In our dreams, the skies belong to airships and zeppelins. These classic vehicles are among the most elegant and beautiful modes of transport ever created, and there's a reason why so many science fiction shows feature them. Here's a gallery of brave and beautiful air vehicles of the past.
Pax, a colorful airship, constructed by a Brazilian inventor named Augusto Severo.
The inventor was killed in Paris in 1902 when the airship rose steeply and exploded.
(Photo by Henry Guttmann/Getty Images)
A Spencer Airship ascending at Ranelagh, watched by a fashionable crowd, 1903
Clement-Bayard dirigible in shed, France
A German zeppelin flies over the Balkans, 1916
The British R33 in its hangar before its first flight in Barlow, Yorkshire, March 1919
A Soviet airship, built by some factory workers in Moscow, 1924
The Norge, designed by Umberto Nobile, first flown in 1924 under the name N1. The ship was rebuilt one year later for Arctic conditions.
It was the first aircraft on the North Pole and the first to fly over the polar ice cap between Europe and America.
(Photo by Kirby/Getty Images and Norsk Polarinstitutt)
The construction of a new nose for the R33, 1925
A pair of Gloster Grebe fighter planes, tethered to the underside of the British Royal Navy airship R33, October 1926
USS Los Angeles, upside down after a turbulent wind from the Atlantic, Lakehurst, New Jersey, 1926
The LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin, a German airship, built between 1926 and 1928, made 590 flights and retired in 1937.
Over Guanabara Bay, near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 1930
Four airships on the ground (USS Akron, USS Los Angeles, Goodyear RS-1, Pony Blimp)
His Majesty's Airship R100, built by the Airship Guarantee Company in 1929, first flew in November 1929. It made some trial flights, but in October 1930 it was broken up for scrap.
The Promenade Decks
The tail view
The Slate All-Metal Dirigible, 1929
R101, a British airship completed in 1929, crashed on 5 October 1930 in France during its very first overseas voyage. 48 of the 54 people were died on board.
Over Bedford on its first flight
(via Hulton Archive, Fox Photos, Central Press/Getty Images and The Airship Heritage Trust)
The USS Macon inside Hangar One at Moffett Field, Sunnyvale, California, on October 15, 1933, following a transcontinental flight from Lakehurst, New Jersey.
LZ 129 Hindenburg, built in 1936, flew for only 14 months (63 flights) between March 1936 and May 1937, when thirty-six people died in a fire named the Hindenburg disaster, which occurred while landing at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey.
Over New York
The vast and intricate framework of the Hindenburg in Friedrichshafen, Germany, October 1934
The smoking room, which was kept at higher than ambient pressure, so that no leaking hydrogen could enter here.
This room and the bar were separated with a double-door airlock. An electric lighter was provided, because no open flames were allowed aboard.
The end of the era of passenger-carrying airships – the Hindenburg disaster.
(via Central Press, Fox Photos, Sam Shere and Keystone/Getty Images and Airships)