1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Zeppelin, Count Ferdinand von
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Zeppelin, Count Ferdinand von
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ZEPPELIN, COUNT FERDINAND VON (1838-1917), German airship inventor, was born at Constance, Baden, July 8 1838. He was educated for the army and received a commission at the age of 20. He served, as a volunteer, in the Federal army during the American Civil War and whilst in America made his first balloon ascent. Returning to Germany, he saw active service in the Austrian war of 1866 and in the Franco-German War of 1870. In 1891 he retired from the army with the rank of general and thenceforth devoted his energies to the study of aeronautics. In 1900 he built an airship, which rose from the ground and remained in the air for 20 minutes, but was wrecked in landing. In 1906 he made two successful flights at a speed of 30 m. an hour, and in 1907 attained a speed of 36 miles. From that time onwards his airship construction made steady progress, and the success he had achieved was evidenced by the exploits of the Zeppelin airships in the World War. He died at Charlottenburg March 8 1917.