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Leviathans of Air

Airships: powered, steerable lighter than air aircrafts.Created by: PICRYLDated: Invalid date
B4350
The main types of airship are non-rigid, semi-rigid, and rigid. Non-rigid airships, often called "blimps", rely on internal pressure to maintain the shape of the airship. Semi-rigid airships maintain the envelope shape by internal pressure but have a supporting structure. Rigid airships have an outer structural framework which maintains the shape and carries all structural loads, while the lifting gas is contained in internal gas bags or cells. Rigid airships were first flown by Count Zeppelin and the vast majority of rigid airships built were manufactured by the firm he founded. As a result, all rigid airships are sometimes called zeppelins.
In early dirigibles, the lifting gas used was hydrogen, due to its high lifting capacity and ready availability. Helium gas has almost the same lifting capacity and is not flammable, unlike hydrogen, but is rare and relatively expensive.
Airships were most commonly used before the 1940s, but their use decreased over time as their capabilities were surpassed by those of aeroplanes.
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1783
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1994
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1994
284 Media in collectionpage 1 of 3
R101 and cows

R101 and cows

Description: British R101 airship at mooring tower. The vessel was 237 metres long...Date: c.1929..Our Catalogue Reference: AIR 5/919 ( http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?C... more

Photograph of the Rear Control Car of a Dirigible, ca. 1933

Photograph of the Rear Control Car of a Dirigible, ca. 1933

Original Caption: Photograph of the Rear Control Car of a Dirigible, ca. 1933..U.S. National Archives’ HMS Record Entry ID: NWL-16051..Creator: U.S. Congress. Joint Committee to Investigate Dirigible Disasters... more

Nouvelle forme de globe aërostatique. Au centre duquel est adapté pour point d'apui une machine aussi simple que facile à manœuvrer, pour avancer et se diriger dans les airs / / composé, dessiné, et gravé par le Sr. Mathieu, mecanitien.

Nouvelle forme de globe aërostatique. Au centre duquel est adapté pour...

Design drawing shows front and side elevations and plan of balloon with devices designed to facilitate navigation and maneuverability while in the air. Title from item. Tissandier collection.

Le veritable navigateur aerien / L.J. Stoupy Bijou, invenit et delineavit ; Michon, scl.

Le veritable navigateur aerien / L.J. Stoupy Bijou, invenit et delinea...

Design drawing for an airship navigational system project by Stoupy Bijou consisting of five balloons fastened to a sixty foot mast, a rudder, two 12 foot long oars, and two polygonal vanes to control the rise ... more

[Design drawing for a navigational system for an airship employing six balloons and parachutes, a deck, superstructure, and basket below]

[Design drawing for a navigational system for an airship employing six...

Title devised by Library staff. Tissandier collection.

L'intérieur et l'extérieur d'un bayair "Couronne de Charles X" / Pav Braun, professeur de langue allemande à l'école Royal polytechnique, a Paris, rue neuve des petits champa, VCo. 17.

L'intérieur et l'extérieur d'un bayair "Couronne de Charles X" / Pav B...

Design drawing proposed by Pav Braun shows interior and exterior views of the Bayair airship "Crown of Charles X," which was to be propelled by 20 balloons inside an enclosure and carry 15 passengers. (Source: ... more

[Two views of an airship shaped like a long tube with a pointed nose, propellers on the side and a rudder, resembling an 1850 design proposed by Pierre Jullien, a French clock maker from Villejuif, France]

[Two views of an airship shaped like a long tube with a pointed nose, ...

Title devised by Library staff. (Source: A.G. Renstrom, LC Staff, 1981-82) Tissandier collection.

Histoire des ballons, et des diverses ascensions qui ont eu lieu jusqu'à ce jour

Histoire des ballons, et des diverses ascensions qui ont eu lieu jusqu...

Broadside depicts two airship designs conceived by Ernst (Ernest) Pétin, incorporating four spherical balloons propelled by manually operated helical screws attached to a large flat surface, the lower part prov... more

Aérostat dirigeable système Vaussin Chardanne, brevet ... Nouveaux procédés de direction aérienne présenté à lʹInstitut de France, 1852

Aérostat dirigeable système Vaussin Chardanne, brevet ... Nouveaux pro...

Scaled design drawings for patent issued to Vaussin Chardanne in 1853 for an airship operated by means of six propellers and having accommodations for passengers on two levels. Airship proposal presented to the... more

Navigation aérienne, système de M. Henri Giffard

Navigation aérienne, système de M. Henri Giffard

Broadside announcing Henri Giffard's first steam powered airship design in 1852. Includes a technical drawing of his design. Title from item. Tissandier collection.

