The zeppelin organization
THE Zeppelin Endownment for the Propagation of Air Navigation (Zeppelinstiftung zur Foerderung der Luftfahrt) which Count Zeppelin founded with the subscription fund of 6,000,000 marks presented to him by the German people in 1908, is administered by a Board of Directors, of which Baron Max freiherr von Gemmingen, Zeppelin's nephew, who worked with him from the start, is Chairman. The other Directors are Baron von Bassus and Dr. Hugo Eckener.
The Zeppelin Endowment owns LuftschifFbau-Zeppelin (Zeppelin Airship Building Co.), the construction company organized in 1908 and controls the "DELAG" organized, as stated before, in 1910 for the operation of commercial Zeppelins. Interested in the "DELAG" are a number of financiers, though with all the others, it was under the personal supervision of Count Zeppelin, and after him the Directorate of the Zeppelin Endowment.
At the time of the Armistice the construction and operating companies employed 1,600 persons on their executive and engineering staffs and 12,000 workmen. Many subsidiary companies were organized and operated, specializing in the various branches of Zeppelin work, experimenting and producing.
Many Subsidiary Companies
These subsidiary companies are also controlled by the Directorate. They were not permitted to disintegrate during the difficult period following the war, but instead, have kept their personnel and facilities
intact and are ready to continue the work which was interrupted by the terms of the treaty. They produce respectively motors, gas bags, propellers, gears, sheds and, in fact, everything pertaining to aerial navigation including airplanes, flying boats and parts.
The Construction Plants
The great construction plants are organized on the same principles as ship yards. Over them all is the General Director, Mr. Alfred Colsman, and Chief Engineer, Dr. Ing. Ludwig Duerr, the latter having been with Count Zeppelin since the first airship was started and to whom much of the credit must be given for the success attained.
There are various departments including the planning and supervising divisions, two designing divisions (one for scientific and general design, the other for workship and drawings), the manufacturing and erecting divisions, calculating and accounting, testing and controlling, and general maintenance divisions. The research department is a separate organization.
The Airship Factories
In the airship factories the framework is made and erected. The envelope is prepared, passenger and engine gondolas completed and assembled along with other apparatus and instruments. The power plant is built, excepting the motors and parts of the gear work. Research work along the lines of airship development is conducted there.
The original plant built at Friedrichshafen in 1910 included a double shed, workshops, offices and laboratory buildings. The shed would not accommodate ships of greater diameter than 52% feet (16 meters), so in 1914 new workshops and another shed was built, to be followed the next year by a still larger shed.
During 1915 and 1916 better workshops (Plate 16), offices and a larger laboratory, together with the largest wind tunnel on earth were completed, along with a low pressure chamber for testing motors, a new development as unique as it was important to the automotive science.
The Hydrogen Plant
The original hydrogen plant was enlarged to a capacity output of 353,100 cubic feet (10,000 cubic meters) daily, with storage facilities for 2,118,600 cubic feet (60,000 cubic meters). Since the war, the storage facilities have been reduced to 706,200 cubic feet (20,000 cubic meters) by order of the Allied Commission.
Powerful Radio Station
The Zeppelin wireless plant, started in 1910, has continued to develop with the science of radio and is now able to communicate with the United States. The duralumin factory is capable of meeting all Zeppelin requirements.
The Great Zeppelin Hangars
The original shed, built in 1908-09 and first used in 1910, is now the ring building factory, where the great transverse frames for the Zeppelins are made. It is 603^ feet (184 meters) long, 150.8 feet (46 meters) wide and stands 65.6 feet (20 meters) high—huge dimensions in the early days but utterly dwarfed by the great sheds which have since appeared alongside. There are double doors at each end, one set operated on the turning, the other on the sliding principle. They are opened and closed by electricity in a few minutes. In this shed twenty-eight Zeppelins were assembled, the last being LZ-39 after which it was devoted to the transverse ring frames.
Twenty Zeppelins were built in the new shed, number one (Plate 16), which is 629.8 feet (192 meters) long, 129.23 feet (39.4 meters) wide and 91.8 feet (28 meters) high. Its double sliding doors are electrically operated.
Six of the larger Zeppelins were either built or reconstructed in another new shed, number two, erected to accommodate ships of 1,942,050 cubic feet (55,000 cubic meters) and more. It is 787.2 feet (240 meters) long, 150.8 feet (46 meters) wide and 114.8 feet (35 meters) high. Its sliding doors can be opened or closed within fifteen minutes. Both of the large sheds have long docking rails at each end which enables the Zeppelins to leave or return to shelter within a few minutes.
Another shed near the works at Loewental was turned over to Zeppelin by the Government. The Navy Zeppelin L-11 was built there in 1915. The last one was the navy ship L-72 which J\sas completed as the armistice was signed. It was not inflated for delivery; and, therefore, remained the property of the Zeppelin Company.
In the spring of 1919 the L-72 was outfitted for a demonstration flight from Berlin to the United States and return; but it was prevented by the Allied Commissions which ordered it to be kept in the shed until delivered to France. All the Zeppelins assembled at Loewental were fabricated at the main plant and taken there only for final assembling of the parts.
The Potsdam Plant
The Zeppelin plant at Potsdam was erected in 1912 as an airship harbor and the following winter became one of the main construction centers with shed, workshops, and other necessary equipment. Here the passenger Zeppelin '"Sachsen" was lengthened early in 1914. The last of the sixteen ships built there was the army
Zeppelin LZ-81 late in 1916, after which, because the shed was too small for the larger ships, it was used for building giant seaplanes. Later on it was converted into a special repair factory of all the airship motors. The airship personnel was transferred to the Staaken plant near Berlin.
The Colossal Staaken Plant
The Zeppelin-Staaken plant (Plate 17), located in the outskirts of Berlin is considered the most modern airship factory, in the world. Into it were put all the knowledge and experience of ten years of practical airship production. There were at one time two large sheds 820 feet (250 meters) long, 150.8 feet (46 meters) wide and 114.8 feet (35 meters) high, with a ring building shed between them, great workshops, research laboratories, administration building, hydrogen plant and all accessories.
The latest and most efficient machinery and tools then devised were provided. A large airdrome was constructed, as it was planned to make Staaken the postwar center of Zeppelin airship activity. Here is was planned to locate both stationary and rotary sheds, the latter turning like a locomotive turn-table, making it possible to point their entrances in any direction the prevailing wind might dictate, to insure safe launching or landing of the Zeppelins. Then there were to be airplane factories on the same airdrome. It was at the Staaken plant that the L-59 was fabricated for the record flight to German East Africa and return. In all, twelve Zeppelins were built there.
The Duralumin Works
During the war two plants were put up in the vicinity of Friedrichshafen for making duralumin materials such as angle bars, strips, all kinds of girders, and other parts of the Zeppelin skeleton. They were operated for the most part with female labor.
The Woodworking Factory
A woodworking factory (Holzindustrie G.M.B.H.-Meckenbeuren) also was established near Friedrichshafen for the manufacture of propellers, etc. It has recently been enlarged and is operating at full capacity producing materials for buildings, dwellings, etc. During the war the specially designed Zeppelin propellers were made at Goeppingen.
The Maybach Motor Works
One of the accessory companies founded by Zeppelin in 1909 was the Maybach Motor Factory (Maybach-Motorenbau) (Plate 18), at Friedrichshafen. It was enlarged considerably during the war, supplying practically all the airship motors used. Today the Maybach works include three large three story factory buildings, parts of which are devoted to executive offices, two workshops of recent origin occupying two acres, many engine testing stands, laboratory, and a power plant fully equipped with the latest machinery. The entire plant is under the management of Mr. Maybach, inventor of the only motor designed for airships alone. One reason for the peculiar efficiency of the plant is the special workman's training department which has received considerable attention from the executives.
The first Maybach motors were produced in 1912 (Plate 19), and were 140 and 180 horsepower. They contributed largely to the success of the commercial Zeppelin before the war. In 1915 a 240 horsepower motor was built, and this was the principal motor used on the military and naval Zeppelins. Maybach produced an entirely new motor in 1917. It supplied from 260 to 320 horsepower and is noted as the first supercompression motor. Quickly recognized, as the best engine for airplanes, it became the leading German aviation motor until late in 1918 when other motors built on similar prin
ciples appeared and were found more adaptable to the planes. Maybach, meanwhile, developed other types (Plate 20), principally 160 and 260 horsepower units for heavier-than-air craft. The following table illustrates the development in types and performance of engines:
The Employment and Training System
Apprentices and girls are given a thorough examination and test to determine their fitness for the work, which requires the utmost accuracy. Then they enter a twelve weeks probationary service. Their apprenticeship lasts four years. All apprentices are given instruction by engineers and foremen in physics, chemistry, knowledge of materials, model making, foundry work, algebraic calculation methods, the handling of graphics, curves, statistics, price calculation, machines and tools and particularly the principles and functions of internal combustion engines.
On January 1st, 1918, 1980 workmen were employed, 416 of them women. There were 57 women on the executive and office staff of 217. On November 1st, that year, 3300 workmen and 349 others were employed, 599 of them women.
The Zeppelin-Maybach Gearless Car
In the fall of 1921 Maybach exhibited for the first time the 22-70 horsepower gearless motor ear, designed to simplify operation. Only what is termed the direct speed is used in driving; except for grades of more than 10%, and for the starting on these grades, when apart from the rest of the mechanism a single gear is used by pushing down a pedal. When it is released, the direct grip is automatically restored without noise or vibration. Backing is accomplished with the electric starting motor by means of a pedal. Smaller cars of this type are now under construction.
New Methods of Gas Bag Fabrication
The early gas bags for the Zeppelins were made of rubberized cotton fabric. This material was comparatively heavy and further, it allowed the hydrogen gas to deteriorate during prolonged operations. Count Zeppelin experimented with various materials, particularly goldbeater skins, which are the big intestines of oxen and other cattle, treated until they become like leather and then they are very thin, tough and so durable that they wear much longer than fabric. Zeppelin learned that goldbeater's skins held gas better, also, and unlike rubberized fabric, practically eliminated the danger of electrical sparks due to friction or tearing.
He organized the Gasbag Manufacturing Company (BallonHullen G.m.b.H.) at Templehof in 1912, to carry out this development and goldbeater's skins were used exclusively, as the loss of two Zeppelins that year was traced directly to the balloon fabric in the gas bags causing sparks which exploded the hydrogen. The ships were the LZ-12 and the Schwaben, the former exploding during inflation and the latter while moored at Dusseldorf.
The gold beater skins possess certain disadvantages, however. For one thing, they were difficult to handle because of their small
size; so they were shingled on to thin cotton fabric. Since 1917 silk has been used, the combination when prepared being so light and thin as to be transparent. In fact, the Zeppelins hulls are themselves nearly transparent, the fabric envelope and gas bags being so thin that one can make out figures silhouetted on the opposite side of the hull when it faces the light.
The Tempelhof factory, with Mr. Trenkmann as Manager, now includes many buildings and workshops, several put up recently for dyeing and treating fabrics. During the war a thousand persons were employed. The gas bags used in all the German airships were made there; and the factory working with another firm under a patent license agreement, made a majority of the German observation balloons.
The Maag-Zeppelin Gear Works
It was not long after the war started that Count Zeppelin had difficulty in securing delivery of cog-wheels, etc. In 1915 he cooperated with Mr. Maag, a Swiss engineer, in starting the Friedrichshafen Cog-wheel and Gear Factory (Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshafen G.m.b.H), another subsidiary (Plate 18.) The plant is as modern as they could make it. The buildings occupy three acres. They include office buildings, workshops for hobbing, heat-treating, grinding and polishing cog-wheels and the complete gear transmissions. Aluminum castings are obtained from the foundry of the parent company, Luftschiffbau-Zeppelin.
The gear works is equipped throughout with automatic machines built on the Maag patents. His cog-wheel involves a new principle, giving utmost safety and freedom from wear and noise. Specially designed testing machines are used, guaranteeing precision of the gear wheels.
During the war the company made all the gearing on the Zeppelins and airplanes. The factory is now operating at full capacity, employing 500 men, making motor car gears, transmissions, etc. The manager is Dipl. Ing. Count von Soden.
The Hangar Construction Company
Back in 1913 a subsidiary was founded, first as a consulting engineering concern; but soon thereafter it became the Zeppelin Hangar Construction Company (Zeppelin Hallenbau G. m. b. H.). Through long practical experience it is prepared to build and equip complete airship harbors and dock yards, prepare landing fields and airdromes. One of the principal developments with which it has been accredited is the rotary shed, single or double. It has erected special workshops, gas plants and all the accessories of a modern flying terminal.
The company designed and constructed the two modern sheds at Friedrichshafen, the entire Staaken plant, the "DELAG" airship harbors and nearly all the other airports in Germany. Many hangars and workshops in Germany today were put up by the company using specially patented construction methods. In all some twenty-four complete airship harbors have been built from start to finish by this organization, which is under the management of Mr. Milatz and his staff of experts varying between 20 and a hundred members.
Zeppelin Production of Airplanes"
In 1916, the airship building personnel conducted experiments with airplanes made of airship duralumin girders covered with fabric. The object was to secure a plane which would meet the technical requirements of aerial photography. Though their activities were devoted to the airship building programme, the engineers managed to produce an experimental machine of that type. On its
first trials, it proved so superior to existing types that the army urgently requested early delivery of a number of machines. There was little time to do the work, however, and at the end of the war only twenty had been completed. They were destroyed, afterward, under the terms of the Versailles treaty.
There were other airplane enterprises organized by Count Zeppelin, which remain today leaders in their respective fields. Zeppelin was the first person to conceive of the giant all-metal flying boats (Plates 21 and 22), and all-metal airplanes.
The Zeppelin-Dor trier Metal Monoplanes
He organized a small group within the parent company, Luffschiffbau-Zeppelin, in 1912. It was the first concern exclusively engaged in all-metal airplane construction. Today the great plant of Dornier Metallbau G. m. b. H. at Seemoos, near Friedrichshafen is noted the world over for its remarkable development in heavierthen-air craft, which are named Dornier, after the manager and chief engineer. From the first Count Zeppelin placed at the disposal of Claude Dornier ample funds with which he was able to follow utterly new and original methods in developing all-metal planes on a strictly scientific basis.
It had never been done before. The plant in six years developed from a small experimental workshop to one of the largest in the world. At Seemoos there are located a great hangar, office buildings, workshops, turntables, slips and other facilities for landing and withdrawing the huge Dornier flying boats. Another great factory was erected at Landau in 1918 but has not been used for reasons of economy.
As progress was made in designing, constructing and testing metal planes, Dornier devoted the work practically toward perfection of internally braced monoplanes. The monoplane principle
was maintained from the beginning. Today it is recognized generally as the most desirable type. New designs, methods of handling metal, experiments with various kinds of construction, newly invented machine tools, experimental planes and models, each an advance in efficiency, invariably something newly discovered in the infant science of aerodynamics—these were the activities of Dornier and his staff in six years.
The results were Dornier's all-metal planes, possessing from 55 to 2,400 horsepower. They had just started quantity production of big planes and flying boats in the factories at Lindau and Seemos when the German revolution halted all activities. Since then, though hampered by the treaty stipulations, the company has developed a series of commercial types unexcelled in construction, performance and safe operation. Since the war both commercial land planes and flying boats powered with from one to three engines have been produced.
