A Zeppelin Over Camden

Zeppelins were developed by Count Ferdinand Adolf August Heinrich Zeppelin. He was persistent and indefatigueable in his pursuit of his goal to construct a dirigible for Germany. He flew his first airship -- the LZ1 -- over Lake Constance on July 2, 1900 at the age of 61. He lived to see his invention used by his native Germany during World War I as bombers and observation craft. After World War I, Germany developed and constructed Zeppelins for peaceful purposes. The postwar Zeppelins were giant airships that provided the worlds first trans-oceanic commercial passenger service, with regular scheduled flights between Germany and Brazil, and later between Lakehurst and Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany.

The most successful Zeppelin was the Graf Zeppelin (LZ 127). During its operating life from 1928 to 1937, the Graf Zeppelin made 590 flights, covering more than a million miles, carrying a total of 13,100 passengers without a single injury. While primarily designed to provide commercial passenger and mail service between Germany and Brazil, the Graf Zeppelin did make four flights to the United States as well as several "special event" flights. In July of 1931, the Graf Zeppelin made a flight of exploration above of the Arctic Circle, from Norway to Siberia and back again. 

In 1936, the Hindenburg (LZ 129), joined it's forerunner in the transatlantic skies, making 11 trips to America. On October 9, 1936 the Hindenburg flew over Camden NJ on its way to Lakehurst and then to Germany. On May 6, 1937 the Hindenburg, which was filled with highly flammable hydrogen gas, as the more stable helium was not exported to Germany, exploded in a giant ball of fire at Lakehurst, killing 35 of the 97 people on board and one member of the ground crew. Its destruction, seen by horrified spectators in New Jersey, marked the end of the commercial use of airships. Two days later, the Graf Zeppelin was ordered grounded and never flew again. The Graf Zeppelin and the newly constructed Graf Zeppelin II were dismantled in May of 1940.

Besides the photos articles in this page, a must-see is the web site "Airships: The Hindenburg and other Zeppelins" at http://www.airships.net/

Click here to see a ten minute video clip consisting of assorted newsreel footage of the Graf Zeppelin. If you would like to download this video clip. click here.

Phil Cohen
November 2010 

Thanks to 3rd & Sycamore Street's own Charlie Gant,
for making his grandfather's collection of Zeppelin and dirigible related material available. 

Camden Courier-Post - October 19, 1936
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"I saw the Zeppelin over Camden as it passed the area of Atlantic Avenue and Broadway" - Joseph Cooper

Hindenburg Gallery
The Hindenburg in Frankfurt Cutaway of Hindenburg's Interior

Hindenburg's Bridge

Hindenburg's Dining Room
Hindenburg over New York of May 6, 1937 The Hindenburg explodes at Lakehurst May 6, 1937
43 years later, he recalls his most famous broadcast
Philadelphia Inquirer - May 5, 1980
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More fine dining aboard the Hindenburg

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The Men Behind The Zeppelins
His Excellency Graf Zeppelin Dr. Hugo Eckener Dr. Ludwig Durr
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America's Zeppelin - The Los Angeles

LZ-126/ZR-3 Los Angeles departing from Fredericshafen, Germany for Lakehurst NJ- October 12, 1924.

By the end of World War I it was known that aviation had a futures both commercial and military. Exactly what and how those futures would be was a wide open question. The United States government looked into establishing a successful dirigible program. We had helium and the superlative German technology; Los Angeles was built by the Zeppelin Co. as LZ-126/ZR-3 and delivered to Lakehurst, NJ on 15 October 1924, only the fourth North Atlantic crossing by air completed to that date. The ship logged over 4100 flight hours during 336 flights.

LZ-126/ZR-3 Los Angeles arriving at the  Lakehurst NJ- October 15, 1924.

LZ-126/ZR-3 Los Angeles, with U.S. Navy insignia, docked at LAkehurst NJarriving at the  Lakehurst NJ- October 15, 1924.

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LZ-127 - The Graf Zeppelin

LZ-126/ZR-3 Graf Zeppelin made it's first flight on September 18, 1928.  

Left: The Graf Zeppelin over Vaduz, Liechtenstien, near the Swiss border. 

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Arktisfahrt - Graf Zeppelin explores the Arctic - July 1931

Zeppelins were the ultimate long distance flying machines of the 1920s and 1930s, simply by there ability to remain airborne, due to their lighter than air design. In the pre-Hitler days of the Weimar Republic, the Graf Zeppelin made several world trips, journeys of exploration and research, and eventually engaged in regular scheduled flights between Germany and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

In July of 1931, a trip to the Arctic was made. Presented here are photos taken during that trip, and map of the route, which took it from the Baltic Sea to the arctic, over Siberia, and home again.

Nowaja Semlja aus 1000m Hohe.

Novaya Zemlya from 1000 meters high, July 1931

Another photograph over  Novaya Zemlya from July of 1931.


Another photograph over  Novaya Zemlya from July of 1931. Novaya Zemlya in Russia's nuclear test site, this may be the closest non-clandestine photograph taken of the area since the Russian Revolution of 1917. 

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Graf Zeppelin II construction photos

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Evening Bulletin

December 12, 1976

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ZMC-2 - "The Tin Bubble"

ZMC-2 on its first flight from Detroit to Lakehurst NJ

Camden Courier-Post
September 18, 1928.  

The big story that day was the now-late arrival of the first (and only) duraluminum (the stuff soda cans are now made of) covered dirigible at Lakehurst, on it's maiden flight from Detroit. 

Bernie Rieck, April 2005

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