Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Day 104/365 The Day That Put the Led in Zeppelin

Look familiar? Here's a clue - it's 1937.

  • H.P. Lovecraft has just died

  • Howard Hughes has just set a record for flying from Los Angeles to NYC in in 7 hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds

  • 7 million people are unemployed in the U.S.

  • FDR is sworn in for his second term

  • Waldo Waterman introduces the first successful flying car, the Aerobile

Still doesn't look familiar?

Here's a look during construction.

Here's a more encompassing look during construction.

This is us, looking down towards those folks who were looking out at New York City.

This is one of 357 salvaged pieces of mail referred to by collectors as "crash mail". Can you now name which crash this piece of mail survived?

May 6, 1937: The crash of The Hindenburg, Lakehurst, New Jersey.

The Hindenburg was suppose to be the future of air travel. It was Hitler's bid to control the sky. Almost worked except for that whole pesky highly-flammable thing.

The Hindenburg was just shy of 804 feet long. For comparison, the Titanic was 882 feet long.

It took the Titanic 2.25 hours to sink. The Hindenburg went up in flames in 32 seconds, although some components burned on the ground for hours.

The common misconception is that the hydrogen that filled the Hindenburg caught fire - not so.

The frame of The Hindenburg was covered with canvas - canvas that had been coated with acetone lacquer. Even worse, the lacquer had particles of aluminum in it to make the airship a shiny silver. At high temperatures - say, those created when hydrogen is mixed with oxygen and catches fire - aluminum adds to the flammability.

The real fire hazard wasn't the hydrogen - it was the actual skin of the airship itself.

Various eyewitnesses said St. Elmo's Fire was seen dancing along the top of The Hindenburg's frame. Whatever started the fire, it was done in 32 seconds flat, dashing Hitler's hopes to the ground.

Still wondering what happened with that flying car though.

1 comment:

  1. I knew what it was in the first picture (thanks to watching Indiana Jones;)