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Title: Zeppelin - The Story of a Great Achievement
Author: Vissering, Harry
Language: English
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    [Illustration: COUNT ZEPPELIN



                    The Story of a Great Achievement

For the great vision and unfaltering devotion to an idea that gave the
rigid airship to the world, this compilation is my humble tribute to the
memory of Count Zeppelin.

                                        [Signature: Harry Vissering]

                                              Chicago, August, 1922

                             Copyright 1922
                           by Harry Vissering

                   All rights reserved including that
                 of translation into foreign languages.


    “_The forces of nature cannot be eliminated but they may be
    balanced one against the other._”

                   _Count Zeppelin, Friedrichshafen, May 1914._]

“The savage can fasten only a dozen pounds on his back and swim the
river. When he makes an axe, fells a tree, and builds a raft, he can
carry many times a dozen pounds. As soon as he learns to rip logs into
boards and build a boat, he multiplies his power a hundredfold; and when
to this he adds modern sciences he can produce the monster steel
leviathans that defy wind, storm and distance, and bear to the uttermost
parts of the earth burdens a millionfold greater than the savage could
carry across the narrow river.”

                                                —_Horace Mann_


     “Of all inventions, the alphabet and the printing press alone
     excepted, those inventions which abridge distance have done
     most for civilization.”


The economic value of the fast transportation of passengers, mail and
express matter has been well proven. The existing high speed railway
trains and ocean liners are the result of the ever increasing demand for
rapid communication both on land and water.

Saving in time is the great essential. The maximum surface speed has
apparently been attained. The railways and steamships of today, while
indeed fast, have reached their economical limit of speed and it is not
to be expected that they will be able, because of the enormous
additional cost of operation involved, to attain much greater speeds.

The large Zeppelin Airship supplies the demand for a much faster, more
luxurious, more comfortable and more safe long distance transportation.
It is not restricted by the geographical limitations of the railway and
the steamship. _A Zeppelin can go anywhere_, in fact the cruising radius
of a Zeppelin is only limited by the size of the ship and the amount of
fuel it can carry.

Zeppelins, only slightly larger than those actually flown during the
last few months of the war, are capable of safely and quickly making a
non-stop flight from Berlin to Chicago and from New York to Paris in 56
hours, carrying 100 passengers and in addition 12 tons of mail or
express matter.

In November, 1917, the Zeppelin L-59 made a non-stop flight from Jambol,
Bulgaria, to a point just west of Khartum in Africa and return to Jambol
in 95 hours (4 days) covering a distance of 4225 miles and carrying more
than 14 tons of freight besides a crew of 22, which performance remains
a world’s record for all kinds of aircraft, airship or aeroplane.

In July, 1919, the British Rigid Airship R-34 (copy of the Zeppelin L-33
brought down in England) crossed the Atlantic in 103 hours and after
being refueled at New York returned home in 75 hours.

    [Illustration: Count Zeppelin, Doctor Eckener and Capt.
    Strasser (Chief of Naval Air Service). On the occasion of the
    last visit of the Count to the Airship Harbor at Nordholz.]

    [Illustration: Dr. Ing. Ludwig Dürr, Chief Engineer. Who was
    associated with Count Zeppelin from the start.]

The German Airship Transportation Company—DELAG—(a Zeppelin subsidiary)
during a period of three years just before the war, 1911-14, carried
34,228 passengers without a single injury to either passengers or crews,
and after the war, from August 24th to December 1st, 1919, by means of
the improved Zeppelin “Bodensee” carried 2,380 passengers, 11,000 pounds
of mail (440,000 letters), and 6,600 pounds of express matter, exclusive
of crews, between Friedrichshafen (Swiss frontier) and Berlin under
unfavorable weather and terminal conditions, besides a flight from
Berlin to Stockholm and return.

The U. S. Government has concluded arrangements (June, 1922) with the
Allied Powers whereby the U. S. Navy will receive a modern Zeppelin as a
part of America’s share of the aerial reparations.

This new Zeppelin will embody the very latest improvements in airship
design and will be delivered by being flown from Berlin across the
Atlantic to the Navy’s Airship Harbor at Lakehurst, New Jersey. It will
be built by Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin (Zeppelin Airship Building Co.,
Ltd.), at their Friedrichshafen Works and will be a 70,000 cubic meter
(2,400,000 cu. ft.) gas capacity commercial type, as it is intended that
it will be flown in the United States to demonstrate the safety and
practicability of long distance airship-transport. It will be delivered
by a Zeppelin crew. The arrival in the United States of this strictly
modern Zeppelin will no doubt create a wonderful interest as the
American people have never seen a real Zeppelin and it will give a great
impetus to airship activities throughout the world.

The U. S. Navy are building at Lakehurst, N. J., the ZR-1 modeled after
the Zeppelin L-49. The ZR-1 will be of 55,000 cubic meters (1,940,000
cu. ft.) gas capacity and is intended for use as an experimental and
training ship.

Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin is building (August, 1922) at Friedrichshafen a
Zeppelin of 30,000 cubic meters (1,059,000 cu. ft.) gas capacity to be
used for experimental and training purposes. It will be finished in the
winter of 1922-23 and in time to take advantage of some of the worst of
winter weather conditions for experiments having to do with airship
navigation under the extremes of weather and temperature.

Considerable of the information contained in these pages has been
furnished by Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin for which the author is greatly
indebted to them.


    [PLATE 1: Zeppelin “LZ-1” First Ascent July 2nd, 1900.

    Count Zeppelin’s First Floating Shed on Lake Constance
    (Bodensee) and the Zeppelin “LZ-1”, July 1900.]


Zeppelin and His Airships

Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin was born at Constance on Lake Constance
(Bodensee), Germany, July 8th, 1838. His boyhood was not unlike that of
others in Central Europe; and, as a matter of course, young Zeppelin was
enrolled at a military school at Ludwigsburg, from which he in due time
graduated into a lieutenancy in the Wurttemberg Army, but he was not
particularly enthralled with the quiet life of a garrison in peace time.
His creative faculties demanded something more of life than the routine
of inspections, drills and dress parades. When he died on March 8, 1917,
in Berlin, the whole world mourned the loss of one whose genius and
vision had developed the rigid airship into a practical vehicle of the
sky, proved of inestimable value in peace and war. Zeppelin had lived to
see _more than a hundred rigid airships built_ from his designs and
under his personal supervision. And so completely was his personality
interwoven with the creation of these aerial giants that throughout the
world all dirigible lighter-than-air craft are looked upon as the noted
Zeppelins, and are referred to as such. It is an unconscious but none
the less fitting tribute to the man who, starting when he was past the
half century mark, has made possible the greatest of all vehicles for us
to use in our new dominion—the air.

An Officer in the American Union Army

    [PLATE 2: Zeppelin “LZ-3” Over Count Zeppelin’s First Floating
    Shed October 1906.

    Zeppelin “LZ-3” in First Temporary Land Shed.

    Which was erected and used while the new double shed, completed
    in 1908, was being built at Friedrichshafen.]

Here in America the Civil War was attracting the adventurous from all
parts of the world and shortly after it started, Zeppelin came over to
join the Union Army as a volunteer officer and thus to add to his
military education, but Zeppelin was not only the officer. He loved to
roam in out of the way places and whenever opportunity afforded he
organized hunting parties and went off on long sojourns in the then
sparsely inhabited regions of the Mississippi Valley. Here he played the
explorer and wrote letters back home dwelling on the pleasures of
exploration and the possibilities in store for him who could invent
something that would take one to the far and inaccessible parts of the

Zeppelin’s First Rigid Design

His impressions gained during the American Civil War, where he had the
opportunity of making captive balloon ascensions, and also in the
Franco-German War where he had the opportunity of watching the numerous
balloons leaving Paris during the siege, no doubt, first originated in
Zeppelin’s mind the thought of developing a large rigid airship. In
fact, as early as 1873 he designed a large rigid airship, sub-divided
into single compartments and he emphasized the importance of such
aircraft for long distance transportation in order to help in the
civilization of mankind.

In 1887 Zeppelin submitted a memorandum to the King of Wurttemberg in
which he explained in detail the requirements of a really successful
airship and stated many reasons why such airships ought to be large and
of rigid construction. However, nothing of importance was actually
accomplished until he resigned as a General in 1891 in order to give his
full time to his invention.

    [PLATE 3: Zeppelin “LZ-4” Starting From the Floating Shed on a
    Twenty-four Hour Flight, June 1908.

    Count Zeppelin’s Second Floating Shed With Zeppelin “LZ-5”.
    Lake Constance (Bodensee) 1908.]

In 1894 at the age of 56 years, with the assistance of an Engineer,
Kober, he had completed the design of a rigid airship, and the modern
rigid airship of today is not essentially different from Zeppelin’s
first design. He submitted these designs to a special committee that had
been appointed by the most famous of the German scientific authorities
and was greatly disappointed over the decision of the committee which,
although they could not find any essential faults in the Count’s
design, could not recommend that an airship be built in accordance with
Zeppelin’s plans. Admitting that he was not the first to conceive the
idea of rigid airships, Count Zeppelin, however, insisted that he had
arrived at new principles and that these principles were sound. There
had been several attempts to build rigids, but there always had been too
much weight of the necessarily voluminous framework, which so anchored
the craft with its own weight that it could not lift itself. The
discovery of aluminum made this problem less difficult, however, and
many models were designed with the framework of this light material.

Two years after Count Zeppelin had completed his first designs and while
he was still endeavoring to arouse enough interest to warrant the
construction of a rigid ship, an aluminum framework rigid ship was built
by another group near Berlin. This ship was of approximately 150 feet in
length, but of an essentially different design from Zeppelin’s. The
outer cover was made of metal. On its first trial flight it was
compelled to land, due to engine trouble and the fact that the framework
of the ship was not strong enough to stand the stresses of the landing,
caused it to go to pieces and this failure was quickly seized upon by
the then existing adversaries of the rigid airship as an argument
against the construction of rigid airships with a metal framework. This
was unfortunate to the cause of rigid airships, because while Zeppelin
had not been identified with that attempt, all experimenters were
included in the popular condemnation.

Zeppelin’s improvements were beginning to be recognized and admitted,
but the money necessary for the development was not forthcoming.

Financing the First Zeppelin Company

    [PLATE 4: Zeppelin “LZ-5” On an Excursion With Members of the
    German Parliament Aboard. Autumn 1908.

    Zeppelin “LZ-6” and “Deutschland” in the First Double Shed at

Zeppelin, in spite of many difficulties, succeeded in enlisting the
necessary private capital and in 1898 organized a stock company
(Aktiengesellschaft zur Foerderung der Motorluftschiffahrt) to promote
motor airship flights. It had a paid in capital of one million marks

With his characteristic sound judgment and thoroughness of purpose,
Count Zeppelin chose the Lake Constance (Bodensee) country for his
initial efforts. He had known the lake and local weather conditions from
boyhood and was convinced that the smooth ample surface of this
beautiful lake offered the best facilities for the handling, starting
and landing of these extremely large craft, though it was not long
before enough had been learned to alight with them on land.

Now the giant Zeppelins can land at will with perfect safety on either
land or water.

Today Lake Constance is recognized as the best place in the world for
the training of airship personnel.

The eyes of the entire aeronautical world were focused on the floating
airship shed (Plate 1), which Count Zeppelin built and anchored in a bay
close to his workshops at Manzell, near Friedrichshafen. During the
months that he was making the parts in the shop and assembling his ship
in the shed, there was much speculation as to its appearance. It was
generally thought by others who had experimented with aircraft that
Zeppelin had some very laudable ideas, but as a rule persons were
skeptical concerning his ability to produce a practical machine.
Interest increased and when he announced that he would fly on July 2nd,
1900, all those interested in aeronautics, who could make the trip, came
to Friedrichshafen and for several days before the flight delivered
professional opinions predicting failure.

The First Zeppelin Flight

    [PLATE 5: Zeppelin “Deutschland” of the “DELAG”, 1910. The
    First Passenger Carrying Airship.

    Zeppelin “Schwaben” Second Passenger Ship of the “DELAG”,

They solemnly averred that the airship would bend with the weight of the
gondolas under its ends. They said if it bent, the engines and
steering apparatus would not function. Further, they feared the ship
would keel over in mid-air because, and they backed this assumption with
figures and formulas based on their professional engineering knowledge
and technique, as they pointed out, the center of gravity was too high.
Then again the motors would surely explode the ship because the gondolas
which held them were too close to the body. All expected Zeppelin to
fail, and they were on hand as witnesses when first the big cigar shaped
bag was floated out of its shed (Plate 1).

It was a huge thing in those days, 419.8 feet long (128 meters), with a
diameter of 38.3 feet (11.7 meters). It was made up of an immense
aluminum framework including 24 longitudinal girders running from nose
to tail and drawn together at the ends. Joining the girders were 16
rings, (reinforced with diagonal wires), formed of transverse girders,
which held the body together. On the bottom side of the body was fixed a
bridge-like construction which strengthened the framework sideways and
attached to it were two motor gondolas.

