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Zeppelin: The greater part of a year is required for the design and construction of an airship, whereas the flight testing the construction engineer is carried out in a few days or weeks.

Category: Aviation
Item Number: 9646
Price: $4,500

Ferdinand Graf Von Zeppelin

German general and aircraft manufacturer who founded the Zeppelin Airship Company. Interesting 1 page Typed Letter Signed, from Friedrichshafen on 3rd September 1910, written in German to the Honoured Sea Captain Marwede of the Nautical Department of the Government Naval Office. The letter is a fascinating look into the process of creating and testing new aviation technology near the turn of the century. Zeppelin writes that the "close relationship between the navigation of the sea and the air" has always encouraged him to seek advice and additional support from the navy and its knowledgeable officers. He adds that he would like to gain the services of a senior and widely traveled naval officer, although he comments that there is no situation available within his business. Of the development of new airships, Zeppelin writes, "The greater part of a year is required for the design and construction of an airship, whereas the flight testing, which must as a high priority also be carried out by the construction engineer before the machine goes to the customer, is carried out in a few days or weeks." He concludes that "It is possible that with the further evolution of airship construction - and especially if the Navy begins to order ships- that an alteration would come in and it would give me great pleasure if we could then perhaps work in closer association." He signs "G V Zeppelin." Zeppelin was no stranger to the military and its operations, and he saw its members as useful collaborators. He himself had been in the military, resigning in 1891 to devote his full attention to airships. He hired the engineer Theodor Gross to make tests of possible materials and to assess available engines for both fuel efficiency and power-to-weight ratio. He also had air propellers tested and strove to obtain higher purity hydrogen gas from suppliers. By 1900, ten years before this letter, Zeppelin had refined his original design to include a rigid aluminium framework covered in a fabric envelope; separate multiple internal gas cells, each free to expand and contract thus obviating the need for ballonets; modular frame allowing addition of sections and gas cells; controls, engines and gondola rigidly attached. This allowed the first flight of his L1 airship. With blank integral leaf. A particularly clean and crisp letter; ideal for display. Autographs of Zeppelin are rare and letters, such as this, discussing airships are very desirable. In very fine condition.

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