ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Short Life of Zepplin Air Service

Updated on September 1, 2013

I think I was born in the wrong era. I hate flying, I would desperately love to take trips on the old liners that were in their heyday back in the 1930’s. And, I would really love to take a trip on a dirigibles. Spending days floating peacefully above the earth cocooned in luxury and comfort.

Dirigibles are filled with gases that make them lighter than air. They may have no internal skeleton, basically just a big balloon, those are called blimps. Other dirigibles have metal skeletons and the balloon is built around them. The Zeppelins are those kind of craft.

Count von Zeppelin of German designed the craft that carried his name. The Zeppelins were used by the Deutsche Luftschiffahrts before WWI, for scheduled flights. During WWI they were taken over by the German military and used for bombing and spying. The Zeppelin’s ability to hover over an area was a great asset when surveying an ongoing battle.

Graf Zepplin

In the 1920’s the Zeppelins were returned to civilian use and became very popular. The ones put into service immediately after the war were eventually seized as war reparations, so new ones were constructed. The two most famous and popular ships were the Graf Zeppelin and the Hindenburg. They went from Germany to the United States and down to South America.

The Graf Zeppelin was named after the count. It made a trip around the world as well as some shorter ships, but it was more of a demonstration ship than a luxury passenger ship. It was designed for use with flammable helium and the company considered it too dangerous. So a new ship was built, the Hindenburg, which was designed to be filled with helium, which non-combustible helium.

Hindenburg Reading Room

The Hindenburg was launched in 1936 and was the largest airship ever built. But, because of the Nazi government takeover of the company, helium could not be obtained. There was an embargo, the United States had the only large supply and they would not sell it to Nazis. So the company was forced to use dangerous hydrogen.

The cost of a trip from Germany to South America was around $ 2,250 in American dollars, so only the very wealthy could afford the trip.  The ship cruised at a maximum of 80 miles per hour and was about 3 football fields long. The passenger interior of the Hindenburg was extremely luxurious. There were about 70 private cabins, with separate bathrooms. The bedrooms were heated with electricity, a great luxury at the time and has an installed sink.

Hindenburg over Nyc

The Hindenburg had a dining room saloon, serving first class food, reading room and smoking room.  There were also large observation decks where passengers could stroll past windows that tilted down to show the passing scenery.  The overall effect was of a luxurious, exclusive passenger liner.

The smoking room was the only place on the ship you could smoke, the air pressure was higher in the room and it was sealed to make sure no hydrogen could get inside. This precaution was necessary because  of the Zeppelin use of explosive hydrogen.

On May 6, 1937, the Hindenburg caught fire and burned up killing 36 people, one who was on the ground. This killed off the great airships. No one wanted to fly in a ship that could suddenly explode.

The cause of the accident has been debated ever since. It could have been static electricity, lightning, or sabotage. There has never been an explanation that satisfied everyone. But the dirigibles were dead. A few still flew but passengers were extremely reluctant to use them, the accident was so spectacular and was on newsreels for weeks.A thriving industry was destroyed overnight. This was just about the first disaster to be filmed as it happened and it had an effect of people, the public never trusted the aircraft again, ignoring the fact that if different fuel had been used, the disaster would have been averted.

The Graf Zeppelin was turned into a museum for a time, but then was used by the Luftwaffe for tests before being destroyed in 1940.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)