[Masthead showing dirigible airship]

[Masthead showing dirigible airship]

Illus. in: Aerial Reporter, Washington, D.C., 14 Aug. 1852 (vol. I, no. 6). No file print. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: RBD; Newspapers...; Air-ships; Shelf.

Navigation aérienne. Solution dʹun grand problème par lʹemploi des voiles mobiles ... Systéme Augte. Lanteigne, menuisier mʹecen., ... / dessiné par lʹauteur.

Navigation aérienne. Solution dʹun grand problème par lʹemploi des voi...

Scaled design drawings for a patent show Aug. Lanteigne's system of aerial navigation, which used a continuous belt of sails to achieve propulsion. (Source: A.G. Renstrom, LC staff, 1981-82.) Title from item. T... more

Plateforme aérienne cerf-volant libre dirigeable, système Vaussin-Chardanne. Feiulle no. 1 / dressé et presenté ... le 19 mars 1853, Vaussin-Chardanne.

Plateforme aérienne cerf-volant libre dirigeable, système Vaussin-Char...

Scaled design drawing shows a system for navigating an airship using propellers. Includes plans of dirigible platform body and complete platform assembly, and identification key. Title from item. Tissandier collection.

Plateforme aérienne, cerf-volant libre dirigeable, système Vaussin-Chardanne. Feuille no. 2 / dressé et presenté ... le 19 mars 1853, Vaussin-Chardanne.

Plateforme aérienne, cerf-volant libre dirigeable, système Vaussin-Cha...

Design drawing shows a system for powering an airship with manually operated propellers. Includes longitudinal views of dirigible platform assembly and identification key. Title from item. Tissandier collection.

Navire aérien dirigeable. Systême J.B. Métivier, force ascensionnelle 90,000 kos.

Navire aérien dirigeable. Systême J.B. Métivier, force ascensionnelle ...

Scaled design drawing for a patent submitted by J.B. Métivier shows two cross-sections for a fish shaped airship utilizing balloons, sails, bellows, and propellers to transport passengers. (Source: A.G. Renstro... more

Voiles mobile. Systém Ate. Lanteigne menuisier / [...]  Mo[...], '58.

Voiles mobile. Systém Ate. Lanteigne menuisier / [...] Mo[...], '58.

Design drawings for a system of airship navigation proposed by Aug. Lanteigne, utilizing a series of 16 balloons on a single keel. (Source: A.G. Renstrom, Library staff, 1981-82). Title from item. Tissandier collection.

Le trans-ether, aéro-moteur de la navigation atmosphérique / F. Ducroz, breveté S.G. du Gt., 25, rue du Buloi ; Harent, lith.

Le trans-ether, aéro-moteur de la navigation atmosphérique / F. Ducroz...

Scaled design drawing for a patent of a steam paddle-wheel driven motor for dirigible navigation, designed by F. Ducroz of Boulogne, 1859. (Source: A.G. Renstrom, LC staff, 1981-82).

Navire aérien, le poisson volant, inventé et exécuté par M. Camille Vert, ingénieur-mécanicien ... / Paris, Camille Vert, rue de la Pépinière, 86.

Navire aérien, le poisson volant, inventé et exécuté par M. Camille Ve...

Broadside announcing the exhibit at the Palais de l'industrie, séances expérimentales in Paris of a fish-shaped, steam-powered airship designed by Camille Vert. Features design drawing of the airship, equipped ... more

Salle de conférences ... Conférences experimentales sur la navigation aérienne par l'ingénieur Camille Vert, de la Drôme le plus léger que l'air par le poisson volant : le plus lourd que l'air par l'homme ailé ...

Salle de conférences ... Conférences experimentales sur la navigation ...

Broadside announcing a conference on flight designs by Camille Vert. Includes pictures of a lighter-than-air 'flying fish' airship and a heavier-than-air 'winged man' ornithopter. Title from item. Tissandier collection.

Moteur hydrostatique & a base de tous liquides à mouvement perpetuel relatif, c'est-à-dire, soumis à la casse, à l'usure des pièces, à l'entretien de sa base & à la volanté de l'homme / Invention de J.B. Métivier, 1867, Paris.

Moteur hydrostatique & a base de tous liquides à mouvement perpetuel r...

Design drawings for a hydrostatic motor capable of up to 100,000 horse power, for use in air, sea and land transportation, invented by J.B. Metivier in 1867. (Source: A.G. Renstrom, LC staff, 1981-82). Title fr... more

[Albert Tissandier (left), Gaston Tissandier (right), and an unidentified man in the basket of their airship demonstrating an electric navigational system featuring a propeller] / P. Ferat ; E.A. Tilly, sc.

