Does this toy zeppelin remind you of the blimps that fly over football stadiums or other special events? Named after German aviation pioneer Ferdinand Zeppelin, these airships were state of the art air transportation from the early 1900s until 1937. This toy was named after the Graf Zeppelin that flew around the world in 21 days, 5 hours and 31 minutes starting from Lakehurst, New Jersey to Friedrichshafen to Tokyo to Los Angeles and back to Lakehurst in 1929. Zeppelins were also called dirigibles or "rigid airships" because the ship had a rigid support unlike the blimps that fly today. This framework allowed the ships to be much larger than today’s blimps. The Hindenberg, one of the largest ever built, was 804 feet long or longer than 3 Boeing 747 placed end to end! Before and also after World War I, they were used as luxury passenger airships that would take sightseers over the Alps and other scenic places. By the 1920s, passengers were even dining and sleeping on Zeppelins. By the early 1930s, Zeppelins were making trans-Atlantic crossings to both North and South America with paying passengers. The one-way fare on the Hindenburg was over $700 in 1936, and luxury was the norm. Imagine a scenic and smooth ride at 1000 feet over Europe. Passengers could not feel the ship move. During World War I (1914-1918) they were used by the Germans to bomb Britain and observe ocean-going battleships.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
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