Over this vast framework Zeppelin had stretched an envelope of smooth
cotton cloth, to lessen the friction through the air and to protect the
gas bags from the direct rays of the sun. There were 16 single gas cells
made of rubberized balloon cloth placed inside the framework. All were
equipped with safety valves and several were provided with maneuvering
valves. All together they contained 388,410 cubic feet (11,000 cubic
meters) of hydrogen gas, which Zeppelin was confident would lift 24,450
pounds (12,000 kilograms).

    [PLATE 6: Zeppelin “L-1”. The First Naval Airship, 1912.

    Zeppelin “L-2”. The Second Naval Airship, 1913.]

Immediately after the ship had been floated from the hangar Zeppelin
permitted it to rise off the pontoons on which it had rested and the
first successful rigid airship flight was an accomplished fact. He nosed
his craft up through the air, the two 16 horsepower motors sending it
along slowly at 13.5 miles per hour (6 meters per second).
Notwithstanding this low speed the craft responded to the controls and
Zeppelin a few minutes later demonstrated that he could alight safely as
well as take off.

The First Company Dissolved Through Lack of Funds

Zeppelin made three flights with his first airship, on the third making
17.8 miles per hour (8 meters per second) but the funds had become
exhausted and overtures to the Government and industrial concerns
failing, he dissolved the stock company and began anew his struggle for
capital. Somehow or other people were not interested in aerial
navigation. They were less willing to invest their resources in
experimental machines. For five years Zeppelin labored tirelessly to
make persons believe in his project. He personally traveled the length
and breadth of the land endeavoring to show that this was an enterprise
so stupendous in its possibilities and importance to the world that it
should be substantially endorsed.

Assisted by the King of Wurttemberg

It was not until 1905 that King William of Wurttemberg having supplied
the funds and an aluminum manufacturer having lent him sufficient
material for another frame that Zeppelin, now 67 years old, was able to
start work on his second rigid airship. He completed it that fall after
working incessantly day and night, making important changes over the
first design, strengthening and at the same time lightening the
framework and adding considerably to the efficiency of the steering
apparatus. Motors also had been developing during that period and he was
able to find two 85 horsepower motors for his power plants.

    [PLATE 7: Zeppelin “L-2”. Interior View showing Internal
    Corridor Construction. Gas Bags Not Inflated. 1912-1913.]

And then, as the ship was being taken out of the hangar the first time,
the forward steering gear broken, and the craft was literally driven by
the wind the entire length of Lake Constance, not stopping till it was
brought up against the Swiss shore, whence with much difficulty it was
returned to the workshops and repaired.

The next time he flew, Zeppelin took the ship to a height of 1640 feet
(500 meters) over the lake before motor trouble developed and he was
forced to land at Allgau. Though he had no assistance aside from his
crew and had made no preparations the inventor was successful in
landing; and he moored her there in an open field for the night while
repairing the motors. Before they could be started again a winter storm
swept against the craft and it was so badly damaged that Count Zeppelin
with a heavy heart was forced to give orders to dismantle it.

Handicapped by Motor Trouble

There was world-wide comment over the accident which was not due to
structural defect or design. Zeppelin explained that he could have
survived the storm had he been able to keep his motors running. But
everybody thought his dream was shattered, one more glorious failure.
But Zeppelin did not agree with public sentiment. The following April he
commenced his third ship, throwing into the venture his last resources
along with all the enthusiasm and confidence of youth. It was this that
enabled him to announce its completion in October 1906. It was exactly
like the one destroyed at Allgau except for the stabilizers at the stern
which had been added to permit of smooth flying (Plate 2).

Successful Trials with the Third Zeppelin

Experiments with this craft were immediately successful. Zeppelin guided
it over the lake between three and four hours in a single flight, making
wide circles and maneuvering under absolute control, remarkable in view
of its size. The ship also showed superior speed, making 28.8 miles per
hour (13 meters per second).

    [PLATE 8: Zeppelin “L-3” Naval Airship, 1914.

    Zeppelin “L-11” Naval Airship, 1915.]

This ship brought Zeppelin and his assistants their first public
recognition. The German Government offered the inventor a new floating
shed (Plate 3), larger than the old one, which would enable him to
improve his craft and enlarge them. To him this was the most essential.
He more than any other apparently realized that he must increase their
size to develop practical weight lifting capacity.

The Government Becomes Interested

Meanwhile he continued his demonstration flights with his third ship,
culminating on October 1st, 1907, in a brilliant 8 hour flight of more
than 218.5 miles (350 kilometers). Thereupon the Government officials
declared their willingness to take over Count Zeppelin’s ships if they
fulfilled certain requirements, among them a twenty-four hour flight.
Early the next summer Zeppelin took out another new ship, LZ-4 (Plate
3), somewhat larger than its predecessors, holding 529,650 cubic feet
(15,000 cubic meters) of hydrogen. This increased size gave it a
carrying capacity of 37,478 pounds (17,000 kilograms) which, with
increased motor power—each engine estimated at approximately 100
horsepower—made it a practical weight carrying and speedy craft. Count
Zeppelin with an eye to the passenger and military possibilities had
also built into the forward part of the hull, on top, an observation
platform. It marked the beginning of refinement in design and
conveniences which has been continued unceasingly. Here was an airship
which Zeppelin felt worthy of demonstrating to the public at large.

Zeppelins for Commerce and War

His great flight on July 1st, 1908, was as successful as it surely was
daring for he took the new rigid up over the Swiss Alps to Lucerne and
back again.

    [PLATE 9: Zeppelin “L-13” Naval Airship Leaving Friedrichshafen
    for Its North Sea Base, 1915.

    Zeppelin “L-30” Naval Airship, 1916.]

The world was astounded, particularly his contemporaries, a majority of
whom unhesitatingly flooded the grand old man with enthusiastic
messages of congratulation. Just as he had worked so devotedly to
bringing forth something in which the German people could have faith, so
was his faith justified. The public was wildly enthusiastic. Everybody
was proud of the accomplishment on German soil and joyfully acclaimed
Zeppelin whose lone ideas were now the ideas of a nation. His triumph
was not only official but national. His vision was the vision of the
people and it was an accomplished fact.

Rarely had there been such national interest shown in any sort of
venture as that represented by the vast throngs that gathered from all
parts of the empire to witness the start of the official duration flight
on August 4th that year. Zeppelin planned to sail the ship down the
Rhine Valley toward Mainz and return. He got away on schedule and
disappeared in the soft haze, all Germany receiving reports of his
progress as the ship appeared for a few moments over a village and then
out of sight once more.

But disaster awaited the gallant ship. On the return flight motor
trouble caused a forced landing at Echterdingen near Stuttgart. A storm
blew up and the airship was torn from its moorings. As it was being
whirled into the air, the entire structure was suddenly enveloped in a
solid flame and Zeppelin a few moments later was gazing at the twisted
skeleton of his latest efforts.

The Zeppelin Endowment

    [PLATE 10: Zeppelin “L-43” Naval Airship, 1917. Showing Maybach
    Motor Works and Part of Friedrichshafen.

    Zeppelin “LZ-77” Army Airship, 1915.]

It was thought then that Zeppelin had built his last airship. He had
employed all his own personal resources in that venture, and though the
rigid had performed remarkably, even his closest friends could see
nothing but failure in further attempts to establish the new science.
But they were wrong. Zeppelin had been more successful than he realized.
His persistent efforts had continuously improved the rigid type. Each
flight was better and more efficient than the ones preceding it. All
this had been noted by the people. When it was learned that Count
Zeppelin had no funds with which to continue, a popular subscription
campaign was started in various sections, with the result that within a
few weeks 6,000,000 marks (approximately $1,500,000) had been
contributed and turned over to Zeppelin for him to use as he saw fit in
carrying on his experiments. Here indeed was recognition. For the money
had come from persons of high and low degree, from huts and palaces. The
Zeppelin fund was truly representative of the people. It made the shops
and hangar on Lake Constance a popular institution. For the first time
in his life the inventor found his airship enterprise on a firm
financial basis. With this foundation he was able to increase his shop
and laboratory facilities and make important changes in his
organization. Instead of being forced to produce something for
demonstration flights alone, he was able to concentrate on practical
development. His personnel was ably qualified for the new work. Many of
his assistants had been with him since the beginning. His progress had
been theirs in the new science of lighter-than-air engineering. Many of
these men are still with the Zeppelin organization which retains the
original name created by the popular support of the German people.

The Beginning of the Zeppelin Organization

With the 6,000,000 marks presented to him Count Zeppelin founded the
“Zeppelinstiftung zur Foerderung der Luftfahrt” (Zeppelin Endowment for
the Propagation of Air Navigation). This organization is the exclusive
shareholder of Luftschiffbau Zeppelin (the constructing company), and
through this controls the many subsidiary companies, each one producing
essential parts of the Zeppelin so that the entire organization is
practically independent of outside sources. The various organizations
have been added to and developed at intervals since the Zeppelin
Endowment was created in 1908. They are not only concerned with
producing airships and all their parts but with developing airplanes,
seaplanes and power plants, with the special machinery so important to
the success of the new aircraft which Zeppelin continuously produced and
which proved superior to other products, due in no small part to the
splendid organization developed by means of the popular fund, the
profits from which under the terms by which Count Zeppelin accepted it,
must continuously be thrown back into the treasury “to be used
exclusively for the propagation and development of air navigation.”

    [PLATE 11: Zeppelin “L-59” Naval Airship.

    Which made the still unbroken World’s Record Non-Stop Flight of
    4225 miles from Jambol in Bulgaria to just west of Khartum in
    Africa and back to Jambol, carrying 14 tons of freight in 95
    hours, November, 1917.

    Zeppelin “L-59” Engine. Telegraphs and Navigators Desk.

    Zeppelin “L-59” Elevator Rudders Control Stand and Altitude
    Navigation Instruments.]

When Count Zeppelin died in 1917 his assistants were placed under
obligations to carry on the work and administer the Zeppelin Endowment
according to the original terms which do not limit its activities to
national boundaries, but encourage the development of aerial navigation
throughout the world.

Early Development and Flights

Commencing in 1908 Zeppelin devoted his energies to perfecting aircraft.
There were many epoch making achievements, not only the record flights
and increasing efficiency and performance tests but continuous
discoveries and inventions no less important and significant because
they were for the time being accomplished within the walls of laboratory
and factory. They constitute one of the most remarkable chapters in this
age of mechanics and engineering, and are worthy of further explanation
later on.

    [PLATE 12: Route of the Zeppelin L-59]

One of the first flights, under the new organization, was that of the
new Zeppelin Z-1, April 1st, 1909, from Lake Constance to Munich. Before
it could land at Munich a heavy southwest wind pushed it back from the
field over which it hovered. The Commander decided to “weather the
storm” in the air; and for the first time in the history of aerial
navigation the airship remained aloft, her nose against the wind, her
motors turning over just enough to keep her in the same spot. Eleven
hours later the Z-1 was still up but shortly afterward signalled that
she was being forced to land because her fuel supply was becoming
exhausted. Soldiers detailed for the purpose assisted in mooring her
fast in a field near Loiching, where guarded by hundreds she lay all
night in the storm, unharmed, though repeatedly assailed by squalls
which often swept against her with 40 miles per hour (18 meters per
second) velocity. The next day she went up and hopped over to Munich and
received a wildly enthusiastic greeting from the thousands who had
followed her adventure with personal pride and interest. The Z-1 spent
four hours flying over Munich and then turned on her heels and back to
her harbor at Friedrichshafen. If there was anything necessary to
silence the few critics who still entertained doubts as to the ultimate
practicability of rigid airships, that flight of the Z-1 accomplished
the purpose.

Count Zeppelin meanwhile was rebuilding his “Echterdingen” airship and
on May 29th, 1909, he took it out of Manzell toward the north of
Germany. He kept on until he reached Bitterfeld before turning back
toward Lake Constance. After 38 hours in the air during which he had
traversed 683.5 miles (1100 kilometers) he landed at Göppingen for
gasoline. In landing the ship struck a tree but the damage was quickly
repaired and the rigid was able to return under its own power to the air
harbor on Lake Constance.

Hailed as National Hero

After a thorough overhauling Count Zeppelin flew the same airship to
Berlin, at the express invitation of the Kaiser, who gave a dinner in
his honor at the Royal Palace following an enthusiastic popular
reception from the entire populace in the capital. On his return to Lake
Constance he met severe storms and a broken propeller compelled a
landing. It was found that a piece of the blade had penetrated one of
the gas bags; and three days were required to repair the damage.
Finally, after 27 hours in the air, the ship once more rested in its
home shed. It is said that this flight forever established Zeppelin in
the confidence of the people and the Government. His ships acquired the
reputation of the builder in being able to surmount tremendous
difficulties. The Zeppelin headquarters at Friedrichshafen became the
German Mecca. But the Germans were not alone in their pilgrimage for
thousands of persons interested in aeronautics journeyed to Lake
Constance on the shores of which great plants had grown up on the land
which Zeppelin had purchased for his wonder city of the air.

