" First Giant of the Sky, LZI, 1900 "

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Printed by The Guild of Aviation Artists for the 2000 Exhibition, this fine poster depicts the LZ 1 during its first flight above a floating platform on Lake Constance ( Germany, 1900 ).


Size 59,3 x 42,1 cm
Author Peter Sumpter
Editor The Guild of Aviation Artists
Published date


" The Aviation Paintings of the Year " is a major exhibition which takes place at the prestigious Mall Galleries in Central London, where over 400 works go on show. It is the largest exhibition of its kind in the world and admission is free.
This fine oil on canvas - a three - quarter view seen in a ground angle shot - depicts the LZ 1 ( ’ LZ ’ stand for Luftschiff Zeppelin = Airship Zeppelin ) first flight above a floating platform on Lake Constance ( Germany, July 2nd, 1900 ). On the left - hand side, the floating hangar - which sheltered the airship - can be seen as well as some row boats with curious spectators on board. On the right - hand side, the tug boat that was used to tow the platform out of the hangar is sailing away.
Design and development
Ferdinand Adolf Heinrich August Graf von Zeppelin ( 1838 - 1917 ) had been devoting his energies to the design of large rigid - framed airships since his retirement from the army in 1890. In 1898, he established the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Luftschifffahrt. The company had a subscribed capital of 800,000 Deutschmarks, of which Zeppelin contributed 300,000 Deutschmarks : the remainder was provided by various industrialists, including 100,000 Deutschmarks contributed by Carl Berg ( 1851 - 1906 ), whose company provided the aluminium framework of the airship.
The company first constructed a large floating shed to contain the airship. This arrangement was decided on firstly because Zeppelin believed that landing the ship over water would be safer and secondly because the floating shed, moored only at one end, would turn so that it was always facing into the wind. Construction of the airship began on June 17th, 1898, when the first sections of the framework were delivered from Berg's factory and was completed by January 27th, 1900. Inflation of the gasbags took place during June and the airship was first taken out of the shed on the evening of July 2nd, with Hauptmann Hans Bartsch von Sigsfeld of the Prussian Airship Battalion at the controls.
Operational history
At its first trial the LZ 1 carried five people, reached an altitude of 410 metres ( 1,350 feet ) and flew a distance of 6.0 kilometres ( 3.7 miles ) in 17 minutes, but by then the moveable weight had jammed and one of the engines had failed : the wind then forced an emergency landing.
After repairs and alterations the ship flew two more times, on October 17th and 24th, showing its potential by beating the speed record then held by the electric - powered French Army non - rigid airship, La France of 6 kilometres per hour ( 3.7 miles per hour ), but this did not convince the possible investors. Because funding was exhausted, Graf von Zeppelin had to dismantle the airship, sell the scrap and tools and liquidate the company.
( source : Wikipedia )
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