Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Count Zeppelin Dies Near Berlin -- March 8, 2017

Washington Evening Star, 09-March-1917
This article, from the 09-March-1917 Washington Evening Star, details the death of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, inventor and namesake of the rigid airship known as the Zeppelin.  The Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen was finally established in 1996. 

Famous Inventor of Dirigible
Victim of Lung Affection,
Says Berlin Dispatch.

By the Associated Press.
LONDON, March 9. -- Count Zeppelin is dead. according to a dispatch from Berlin received by Reuter's Telegram Company. A Berlin telegram transmitted by Reuter's Amsterdam correspondent says Count Zeppelin died yesterday in Charlottenburg, near Berlin, from inflammation of the lungs.

Count Zeppelin was suffering from dysentery for some time prior to his death and a complication of the malady necessitated an intestinal operation, according to a Berlin dispatch to Reuter's by way of Amsterdam. The operation was successful and his recovery was hoped for when mumps developed and later inflammation of the lungs. It was difficult for him to receive nourishment and his power of resistance was considerably weakened. The critical point in his illness was reached a few days ago, and he died at noon yesterday.

The morning newspapers today print long obituaries of Count Zeppelin, whose career is reviewed in most instances dispassionately and in some cases with tributes to his patriotism and perseverance. Justice is done by the writers to the remarkable development of the Zeppelin airship as a traveling  machine, although the achievements in aerial navigation associated with Count Zeppelin's name are ascribed to his engineers rather than to himself.

 Met Many Disappointments.

The reputed ambition of Count Zeppelin to lay London in ruin and his alleged confidence in the ability of his machines to achieve this object are recalled, while failure to realise such an ambition is regarded by some of the writers a sufficient ground on which to base the statement that Zeppelin's
career of strange vicissitudes ended in dissolution and defeat at one of the lowest points in his fluctuating fortunes. His least appreciative commentator says: "His chief feat is that he killed or wounded 1,500 British citizens, mostly non-combatants, by disloyal means and gave Germany her greatest disappointment of the war.

The vituperative vein, however, is inconspicuous in most of the reviews. In one of them it is contended that Count Zeppelin realized his ambitions to an extraordinary degree, and that, with the help of his engineers, he developed a machine which is unique in some respects and which, since the war, exploded the fallacy that the giant rigid airships are useless.

Count Ferdinand Zeppelin became famous at the age of seventy as the builder of the world's first practical dirigible balloon. On his seventy-fifth birthday he navigated his twentieth airship to celebrate the occasion. But before he had achieved fame he had devoted a half century of his life, exhausted his personal fortune of $750,000 and sacrificed a brilliant career as a German cavalry leader in conquering the air.

Emperor William recently proclaimed Count Zeppelin to be "the greatest German of the twentieth century." As a token of appreciation he conferred upon him the exalted Order of the Black Eagle, the highest honor in the emperor's power.

Made First Ascension in U. S.

It was in the United States that Count Zeppelin made his first balloon ascension. It occurred while he was following Gen. Carl Schurz in the civil war as a military observer for the German army. A captive balloon, in use for military observations by Union troops, greatly interested the young German officer and he was taken up in it in 1863.

Scion of a wealthy family of ancient lineage, Count Zeppelin was born in Constance, Baden, in 1838. As a youth he was trained for a soldier's career. He fought through the Austro-Prussian and the Franco-Prussian wars, and is said to have been the first German soldier to cross the frontier into France in the last named conflict. Serving in the German cavalry for three decades, he rose to a rank of general at the age of forty-two. He retired ten years later, a distinguished soldier, to devote all his
time to the problem of aeronautics.

From a wealthy nobleman owning vast estates. Count Zeppelin was gradually reduced to an aristocratic mechanic living in an humble cottage on an allowance supplied by his friends. He met many narrow escapes from death, and disaster repeatedly overtook his airships.  These became so frequent that pert paragraphs began to appear in the German press in ridicule of his efforts.

Then in a day the tide turned. He electrified a skeptical world in 1908 by staying aloft for thirty-seven hours in the fifth airship he had built, and by sailing it in a straight course for a distance of nearly 900 miles. Emperor William, and all Germany in fact, hailed him as "the conqueror of the air."

Public Subscribed Fund.

This monster balloon, 465 feet long and of the rigid type and resembling a huge cigar, soon met with disaster as had its predecessors. Each wreck was a great financial loss, for Zeppelin's balloons were valued as high as $500,000 each. These disasters, however, also proved the affection in which the
German people held the aristocratic aviator. When one of his airships was torn from its moorings by a gale and wrecked, the public subscribed $1,000,000 to a fund, of which the crown prince was president, for the inventor.  The German emperor frequently helped him out of financial difficulties, and the German reichstag appropriated several hundred thousand marks for the purchase of his airships for the German army.

At the close of his remarkable career Count Zeppelin had retrieved a large part of the fortune ho spent in his conquest of the air. He trained his son, also an army officer, in the science of aeronautics and especially in his methods of building dirigible balloons.

He also made an accomplished aeroaut of his daughter, who has made more than a hundred flights in the airships her father fashioned.  In commemoration of Count Zeppelin, Friedrichshafen, the city from which most of his voyages began, has decided to establish a Zeppelin Museum.

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