    [PLATE 13: Zeppelin “L-70” Naval Airship, 1918. The fastest of
    the “big ones” with a speed of 82 miles per hour.

    Zeppelin “L-71”. The Last Naval Airship in Actual Service.
    Leaving Friedrichshafen, 1918.]

In the fall of 1908 the members of the Reichstag and the Bundesrath came
to Friedrichshafen, a hundred or more trusting themselves to the
Zeppelin ship, the sole feature of the national celebration. Thousands
of watercraft dotted the clear waters of the lake as the Zeppelin went
up again and again filled to capacity with the leaders of German
political, financial, and industrial life (Plate 4). Zeppelin was hailed
as a national hero, and more, for it was generally recognized that his
great vehicles possessing such speed and durability were world travelers
and as such would do much toward bringing all parts of the world
together and thereby eliminating national borders—as far as trade,
travel, and commerce were concerned, at least.

The New Construction Plant

It was during the same year that Zeppelin abandoned the floating shed at
Manzell, where all his ships had been built. New work shops were located
on shore near Friedrichshafen (Plate 4). Half of the original
contribution went into the new construction plant which was incorporated
as Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin, G.M.B.H. (the Zeppelin Airship Building
Co., Ltd.). Here the construction of the new Zeppelins was begun with
augmented forces of engineers and workmen.

    [PLATE 14: Zeppelin “L-70” Naval Airship Entering Largest Shed
    at Friedrichshafen. Winter of 1918.]

Naturally the first airship was ordered by the Deutsche Luftschiffahrt
A. G. (“DELAG”)—the German Airship Transportation Company—which had a
paid in capital of 3,000,000 marks ($714,000.00) subscribed by a number
of public spirited men solely to start a Zeppelin passenger and mail
service. It was planned to employ larger ships than those with which
Zeppelin had convinced the public, to secure greater lifting and
carrying capacity. These ships developed rapidly.

Military Value Proved by Commercial Operation

They attracted attention among the military authorities who had decided
that the Zeppelins offered advantages over the existing types of
observation aircraft, that they were in no way difficult to handle in
the air or on the ground and, in fact, were better adapted to military
purposes than others previously built. A deciding factor in favor of the
Zeppelins was the ease with which they could be put into their sheds
after each flight. The Government, accordingly, ordered three airships
built and equipped for military service. Their performance was kept
secret but they were accepted and obviously performed equally as well as
their contemporary commercial craft.

There was the Zeppelin “=Sachsen=” which flew to Vienna from Baden-Baden
in less than eight hours. This commercial flight led the German army to
buy three more military ships of the “=Sachsen=” type.

Activities Early in the War

The Navy followed suit and in October, 1912, bought the L-1 (Plate 6),
for experimental and training purposes in connection with the fleet. The
L-1 carried 706,200 cubic feet (20,000 cubic meters) of Hydrogen and
proved its worth on its trial flight from Friedrichshafen, thence
north over Germany to Helgoland in the North Sea, thence to the Baltic,
side trips here and there, and finally to the airship harbor at
Johannisthal where it was to be stationed. The flight lasted 34 hours.

    [PLATE 15: Development of the Zeppelin from 1900 to 1919.]

This persuaded the Naval officials that Zeppelins were essential in
marine warfare both for offense and defense. Another order was placed,
this time for a Zeppelin of much larger dimensions. It was christened
the L-2 and delivered in September, 1913 (Plate 6). This ship
represented an utterly new departure in design, later universally
adopted. A corridor was built forming a keel on the inside and bottom of
the ship (Plate 7). It had a gas capacity of 953,370 cubic feet (27,000
cubic meters) and was equipped with four motors of 180 horsepower each.

Being the first of the kind it was inevitable that the corridor
arrangement should develop a flaw. It lacked proper ventilation.
Hydrogen leaked out from the ship and was drawn into the motor gondolas.
On one of its first flights this caused an explosion on the L-2 which
sent it to the ground a wreck.

Operations with the Fleet

Early in the spring of 1914 another Zeppelin, the L-3 (Plate 8) was
delivered. It held 787,400 cubic feet (22,300 cubic meters) of hydrogen
and carried besides its own weight approximately 19,840 pounds (9,000
kilograms). The average speed was 43.5 miles (70 kilometers) per hour
with motors aggregating 630 horsepower. It carried at least 6,614 pounds
(3,000 kilograms) to a height of 9,186 feet (2,800 meters). The L-3 was
the only naval airship Germany possessed at the beginning of the war.

    [PLATE 16: Zeppelin Airship Bldg. Co.’s Plant, Friedrichshafen,

    Showing First Double Shed (now used for Hull Frame Work only)
    Machine Shops, Foundries and Office Buildings.

    Zeppelin Airship Bldg. Co.’s Plant, Friedrichshafen, 1919.

    Note the two large single sheds. The largest shed is 115 feet
    high, 151 feet wide and 787 feet long.]

Following the ideas of the inventor both the German army and navy used
the Zeppelins for strategical reconnoissance in the early days of the
conflict. The Zeppelins flew the western and eastern boundaries of the
empire seeking information concerning the movements of the Allied
armies. This proved dangerous, however, for the airships then could not
rise to high altitudes; and consequently were exposed to enemy fire from
the batteries below and airplanes above.

The L-3 operated with the fleet in the North Sea and her activities
served to show the value of supplying as quickly as possible Zeppelins
able to fly high and with greater speed than ever. It was also found
advisable to cease flying over land by day. The Zeppelins became the
night cruisers of the air, and were assigned the task of destroying
railway junctions, bridges and ammunition dumps along the enemy line of

The Navy soon acquired the Zeppelins L-4, L-5, L-6 and L-7, which joined
the L-3 in the North Sea operations where they became indispensable as
the eyes of the fleet and a continual menace to the enemy attempting to
establish himself on the German Coast. All these airships were
duplicates of the L-3 except in minor details. Their hulls long and
cylindrical, of uniform cross sections, that is excepting the ends each
part was the same size as the others. This was the first attempt at
standard construction and it permitted quantity production more
economical and quicker for they were not compelled to design and
fabricate each section as it was needed. The plant at Friedrichshafen
had been expanded and was working to capacity. Every effort was made to
save time. The result was remarkable for they were able to produce one
Zeppelin every six weeks. Late in 1914 the Zeppelin Z-11 was delivered
to the army and the L-8 to the navy.

The Growth of the Zeppelins

Larger sheds (Plates 8 and 9) were completed at Friedrichshafen enabling
Zeppelin to build bigger ships which could give the performances he felt
was essential.

    [PLATE 17: Zeppelin Airship Bldg. Co.’s Colossal Plant at
    Staaken (1919). Near Berlin.

    Consisting of two large sheds (at the left) between which is
    located the Traverse Ring Fabrication Shed. The Administration
    Bldg. is shown in the right foreground.

    Zeppelin Airship Bldg. Co.’s Staaken Plant. (View taken from a

    By far the largest and most complete airship building plant in
    the world.]

The first of these, the LZ-38, left the shed in April, 1915, and joined
the army. It had 1,130,000 cubic feet (32,000 cubic meters) of hydrogen
capacity and was fuller, that is, its ratio of length to diameter was 9
to 1 where in the former ships it was 11 to 1. The wider girth afforded
more freedom in design and the stern was drawn out much finer, resulting
in more speed; on later ships reaching 58.1 miles per hour (26 meters
per second). The LZ-38 could carry a useful load of 30,865 pounds
(14,000 kilograms) besides her own weight, more than 37% of her total
lift. The Zeppelins of this type (Plate 10—LZ-77) proved from the day
they were first flown equal to all the demands made upon them.

North Sea Patrol Flights

They cruised over the North Sea scouting and guarding the coastline,
remaining in the air for thirty hours at a time. They flew out from the
western outlet of the Kiel Canal, northward along the shores of Denmark
to the Norwegian coast and thus were able virtually to command the sea
hundreds of miles around with powerful glasses.

One day when the true details of the Skagerrak Naval Battle are given to
the world, it will realize the vital part which the Zeppelins played.
They consistently hampered the enemy’s mine laying operations and
rendered timely and valuable support to the counteractions of the fleet.
In discovering mines they were particularly effective; and this work
alone, about which the world was uninformed, justified fully the time
and labor put into their construction.

    [PLATE 18: The Maybach Motor Works, 1916.

    Practically all of the Airship motors were made in this plant.

    Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshafen, G.M.B.H., 1915. (The Cog-wheel
    and Gear Works).

    Part of Friedrichshafen and Lake Constance in the background.]

Ten Zeppelins of the L-38 type were delivered to the navy in 1915,
numbered from L-10 to L-19 inclusively. Approximately as many were
turned over to the army during the year, each one being slightly
improved. Zeppelin and his staff of experts were always able to profit
by the practical experience which the ships were undergoing almost

Zeppelins Become Lighter and Stronger

The hulls were strengthened and made more rigid, yet lighter, machine
guns were mounted at proper points of vantage and bomb dropping
apparatus so perfected that heavy loads of explosives could be carried
in absolute safety, yet instantly released and with remarkable accuracy.
An observation car was added to each new ship.

The Zeppelin Observation Car

This car was one of the most unique inventions developed during the war.
It could be lowered with an observer aboard, fully one kilometer (3,280
feet) below the Zeppelin. Here the observer could get his bearings while
his ship lay far above hidden in the clouds. The ship could fly or drift
above the clouds to a point directly over the spot to be bombed, then by
lowering the car with the observer through and just below the clouds, he
was able to direct both the operations of the ship and the bombing. A
telephone connection ran up through the supporting cable. He was able to
signal for bomb releases and navigate so efficiently that any objective
could be attacked without danger of the enemy seeing the Zeppelin
lurking behind the clouds.

Another Zeppelin, the L-20 was delivered to the navy early in 1916. It
had hydrogen capacity of 1,271,160 cubic feet (36,000 cubic meters)
though the diameter was the same as the others. The L-20 carried a
useful load of 37,478 pounds (17,000 kilograms), and an increase of
1,312 feet (400 meters) over their ceiling and made the same speed with
the same horsepower.

During the year Zeppelin delivered seven more ships of this type, but
possessing greater efficiency. The navy received five of them and the
army two.

    [PLATE 19: Maybach Airship Motor of 145 Horsepower, 1911.

    Maybach Airship Motor of 180 Horsepower, 1913.]

Anti-Aircraft Defenses Compel Zeppelins to Fly Higher

The Allies meanwhile had developed anti-aircraft defenses and their
airplanes possessed greater climbing ability. To meet these new
conditions the airships were continuously compelled to fly higher. They
also required speed greater than the average of 54 miles per hour (25
meters per second) because while navigating over the North Sea they
frequently encountered winds of from 33.5 to 40 miles per hour (15 to 18
meters per second).

To meet these conditions the L-30 was built (Plate 9). It had a gas
capacity of 1,942,000 cubic feet (55,000 cubic meters) and was nearly
twice as large as the original 1,129,920 cubic feet (32,000 cubic
meters) four motored ships. The L-30 was ready in May, 1916. It was
almost perfectly streamlined. The long cylindrical hull, so convenient
from a production standpoint, had been abandoned. The L-30’s stern
tapered gracefully to a fine point. It was driven by six 240 horsepower
Maybach motors, arranged practically as before. One was located in the
forward gondola with a direct drive propeller, another three motors in
the rear gondola, one with a direct drive and two others each in a
separate gondola located opposite each other on the sides of the hull
amidships, so as not to interfere with the efficiency of the propeller
in the rear gondola. The L-30 carried 63,933 pounds (29,000 kilograms),
about 45% of its total lift. Other Zeppelins of her class had a useful
lift of 50% due to better design and superior materials. This
represented a marked advance, as the preceding types lifted only 37% of
their weight. The ceiling had been increased, too, by more than 3,280
feet (1,000 meters). They could now ascend from 11,800 to 14,750 feet
(3,600 to 4,500 meters), depending on the load and weather conditions.
They made a speed of 63 miles per hour (28 meters per second).

    [PLATE 20: Maybach Airship Motor Type HSLu of 240 Horsepower,

    Maybach Airship and Aeroplane Motor Type Mb4a of 260 Horsepower
    at an Altitude of 10,000 Feet, 1918.]