[Albert Tissandier (left), Gaston Tissandier (right), and an unidentif...

Title devised by Library staff. Tissandier collection.

Patent Drawing for C. P. Fest's Air Ship
Aérostat électrique a hélice conduit dans les airs / par M.M. Albert et Gaston Tissandier, le 8 octobre 1883.

Aérostat électrique a hélice conduit dans les airs / par M.M. Albert e...

Design drawings show several views of an electric powered airship designed by Albert and Gaston Tissandier, which made an ascension October 8, 1883 from Auteil, France. (Source: A.G. Renstrom, LC staff, 1981-82... more

[Cures d'air dans la montagne] / A. Robida.

[Cures d'air dans la montagne] / A. Robida.

Drawing shows an airship "Cures d'air" supporting the "Pension Bellevue" for individuals requiring medical care and floating above a mountainous region. One of the artist's conceptions for his book on life in t... more

Eden-concert, enl'vez l'ballon revue de m.m. Hermil & Numès, 17 boulevard Sébastopol, musique nouvelle de Tar-Caen / / Ch. Levy.

Eden-concert, enl'vez l'ballon revue de m.m. Hermil & Numès, 17 boulev...

French circus poster shows two performers in the basket of an airship navigated by a rudder and a propeller. The basket bears the date 1884. Title from item. Tissandier collection.

A.F. Bergqvist - aerial vessel Patented Oct. 17, 1893.

A.F. Bergqvist - aerial vessel Patented Oct. 17, 1893.

Design drawing for a flying machine invented and patented by A.F. Bergqvist. Pat. no. 506,969. Sheet 1 of 3. Fig. 1. Forms part of: Gilbert H. Grosvenor Collection of Photographs of the Alexander Graham Bell Fa... more

Langley Airship

Langley Airship

Photograph shows the attempted flight of the aircraft the Langley Aerodrome, on October 7, 1903, which ended when it fell into the water upon launch. The aircraft was designed by Smithsonian Institution Secreta... more

[Airship "De La Muerthe" in Transportation Building, St. Louis Purchase Exposition, 1904]

[Airship "De La Muerthe" in Transportation Building, St. Louis Purchas...

Stereo copyrighted by C.L. Wasson. This record contains unverified data from old caption card, with subsequent revisions.

Mr. Lincoln Beachey in Thomas Scott Baldwin's airship at the St. Louis Exposition - 1904

Mr. Lincoln Beachey in Thomas Scott Baldwin's airship at the St. Louis...

Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. "B-375 A.S." Baldwin, Thomas Scott, 1860-1923; Beachey, Lincoln. Ernest L. Jones Collection. Caption card tracings: Exhibitions; Airships; P.I.; Shelf.

The famous "California Arrow" airship starting with aeronaut Knabenshue in its first successful flight, World's Fair, St. Louis

The famous "California Arrow" airship starting with aeronaut Knabenshu...

Photograph shows Roy Knabenshue in airship, designed by Thomas S. Baldwin, in Oct. 1905. Stereo copyrighted by C.L. Wasson. This record contains unverified data from old caption card, with subsequent revisions.

Baldwin's latest airship returning from a flight over the City of Portland [Oregon], Lewis & Clark Centennial

Baldwin's latest airship returning from a flight over the City of Port...

Shows ticket booths and entrance to area containing Baldwin's captive balloon; his airship is seen approaching in background. Stereo copyrighted by Wasson. Not found in Lot - 1/25/02. This record contains unver... more

A close view of Thomas Scott Baldwin's most successful airship, "Gelatine", at the Lewis & Clark Exposition, Portland, Ore.

A close view of Thomas Scott Baldwin's most successful airship, "Gelat...

H71400 U.S. Copyright Office. Stereo by the INternational Stereograph co., copyrighted by C.L. Wasson. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: PI AIRSHIP; Air-ships; ... more

View of air ship above the White House

View of air ship above the White House

H79814 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by G.V. Buck, Wash., D.C. No. 6.

[East front of the U.S. Capitol, with airship (drawn?) above, Washington, D.C.]

[East front of the U.S. Capitol, with airship (drawn?) above, Washingt...

H79813 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by G.V. Buck, Washington, D.C.

Zeppelin airship, model 4, with inset bust portrait of Graf Zeppelin

Zeppelin airship, model 4, with inset bust portrait of Graf Zeppelin

Repro. of photo. Title and other information transcribed from unverified, old caption card data and item. George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress).

