Ferdinand Adolf August Heinrich Graf von Zeppelin was born on July 8th 1938 in Konstanz. From an early age he was fascinated by ballooning. He travelled to America to witness their use in the peninsular campaign of the civil war and became preoccupied with the idea of guidable balloons. In 1899 he started constructing his first guidable rigid airship, which he used for three ascents over the Bodensee.
The second version of his airship was financed entirely by donations and a lottery. The crash of Zeppelin LZ4 in 1908 at Echterdingen and the surrounding publicity, ironically sparked public interest in the development of airships and over 6 million marks were raised to create the ‘Luftschiffbau- Zeppelin GmbH’.
Zeppelins were used for both civil and military purposes and by 1914 had transported around 35,000 people in over 1,500 flights without incident.