Faster Zeppelins for Scouting

These Zeppelins proved exceedingly valuable for scouting. They were
flown in all kinds of wind and weather. So great was their capacity for
fuel that there was no task too great for them to undertake. But then,
airplanes were constantly being improved, and they could rise quickly to
high altitudes. The planes carried machine guns firing phosphorous
incendiary bullets fatal to the hydrogen filled hull of the Zeppelins if
overtaken. Airplanes, naturally, could out-distance airships, and there
was no escaping them. The Zeppelins were compelled to fly still higher
than the L-30 type. There shortly appeared other Zeppelins carrying
loads of more than 39 tons or 60% of the total lift of the ship; and
they could fly at an altitude of 19,684 feet (6,000 meters) with 13,228
or 15,432 pounds (6,000 or 7,000 kilograms), without depending on the
thrust from the motors.

In the fall of 1917 “altitude” motors were developed, larger and having
supercompression. They did not develop full power at sea level but
instead functioned normally at 10,000 feet altitude above sea level.
They, moreover, gave ample power higher than that. They speeded up the
Zeppelins to 70.5 miles per hour (31.5 meters per second).

The Zeppelin company built thirty-six ships of this type (Plate 10-L43),
from 1916 to 1918; and they were used by the army and navy. The British
R-34, which crossed the Atlantic in 1919, was an exact duplicate of the
Zeppelin L-30 type.

Zeppelin Vision of World Transport

Count Zeppelin was working on his post-war plans for commercial aerial
transport when he died in March, 1917. His latest ships had demonstrated
their worth as cargo carriers, not only in war but in peace. Before
hostilities commenced he had seen thousands of passengers carried in his
Zeppelins. An account of these operations will be found in Chapter

    [PLATE 21: Zeppelin Giant Seaplane Built at Potsdam Plant,

    Zeppelin-Dornier Twin (Tandem) Motored All Metal Commercial
    Flying Boat, 1919.]

His Will Carried Out After His Death

They had justified the inventor’s faith and inspiration. He had never
abandoned his ideas of world transportation and was completing a survey
of requirements and conditions to be met when, during a flight, he
contracted inflammation of the lungs. Though mortally ill and old in
years—he was seventy-eight—Count Zeppelin held conferences in his sick
chamber, passing on to his assistants the big idea of airship
transportation. They have since continued the work where Count Zeppelin
left it. Following the funeral at Stuttgart airships dropped garlands
and wreaths of flowers on his grave, in honor of the man who had done so
much and had perfected an organization capable of performing the tasks

The Record Flight of L-59

There is ample proof of what a modern Zeppelin can accomplish when
commercially operated and not forced to operate at the highest possible
altitude and maintain maximum speed. In November, 1917, the Zeppelin
L-59 (Plate 11) was sent to German East Africa with medicines and
ammunition for the beleaguered colonial troops. The Zeppelin was
especially prepared for the flight, all superfluous equipment, such as
bomb dropping apparatus and armament being removed, all available space
reserved for the cargo. The L-59 was longer by 98.5 feet (30 meters)
than the others. This made room for two additional gas bags. Inside her
744½ foot hull (227 meters) were 2,381,000 cubic feet (68,000 cubic
meters) of hydrogen. She could carry 50 tons easily. With only five
motors she averaged 62.6 miles per hour (28 meters per second).

Flown from Germany to Jambol in Southern Bulgaria, the L-59 was there
loaded with 9 tons of machine gun ammunition and 4 tons of medical
supplies and with 21 tons of gasoline for the motors.

    [PLATE 22: Zeppelin-Dornier All Metal Flying Boat Type DoRs
    III, 1918.

    Zeppelin-Dornier All Metal Flying Boat Type DoRs IV. 1918.]

4225 Miles in Less than Four Days

The great Zeppelin sailed out of Jambol (Plate 12) at 9 o’clock in the
morning, crossing northwestern Asia Minor, then the Aegian Sea, south of
Smyrna and on between the Islands of Crete and Rhodes and across the
Mediterranean, reaching the African Coast by daybreak the next day.

The great Sahara Desert was then crossed, the L-59 passing over the
oasis of Farafrah and then Dakhla. Military headquarters at Berlin,
meanwhile, were trying to reach the Zeppelin by wireless. The German
Intelligence Office had intercepted a British wireless message to the
effect that the Colonial troops had surrendered to the British. The L-59
had passed through a severe storm the night before and had taken in her
radio antenna; and it was not until she was over Djebel Ain, west of
Khartum that she listened in and picked up the message. In a day and a
half the L-59 had traversed 1865 miles (3,000 kilometers). Without
stopping the Zeppelin was turned about; and after retracing its path
across the Sahara, thence over the Mediterranean to Adalia on the coast
of Asia Minor, and flying high over Asia Minor and the Black Sea,
arrived back in Jambol in less than four days from the time it set out
from that port. There remained sufficient fuel aboard for two or three
days additional flying. The ship, under the same conditions, could have
flown from Hamburg to Khartum and return. As it was she traveled 4,225
miles (6,800 kilometers) on a non-stop flight which, though it occurred
in 1917, today remains the world’s record for all kinds of aircraft,
airship or airplane.

Larger Zeppelins More Powerful

    [PLATE 23: Zeppelin-Werke Staaken Giant Biplane in Comparison
    With Pursuit Plane, 1916.

    The Giant Biplane had a wing spread of 137.76 feet and carried
    a useful load of 4½ tons. Its power plant totaled 1250
    horsepower and made a speed of 90 miles per hour.

    Zeppelin-Dornier All Metal Pursuit Plane Type DO D1, 1918.

    Note the absence of all struts and wire bracing.]

During the summer of 1918 the Zeppelins were again given higher climbing
ability to meet the ever-increasing efficiency of planes and
anti-aircraft guns. Another gas bag was added to the new ships (Plates
13 and 14), which brought them up to 2,189,220 cubic feet (62,000 cubic
meters) capacity. In order not to diminish the speed two motors were
added in respective gondolas, making seven engines in all, aggregating
1820 horsepower. They could carry 94,798 pounds (43,000 kilograms) or
about 60% of their total lift. It was planned to add improvements
enabling them to reach an altitude of 26,240 feet (8,000 meters) but the
armistice halted all military activities and there was no occasion at
that time for commercial craft to fly so high.

The Most Remarkable Scientific Development in the History of Aeronautics

Looking back over the development of the Zeppelins (Plate 15), one fails
to find such remarkable and quick advance in any other medium of
transportation. The history of engineering does not record in any other
science progress comparable to that of the relatively new science of
lighter-than-air as represented by the Zeppelins during the four years
of war.

Seventy Percent Speed Increase

Their speed had increased from 46.6 to 87.5 miles per hour (75 to 130
kilometers per hour) approximately 70%. Their horsepower averaged 2,000.
To carry useful loads of 44 tons their hydrogen capacity had been raised
from 706,200 to 2,189,220 cubic feet (20,000 to 62,000 cubic meters).
Other commercial ships were built embodying the improvements developed
during the war. A description of them will be found in Chapter

Refinement in Design

This progress was made possible only by continuous experiments. Ideas
and suggestions were adopted regardless of expense or chance of failure.
In this way the Zeppelins had the advantage of every conceivable
refinement in design. Their hulls, motor gondolas, in fact, all braces
and wires were streamlined so as to offer the least air resistance.

    [PLATE 24: Zeppelin-Werke Staaken “Giant” All Metal Monoplane.

    Which carried eighteen passengers in a luxurious cabin at a
    speed of 145 miles per hour. Power plant consists of 4-260
    horsepower Maybach Motors totaling more than 1000 H. P.

    Zeppelin-Dornier “Dragon Fly” All Metal Flying Boat, 1921.

    Carries pilot and two passengers with 60 horsepower motor at a
    speed of 80 miles per hour and a gasoline consumption of only
    four gallons per hour.]

The rubberized cloth gas cells, or bags, used in 1914 had been discarded
for others of light yet strong cotton cloth (and often silk), lined with
goldbeater’s skin to make them hydrogen proof.

Many of the experiments were as costly as they were painstaking but the
Zeppelin engineers had learned early in their work that airships can not
be built satisfactorily without long and arduous experiments to support
each innovation. By continually striving to increase efficiency they
secured simplified control systems and ships that handled more easily,
hulls that were far more rigid yet lighter than their predecessors. Even
the framework was lightened as by degrees it was made stronger. Many
structural parts were standardized, facilitating production and repairs.

One has an idea of the innumerable parts necessary in the skeleton of a
Zeppelin when he learns that more than 250,000 small crossties are
required in making the triangular shaped girders in the frame work of a
1,977,300 cubic foot (56,000 cubic meters) ship which crosstie is a
masterpiece of construction, because of its ingenious shape and finish.

Eighty-Eight Zeppelins During the War

Few persons know that during the war alone Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin
designed and built 88 airships at their four great construction plants,
as follows:

                          1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 Total

  At Friedrichshafen       6    19   14   14   8    59
  At Potsdam               1     7    8    —   —    16
  At Staaken               —     —    2    9   1    12
  At Frankfort on Main     1    ..   ..   ..  ..     1
                           __    __   __   __   __   __
      Total                8    26   24   23   9    88

    [PLATE 25: Zeppelin-Dornier “Dragon Fly” All Metal Flying Boat,

    Wing span, 28 feet, weight empty 858 pounds. Water tight
    bulkheads are provided in-side fins and wings.

    Zeppelin-Dornier “Dragon Fly” All Metal Flying Boat, 1921.

    With wings folded greatest width is only 10½ feet.]

That in itself was a remarkable achievement which could have been
accomplished only by possessing the scientific knowledge borne of
experience. But it is not all.

One Hundred and Fifteen Zeppelins Built and Operated

From the day Count Zeppelin built his first ship until the last in 1919,
a total of 115 Zeppelins were built and operated. The first three were
experimental. Nine Zeppelins were successfully operated commercially in
the transportation of passengers. Forty were delivered to the German
army and 63 to the navy.

Scientific Comparison

There exists in the field of engineering an impartial, positive and
unswerving means of determining the relative merits of things; and that
is by a technical analysis of their success. By it one may recognize the
values of the principles and construction methods involved. It is
commonly said that nothing succeeds like success; and this is virtually
true of the Zeppelins. Their record for efficiency remains unsurpassed,
as a matter of fact, unequalled. It has never been denied that they were
superior to contemporary craft or that they failed to maintain an
increasing advantage over them.

This comparison is justified by the following figures which we will
first attempt to explain.

It will be noted that there are three kinds of efficiency, (1) Speed
(the aerodynamical figure), (2) Lift (the constructional figure) and (3)
All-around efficiency (the combined quality figure).

The first relates to the efficiency of airship propulsion as effected by
degrees of refinement in form, lessening of resistance, conservation of
power, etc. It is simply the relation between the speed and engine
power. Inasmuch as higher speed with the same power or the same speed
with less power means economy of operation; therefore, the higher figure
indicates superior quality.

    [PLATE 26: Zeppelin-Dornier “Dolphin” Monoplane All Metal
    Flying Boat Type DoCsII, 1920 Model.

    Zeppelin-Dornier “Dolphin” Monoplane All Metal Flying Boat Type
    DoCsII, 1921 Model.

    Carries six passengers besides pilot and mechanician. Speed 93
    miles per hour, 185 horsepower motor. Gasoline consumption 11.9
    gallons per hour. Weight empty 3200 pounds.]

Secondly, referring to the lift, this constructional figure indicates
the relative useful or pay loads carried with the smallest amount of
material used in the ship itself, because the ship, which must also be
carried is “dead weight.” As we must consider all ships equal as far as
structural safety is concerned, the technical performance is determined
by judging the relative performance in carrying useful loads (for ships
of similar size), or equal loads with smaller ships, which means economy
of operation. The higher figure indicates superior quality. It should be
noted that this constructional figure is applicable only to comparison
of airships of similar size, speed and service requirements. For general
comparison, however, ships of approximately the same size may be

Thirdly, all-around efficiency (the combined quality figure) is somewhat
arbitrarily chosen by considering both the speed and carrying qualities
together. It is not based on scientific deduction, but rather is a
practical means of estimating general worth, as speed and carrying
capacity are the main requirements of an airship.

    [PLATE 27: Zeppelin-Dornier “Komet” All Metal Monoplane, Type
    DoCIII, 1920 Model.

    Zeppelin-Dornier “Komet” All Metal Monoplane.

    Carries six passengers besides pilot and mechanician. One motor
    of 185 horsepower.]

