HIT.

Nina Simone released over 40 albums during her decades-spanning career including studio albums, live versions, and compilations, and scored 15 Grammy nominations. But her highest-charting (and her first) hit, “I Loves You, Porgy,” peaked at #2 on the U.S. R&B charts in 1959. Still, her music would go on to influence legendary singers like Roberta Flack and Aretha Franklin.

8. SHE USED HER STYLE TO MAKE A STATEMENT.

Head wraps, bold jewelry, and floor-skimming sheaths were all part of Simone’s stylish rotation. In 1967, she wore the same black crochet fishnet jumpsuit with flesh-colored lining for the entire year. Not only did it give off the illusion of her being naked, but “I wanted people to remember me looking a certain way,” she said. “It made it easier for me.”

9. SHE HAD MANY HOMES.

New York City, Liberia, Barbados, England, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands were all places that Simone called home. She died at her home in Southern France, and her ashes were scattered in several African countries.

10. SHE HAD A FAMOUS INNER CIRCLE.

During the late '60s, Simone and her second husband Andrew Stroud lived next to Malcolm X and his family in Mount Vernon, New York. He wasn't her only famous pal. Simone was very close with playwright Lorraine Hansberry. After Hansberry’s death, Simone penned “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” in her honor, a tribute to Hansberry's play of the same title. Simone even struck up a brief friendship with David Bowie in the mid-1970s, who called her every night for a month to offer his advice and support.

11. YOU CAN STILL VISIT SIMONE IN HER HOMETOWN.

Photo of Nina Simone
Amazing Nina Documentary Film, LLC, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

In 2010, an 8-foot sculpture of Eunice Waymon was erected in her hometown of Tryon, North Carolina. Her likeness stands tall in Nina Simone Plaza, where she’s seated and playing an eternal song on a keyboard that floats in midair. Her daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, gave sculptor Zenos Frudakis some of Simone’s ashes to weld into the sculpture’s bronze heart. "It's not something very often done, but I thought it was part of the idea of bringing her home," Frudakis said.

12. YOU'VE PROBABLY HEARD HER MUSIC IN RECENT HITS.

Rihanna sang a few verses of Simone’s “Do What You Gotta Do” on Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo. He’s clearly a superfan: “Blood on the Leaves” and his duet with Jay Z, “New Day,” feature Simone samples as well, along with Lil’ Wayne’s “Dontgetit,” Common’s “Misunderstood” and a host of other tracks.

13. HER MUSIC IS STILL BEING PERFORMED.

Nina Revisited… A Tribute to Nina Simone was released along with the Netflix documentary in 2015. On the album, Lauryn Hill, Jazmine Sullivan, Usher, Alice Smith, and more paid tribute to the legend by performing covers of 16 of her most famous tracks.

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13 Secrets From the Guinness Archives
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Guinness has been a staple in Irish pubs for nearly 260 years. With so much history, it's no surprise that the Guinness Storehouse Archives—which are open to the public—are stuffed with intriguing artifacts that tell some pretty wild stories. Here are a few.

1. THE LEASE TO THE DUBLIN BREWERY WAS INTENDED TO LAST 9000 YEARS.

In 1759, founder Arthur Guinness signed a lease for a four-acre property at St. James’s Gate in Dublin. The lease required a down payment of £100, an annual rent of £45, and a term of 9000 years (not a typo). Such lengthy leases were relatively common back then: “At the time in Ireland, there was a lot of instability to do with land tenure,” explains Fergus Brady, Archives Manager at Guinness. Centuries earlier, the British had begun confiscating land from native Irish in an effort to build plantations, and extra-long leases were a means of avoiding this fate. As Brady explains, “You see these really long leases: 99-year or 999-year leases. It seemed to be a legal custom at the time that they used the number nine.”

