A musical toy pig which was saved from the sinking Titanic has been repaired, enabling it to play its now haunting melody for the first time in 101 years.
The pig belonged to American journalist Edith Rosenbaum, aged 32 at the time of the tragedy, and accompanied her into a crowded lifeboat after the doomed vessel struck an iceberg on April 15, 1912.
Rosenbaum and her pig spent seven hours drifting in the icy waters as they awaited rescue, a National Martime Museum blog revealed.
She comforted children on board with the tune, in an attempt to distract them from the cries of the dying that surrounded them.
While Rosenbaum (who later changed her name to Russell) survived, the pig’s mechanism did not.
Yet on Wednesday the museum announced the pig had been repaired and its tune had been played for the first time in living memory.
Nikon Metrology’s x-ray computed tomography enabled staff to look inside the toy and study its musical innards. The scan also revealed the pig’s tail – believed lost – was actually stuffed inside itself.
Rory McEvoy, a curator at the museum, told The Telegraph: “The tune came out beautifully. It was quite unbelievable and very emotive. There are a few notes missing, because a couple of the comb teeth are adrift, but otherwise, the song was as clear as it ever was. Listening to it for the first time had a powerful impact.”
The museum is now appealing for help in identifying the tune – with suggestions so far leaning towards the Maxixe, an accompaniment to a Brazilian dance. Do you know what tune the pig plays? Tell us in the comments below
In 1934 Rosenbaum gave an account of her rescue from the Titanic, and explained the significance of the toy pig, gifted to her as a lucky charm after she survived a near fatal car accident.
After sending her room steward “Wareham” back to her room for the mascot, she prepared to board a lifeboat.
"One of the sailors, grabbed my toy pig mascot from under my arm, and, throwing it into the life boat said, 'Well, at least we will save your baby,' mistaking my toy pig [wrapped in a blanket] for a baby. I felt that I had to follow my mascot, as my mother told me never to be without it, and I turned helplessly to a man who stood beside me. He said 'Madam, if you will put one foot on my knee, and your arm around my neck, I will lift you to the rail, and from there you can jump into the lifeboat with less danger, and you will be less frightened.'
"The gentleman helped me, immediately following; both of us falling into the bottom of the life boat. I remember groping about, hunting for my little pig which I eventually found.
"There were 68 of us in our life boat. Some of the people were very sea sick, and the babies were perpetually crying. I played my little musical pig to amuse them."
More than 1,500 passengers and crew died when the ship sank after hitting an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.
The ship's wreck still rests at the bottom of the ocean, at a depth of 12,500 feet.
In this April 10, 1912 file photo, the liner Titanic leaves Southampton, England on her maiden voyage to New York City.
Five days into her journey, the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,500 people.
The Titanic leaves on her maiden voyage in this 1912 file photo.
In this April 1912 file photo, crowds gather around the bulletin board of the New York American newspaper in New York, where the names of people rescued from the sinking Titanic are displayed.
As a 2-month-old baby, Millvina Dean was wrapped in a sack and lowered into a lifeboat from the deck of the sinking RMS Titanic. Dean died in 2009.
This is an undated photo showing the bow of the Titanic at rest on the bottom of the North Atlantic, about 400 miles southeast of Newfoundland.
This April 2, 2010 image provided by RMS Titanic, Inc., shows the bow of the RMS Titanic on the ocean floor during an expeditions to the site of the tragedy.
"Rust sickles," icicle-like structures of rust show the effect the years, underwater, have had as they obscure two portholes of the R.M.S. Titanic.
This is a view looking down on the deck of the R.M.S. Titanic between the number 2 and number 3 stack where the deck suddenly hinges downward at right towards the tear, at which point the stern separated from the rest of the ship.
Large icicle-like structures hang from the side of the Titanic.
Pipes and the captain's bathtub are shown in this July 2003 photo, of what remains of the captain's cabin on the Titanic more than two miles underwater in the north Atlantic.
Plaques left behind by visiting expeditions, seen in this July 2003 photo, are positioned near the telemotor on the deck of the Titanic more than two miles underwater in the north Atlantic.
The giant propeller of the sunken Titanic lies on the floor of the North Atlantic in this undated photo. The propeller and other portions of the famed ship were viewed by the first tourists to visit the wreck site in September 1998.
This September 12, 2008 image provided by RMS Titanic, Inc., shows one of the propellers of the RMS Titanic on the ocean floor during an expedition to the site of the tragedy.
This September 1, 2009 image provided by RMS Titanic, Inc., shows a ships telegraph from the Titanic on the ocean floor during an expeditions to the site of the tragedy.
These lifeboat cranes were used to hoist the ship's wooden lifeboats over the side and into the water during Titanic's sinking. Many of the boats launched soon after the sinking were not close to full, as passengers refused to believe the seriousness of the situation.
Debris litters the hull of the Titanic's stern, peeled outward by the force of the great ship's destruction.
Dr. Robert Ballard, best known for his discovery of the Titanic, is speaks at the Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration in Mystic, Conn. in 2004.
A bollard is illuminated by Alvin on the submerged hull of the sunken Titanic in 1986. Alvin is a manned submersible vehicle used during the exploration of the wreckage.
These portholes on a portion of the ship's hull looked into first class cabins on Titanic's C deck are a part of the "Titanic:The Artifact Exhibition" at the Metreon in San Francisco.
A gold plated Waltham American pocket watch, the property of Carl Asplund, is seen in front of a modern water colour painting of the Titanic by CJ Ashford at Henry Aldridge and Son auctioneers in Devizes, Wiltshire, England Thursday, April 3, 2008.
A girl plays next to a monument for the Irish immigrants to the United States, as she and her family waits in Cobh, Ireland, to greet disembarking passengers of the MS Balmoral Titanic memorial cruise ship at its first stop, Monday, April 9, 2012.
A cruise carrying relatives of some of the more than 1,500 people who died aboard the Titanic nearly 100 years ago set sail from England on April 8, 2012 to retrace the ship's voyage, including a visit to the location where it sank.
Wearing period costumes, Bpassenger Jacki Free holds her daughter, name not given, as the MS Balmoral Titanic memorial cruise ship sails from Southampton, England.
Carl Grant, 11, raises his hat to the media as people gather at Belfast Lough, Northern Ireland to a attend a religious service at the exact spot were the Titanic was launched 100 years ago.