Efficiency Characteristics of Some of the Latest and Best Airships of
All Nations

            |                       |        |        |    Efficiency
            |                       |Capacity|Maximum +------+------+-----
 Nationality|     Type and Name     | Cubic  | Speed, |      |      |
            |                       | Meters | Miles  |Speed | Lift |All-
            |                       |        | per    |      |      |round
            |                       |        | Hour   |  (1) |  (2) |(3)
                            Non-Rigid Airships
 American   | Goodyear Pony Blimp   |    990 |  40    | 24.2 | 0.60 |  15
 French     | Caussin T 2           |   9120 |  57.5  | 28.0 | 0.85 |  24
 British    | NS                    |  10200 |  57.2  | 25.6 | 0.65 |  17
 German     | PL27                  |  31300 |  55.7  | 27.0 | 0.98 |  26
 Italian    | T 34 (Roma)           |  34000 |  74.2  | 21.5 | 0.68 |  15
                               Rigid Airships
 British    | R 80                  |  34000 |  59.7  | 36.6 | 0.80 |  29
 British    | R 33—R 34             |  55500 |  59.7  | 37.3 | 0.75 |  28
 British    | R 36—R 37             |  59500 |  65.0  | 40.0 | 0.80 |  32
 German     | Schütte-Lanz SL22     |  56000 |  62.5  | 45.2 | 1.36 |  61
 German     | Zeppelin LZ 120       |        |        |      |      |
            |   (Bodensee)          |  20000 |  82    | 63.7 | 0.76 |  48
 German     | Zeppelin LZ 121       |        |        |      |      |
            |    (Nordstern)        |  22500 |  78.8  | 61.4 | 0.78 |  48
 German     | Zeppelin LZ 100       |  56000 |  67.2  | 56.0 | 1.59 |  89
 German     | Zeppelin LZ 113       |  62200 |  81    | 62.2 | 1.60 | 100
 German     | Zeppelin LZ 102       |  68500 |  63.7  | 54.4 | 1.90 | 103

Scientific deductions and formulae to be found in “Zeitschrift für
Flugtechnik und Motorluftschiffahrt,” June 15th and June 30th, 1920,
issues. Article by P. Jaray.

    [PLATE 28: Dr. Max Freiherr von Gemmingen.

    Dr. Hugo Eckener

    Kommerzienrat Alfred Colsman

    Dr. Ing. Ludwig Dürr

    Carl Maybach]


The Zeppelin Organization at the Time of Its Greatest Activity 1918-1919

The Zeppelin Endowment for the Propagation of Air Navigation
(Zeppelinstiftung zur Foerderung der Luftfahrt) which Count Zeppelin
founded with the subscription fund of 6,000,000 marks presented to him
by the German people in 1908, is administered by a Board of Directors,
of which Baron Max Freiherr von Gemmingen, Zeppelin’s nephew, who worked
with him from the start, is Chairman. The other Directors are Baron von
Bassus and Dr. Hugo Eckener.

The Zeppelin Endowment owns Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin (Zeppelin Airship
Building Co.), the construction company organized in 1908 and controls
the “DELAG” organized, as stated before, in 1910 for the operation of
commercial Zeppelins. Interested in the “DELAG” are a number of
financiers, though with all the others, it was under the personal
supervision of Count Zeppelin, and after him the Directorate of the
Zeppelin Endowment.

At the time of the Armistice the construction and operating companies
employed 1,600 persons on their executive and engineering staffs and
12,000 workmen.

Many subsidiary companies were organized and operated, specializing in
the various branches of Zeppelin work, experimenting and producing.

Many Subsidiary Companies

    [PLATE 29: Zeppelin Village (Zeppelindorf), 1916.

    Constructed by the Zeppelin Airship Building Company for its
    employees and their families.

    A Typical Double House.

    A Typical Single House.]

These subsidiary companies are also controlled by the Directorate. They
were not permitted to disintegrate during the difficult period following
the war, but instead, have kept their personnel and facilities intact
and are ready to continue the work which was interrupted by the terms of
the treaty. They produce respectively motors, gas bags, propellers,
gears, sheds and, in fact, everything pertaining to aerial navigation
including airplanes, flying boats and parts.

The Construction Plants

The great construction plants are organized on the same principles as
ship yards. Over them all is the General Director, Mr. Alfred Colsman,
and Chief Engineer, Dr. Ing. Ludwig Dürr, the latter having been with
Count Zeppelin since the first airship was started and to whom much of
the credit must be given for the success attained.

There are various departments including the planning and supervising
divisions, two designing divisions (one for scientific and general
design, the other for workship and drawings), the manufacturing and
erecting divisions, calculating and accounting, testing and controlling,
and general maintenance divisions. The research department is a separate

The Airship Factories

In the airship factories the framework is made and erected. The envelope
is prepared, passenger and engine gondolas completed and assembled along
with other apparatus and instruments. The power plant is built,
excepting the motors and parts of the gear work. Research work along the
lines of airship development is conducted there.

The original plant built at Friedrichshafen in 1910 included a double
shed, workshops, offices and laboratory buildings. The shed would not
accommodate ships of greater diameter than 52½feet (16 meters), so in
1914 new workshops and another shed was built, to be followed the next
year by a still larger shed.

    [PLATE 30: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Schwaben”, 1912.

    The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Schwaben”, 1910.

    Count Zeppelin and Doctor Eckener in the pilot car.]

During 1915 and 1916 better workshops (Plate 16), offices and a larger
laboratory, together with the largest wind tunnel on earth were
completed, along with a low pressure chamber for testing motors, a new
development as unique as it was important to the automotive science.

The Hydrogen Plant

The original hydrogen plant was enlarged to a capacity output of 353,100
cubic feet (10,000 cubic meters) daily, with storage facilities for
2,118,600 cubic feet (60,000 cubic meters). Since the war, the storage
facilities have been reduced to 706,200 cubic feet (20,000 cubic meters)
by order of the Allied Commission.

Powerful Radio Station

The Zeppelin wireless plant, started in 1910, has continued to develop
with the science of radio and is now able to communicate with the United

The duralumin factory is capable of meeting all Zeppelin requirements.

The Great Zeppelin Hangars

The original shed, built in 1908-09 and first used in 1910, is now the
ring building factory, where the great transverse frames for the
Zeppelins are made. It is 603½ feet (184 meters) long, 150.8 feet (46
meters) wide and stands 65.6 feet (20 meters) high—huge dimensions in
the early days but utterly dwarfed by the great sheds which have since
appeared alongside. There are double doors at each end, one set operated
on the turning, the other on the sliding principle. They are opened and
closed by electricity in a few minutes.

In this shed twenty-eight Zeppelins were assembled, the last being LZ-39
after which it was devoted to the transverse ring frames.

    [PLATE 31: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Victoria Louise”,

    The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Victoria Louise”, 1912.]

Twenty Zeppelins were built in the new shed, number one (Plate 16),
which is 629.8 feet (192 meters) long, 129.23 feet (39.4 meters) wide
and 91.8 feet (28 meters) high. Its double sliding doors are
electrically operated.

Six of the larger Zeppelins were either built or reconstructed in
another new shed, number two, erected to accommodate ships of 1,942,050
cubic feet (55,000 cubic meters) and more. It is 787.2 feet (240 meters)
long, 150.8 feet (46 meters) wide and 114.8 feet (35 meters) high. Its
sliding doors can be opened or closed within fifteen minutes. Both of
the large sheds have long docking rails at each end which enables the
Zeppelins to leave or return to shelter within a few minutes.

Another shed near the works at Loewental was turned over to Zeppelin by
the Government. The Navy Zeppelin L-11 was built there in 1915. The last
one was the navy ship L-72 which was completed as the armistice was
signed. It was not inflated for delivery; and, therefore, remained the
property of the Zeppelin Company.

In the spring of 1919 the L-72 was outfitted for a demonstration flight
from Berlin to the United States and return; but it was prevented by the
Allied Commissions which ordered it to be kept in the shed until
delivered to France. All the Zeppelins assembled at Loewental were
fabricated at the main plant and taken there only for final assembling
of the parts.

The Potsdam Plant

    [PLATE 32: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Victoria Louise”.

    The ship’s 1000th trip, totaling 40,000 miles in 1292 hours and
    during which 22,039 passengers were carried without injury of
    any kind.

    The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Victoria Louise”.

    Count Zeppelin and Doctor Eckener beneath the ship.]

The Zeppelin plant at Potsdam was erected in 1912 as an airship harbor
and the following winter became one of the main construction centers
with shed, workshops, and other necessary equipment. Here the passenger
Zeppelin “=Sachsen=” was lengthened early in 1914. The last of the sixteen
ships built there was the army Zeppelin LZ-81 late in 1916, after
which, because the shed was too small for the larger ships, it was used
for building giant seaplanes. Later on it was converted into a special
repair factory of all the airship motors. The airship personnel was
transferred to the Staaken plant near Berlin.

The Colossal Staaken Plant

The Zeppelin-Staaken plant (Plate 17), located in the outskirts of
Berlin is considered the most modern airship factory in the world.

Into it were put all the knowledge and experience of ten years of
practical airship production. There were at one time two large sheds 820
feet (250 meters) long, 150.8 feet (46 meters) wide and 114.8 feet (35
meters) high, with a ring building shed between them, great workshops,
research laboratories, administration building, hydrogen plant and all

The latest and most efficient machinery and tools then devised were
provided. A large airdrome was constructed, as it was planned to make
Staaken the post-war center of Zeppelin airship activity.

Here it was planned to locate both stationary and rotary sheds, the
latter turning like a locomotive turn-table, making it possible to point
their entrances in any direction the prevailing wind might dictate, to
insure safe launching or landing of the Zeppelins. Then there were to be
airplane factories on the same airdrome. It was at the Staaken plant
that the L-59 was fabricated for the record flight to German East Africa
and return. In all, twelve Zeppelins were built there.

The Duralumin Works

During the war two plants were put up in the vicinity of Friedrichshafen
for making duralumin materials such as angle bars, strips, all kinds of
girders, and other parts of the Zeppelin skeleton. They were operated
for the most part with female labor.

    [PLATE 33: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Hansa”, 1912.

    The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Sachsen”, 1913.]

The Woodworking Factory

A woodworking factory (Holzindustrie G.M.B.H.-Meckenbeuren) also was
established near Friedrichshafen for the manufacture of propellers, etc.
It has recently been enlarged and is operating at full capacity
producing materials for buildings, dwellings, etc. During the war the
specially designed Zeppelin propellers were made at Göppingen.

The Maybach Motor Works

One of the accessory companies founded by Zeppelin in 1909 was the
Maybach Motor Factory (Maybach-Motorenbau) (Plate 18), at
Friedrichshafen. It was enlarged considerably during the war, supplying
practically all the airship motors used. Today the Maybach works include
three large three story factory buildings, parts of which are devoted to
executive offices, two workshops of recent origin occupying two acres,
many engine testing stands, laboratory, and a power plant fully equipped
with the latest machinery. The entire plant is under the management of
Mr. Maybach, inventor of the only motor designed for airships alone. One
reason for the peculiar efficiency of the plant is the special workman’s
training department which has received considerable attention from the

    [PLATE 34: “DELAG”-Zeppelin Harbor at Frankfort a.M., 1912.

    “DELAG”-Zeppelin Harbor at Baden-Baden, 1910.]

The first Maybach motors were produced in 1912 (Plate 19), and were 140
and 180 horsepower. They contributed largely to the success of the
commercial Zeppelin before the war. In 1915 a 240 horsepower motor was
built, and this was the principal motor used on the military and naval
Zeppelins. Maybach produced an entirely new motor in 1917. It supplied
from 260 to 320 horsepower and is noted as the first supercompression
motor. Quickly recognized as the best engine for airplanes, it became
the leading German aviation motor until late in 1918 when other motors
built on similar principles appeared and were found more adaptable to
the planes. Maybach, meanwhile, developed other types (Plate 20),
principally 160 and 260 horsepower units for heavier-than-air craft.

The following table illustrates the development in types and performance
of engines:

Performance of Engines—1892-1918

       |         |      |           |Weight|   Unit  |  Fuel     |
       |         |      |Revolutions| Kg. | Weight  |Consumption |
  Year |  Motor  | H. P.|per minute |      |Kg./H. P.| Gr./hp-hr |
  1892 | Daimler |  11  |     440   |  500 | 45,5   |     500    |
  1899 | Daimler |  15  |     680   |  385 | 25,7   |     400    |
  1905 | Daimler |  90  |    1050   |  360 |  4,00  |     ...    |
  1907 | Daimler | 100  |    1080   |  400 |  4,00  |   265-240  |
  1909 | Daimler | 115  |    1100   |  420 |  3,65  |     ...    |
  1910 | Daimler | 120  |    1100   |  450 |  3,75  |     225    |
  1910 | Maybach | 145  |    1100   |  450 |  3,1   |     240    |
  1913 | Maybach | 180  |    1200   |  462 |  2,56  |     225    |
  1914 | Maybach | 210  |    1250   |  414 |  1,97  |     225    |
  1915 | Maybach | 240  |    1400   |  365 |  1,52  |     200    |
  1917 | Maybach | 260  |    1400   |  400 |  1,54  |     200    |
  1918 | Maybach | 260  |    1400   |  390 |  1,50  |     200    |

The Employment and Training System

Apprentices and girls are given a thorough examination and test to
determine their fitness for the work, which requires the utmost
accuracy. Then they enter a twelve weeks probationary service. Their
apprenticeship lasts four years. All apprentices are given instruction
by engineers and foremen in physics, chemistry, knowledge of materials,
model making, foundry work, algebraic calculation methods, the handling
of graphics, curves, statistics, price calculation, machines and tools
and particularly the principles and functions of internal combustion

On January 1st, 1918, 1980 workmen were employed, 416 of them women.
There were 57 women on the executive and office staff of 217. On
November 1st, that year, 3300 workmen and 349 others were employed, 599
of them women.