2. ARTHUR GUINNESS WAS NOT AFRAID TO DEFEND HIS PROPERTY WITH A PICKAXE.

In 1775, the Dublin Corporation—that is, the city government—demanded that Arthur Guinness pay for the spring water flowing to his brewery. When Guinness argued that he was already paying for water rights through his 9000-year rental agreement, the Dublin Corporation sent a sheriff and a committee to his brewery to cut off the water supply. Guinness was livid. He seized a pickaxe and unleashed a torrent of obscenities so colorful that the Dublin Corporation’s goons eventually retreated.

3. GUINNESS ONCE DEPLOYED FIELD AGENTS TO CATCH COUNTERFEITERS.

Guinness Apology
Guinness Archive, Diageo Ireland

In the 19th century, there was no such thing as brand consistency. Guinness did not bottle its own beer; instead, it shipped the suds in wooden casks to publicans who supplied their own bottles and applied their own personalized labels. Occasionally, these publicans sold fake or adulterated Guinness. To prevent such sales, the company sent special agents called “travellers” into the field to collect beer samples, which it tested in a laboratory. “If a publican was found to be serving adulterated or counterfeit Guinness, they had to give a public apology in their local newspaper—and even the national newspapers,” archivist Jessica Handy says.

4. FOR 21 YEARS, THE COMPANY HIRED A GUY TO TRAVEL THE WORLD AND DRINK BEER.

In 1899, Guinness hired an American ex-brewer named Arthur T. Shand to be a “Guinness World Traveller.” It was arguably the coolest job in the world. For 21 years, Shand traveled the world taste-testing beer. According to Brady, “His job was to travel the world and taste Guinness, say whether it was good or bad, who our bottlers in the market were, who our major competition was, what kind of people were drinking our product.” Shand traveled to Australia and New Zealand, to Southeast Asia and Egypt. “He was sort of a Guinness sommelier,” Brady says.

5. THE COMPANY'S HARP LOGO CAUSED TROUBLE WITH THE IRISH GOVERNMENT.

The Celtic harp—based on the 14th century “Brian Boru Harp” preserved at Trinity College—became a trademarked Guinness logo in 1876. Forty-five years later, when Ireland gained independence from England, the Irish Free State decided to use the same Celtic harp as its official state emblem. This became awkward. Guinness owned the trademark, and the Irish government was forced to search for a workaround. You can find their solution on an Irish Euro coin. Look at the coin, and you’ll notice that the harp’s straight edge faces the right; meanwhile, the harp on a glass of Guinness shows the straight edge facing left [PDF].

6. GUINNESS REPORTEDLY SAVED LIVES ON THE BATTLEFIELD.

The old slogan “Guinness is good for you” sounds like a marketing gimmick, but it was born out of a genuine belief that the beer was, in fact, a restorative tonic. The health claim dates back to 1815, when an ailing cavalry officer wounded at the Battle of Waterloo reportedly credited Guinness for his recovery. For decades, the medical community widely claimed that the dark beer possessed real health benefits—and they weren’t necessarily wrong. “There was little safe drinking water at the time,” Handy says. “But with brewing, consumers knew they were getting a safe beverage.”

7. THE COMPANY CREATED A SPECIAL RECIPE FOR CONVALESCENTS.

A label for Guinness invalid stout
Guinness Archive, Diageo Ireland

From the 1880s to the 1920s, Guinness produced a special “Nourishing Export Stout”—a.k.a. “Invalid Stout”—that contained extra sugars, alcohol, and solids and came in cute one-third pint bottles. “It was very common practice for people to buy a couple bottles and keep them as a tonic, even if it was just a glass or half a glass,” Handy says. In fact, Guinness went as far as asking general practitioners for testimonials attesting to the beer’s medical benefits. According to Brady, “Many of them wrote back and said yes, we prescribe this for various ailments.” One doctor even claimed a pint was “as nourishing as a glass of milk.”

