Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin (1838-1917) was a German military officer who developed the rigid dirigible, which is a lighter-than-air vehicle that became known as the zeppelin (1900). The first zeppelin airship was about 420 ft long and 38 ft in diameter; the hydrogen-gas capacity totaled 399,000 cu ft. The ship was steered by forward and aft rudders and was driven by two 15-hp Daimler internal-combustion engines, each rotating two propellers. Passengers, crew, and engine were carried in two aluminum gondolas suspended forward and aft. Safety problems that led to accidents, including the crash of the Hindenburg in 1937, brought an end to the zeppelin’s popularity.
Count Zeppelin-Pictures of his life (Zeppelin Museum)