    [PLATE 35: “DELAG”-Zeppelin Harbor at Hamburg, 1912.

    “DELAG”-Zeppelin Harbor at Leipzig, 1913.

    “Sachsen” landing for first time after completion of harbor
    June 1913.]

The Zeppelin-Maybach Gearless Car

In the fall of 1921 Maybach exhibited for the first time the 22-70
horsepower gearless motor car, designed to simplify operation. Only what
is termed the direct speed is used in driving; except for grades of more
than 10%, and for the starting on these grades, when apart from the rest
of the mechanism a single gear is used by pushing down a pedal. When it
is released, the direct grip is automatically restored without noise or
vibration. Backing is accomplished with the electric starting motor by
means of a pedal. Smaller cars of this type are now under construction.

New Methods of Gas Bag Fabrication

The early gas bags for the Zeppelins were made of rubberized cotton
fabric. This material was comparatively heavy and further, it allowed
the hydrogen gas to deteriorate during prolonged operations. Count
Zeppelin experimented with various materials, particularly goldbeater
skins, which are the big intestines of oxen and other cattle, treated
until they become like leather and then they are very thin, tough and so
durable that they wear much longer than fabric. Zeppelin learned that
goldbeater’s skins held gas better, also, and unlike rubberized fabric,
practically eliminated the danger of electrical sparks due to friction
or tearing.

He organized the Gasbag Manufacturing Company (Ballon-Hüllen G.M.B.H.)
at Tempelhof in 1912, to carry out this development and goldbeater’s
skins were used exclusively, as the loss of two Zeppelins that year was
traced directly to the balloon fabric in the gas bags causing sparks
which exploded the hydrogen. The ships were the LZ-12 and the Schwaben,
the former exploding during inflation and the latter while moored at

    [PLATE 36: “DELAG”—Zeppelin Harbors at Liegnitz and Dresden,

    “DELAG”—Zeppelin Harbor and Manufacturing Plant at Potsdam
    (near Berlin), 1915.]

The goldbeater skins possessed certain disadvantages, however. For one
thing, they were difficult to handle because of their small size; so
they were shingled on to thin cotton fabric. Since 1917 silk has been
used, the combination when prepared being so light and thin as to be
transparent. In fact, the Zeppelins hulls are themselves nearly
transparent, the fabric envelope and gas bags being so thin that one can
make out figures silhouetted on the opposite side of the hull when it
faces the light.

The Tempelhof factory, with Mr. Trenkmann as Manager, now includes many
buildings and workshops, several put up recently for dyeing and treating
fabrics. During the war a thousand persons were employed. The gas bags
used in all the German airships were made there; and the factory working
with another firm under a patent license agreement, made a majority of
the German observation balloons.

The Maag-Zeppelin Gear Works

It was not long after the war started that Count Zeppelin had difficulty
in securing delivery of cog-wheels, etc. In 1915 he co-operated with Mr.
Maag, a Swiss engineer, in starting the Friedrichshafen Cog-wheel and
Gear Factory (Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshafen G.M.B.H.), another
subsidiary (Plate 18.). The plant is as modern as they could make it.
The buildings occupy three acres. They include office buildings,
workshops for hobbing, heat-treating, grinding and polishing cog-wheels
and the complete gear transmissions. Aluminum castings are obtained from
the foundry of the parent company, Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin.

The gear works is equipped throughout with automatic machines built on
the Maag patents. His cog-wheel involves a new principle, giving utmost
safety and freedom from wear and noise. Specially designed testing
machines are used, guaranteeing precision of the gear wheels.

    [PLATE 37: “DELAG” Zeppelin Route Chart, 1912-13.]

During the war the company made all the gearing on the Zeppelins and
airplanes. The factory is now operating at full capacity, employing 500
men, making motor car gears, transmissions, etc. The manager is Dipl.
Ing. Count von Soden.

The Hangar Construction Company

Back in 1913 a subsidiary was founded, first as a consulting engineering
concern; but soon thereafter it became the Zeppelin Hangar Construction
Company (Zeppelin Hallenbau G.M.B.H.). Through long practical experience
it is prepared to build and equip complete airship harbors and dock
yards, prepare landing fields and airdromes. One of the principal
developments with which it has been accredited is the rotary shed,
single or double. It has erected special workshops, gas plants and all
the accessories of a modern flying terminal.

The company designed and constructed the two modern sheds at
Friedrichshafen, the entire Staaken plant, the “DELAG” airship harbors
and nearly all the other airports in Germany. Many hangars and workshops
in Germany today were put up by the company using specially patented
construction methods. In all some twenty-four complete airship harbors
have been built from start to finish by this organization, which is
under the management of Mr. Milatz and his staff of experts varying
between 20 and a hundred members.

Zeppelin Production of Airplanes

In 1916, the airship building personnel conducted experiments with
airplanes made of airship duralumin girders covered with fabric. The
object was to secure a plane which would meet the technical requirements
of aerial photography. Though their activities were devoted to the
airship building programme, the engineers managed to produce an
experimental machine of that type. On its first trials, it proved so
superior to existing types that the army urgently requested early
delivery of a number of machines. There was little time to do the work,
however, and at the end of the war only twenty had been completed. They
were destroyed, afterward, under the terms of the Versailles treaty.

    [PLATE 38: “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Bodensee”.]

There were other airplane enterprises organized by Count Zeppelin, which
remain today leaders in their respective fields. Zeppelin was the first
person to conceive of the giant all-metal flying boats (Plates 21 and
22), and all-metal airplanes.

The Zeppelin-Dornier Metal Monoplanes

He organized a small group within the parent company,
Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin, in 1912. It was the first concern exclusively
engaged in all-metal airplane construction. Today the great plant of
Dornier Metallbau G.M.B.H. at Seemoos, near Friedrichshafen is noted the
world over for its remarkable development in heavier-than-air craft,
which are named Dornier, after the manager and chief engineer. From the
first Count Zeppelin placed at the disposal of Claude Dornier ample
funds with which he was able to follow utterly new and original methods
in developing all-metal planes on a strictly scientific basis.

It had never been done before. The plant in six years developed from a
small experimental workshop to one of the largest in the world. At
Seemoos there are located a great hangar, office buildings, workshops,
turntables, slips and other facilities for landing and withdrawing the
huge Dornier flying boats. Another great factory was erected at Lindau
in 1918 but has not been used for reasons of economy.

    [PLATE 39: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Nordstern”, 1919.

    A sister ship of the “Bodensee.”

    The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Nordstern.”

    Interior view of the passenger cabin.]

As progress was made in designing, constructing and testing metal
planes, Dornier devoted the work practically toward perfection of
internally braced monoplanes. The monoplane principle was maintained
from the beginning. Today it is recognized generally as the most
desirable type. New designs, methods of handling metal, experiments with
various kinds of construction, newly invented machine tools,
experimental planes and models, each an advance in efficiency,
invariably something newly discovered in the infant science of
aerodynamics—these were the activities of Dornier and his staff in six

The results were Dornier’s all-metal planes, possessing from 55 to 2,400
horsepower. They had just started quantity production of big planes and
flying boats in the factories at Lindau and Seemoos when the German
revolution halted all activities. Since then, though hampered by the
treaty stipulations, the company has developed a series of commercial
types unexcelled in construction, performance and safe operation. Since
the war both commercial land planes and flying boats powered with from
one to three engines have been produced.

Twenty-one Dornier Designs

During the war their products included pursuit planes, single motor
two-place fighters (Plate 23), two and three motored bombing planes and
four and multi-engined giant planes—all for over land flying. Seaplane
types included single engine two-place fighters, two and three motored
flying boats and four and multi-engine giant flying boats. More than one
hundred domestic patents were held and more than 250 filed in foreign
patent offices. Twenty-one different designs for experimental types had
been produced, seventeen of them worked out in as many machines which
were flown, and four Plates 24-25-26-27 made into models Plates
24-25-26-27. The following is a list of the experimental personnel year
by year:

               1915   1916   1917   1918   1919   1920
  Engineers     15     25     25     69     52     23
  Workmen       30    250    300    547    207     80

    [PLATE 40: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Bodensee.” Landing
    at Friedrichshafen September 1919.

    The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Bodensee.” Floating in the
    large shed at Friedrichshafen.]

Zeppelin Builds Giant Airplanes

But there was another angle to the Zeppelin airplane activities. Count
Zeppelin held the rank of General in the German Army. He had long been
in a position which kept him informed of the needs of the fighting
forces. For several months after the declaration of war he observed the
heavy tasks to which his airships were put and then undertook the
development of larger airplanes, far larger than any existing in the
world at the time.

He consulted the noted aviator Hellmuth Hirth, and together they
conferred with Professor Baumann of the technical university at
Stuttgart. Baumann was already noted for his work as an aeronautical
engineer. Within a few months they produced a multi-engined giant
bomber. It proved successful. To produce these machines in quantity the
Zeppelin works at Staaken were erected at the same time as the airship
building plant. The airplane factory at Staaken soon employed more than
a thousand men in turning out the giant night bombers, numbers of which
were flown in the raids over London and Paris in 1917 and 1918.

The Airplane Works at Staaken

The plant at Staaken was complete, including two great airplane
assembling sheds, workshops, offices, etc. It is now closed. Other
German firms have built similar bombing planes under the Zeppelin
patents. Twenty-six of them were built at Staaken, however.

They had a 137.76 foot (42 meters) wing span, carried 4.5 tons useful
load, could climb to a height of 14,760 feet (4,500 meters) with their
motors which aggregated 1,250 horsepower. Their average speed was 90
miles per hour (Plate 23).

    [PLATE 41: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Nordstern.”

    Leaving Friedrichshafen for France. Note the progressive
    increase in the size of the sheds.

    The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Bodensee.”

    Passengers enjoying an excursion over Berlin.]

Other machines were built, smaller, but of all-metal construction. After
the war “The Staaken Giant” (Plate 24) was put into commission. It, too,
was all-metal, carried four motors and was distinctly a commercial
plane. During many successful trials it carried eighteen passengers at a
speed of 145 miles an hour. Later on, a two-engine commercial land plane
was nearing completion when the Inter-allied Aeronautical Commission
ordered all work stopped, and the activities at Staaken ceased.

Social Welfare Institutions of the Zeppelin Organizations

One of the main requisites for success in any industry is the welfare of
the men and women employed; and the establishment of the great Zeppelin
organization created a community of employees in the small town on Lake
Constance which demanded increasing attention as the organization

At first questions of industrial and social welfare were settled by a
special department within Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin, but in September,
1913, a separate organization (Zeppelin Wohlfahrt G.M.B.H.) was
provided. Count Zeppelin specified that homes for the men be provided
immediately; that they should be built “economically but that they
should make for comfort.” One hundred and one single family houses were
completed in July, 1916, and the new community was named Zeppelindorf
(Zeppelin village) (Plate 29). Each house sits in a garden which enables
the occupant to raise his own vegetables and fruits.

The club house was opened in March, 1917. Here is a large dining room
for the workmen, which is also used for concerts, plays, meetings and
other social activities. There are several club rooms. Nearby are the
laundry, ice plant, steam plant, and other common utilities. The “Inn”
and general store are also patronized by the people of Friedrichshafen.

Later an agricultural department was established for the purpose of
supplying good food at low prices. Five large farms are worked by this
branch and cattle raising and fruit growing have made it one of the most
notable institutions in Central Europe.

    [PLATE 42: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Bodensee.”

    The crew at the finish of the ship’s 100th flight between
    Berlin and Friedrichshafen, December 1919.

    The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Nordstern.”

    Control car, front view.]

There is a savings bank which pays slightly more than the ordinary
interest rate which followed the erection of the public library where
all employees are encouraged in self-instruction. All sorts of
scientific books, popular works and magazines are provided, beside the
many lectures. Courses in domestic science are held for the women.

There was so much building to be done that a brick factory became one of
the most important institutions in Zeppelin Village, which has also
acquired an athletic field under the direction of an instructor in
physical culture.

Practically the same community, with all the institutions, etc., has
been created for the Zeppelin workers at Staaken, on the outskirts of

    [PLATE 43: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Nordstern.”

    Elevator Rudder and Altitude Controls.

    Chief Engineer’s Station Engine Telegraphs.

    Steering Wheel and Compass.]


