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.