'The Parseval III: German Military Airship', 1909.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Coloured print. Major August von Parseval (1861-1942) began studying airship design while working for the German military in 1900. On 21 May 1906 he flew his first non-rigid airship in Berlin, Germany. This ship, which was called the Parseval after its creator, had no frame like the Zeppelin and only appeared rigid because the gas inside it maintained sufficient presure to support its shape. It was also extremely light and could not attain the same fast speeds as the larger, more powerful Zeppelins. The Parseval III was a semi-rigid dirigible which could travel at speeds of up to 32.5 mph (52 kph). Dimensions: 235mm x 280mm.