Operations of Commercial Zeppelins

Attracted by Count Zeppelin’s earlier flights, hundreds of persons made
reservations for the regularly conducted commercial trips, when in 1910
he organized the Deutsche Luftschiffahrt, A. G. (German Air Ship
Transportation Co.), briefly called the “DELAG”. There was apparently a
popular demand for commercial airship transport. Zeppelin founded the
“DELAG” to meet this demand, and also to provide operating personnel and
train pilots and crews for the other services, which he knew, would be
necessary in case of emergency.

The “DELAG” was capitalized for 3,000,000 marks (approximately $714,000)
and while it was a subsidiary of Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin, there also
participated in this commercial operating organization a number of
capitalists, whose faith in commercial air transport was fully justified
by the success of the “DELAG” despite much difficulty the first year or
so due to lack of meteorological data and inexperience.

The First Air Transport Company

    [PLATE 44: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Bodensee.”

    On an excursion over lake district near Potsdam.

    The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Bodensee.”

    Passengers at Friedrichshafen embarking for Berlin.]

During the latter part of 1910, minor accidents occurred which sometimes
damaged the airships and disrupted the service, but in 1911 a
comparatively regular service was established and maintained. The
principal ship was the “=Schwaben=,” (Plates 5 and 30) which was far
superior to her predecessors and which had the advantage of new and
larger sheds at the Zeppelin-“DELAG” airports. The schedule maintained
by the “=Schwaben=” justifies the assertion that the “DELAG” operated the
first commercial aerial transport company on earth. Her success
encouraged expansion, and in 1912, two additional ships, the “=Victoria
Louise=” (Plates 31-32) and the “=Hansa=” (Plate 33) were built and entered
the “DELAG” service, to be followed the next year by the “=Sachsen=”,
(Plate 33).

Part of the Aviation Reserve

The German Army commandeered all these commercial Zeppelins at the start
of the war. They were used partly for military duty and partly as
training ships for the many necessary crews. The first year of the war,
they added hundreds of flights to the commercial record they had already
made; but gradually became obsolete and were dismantled to make room for
the newer and more efficient types being turned out at the Zeppelin

The headquarters of the “DELAG” were at Frankfort. It was from that city
that the chief executives controlled operations. The Business Manager
had charge of the financial and commercial activities. He supervised
salaries, purchase of supplies, materials, etc. Flying operations were
in charge of a Director of Flight. He had charge of the personnel at the
air harbors; and all technical problems were put up to him.

The crew of a commercial Zeppelin included the pilot, a reserve pilot, a
flight mechanic, helmsmen and engineers, the number depending on the
nature of the flight, a wireless operator and a ship’s steward. The crew
usually aggregated twelve men.

Created the First Airship Harbor

As far as practicable, each Zeppelin was assigned to a definite air
harbor, which was known as its home station, or terminal. Here all the
repairs and maintenance were done. The members of the crew were assigned
to suitable homes, all located in that immediate vicinity. The
maintenance crews for airships and sheds were also stationed there.
These auxiliaries averaged thirty persons under the direction of a
foreman. They, too, formed the nucleus for the landing party necessary
to handle the airships on arrival or departure. Each air harbor had a
manager and his assistants to handle business details.

    [PLATE 45: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Bodensee.”

    Crew’s Quarters.

    Water Ballast Bag, Capacity 300 Kilos.

    Wireless Room.]

When the Zeppelin arrived at its home port, and during its sojourn there
the pilot was in sole command of both ship and air station. He was held
strictly accountable for the safety of his ship; and acted as both
station master and flying officer, subject only to instruction from the
Director of Flight. The pilot alone made the decisions as to whether or
not he should make a flight, when he should start and the number of
passengers and crew he would carry. It is interesting to note that this
system was adopted for the entire German airship force during the war.
In fact, practically all airship personnel was trained by the “DELAG.”

Like Land and Water Services

There was no special organization for selling passenger accommodations.
Agents of the Hamburg-American Line (“HAPAG”) which had offices in all
German cities, also represented Zeppelin, and reservations were made on
the same basis as for ocean going vessels.

The “=Deutschland=” was the first Zeppelin operated by the “DELAG.” The
motors, however, were not very dependable; and the low speed of the
ship, combined with lack of experience made it susceptible to minor
accidents. The =Deutschland= was so badly damaged, finally, that Zeppelin
was compelled to rebuild her. During the period that she was being
reconstructed the Zeppelin LZ-6 was substituted.

The “Schwaben” Filled all Requirements

The first ship to fill the requirements essential to safe and steady
commercial operations was the “=Schwaben=” built in the summer of 1911.
She was 459.2 feet (140 meters) long, 45.9 feet (14 meters) in
diameter, and of 615,580 cubic feet (18,000 cubic meters) hydrogen gas
capacity. Her three Maybach 145 horsepower motors gave the “=Schwaben=” a
speed of 43 miles an hour (19.3 meters per second). She had a useful
lift of 8,818.4 pounds (4,000 kilograms). During the latter part of 1911
more than a hundred flights were made with the “=Schwaben=” between Lake
Constance, Niederheim, Gotha, and Berlin. These flights warranted larger

    [PLATE 46: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Nordstern.”

    Interior view with gas bags removed.]

In March 1912, the “DELAG” put into operation the new Zeppelin “=Victoria
Louise=” (Plates 31-32) and in the summer, her sister ship the “=Hansa=”.
These Zeppelins were 485.4 feet (148 meters) long and 45.9 feet (14
meters) in diameter. They each held 670,890 cubic feet (19,000 cubic
meters) of hydrogen and their useful lift was 11,023 pounds (5,000
kilograms). Motors had been so improved that the “=Victoria Louise=” and
“=Hansa=” were able to make 44.7 and 46.9 miles per hour respectively.

Accommodations for Many Passengers

Each Zeppelin accommodated twenty-four passengers besides the crew. Warm
meals were served from the up to date electrical kitchen. There was
wireless aboard, also.

The ships gave complete satisfaction during hundreds of flights made
over constantly increasing distances. They won the confidence of the
traveling public; and equally important, had supplied much valuable
experience and information, for they operated in all kinds of weather at
all seasons of the year.

In 1913, the new Zeppelin, “=Sachsen=”, (Plate 33) was added to the
“DELAG” fleet. She had a length of 459.2 feet (140 meters) and a
diameter of 49.2 feet (15 meters) which increased the lift because she
carried 670,890 cubic feet (19,000 cubic meters) of hydrogen which gave
her a useful lift of more than 13,227.6 pounds (6,000 kilograms). Her
speed was better than 48 miles an hour and she carried twenty-four

    [PLATE 47: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Bodensee.”

    Interior view gas bags not inflated.]

New and larger sheds were built for the “DELAG” as the fleet increased
in size. When they first commenced flying there were only two airship
sheds in addition to the one at Friedrichshafen. These were at
Baden-Baden and at Dusseldorf. They owned the shed at Baden-Baden and
leased from the municipality the one at Dusseldorf. Toward the end of
1911 others were available, one at Johannisthal near Berlin and one at
Gotha. In 1912 two more were ready, one at Frankfort on the Main, owned
by the “DELAG,” and one at Potsdam, owned by Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin. In
1913 the municipalities of Hamburg, Leipzig and Dresden erected sheds.
(Plates 34-35-36.) In the beginning the sheds were single but the ones
built after the “DELAG” had started regular schedules, accommodated two
ships side by side. Some of the sheds were huge, often 196.8 feet (60
meters) wide.

Development of Adequate Hangars

They were provided with electric lights, water supply and docking rails,
which extended from either end. Special piping conveyed the hydrogen
from plant to shed. All sheds had railway connections, and were equipped
with waiting rooms for passengers and crews, as well as workshops and
accessory buildings. The airship harbors built by the “DELAG” and
Zeppelin had particularly extensive workshops, for besides the regular
maintenance work, they produced many new parts and instruments for
navigating Zeppelins.

    [PLATE 48: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Bodensee.”

    Power gondola (side) containing one 260 horsepower Maybach
    motor. Note ladder communicating with interior of ship.

    The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Bodensee.”

    Power gondola (rear) containing two 260 horsepower Maybach
    motors. Note ladder communicating with interior of ship.]

At every shed there was a meteorological station fitted with barometers,
barographs, thermographs, and a theodolite for measurement of the wind
velocity in the upper atmosphere. Weather observations were made each
morning and telegraphed to all other stations. This enabled all Zeppelin
pilots to be thoroughly informed before setting out on a flight. The
special data supplied by the Zeppelin stations was more adequate for
airship requirements than that from the Government official weather
bureau. Wireless equipment was installed late in 1913.

Many Long Commercial Flights

The average commercial flight was from 37 to 62 miles (60 to 100
kilometers) from 1½ to 2½ hours. When the flights were from one airship
harbor to another they often lasted four and sometimes eight hours. The
fare was determined by the length of the flight, or the mileage. Round
trip flights, which were comparatively short, cost from 25 to 50 dollars
(one to two hundred marks.) The long distance trips ranged from 60 to
150 dollars (250 to 600 marks). Many single flights were made over the
North Sea. The “=Victoria Louise=” often flew to Helgoland, Sylt and
Norderney, the “=Hansa=” to Copenhagen and the “=Sachsen=” to Vienna.
These flights were characterized as pleasure trips; and as such none was
undertaken during the winter months. Instead, the Zeppelins underwent a
thorough overhauling. Sometimes, however, a Zeppelin was kept in service
all winter to train airship personnel of the army or navy.

Naturally “DELAG” became noted for its successful operations; and its
ships were repeatedly chartered by the military or naval personnel for
training flights.

Developed Airship Navigation

The “DELAG” has been credited with the entire development of airship
navigating technique. For one thing, it was the only organization of its
kind, training airship personnel in practical operations. The “DELAG”
airships and airship crews were used almost exclusively for training
purposes when war was declared. At that time there were two other
airship construction companies in Germany, Schütte-Lanz and Parseval.
Both of these organizations procured their airship pilots from the
trained personnel of the “DELAG.”

    [PLATE 49: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Nordstern.”

    Rear view of rear power gondola containing two 260 horsepower
    Maybach motors.]

Zeppelins Operated Safely

All of the flights listed in the following table were made without a
single injury to passengers or crew. The =Deutschland= had been repeatedly
damaged while entering or leaving her shed and was rebuilt. The
“=Schwaben=” was burned at her moorings during a severe storm. It is now
known that all these accidents could have been avoided, in view of the
progress that has been made in the science of lighter-than-air.
Experience has materially increased the performance and qualities of
safety in airships. Better motors, controls, gas bags and other parts of
the Zeppelin have been so improved as to preclude possibility of
accidents such as those which occasionally hindered the operations of
“DELAG” before the war. Each of the flights listed here averaged two
hours, 68 miles (109 kilometers), traversed with 22 passengers. All the
flights aggregated 107,180 miles (172,535 kilometers), more than _four
times the girth of the earth_ at the equator.

Commercial Operations of the Zeppelin

                            | Number  |       |   Total    | Number of
           Airships         |   of    | Hours | Mileage in | Passengers
                            | Flights |       | Kilometers | Carried
 “Deutschland” and the LZ-6 |    62   |   124 |    6546    |  1778
 “Schwaben”                 |   218   |   480 |   27321    |  4354
 “Victoria Louise”          |   489   |   981 |   54312    |  9738
 “Hansa”                    |   399   |   841 |   44437    |  8521
 “Sachsen”                  |   419   |   741 |   39919    |  9837
         Total              |  1588   |  3167 |  172535    | 34228

    [PLATE 50: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Bodensee.”

    Front and rear views of rear power gondola. Note radiator
    temperature control and ladder.

    The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Bodensee.”

    Interior view showing location of fuel tanks.]

Trained Germany’s Airship Forces

In the early days of the war the “=Victoria Louise=” made more than a
thousand training flights for more than 39,852 miles (64,152 kilometers)
in 1292 hours, flying time, all after she had been added to the military
training forces. Finally, her framework became so worn that she was
dismantled. The “=Sachsen=” and “=Hansa=” (Plate 33) performed similar

From the Managing Director to the mechanics, all of the “DELAG”
personnel entered the service during the war, where they were
instructors, and it was due to them that the numbers of Zeppelins
launched for war service were manned by crews qualified to operate them.

Commercial Operations Resumed

The real work for which the “DELAG” was created, “to develop commercial
air transport” was of necessity put aside during the period of the war,
but these activities were resumed early in 1919 when it was decided to
start a regular daily passenger service, at first between Berlin and
Friedrichshafen, a distance of 373 miles (600 kilometers) and afterward
extend it to Switzerland, Italy, Spain in the south and to Sweden in the
north. The pre-war personnel of the “DELAG” was assembled at
Friedrichshafen and the route to Berlin started by the new Zeppelin
“=Bodensee=” on August 24th, 1919 (Plate 38).

The “Bodensee” an Improved Type

The “=Bodensee=” was designed and built in six months (January to July
1919), by Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin. She was the same size as the pre-war
Commercial Zeppelins, _but had twice the engine power, carried twice
their useful load and maintained a speed equal with the former ships
using only one-half of their engine power_.

