High on Hydrogen

There was a time when the skies of Earth held leviathans. Quicksilver flashing overhead, the roar of diesel engines, shadows that would cover whole city blocks, ocean liners in the air.

Across the Atlantic the airships would go, cruising at nearly 90 miles an hour, waiters serving beverages and hot meals in the dining rooms. Imagine looking out of the large plate glass of the promenade windows, down upon a wave cresting steamship, waving to the passengers making their even more leisurely way to the New World.

The Promenade deck of the great airship.

These craft were made of aluminum alloys and lifted by highly flammable hydrogen (the United States refused to share its bountiful helium supplies with the Nazis). I bet the thrill of possibly being burned alive almost rivaled the experience of the actual flight.

The Hindenberg flying over New York City.

Seventy-five years ago, the German zeppelin Hindenburg mysteriously caught fire while coming in for a landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey. It was a tragic event that forever ended the dream of lighter-than-air travel.

Despite the tragedy, can you imagine a more awe inspiring sight than one of these beasts flying out of the yellow sun, into the west and into history?

Coming in for a landing…
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