German Commercial Zeppelins Collection

The Zeppelin Company, founded in 1908 in Germany by Ferdinand von Zeppelin, was a pioneer company renowned for its airships and transoceanic commercial air service. Ferdinand von Zeppelin had been experimenting with rigid airships since the late 1800s and the Zeppelin LZ 1 made its first flight in 1900. Further models followed until the LZ 4 was introduced in 1908. The LZ 4 crashed during a test flight which led to an outpouring of support and monetary donations from the public and made possible the founding of the Zeppelin Company (Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH). Beginning in 1909, Zeppelin airships were used for passenger transport by the Deutsche Luftschiffahrts Aktiengesellschaft (DELAG). In 1934 Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels offered two million marks of his ministry's funds for the Zeppelin Company. This infusion of money led to the virtual takeover of the company by the state. The new company, Deutsche Zeppelin Reederei, was formed 22 March 1935 with Air Ministry General Field Marshall Herman Goering the president of the company