Zeppelin, Ferdinand, Graf von

Zeppelin, Ferdinand, Graf von

(zĕp`əlĭn, Ger. fĕr`dēnänt gräf fən tsĕp'əlēn`), 1838–1917, German army officer and airshipairship,
an aircraft that consists of a cigar-shaped gas bag, or envelope, filled with a lighter-than-air gas to provide lift, a propulsion system, a steering mechanism, and a gondola accommodating passengers, crew, and cargo.
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 inventor and builder. He entered the Prussian army in 1858 and served in the Seven Weeks War and in the Franco-Prussian War. He was an observer with the Union army during the American Civil War. In 1891 he retired from the Prussian army to devote himself to the building of motor-driven airships. He invented the first rigid airship in 1900, and in 1906 built one that had a speed of 30 mi (48 km) per hr. In 1908 he established at Friederichshafen the Zeppelin Foundation for the development of aerial navigation and the manufacture of airships.
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