Friday, December 2, 2011

The Hindendburg



We wrap up Airship week with this picture of the Hindenburg. Yes, while we all enjoyed the pictures of elegant travel via Zeppelins, it all came to an end with the Hindenburg. The "lifting" gas used in the old Zeppelins was Hydrogen. There were two reasons for this. Hydrogen gas is the lightest, so gives the most lift when used in an airship, and secondly Germany did not have ready access to large amounts of Helium, which would have been the second best choice of a gas. The thing about hydrogen is that it is very flammable, and it is always prone to leaking. So, Zeppelins were in fact disasters waiting to happen. We share the famous news clip of the Hindenburg disaster below.

13 comments:

  1. wow that went up fast!! Plus given the live news cast that it happened on it really made it worse for the industry. There was also that famous quote from the reporter, "oh the humanity!" Great week!

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  2. One of the parts behind the Hindenburg disaster was that landing had not met with disaster and were fairly common place. They were so common place that most reporters did not even cover the landings any more.
    Herbert Morrison was the one that made the dramatic recording of the disaster and was about the only reporter on site.
    As bad as it was of the 97 people on board only 35 died.
    Bad thunderstorms caused delays in landing that day , and it was thought that they may have caused a large built up of static electricity, and may have been the spark to ignite the leaking hydrogen. But there are a dozen theories on why things happened.

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  3. Looking at this picture with the Hindenburg moored to that mast makes you realize how big these ships were. They certainly knew how explosive hydrogen was back then so I wonder what the safety systems were, electrical shielding etc. Back then it was probably quite a feat to fill a ship with hydrogen and have it safe enough to run electricity to state rooms, restaurant and what ever amenties they had on board. I'll take a nice big cruise ship to Bermuda anyday. Have a nice weekend all.

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  4. The old autos are interesting. I think the one in foreground is a 36 Ford with suiside doors but it may be a 35 model. The one in back is interesting with the extreme sloping back. Some of you car buffs let us know what these autos are for sure.

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  5. A lot of alternate reality novels use this setting of the golden age of airships as a fulcrum for the atmospheric backdrop.Did I use fulcrum right? Anywho,I am an avid science fiction reader and the idea that things could have gone so much different if Helium had been available is interesting!The propulsion systems needed some serious work though? Thank you.

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  6. The car in the back looks like a Volkswagen; weather or not it is, I have no idea.

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  7. I think Volkswagen came along actualy in the 1940s. This appears to be a USA (Remember that wonderful country) made auto. Maybe a Plymouth or one of the air flow autos.

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  8. I had a 1935 Ford back in the
    40s. I could take out the back seat and load it up with cinder blocks and cast iron and put on chains and it made a pretty good tractor then convert it back and take the high road. The V8 was easly repaired and was fast.

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  9. I have heard, but cannot verify, that the announcer was fired by the station as "unprofessional" becasue he could not control his emotions watching people burn to death. Does anyone know more about this?

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  10. I remember seeing this video footage as a child, and it terrified me. Of course, it was many years after the disaster, and airships weren't used any more, but it is power footage.

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  11. Sorry, powerFUL footage.

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  12. What actually first caught on fire was the coating of the zeppelin. I can't remember the actual composition of i, but it pretty much equaled solid rocket fuel. The gas only caught on fire after the skin was ignited. Saw a very interesting documentary on it and this is what was determined from looking at old German archives and a model recreation.

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  13. About the cars, the one in the foreground is either a Dodge or Plymouth. Ford had a more sloped and flowing rear in 35-36. Dodge had the boxed rear as you see here in the photo.

    As far as Volkswagen goes, they were founded in 1937.

    The Hindenburg crashed and burned in Lakehurst, NJ, so yes, this is an American photo.

    The one in the background actually looks like a 1935 Pierce Arrow which was an American auto company based in Buffalo, NY from 1901-1938. They made luxury vehicles and some commercial vehicles. Would be a good chance that a NY car would be in NJ at such a high profile event.

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