By John Duggan, Henry Cord Meyer (auth.)
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Extra info for Airships in International Affairs, 1890–1940
As he worked away in his reduced ofﬁces at Manzell, where Dürr was designing and would soon construct a new, ﬁxed hangar on the shore of Lake Constance, Zeppelin seldom encountered inquiring journalists. And he turned one away with a brusque quip: ‘I am not a circus rider performing for the public; I am completing a serious task for the Vaterland’. 10 Zeppelin’s second effort to build and ﬂy a rigid airship coincided with a signiﬁcant quickening of non-rigid developments abroad and at home. During 1905 construction of LZ2 was under way, with substantial support for the Count’s own continued heavy personal investment: Berg’s aluminium, Daimler’s engines, Riedinger’s balloon-stuffs, south German lottery funds, and containers for hydrogen on loan from the Prussian Airship Battalion.
It was an unequal struggle, as airplane technology relentlessly improved and overcame the skyships by 1939. Because the airships were so scarce and the captains of their large crews so well identiﬁed with their accomplishments – and failures – these aviation conﬂicts often took on very personal tones, all the more so, since their personae appeared so prominently in the public eye. Engineering rivalries, design competitions, and contests for product superiority were endemic in western industrial society.
Psychiatrists have noted the unique relationship that can develop between humankind and its machines. Here emerges a curious animism that endows its mobile craft with qualities of a living creature and even a personality of its own. 32 Though airship designers and builders did not establish the intimate psychological relationships characteristic of a single pilot with his airplane, they did develop their own kind of empathies with their immense constructions. Most designers and builders of great engineering constructions such as skyscrapers, suspension bridges, and large maritime vessels, have had their 14 Airships in International Affairs, 1890–1940 own pride of identiﬁcation with their achievements.
Airships in International Affairs, 1890–1940 by John Duggan, Henry Cord Meyer (auth.)