Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, German airship maker, c 1910.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
In 1900, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin (1838-1917) launched his new invention; the first airship which could be steered and powered by two motors with a framework made of aluminium girders. By 1913, 'Zeppelins' were large pasenger-carrying airships that included the 'Hindenburg' which caught fire killing thirty-five people. During WWI, the Zeppelin was used by the Germans to drop bombs over England and France.