Count Ferdinand of Zeppelin –
visionary of the oceans of air
His diary already carries an entry in 1874 referring to his idea of building a steerable airship. However, only after he had retired from active military service was he able to devote himself entirely to the construction of a rigid airship.
In 1899 he started building the first steerable airship. A quote from this period illustrates his attitude: “It’s only natural that no-one should back me up, because no-one dares to take a leap in the dark. But my goal is clear and my calculations are correct.” The initial ascensions over Lake Constance met with an enthusiast public reception. The problem was the funding. The second Zeppelin could only be built thanks to the earnings from a lottery and donations. Financing was only secured for the development of the airships following the disaster of Echterdingen in 1908. During a storm, the Zeppelin LZ4, which had landed on the Filder Plateau, broke free from its guy ropes and was burnt to a shell. This event triggered a wave of support for the count from the population. The resulting donations totalling six million marks enabled the establishment of the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH and Zeppelin Foundation.
Following the death of the Count of Zeppelin further rigid airships were built up until the Second World War, as far as type number LZ 130.