8. DOCTORS REGULARLY PRESCRIBED THE BEER TO NURSING MOTHERS.

From the 1880s to the 1930s, many physicians believed Guinness was an effective galactagogue—that is, a lactation aid. The company sent bottles to hospitals as well as wax cartons of yeast (which supposedly helped skin problems and migraines). Hundreds, possibly thousands, of doctors prescribed the beer for ailments such as influenza, insomnia, and anxiety, David Hughes writes in A Bottle of Guinness Please: The Colourful History of Guinness. According to Brady, the company was sending beer to hospitals as late as the 1970s.

9. THE COMPANY ONCE DROPPED 200,000 MESSAGES-IN-A-BOTTLE INTO THE OCEAN.

A Guinness message in a bottle
The message within every bottle dropped in the Atlantic Ocean in 1959.
Guinness Archive, Diageo Ireland

In 1954, Guinness dumped 50,000 messages-in-a-bottle in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. In 1959, they repeated the stunt again, with 38 ships dropping 150,000 bottles in the Atlantic. The first bottle was discovered in the Azores off Portugal just three months after the initial drop [PDF]. Since then, the bottles have turned up in California, New Zealand, and South Africa. Just last year, a bottle was discovered in Nova Scotia. (If you find one, you just might be offered a trip to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.)

10. THE PERSONNEL FILES IN THE GUINNESS ARCHIVES CONTAIN SOME DOOZIES.

The Guinness corporate archives are open to the public. According to Handy, “Some of the stories you get in there are amazing, because you get accident reports and you get crazy stories of people bouncing on bags of hops outside the brewery." This may sound less surprising considering that, back in the day, Guinness employees were given an allowance of two pints of beer every day [PDF].

11. A GUINNESS SCIENTIST MADE A STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT MARK IN THE FIELD OF STATISTICS.

If you’ve taken a statistics class, you might be familiar with the Student’s t-test or the t-statistic. (It’s a method of working with a small sample size when the standard deviation is unknown.) The t-test was first described by William S. Gosset, a brewer and statistician at Guinness who was attempting to analyze a small sample of malt extract. Gosset’s discovery not only helped Guinness create a more consistent-tasting beer, it would lay the bedrock for one of the most important concepts in statistics: statistical significance.

12. GUINNESS IS SO BIG IN AFRICA, IT LAUNCHED A SUCCESSFUL FEATURE-LENGTH FILM.

Guinness began exporting beer to Africa in 1827. In the 1960s, it opened a brewery in Nigeria—followed by Cameroon and Ghana. Today, there are reportedly more Guinness drinkers in Nigeria than there are in Ireland. “In Ireland, England, and the United States, everybody thinks that Guinness is synonymous with Ireland,” Brady says. “But in Nigeria, there’s a very very low conception of that.” The beer is such a cultural staple that a fictional character who advertised the product named Michael Power—a James Bond-like, crime-fighting journalist—became the star of a feature film in 2003 called Critical Assignment, which was a box office smash. (Of course, there’s some branding built into the script. As Brady explains, “There are definitely scenes where Michael Power is enjoying a pint of Guinness.”)

13. DISPENSING BEER WITH NITROGEN WAS ORIGINALLY CONSIDERED LAUGHABLE.

In the 1950s, Guinness scientist Michael Ash was tasked with solving the “draft problem.” At the time, dispensing a draft pint of Guinness was ridiculously complicated, and the company was losing market share to draft lagers in Britain that could be easily dispensed with CO2. “The stout was too lively to be dispensed with CO2 only,” Brady says. “Ash worked on the problem for four years, working long hours day or night, and became a bit of a recluse apparently. A lot of doubters at the brewery called the project ‘daft Guinness.’” But then Ash attempted dispensing the beer with plain air. It worked. The secret ingredient, Ash discovered, was nitrogen. The air we breathe is 78 percent nitrogen. Today, a Guinness draft contains 75 percent nitrogen. Not only did the discovery make dispensing the beer easier, it created a creamy mouthfeel that’s been the signature of Irish stouts since.

Full disclosure: Guinness paid for the author to attend an International Stout Day festival in 2017, which provided the opportunity to speak to their archivists.

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