2 Jul: Zeppelin Takes Flight

Airships had flown since the 1850s, but the first rigid airship to comfortably carry passengers – the Zeppelin – had its maiden voyage at Lake Constance on 2nd July, 1900.

The passion project of German aristocrat Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, the ‘golden age’ craft were freezing cold on-board, and precarious: the majority of them eventually crashed. Nonetheless, his pluckiness captured the German imagination, raising millions of Reichsmarks, and inspiring Hitler to co-opt the machines for political and military means.

In this episode, Rebecca, Olly and Arion consider how Zeppelin’s connections to Daimler saved his start-up; explain why the Hindenburg (fatefully) ended up being filled with hydrogen, rather than helium; and reveal the plans of a Bedfordshire-based business to bring blimps back to Britain’s skies…

Further Reading

• ‘A History of German Airship Aviation’ at Google Arts & Culture:


• ‘The Hindenburg Disaster in 1937’ from PennLive (2017): 

• The Hybrid Air Vehicles Airlander 10 – from their official website: