Airships

Since the 1850s, engineers have been experimenting with powered lighter-than-air flight, essentially balloons with steering and propulsion. Like other early aeronautical experiments, the trial-and-error period was lengthy and hazardous. Dirigibles (with internal support structures) and blimps (powered balloons) were filled with lifting gases like hydrogen or helium, intended for many uses, from military and research to long-distance passenger service. The growth of the airship suffered numerous setbacks, including the famous Hindenburg disaster in 1937, and never developed into a major mode of travel. Despite the challenges, more than 150 years later, a number of airships are still in use and development around the world as cargo carriers, military platforms, promotional vehicles, and more. (See also 75 Years Since the Hindenburg Disaster).

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Muhammed Muheisen / AP

    Refugee Housing: A New Life for Empty Prisons in the Netherlands

    The Associated Press photographer Muhammed Muheisen has documented many refugees heading to Europe. He often found himself wondering “What happens to migrants once they reach Europe?”, and heard about a program in the Netherlands where the government had started housing refugees in vacant prisons.

  • Mary Ellen Mark / Howard Greenberg Gallery

    The Startling Portraiture of Mary Ellen Mark

    A new exhibition explores the late photographer's images of confident and curious personalities.

  • Loic Venance / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: 5/14-5/20

    The ruins of ancient Roman barracks discovered in Italy, a toddler tied to a rock in India, the South Sudan Wheelchair Basketball Association, a nude Shakespeare performance in New York’s Central Park, and much more.

  • Yves Herman / Reuters

    A Full-Service Funeral Home for Pets

    In Belgium, the Reuters photographer Yves Herman recently visited Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium designed exclusively for pets.

Join the Discussion