Guglielmo Marconi – the father of long distance radio transmission, developer of radio telegraph system and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics in 1909 was offered a free passage on Titanic which floated off on Wednesday 10 April 1912. But he had something to finish and needed to have a stenographer along with him. So, instead he took Lusitania – just 3 days earlier.
In those days Lusitania would sail out of Liverpool while Titanic was to sail out of Southampton. What is most interesting is that Marconi became a hero as his invention of wireless helped save many lives as it enabled the message of the disaster to be communicated and help was summoned .
He dodged death again when he had just taken the voyage on Lusitania in April 1915 – and the next time Lusitania sailed in May, it was sunk by German U-boat! Quite a lucky guy.
Another lucky guy who missed Titanic was the founder of Hershey’s chocolates Milton Snavely Hershey. He was spending his winters in France and was planning to travel back on Titanic in one of its state rooms. So, he actually paid 10% deposit ($300) to the White Star Line. However, an emergency at home in his company beckoned him and he also left earlier than scheduled! The $300 check still lies in the Hershey’s Community archives. Interesting, the ship he was on German liner Amerika was one of ships to have warned Titanic of ice in its path, which were apparently ignored!
One guy – Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt – who was the heir of the multi-million dollar Vanderbilt business empire was returning from his European trip and for some reason cancelled his trip at the very last moment. So late, it is said, that some papers even included his name in the missing people! Three years later, however, unlike Marconi, Lusitania got him and he perished in that disaster.
How press got the story out – differing versions!