[French military dirigible "République" leaving Moisson for Chalais-Mendon]

[French military dirigible "République" leaving Moisson for Chalais-Me...

George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress).

Auffahrt, Flug u. Ende des Zeppelin'schen Luftschiffes Modell 4

Auffahrt, Flug u. Ende des Zeppelin'schen Luftschiffes Modell 4

Three illustrations showing the fourth model zeppelin taking off at Manzell, on the morning of Aug. 4, and in flight; and wreck in Echterdingen, Germany. Bain News Service photograph. George Grantham Bain Colle... more

[Diagrammatic view of Wellman's airship]

[Diagrammatic view of Wellman's airship]

Photo of drawing. Photo by Bain. Title and other information transcribed from unverified, old caption card data and item, with subsequent revisions. George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress).

The air-serpent / Frank A. Nankivell 1909.

The air-serpent / Frank A. Nankivell 1909.

Illustration shows a large winged-serpent wearing a friendly mask, frightening the passengers aboard an airship. Title from item. Caption: Which of our aerial navigators will report him first? Illus. in: Puck, ... more

The consumer's only chance / Frank A. Nankivell.

The consumer's only chance / Frank A. Nankivell.

Illustration shows a woman mooring an airship to the chimney on the roof of her home by the light of a full moon; on board the airship are "American Goods Bought in England" that are being smuggled into the U.S... more

The invasion of England / L.M. Glackens.

The invasion of England / L.M. Glackens.

Illustration shows German soldiers and officers invading England by means of hot-air balloons and other types of airships; also shows German emperor William II dictating "Fall of Albion an epic poem by the Kais... more

[Wellman's airship "America" viewed from the RMS "Trenet"]

[Wellman's airship "America" viewed from the RMS "Trenet"]

Title and other information transcribed from unverified, old caption card data and item, with subsequent revisions. George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress).

[Wellman airship "America" viewed from the RMS TRENT, shown dragging anchor in water]

[Wellman airship "America" viewed from the RMS TRENT, shown dragging a...

Photoprint copyrighted by G.G. Bain. Negative available: LC-B2-2117-16. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card, with subsequent revisions.

The airship craze / L.M. Glackens.

The airship craze / L.M. Glackens.

Illustration shows a golf club driving a golf ball that is covered with insects; at the bottom is a ticket booth labeled "Conquest of the Air" where insects can purchase tickets for rides on golf balls. Title f... more

Wellman airship - props of airship 1910?

Wellman airship - props of airship 1910?

Title and other information transcribed from unverified, old caption card data and item, with subsequent revisions. George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress).

A dirigible (1910)

A dirigible (1910)

Print shows dirigible in flight over clouds.

British Naval airship

British Naval airship

Photo shows the first British attempt to build a rigid airship. This naval dirigible was launched in 1911 and called the Mayfly (HMA-1). (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2008; book by Guy Hartcup; and New York Times)

Vaniman airship "Akron" before sailing

Vaniman airship "Akron" before sailing

Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. "3584 A.S." Photograph by Pictorial News Co., N.Y.C. Ernest L. Jones Collection. Caption card tracings: Photog. I.; Airships 1911; Airships ... more

Airships are getting so dreadfully commonplace / Will Crawford.

Airships are getting so dreadfully commonplace / Will Crawford.

Illustration shows a two panel cartoon showing on the left, pedestrians and people in and on top of buildings looking with amazement at an airplane flying over a city; and on the right, citizens no longer take ... more

[Wreck of German Naval airship L.2, Oct. 17, 1913]

[Wreck of German Naval airship L.2, Oct. 17, 1913]

Title and other information transcribed from unverified, old caption card data and item, with subsequent revisions. George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). Caption card tracings: Airships 1913; A... more

For the sunny South. An airship with a "Jim Crow" trailer

For the sunny South. An airship with a "Jim Crow" trailer

Caricature showing an airplane with white people, towing a blimp with a platform on which are seated African Americans. Color halftone repro. of drawing signed in lower left Erhart, copyrighted by Keppler & Sch... more

[Wreck of German Naval airship L.2, Oct. 17, 1913]

[Wreck of German Naval airship L.2, Oct. 17, 1913]

Title and other information transcribed from unverified, old caption card data and item, with subsequent revisions. George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). Caption card tracings: Airships 1913; A... more

Coastal airship

Coastal airship

British Photographs of World War I

[Airship "Viktoria Luise" and hangar at Oos, Germany, Sept. 11, 1914]

[Airship "Viktoria Luise" and hangar at Oos, Germany, Sept. 11, 1914]

George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). This record contains unverified, old data from caption card.

