Canadian Stories


Adolphe Saalfeld


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adolphesaalfeld.jpgAdolphe Saalfeld was a 47-year-old chemist/distiller and a wealthy businessman from Manchester. He boarded the Titanic in Southampton as a first class passenger. He was on his way to New York City to hopefully launch his own perfume business. He carried with him a leather case containing some 65 small glass vials filled with essential oils. He wrote letters to his wife about his experiences on the Titanic and mailed them in Queenstown (the last stop before the Titanic headed out to sea).

When the Titanic hit the iceberg he was able to board one of the first lifeboats that were leaving the ship half- full and he survived. The loss of his precious perfume vials were also the loss of his dreams. When he returned to Manchester he went back to work as a chemist, but never tried to start his own business again. As a male survivor he was shunned by polite society. He aged very quickly and died in 1926.

When his great-great niece, Toronto architect/filmmaker Astra Burka, heard about the discovery of the perfume vials by RMS Titanic in 2000 she was intrigued by the story and decided to make a film tribute to her uncle. It is called "My Titanic Uncle" and is available on the Bravo! website.

Watch My Titanic Uncle.

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