Ferdinand (Adolf August Heinrich) 1838–1917 Graf von Zeppelin Ger. gen. & aeronaut
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.