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Table of Contents
Ferdinand von Zeppelin was a German military general and the inventor of Zeppelin rigid airships founding the company named Luftschiffbau Zeppelin.
See the fact file below for more information on Ferdinand von Zeppelin or alternatively, you can download our 26-page Ferdinand von Zeppelin worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Early Life And Family
- Ferdinand von Zeppelin was born on July 8, 1838, in Konstanz, Grand Duchy of Baden, Germany.
- His full name was Ferdinand Adolf Heinrich August Graf von Zeppelin.
- The Zeppelins was an old noble family with his father, Friedrich Jerôme Wilhelm Karl Graf von Zeppelin, a Württemberg Minister and Hofmarschall and his mother, Amélie Françoise Pauline.
- He and his brother and sister grew up in their Girsberd manor near Konstanz.
Early Life and Education
- Zeppelin had a private tutor for his primary education. At 12 years old, he showed a keen interest in technology. When he turned 15, he left the manor to attend the polytechnic at Stuttgart.
- He then became a cadet of the military school at Ludwigsburg in 1855 before becoming an army officer in the Army of Württemberg. He took a leave of absence to study science, engineering, and chemistry at the University of Tübingen.
- In 1858, he entered the Prussian Army and served in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 and Franco-Prussian War from 1870-1871.
Interest in Aeronautics
- Zeppelin went to the United States in 1863 as a military observer with the Union Army to understand more of the military use of hot air balloons.
- He believed that airships could be used practically in the military. When he rode his first balloon in 1863, it further increased his interest in aeronautics.
- He went back to Germany to convince the German military of the potential value of the airships by publishing a comprehensive plan for civil air transportation using large, lighter-than-air ships in 1887.
- He failed to convince them that led to retiring from the military to pursue his interest in airship technology.
Zeppelin Airships Rise And Downfall
- His first idea revolved around an “air train,” with wagons that could be connected for the transport of goods. After ten years of planning, he patented his design and began building it in 1899.
- The concept of an air train with a wagon evolved into his first rigid airship, LZ 1. which had its first flight on July 2, 1900, over Lake Konstanz near Friedrichshafen in southern Germany.
- It carried five persons in 3.75 miles at an altitude of 1300 ft. However, it was not a total success as it got damaged in landing. Zeppelin had exhausted his funds and was forced to stop his work for the time.
- In Zeppelin’s second airship, he had a bit of help. The King of Württemberg held a lottery for an airship fund, and Zeppelin’s wife mortgaged her own estate. They manage to raise 50,000 marks. He completed the LZ2 and had its first flight in January 1906. Unfortunately, this time, the airship was damaged by winds during its only flight. It had to be dismantled.
- The third try brought Zeppelin more success as the LZ 3 had its first successful flight on October 9, 1906. After this, Zeppelin received more funding. He built 21 Zeppelin airships before World War One, transporting 37250 people on over 1600 successful flights.
- At the start of the First World War, the German Army had seven Zeppelin airships, containing five machine guns each, and could carry 2000 kg of bombs. These airships could reach a height of 4250 meters and a maximum speed of 136 kph.
- They used these airships for air raids on Britain and France but did not utilize them continuously because of their bulkiness and slow speed. They become an easy target. The military decided to employ them for transporting supplies.
- Zeppelin airship was also the first airship to be used as a commercial passenger service. During this time, the most popular Zeppelin airships were the Graf Zeppelin, which was completed in 1928, and the Hindenburg in 1936. In 1929, the Graf Zeppelin completed its first world trip in 21 days.
- On the other hand, the Hindenburg was 804 ft long and had a maximum speed of 84 miles per hour. On May 6, 1937, the hydrogen-filled airship burst into flames while landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Thirty-six people died in this tragedy.
- After this event, the airship ceased to be used. The Graf Zeppelin was also decommissioned in 1937 after 590 flights.
- Although the Zeppelin airships are no longer used today, they had a significant impact on history. They also inspired the imaginations of other aeronautic inventors and pioneered the industry of air passenger service.
- On August 7, 1869, Zeppelin married Isabella Freiin von Wolff from the house of Alt-Shwanenburg (Livonia) in a wedding ceremony held at St.-Matthäi-Church in Berlin.
- They had a daughter named Amalie Marie Henriette Karoline, Countess of Zeppelin.
- Zeppelin died on March 8, 1917, after surgery in Berlin-Charlottenburg. He did not witness the Hindenburg disaster, and the decommission of his airships.
Ferdinand von Zeppelin Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Ferdinand von Zeppelin across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Ferdinand von Zeppelin worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Ferdinand von Zeppelin who a German military general and the inventor of Zeppelin rigid airships founding the company named Luftschiffbau Zeppelin. These airships were used during World War 1 and in the early 1900s as passenger air service transport. It was decommissioned after the Hindenburg disaster in 1937.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Ferdinand von Zeppelin Facts
- An Inventor’s Life
- Before the Airship
- The Zeppelins Journey
- Challenging Zeppelin
- The Zeppelin’s Inquiry
- Zeppelin and his Airships
- The Airships in Numbers
- The Hindenburg Disaster
- The Inventor’s Quote
- The Future Air Transportation
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