This year I visited dozens of museums. The Zeppelin Museum, in Friedrichshaven, Germany, was one of my favorites. If this sounds familiar, that’s because I wrote about it in March. Its centerpiece is a full-sized mock-up of a section of the Hindenburg, which was the absolute height of luxury right up to the point when it caught fire and crashed.
The museum isn’t particularly large, but it’s a fascinating window into the moment in history when airships seemed like a good idea.
The museum’s collection of Zeppelin-related objects really shows how much people cared about this stuff. In the teens and 20s, it seems like someone thought of putting a Zeppelin on basically everything. Cookies, pincushions, scissors, pencil sharpeners. Zithers.
I believe that is a salt shaker with a Zeppelin flying over Lake Constance–and, in the background, Zeppelin-shaped sugar bowls.
Zeppelins were obviously a big deal and a point of pride for German people.
They were a big deal for Germany, too. Look at this medal.
At first glance, I thought, a medal commemorating a flight over London, isn’t that nice.
It is not nice. It’s from the first world war, when the Zeppelins were flying over London to drop bombs. They weren’t very accurate, but they were scary.
The world has mostly moved on from airships. I think it would be pretty hard to find a salt shaker with an airship painted on it–the museum gift shop didn’t even have one. (Bummer.)
But they still have uses. A few weeks ago I was delighted to see an airship flying over Baltimore. It’s a blimp, the kind of airship that doesn’t have a rigid structure. It belongs to the U.S. Navy and was doing some mapping.