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History of Airships and Balloons

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The Zeppelin - Rigid Framed Airships - Ferdinand Zeppelin
History of Airships and Balloons

Patent Drawing #621195 Navigable Balloon March 14, 1899 Ferdinand von Zeppelin

Zeppelin was the name given to the duralumin-internal-framed dirigibles invented by the persistent Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin.

The first rigid framed airship flew on November 3, 1897 and was designed by David Schwarz, a timber merchant. Its skeleton and outer cover were made of aluminum. Powered by a 12-horsepower Daimler gas engine connected to three propellers, it lifted off successfully in a tethered test at Templehof near Berlin, Germany, however, the airship crashed.

Ferdinand Zeppelin 1838-1917

In 1900, German military officer, Ferdinand Zeppelin invented a rigid framed dirigible or airship that became known as the Zeppelin. Zeppelin flew the world's first untethered rigid airship, the LZ-1, on July 2, 1900, near Lake Constance in Germany, carrying five passengers.

The cloth-covered dirigible, which was the prototype of many subsequent models, had an aluminum structure, seventeen hydrogen cells, and two 15-horsepower Daimler internal combustion engines, each turning two propellers. It was about 420 feet long and 38 feet in diameter. During its first flight, it flew about 3.7 miles in 17 minutes and reached a height of 1,300 feet.

In 1908, Ferdinand Zeppelin established the Friederichshafen (The Zeppelin Foundation) for the development of aerial navigation and the manufacture of airships.

Ferdinand Zeppelin

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