First flight of the Zeppelin on the Bodensee, Germany, 2 July 1900.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Colour print. On the morning of 2nd July 1900, Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin (1838-1917) launched the first ever rigid airship, the Zeppelin No 1, or LZ-1 (L standing for 'luft' (air), and Z for Zeppelin), on the Bodensee (Lake Constance) near Friedrichshafen, Germany. This 416 feet (120m) long ship, which was filled with the lifting gas hydrogen, flew for approximately 18 minutes. Its two Daimler internal combustion engines, which would eventually power the ship to a maximum speed of 17.3 mph (28kmph), initially proved unreliable and the ship did not fly again until 17th October 1900. Published in Biberach an der Ris, Tubingen, Germany. The floating 'shed' could be aligned with the wind to aid launching.