The zeppelin raids: the vow of vengeance. Drawn for "The Daily Chronicle" by Frank Brangwyn A.R.A. 'Daily Chronicle' readers are covered against the risks of bombardment by zeppelin or aeroplane / / designed by Frank Brangwyn, A.R.A. ; printed by The Avenue Press, Ltd., Bouverie St., London, E.C.

The zeppelin raids: the vow of vengeance. Drawn for "The Daily Chronic...

Poster showing a soldier shaking his fist at a zeppelin following bombing. Title from item.

It is far better to face the bullets than to be killed at home by a bomb. Join the army at once & help to stop an air raid. God save the king / Andrew Reid & Co., Ltd., 50, Grey Street, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

It is far better to face the bullets than to be killed at home by a bo...

Poster showing a dirigible in the night sky over London, illuminated by a searchlight. Title from item.

The zeppelin raids: the vow of vengeance. Drawn for "The Daily Chronicle" by Frank Brangwyn A.R.A. 'Daily Chronicle' readers are covered against the risks of bombardment by zeppelin or aeroplane / / designed by Frank Brangwyn, A.R.A. ; printed by The Avenue Press, Ltd., Bouverie St., London, E.C.

The zeppelin raids: the vow of vengeance. Drawn for "The Daily Chronic...

Poster showing a soldier shaking his fist at a zeppelin following bombing. Title from item.

Balloons - In the Theatre of Operations - Airships that may be used for passenger service. British Royal Air Force Official photograph. Dirigible built in 1917 with duralumin girders, is 540 feet long and has been sleeping quarters for the crew

Balloons - In the Theatre of Operations - Airships that may be used fo...

Date Taken: 2/8/1919 Photographer: Western Newspaper Union Balloons - In the Theatre of Operations

Balloons - Hangars and Beds - Type "C" Twin Motor Dirigible car shown at Aeronautical Exposition in New York

Balloons - Hangars and Beds - Type "C" Twin Motor Dirigible car shown ...

Photographer: The Burgess Co., Marblehead Balloons - Hangars and Beds

Balloons - Observation - Scene at Balloon School showing hangar and observation balloons, Akron, Ohio

Balloons - Observation - Scene at Balloon School showing hangar and ob...

Photographer: International Film Service Balloons - Observation

Balloons - Hangars and Beds - Atlantic Airship, largest in world, makes debut in England. The Atlantic airship, or R-33, makes its debut recently at Shelby, England. Flight proved successful for she remained three hours in air reaching an altitude of 2,000 feet

Balloons - Hangars and Beds - Atlantic Airship, largest in world, make...

Date Taken: 3/20/1919 Photographer: Underwood & Underwood Balloons - Hangars and Beds

Balloons - Hangars and Beds - Type "C" Twin Motor Dirigible car shown at Aeronautical Exposition in New York

Balloons - Hangars and Beds - Type "C" Twin Motor Dirigible car shown ...

Photographer: The Burgess Co., Marblehead Balloons - Hangars and Beds

Balloons - Hangars and Beds - Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Flying Field, Akron, Ohio. A number of special type balloons in a hangar

Balloons - Hangars and Beds - Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Flying Fie...

Photographer: Goodyear Tire & Rubber CO. Balloons - Hangars and Beds

Balloons - In the Theatre of Operations - British Airship setting out on patrol. English airship used in guarding the coast against subs, leaving her mooring to start on a flight

Balloons - In the Theatre of Operations - British Airship setting out ...

Photographer: Western Newspaper Union Balloons - In the Theatre of Operations

Balloons - Miscellaneous - Dirigible, showing hangar, Goodrich Co., manufactured by Goodrich Co. Akron, O
Balloons - In the Theatre of Operations - World's Largest Airship, the R-34. The R-34 recently launched at Inchinnin, near Glasgow is 670 feet in length, and driven by powerful engines

Balloons - In the Theatre of Operations - World's Largest Airship, the...

Photographer: Underwood & Underwood Balloons - In the Theatre of Operations

Balloons - Hangars and Beds - Twin Engine Dirigible C-1 N.O. 3509, side view of car
Balloons - Miscellaneous - Preparing for a cruise. Preparatory to making a flight the big airship is towed from the hangar to the adjacent field by a number of sailors. At the cry "Hands off" the rope holds are relinquished and the big envelope, propelled by the car suspended underneath gracefully sails out over the field

Balloons - Miscellaneous - Preparing for a cruise. Preparatory to maki...

Photographer: Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. Balloons - Miscellaneous