Twenty-one Dornier Designs
During the war their products included pursuit planes, single motor two-place fighters (Plate 23), two and three motored bombing planes and four and multi-engined giant planes—all for over land flying. Seaplane types included single engine two-place fighters, two and three motored flying boats and four and multi-engine giant flying boats. More than one hundred domestic patents were held and more than 250 filed in foreign patent offices. Twenty-one different designs for experimental types had been produced, seventeen of them worked out in as many machines which were flown, and four Plates 24-25-26-27 made into models Plates 24-25-26-27. The following is a list of the experimental personnel year by year:
Zeppelin Builds Giant Airplanes
But there was another angle to the Zeppelin airplane activities. Count Zeppelin held the rank of General in the German Army. He had long been in a position which kept him informed of the needs of the fighting forces. For several months after the declaration of war he observed the heavy tasks to which his airships were put and then undertook the development of larger airplanes, far larger than any existing in the world at the time.
He consulted the noted aviator Hillmuth Hieth, and together they conferred with Professor Baumann of the technical university at Stuttgart. Bauman was already noted for his work as an aeronautical engineer. Within a few months they produced a multiengined giant bomber. It proved successful. To produce these machines in quantity the Zeppelin works at Staaken were erected at the same time as the airship building plant. The airplane factory at Staaken soon employed more than a thousand men in turning out the giant night bombers, numbers of which were flown in the raids over London and Paris in 1917 and 1918.
The Airplane Works at Staaken
The plant at Staaken was complete, including two great airplane assembling sheds, workshops, offices, etc. It is now closed. Other German firms have built similar bombing planes under the Zeppelin patents. Twenty-six of them were built at Staaken, however. They had a 137.76 foot (42 meters) wing span, carried 4.5 tons useful load, could climb to a height of 14,760 feet (4,500 meters) with their motors which aggregated 1,250 horsepower. Their average speed was 90 miles per hour (Plate 23).
Other machines were built, smaller, but of all-metal construction. After the war "The Staaken Giant" (Plate 24) was put into commission. It, too, was all-metal, carried four motors and was
distinctly a commercial plane. During many successful trials it carried eighteen passengers at a speed of 145 miles an hour. Later on, a two-engine commercial land plane was nearing completion when the Inter-allied Aeronautical Commission ordered all work stopped, and the activities at Staaken ceased.
Social Welfare Institutions of the Zeppelin Organizations One of the main requisites for success in any industry is the welfare of the men and women employed; and the establishment of the great Zeppelin organization created a community of employes in the small town on Lake Constance which demanded increasing attention as the organization expanded.
At first questions of industrial and social welfare were settled by a special department within Liffschiffbau-Zeppelin, but in September, 1913, a separate organization (Zeppelin Wohlfabrit G. m. b. H.) was provided. Count Zeppelin specified that homes for the men be provided immediately; that they should be built "economically but that they should make for comfort." One hundred and one single family houses were completed in July, 1916, and the new community was named Zeppelindorf (Zeppelin village) (Plate 29). Each house sits in a garden which enables the occupant to raise his own vegetables and fruits.
The club house was opened in March, 1917. Here is a large dining room for the workmen, which is also used for concerts, plays, meetings and other social activities. There are several club rooms. Nearby are the laundry, ice plant, steam plant, and other common utilities. The "Inn" and general store are also patronized by the people of Friedrichshafen.
Later an agricultural department was established for the purpose of supplying good food at low prices. Five large farms are worked by this branch and cattle raising and fruit growing have made it one of the most notable institutions in Central Europe.
There is a savings bank which pays slightly more than the ordinary interest rate which followed the erection of the public library where all employees are encouraged in self-instruction. All sorts of scientific books, popular works and magazines are provided, beside the many lectures. Courses in domestic science are held for the women.
There was so much building to be done that a brick factory became one of the most important institutions in Zeppelin Village, which has also acquired an athletic field under the direction of an instructor in physical culture.
Practically the same community, with all the institutions, etc., has been created for the Zeppelin workers at Staaken, on the outskirts of Berlin.