    [PLATE 51: 20-30,000 Cubic Meter Fast Passenger Zeppelin
    “Bodensee” Type.]

The “=Bodensee=” was 426.4 feet (130 meters) long, after she had been
lengthened by 32.8 feet (10 meters). Her diameter was 61.3 feet (18.7
meters) and she carried 794,475 cubic feet (22,500 cubic meters) of
hydrogen. Her useful load normally was 25,353 pounds (11,500 kilograms).
Her four motors were of 260 horsepower each. They turned three
direct-driven propellers, one in each of the port and starboard motor
gondolas which hung from the sides of the ship. The third propeller was
driven by two engines in the rear motor gondola. The propellers averaged
from 1,300 to 1,400 revolutions a minute. The “=Bodensee=” was capable of
making 80 miles an hour. Her cruising speed was 75 miles an hour.

Carried Thirty Passengers

At this pace she could carry thirty passengers comfortably. They were
seated in a luxurious salon (Plate 41) built in the pilot car under the
forward part of the Zeppelin. Nearby in the same car were a kitchen and

The “=Bodensee=” was maintained on the Friedrichshafen-Berlin route to
experiment further in commercial air transport. While the “DELAG” did
not attempt to make a profit, expenses were kept as low as possible and
the prospects of monetary returns were generally favorable.

One Hundred and Three Flights in Ninety-Eight Days

From August 24th until December 1st, 1919, the “=Bodensee=” made 103
flights in 98 days; on several days making two flights, one a short
sightseeing trip over Berlin in addition to her regular run.
Seventy-eight flights were made between Lake Constance and Berlin and
two between Berlin and Stockholm, eighty trips on schedule in
ninety-eight days. There was no flying for ten days owing to general
overhaul and repairs. On three occasions the regular flights were
postponed because of heavy cross winds which made it difficult and
dangerous to start the Zeppelin from the fixed shed of the airdrome at
Staaken. This meant the loss of six trips. Two of the regular trips were
omitted because of the flights to Sweden.

    [PLATE 52: 50,000 Cubic Meter Passenger Zeppelin.

    For medium distances and training purposes.]

Nevertheless, in that period 2,380 passengers were carried, exclusive of
crews, about 11,000 pounds (5,000 kilograms) of mail and 6,600 (300
kilograms) of express, freight and baggage. The “=Bodensee=” was in the
air 533 hours, flying in all 32,300 miles (52,000 kilometers) an average
of 62 miles an hour. Notwithstanding the many unforeseen difficulties
due to uncertain political and economic conditions in Germany during the
last quarter of 1919, the technical results of the “=Bodensee=” operations
were excellent.

The “Nordstern” a Sister Ship

A sister ship of the “=Bodensee=” was built during the last quarter of
1919, and named the “=Nordstern=” but in December, that year, the
Inter-Allied Air-Control Commission ordered the airship operations
stopped. The “=Bodensee=” was delivered to Italy and the “=Nordstern=” to
France in 1921.

Once more the aeronautical world became interested in Zeppelins. The
last cruise of the “=Bodensee=” under German management took her from
Friedrichshafen to Rome. She cruised over Zurich, Bern, Geneva and
Avignon, often making 160 kilometers an hour, to the Mediterranean, near
St. Rafael. Visitors at Cannes, Nice and Monaco saw a rigid airship for
the first time as the “=Bodensee=” held to her route passing directly over
Corsica and Elba, and finally to the airdrome in Ciampino, between Rome
and the Albanian mountains. She had made more than 825 miles (1,329
kilometers) in 12 hours and 49 minutes, at an average speed of 64.6
miles (104 kilometers) an hour for the entire distance.

    [PLATE 53: 60,000 Cubic Meter Fast Passenger Zeppelin.

    For medium distances. Accommodations for eighty passengers
    besides the necessary crew.

    100,000 Cubic Meter Fast Commercial Zeppelin.

    Trans-Atlantic mail and express service.]


The Zeppelin Organization and Facilities Today

The Zeppelin organization today is prepared to build, deliver and
operate rigid airships for any purpose. It has under contract virtually
all the competent airship personnel in Germany. Practically all the
engineering staffs and workmen employed in developing Zeppelins have
been retained, one way or another, that they may be prepared to
guarantee satisfactory performance of any Zeppelin turned out.

Actual construction work was discontinued early in 1920. The Allied
Powers so interpreted the Treaty of Versailles that the German aircraft
industry was not able to produce ships or planes having the least
possible military value. Further restrictions were defined in the London
Ultimatum. They have been enforced by the Allied Control Commission.

Research and Development Work Continues

Notwithstanding this severe handicap, the Zeppelin organizations have
been kept intact. There has been sufficient work on motor cars, motor
boats, motors, gears, aluminum foundry work, etc. to keep the workmen
occupied. Where some of the plants have been closed, the entire
personnel has been transferred into the other active organizations. In
each branch of the Zeppelin organization design and research work on
airships and aerial navigation have continued and progressed.

Zeppelin Able to Produce All Types

Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin has been particularly active in developing as far
as possible the many ideas and inventions originating before and during
the war. Many of their new airship designs have been completed, others
partly finished. It is now possible to produce quickly any type of
commercial airship from of 700,000 to 7,000,000 cubic feet (20,000 to
2,000,000 cubic meters) capacity.

    [PLATE 54: 100,000 Cubic Meter Fast Commercial Zeppelin.

    Trans-Atlantic mail and express service.


    For ZEPPELIN AIRSHIP Entw. 270]

Some of the principal types for which specifications have been completed
and the performance of which are guaranteed and further, backed by more
than twenty-five years of experience, include:

  Plate 51    1—A 20,000 to 30,000 cubic meter fast passenger
                  Zeppelin, based on the =Bodensee= performance.

  Plate 52    2—A 50,000 cubic meter passenger Zeppelin for
                  medium distances and training purposes.

  Plate 53    3—A 60,000 cubic meter fast passenger Zeppelin for
                  medium distances.

  Plate 53-54 4—A 100,000 cubic meter trans-atlantic mail-carrying

  Plate 55    5—A 135,000 cubic meter long distance passenger

Airships for national defense are available, such as scouting, long
distance patrol ships and others for mine spotting and short radius

Guaranteed Performance Based on Actual Experience

From actual experience during the war Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin is able to
build and guarantee the performance of airplane carrying airships which
permit large or small planes being launched or taken aboard while in

Bombing and raiding airships have been developed; but on the other hand
the military development is considered of secondary importance to the
vast amount of knowledge and experience acquired for commercial airship

    [PLATE 55: 135,000 Cubic Meter Fast Passenger Zeppelin.

    For long distance passenger and mail service.]

Complete Airship Navigation Data Now Available

The Zeppelin Operating Company (“DELAG”) have collaborated in assembling
all possible data relative to the operation and navigation of the great
rigids, with a view toward having it available for immediate use and the
instruction of other personnel when and wherever circumstances permit or

Aerial transport requirements of the future have been the subject of
exhaustive study and research. Many new inventions have resulted from
this knowledge of what is necessary to realize even part of the almost
limitless possibilities in airship communication. Innumerable ideas have
been created and passed upon by experts who have decided finally as to
their practicability and financial worth.

The “DELAG,” which it will be noted, is the navigating company of the
Zeppelin organization, has retained all of its 1919 personnel and has
added to it such forces as the outlook for the future seems to warrant.
The “DELAG” has about all of the qualified airship personnel in Central

Zeppelin Organization Equipped for New Conditions

The parent company, Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin, has so arranged its
organization that it can handle any development arising from the new
situation both politically and economically.

Heretofore the management was under Director-General Alfred Colsman
alone. Today it is divided into three divisions, operating, constructing
and financial. Mr. Colsman handles the financial divisions and various
subsidiary companies. Dr. Ludwig Dürr the construction, and Dr. Hugo
Eckener the operating division which includes also the technical phases
and all outside relations, domestic and foreign. Dr. Eckener, meanwhile,
retains his position as managing Director of the “DELAG” and as one of
the Directors of the Zeppelin endowment.

    [PLATE 56: 135,000 Cubic Meter Fast Passenger Zeppelin Drawing

    135,000 Cubic Meter Fast Passenger Zeppelin—Stateroom.]

Considered from all angles, due to the present development and knowledge
of the science of lighter-than-air, it is possible today to provide
satisfactory airship service for any route contemplated or which may be
planned for the future.

Two and a Half Days Trans-Atlantic Service Possible

Carefully prepared calculations on some 600 flights made up and carried
out from daily weather maps of the north Atlantic on methodically
selected periods, have convinced the Zeppelin officials that a two and a
half day Zeppelin service could be maintained between Europe and

Zeppelin engineers worked incessantly making the North Atlantic flights
across the weather maps. When they had completed their 600 theoretical
trips they knew as much about what actually could be done, as if they
had flown such a service for two or three years. With the exception of a
few details, easily worked out in a brief experimental period, the
Zeppelin organization could put such a service in operation at once, if

New York-Chicago Route Difficult but Practicable

There has been considerable speculation relative to the New York-Chicago
route. Several announcements have been made that either an airplane or
airship service was about to be started. The Zeppelin engineers came to
the United States not long ago and made a preliminary survey of that
route. They based their report on a thorough examination of daily
weather maps and reports for the last thirty years and stated that a New
York-Chicago route could be operated successfully. It was pointed out
that the New York-Chicago line would assume more responsibility for the
fair name of commercial airship transport than anywhere on earth, more
so, even than the trans-atlantic route which, technically, is far less

    [PLATE 57: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Bodensee”.

    The new palace at Potsdam as seen enroute.

    The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Bodensee.”

    View of Reichstag Building and Unter den Linden, Berlin.]

When asked to cooperate in a New York-Chicago airship line, the Zeppelin
organization has consistently pointed out the many problems to be met.
Their preliminary survey shows that they can maintain a twelve hour
schedule, with almost 100% regularity in summer, from 80 to 90% in
winter, or an average yearly performance of from 93 to 96%.

Many Engineering Problems Solved

In addition, the Zeppelin organization supports its conclusion with a
fund of engineering data. Considerable research work has resulted in
solving many problems including passenger accommodations and the
structure of larger airships, improvement of the gasoline engine, the
steam turbine and the Diesel engine. They have provided for the safety
of gas containers, eliminating fire and lightning risk, even producing a
nitrogen mantle.

Gearings, reversible propellers and modern methods of ballast recovery
have been perfected or improved.

Various devices for launching ships, rotary sheds accommodating two
giant Zeppelins yet revolving under light power from electric motors,
and many other docking facilities are primarily of Zeppelin origin.

Zeppelin has also improved methods for fabricating all-metal commercial

Zeppelin Now Aims to Increase Efficiency

    [PLATE 58: The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Bodensee.”

    View of Brandenburger Gate—Berlin in Winter.

    The “DELAG” Passenger Zeppelin “Bodensee.”

    View of Berlin in Winter.]

Many of the problems in commercial airship operations or design will be
solved shortly after actual operations are started. The aim of Zeppelin
engineers has been to increase the efficiency of the airship as it has
been proven that the financial returns from airship transport are, or
should be, proportionately increased by the use of larger ships. The
Zeppelin efforts, therefore, is to secure greater efficiency which
will allow better financial returns with smaller units and less expense.

Commercial Operations Data Compiled

While this has been one of the principal objectives of the engineering
branch, the operating staffs have developed new methods of handling the
big ships commercially; improved organizations, and methods and
apparatus for making coast and geodetic surveys by airship, forest fire
patrol, and scientific explorations.

Their investigations of weather and technical conditions have extended
throughout the world; one of the principal surveys of proposed routes
being between Spain and Buenos Aires, in which it was learned that a
normal schedule can be maintained regularly with ninety-six hours
allotted for non-stop flights between the two terminals.

The Public will Accept Airship Transportation Here as Abroad

Of course, the public must be converted to the use of the airship, just
as the people of Germany were converted—by actual operations. There
probably exists no other field of human endeavor so essential to our
civilization as that of transportation. The traveling public has
accepted other mediums of conveyance after they had demonstrated
inherent qualities of safety and reliability. So it is with aircraft.
Heavier-than-air machines have gradually popularized flying. Persons are
riding by the air route in constantly increasing numbers, here and
abroad. Their faith in commercial aviation is due solely to the BRAVE
pioneering efforts of a few men of vision these last twenty years.
Popularity and general use depends on the efficiency of the
organizations which now carry on the work so well begun.

    [PLATE 59: Zeppelin Fountain at Friedrichshafen.

    Dedicated by the townspeople to the memory of Count Zeppelin.]

Zeppelin Ready to Participate in Development Throughout the World

It is the privilege of Zeppelin to participate in this development along
the lines laid out by the founder, to the end that the rigid airship may
do its part in bringing men and nations more closely together and
facilitate mutual understanding and good will throughout the world.


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