08.03.

1914: Who Invented Airships – Count Zeppelin or a Man from Zagreb?

1914: Who Invented Airships – Count Zeppelin or a Man from Zagreb?

Story Highlights

  • Historical date:
  • 8. March 1917
  • There are theories that Count Zeppelin took the idea for a maneuverable airship precisely from Schwarz, a citizen of Zagreb. Namely, Schwarz was the first man in the world who made manageable aircraft lighter than air, from a material that was still rare and expensive at the time - aluminum.

Ferdinand von Zeppelin died on this day during World War I. He was a wealthy German aristocrat with the title of a count, the son of Württemberg Minister. Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin was a soldier by occupation and he reached the rank of general. Interestingly, he was a military observer in the American Civil War, where he first flew a balloon. After that he became interested in making a balloon that could be maneuvered easily.

Over time, Count Zeppelin came up with the idea to create an airship with a metal casing and an engine. It is interesting that a man from Zagreb – David Schwarz – came up with the same idea maybe even before Zeppelin. There are theories that Count Zeppelin took the idea for a maneuverable airship precisely from Schwarz. Namely, Schwarz was the first man in the world who made manageable aircraft lighter than air, from a material that was still rare and expensive at the time – aluminum.

Schwarz was also the first one to apply a new alloy – duralumin, which at that time was known as Schwarz aluminum. In any case, Schwarz patented his idea before Zeppelin, who then bought the patent for 15,000 marks from Schwarz’s widow. Zeppelin developed the idea to the end and founded a factory for the production of airships. He was so successful that these machines have been named after him – Zeppelins.

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