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Rigid airship of a type designed by the German builder Ferdinand, Graf (count) von Zeppelin (1838–1917). It was a cigar-shaped, trussed, and covered frame supported by internal gas cells, below which hung two external cars with an engine geared to two propellers. The first zeppelin flew in 1900. In World War I zeppelins were used as bombers by Germany. In 1928 the Graf Zeppelin inaugurated transatlantic flight service; it had completed 590 flights by 1937, when the Hindenburg disaster halted such flights.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on zeppelin, visit Britannica.com.