Original U.S. WWII United States Naval Rigid Airship Inner Frame Structure Piece With Air Ship Rubber Cement
Original Item: Only One Set Available. A rigid airship is a type of airship (or dirigible) in which the envelope is supported by an internal framework rather than by being kept in shape by the pressure of the lifting gas within the envelope, as in blimps (also called pressure airships) and semi-rigid airships. Rigid airships are often commonly called Zeppelins, though this technically refers only to airships built by the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin company.
The United States rigid airship program was based at Lakehurst Naval Air station, New Jersey. USS Shenandoah (ZR-1) was the first rigid airship constructed in America, and served from 1923 to 1925, when it broke up in mid-air in severe weather, killing 14 members of its crew. USS Los Angeles (ZR-3) was a German airship built for the United States in 1924. The ship was grounded in 1931, due to the Depression, but was not dismantled for over 5 years. A pair of large airships, the Akron and Macon, that both functioned as flying aircraft carriers were procured by the US Navy. However, they were both destroyed in separate accidents. The Akron was flown into the sea in bad weather and broke up, resulting in the deaths of over seventy people, including one of the US Navy's proponents of airships, Rear Admiral William A. Moffett. Macon also ended up in the sea when it flew into heavy weather with unrepaired damage from an earlier incident, but the introduction of life-jackets following the loss of the Akron meant only two lives were lost.
Unfortunately we do not know which rigid airship this section of frame came from. The section is a 20” cut section and is 6” squared. The sheet metal construction does not have any damage visible nor any bends. No markings have been found on the structure.
Also included in this lot is 2 containers of Airship rubber cement, both with labels:
The First Can, Smaller One:
Specification No. 52CN9
Order No. N140X-42438
Date Manufactured December 1932
The B. F. Goodrich Company
Larger 1 Quart Can:
(FOR MARKING BALLOONS AND AIRSHIPS)
Gov. Order No. Sundry 3219
Fact. Order No. 53996
Gov. Spec. No.
Date Mfgd. Feb 1 1944
THE GOODYEAR TIRE & RUBBER CO
LOS ANGELES, CAL. AKRON, OHIO
STORE IN COOL PLACE
This is a very unique set of items and is bound to have many questions asked when seen! Comes ready to display in your WWII USN Collections!
The United States Navy’s experience with rigid airships is a story of ambition, achievement, and determination, but also politics, mistakes, and disasters.
Intended primarily to conduct long-range scouting in support of fleet operations, the rigid airship was uniquely qualified to perform that role at a time before long-range aircraft and advanced radar. Although they were relatively vulnerable to attack, and would have been rendered obsolete relatively quickly by advances in heavier-than-air technology, large rigid airships still offered capabilities otherwise unavailable in the years before World War II, and might even have provided early warning, and perhaps even deterrence, of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Unfortunately, despite the efforts of devoted and enthusiastic officers, the Navy’s rigid airship program was shadowed by political pressures which sometimes overwhelmed technical considerations, and by a series of mistakes and misjudgments in design and operation.
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