Mankind has been flying the skies like birds for a century now, but the beginnings of human air travel were far off from what we think of today. Before the perfection of the airplane, there was the airship, the dirigible. These craft relied on massive amounts of floating gas (hydrogen or helium) to take flight. Today we’re going to take a look at some cool tattoos of blimps and talk about the origins of flight.
Firstly, let it be known that we are totally cheating on this article. We say we’re looking at blimp tattoos, but there’s a few zeppelins thrown in there too. Have you always wanted to know the difference between the two? Well, that’s exactly what we are here for. Blimps rely on the pressure of the gas filling them for their shape, whereas a zeppelin will have a more rigid outside that maintains its shape regardless of whether or not it is filled with gas. Awesome.
Zeppelins actually predate blimps. The first flight of any airship took place in 1900 in Europe. This was the result of the hard work and inventive genius of a man named Count Zeppelin, which sounds like the name of a DJ on a classic rock station. After another decade of trial and error, which also saw the advent of the blimp, airships were primed to play a part in the first World War.
Both the American and German forces made use of Count Zeppelin’s invention during the course of the war. Most often, zeppelins and blimps would be used for scouting missions, but were occasionally put into use as bombers. Germany perpetrated many bombing raids on England using their air fleet. It got so bad that the Treaty of Versailles that marked the end of the war had a specific clause against Germany stating “No dirigible shall be kept.”
The heyday of airships came to an abrupt end in 1937 with the Hindenburg disaster. After making a transAtlantic flight, this doomed airship burst into flames upon landing in Lakehurts, New Jersey, killing 36 people. Film of the incident was seen around the world, effectively turning everybody off of the idea of flying about in such contraptions. Airplanes were seen as much better alternatives, and by the time World War II rolled around, both sides had abandoned airships in favor of planes.
The blimp lives on today as a great tool for advertising and getting aerial shots of football stadiums. We’ve collected some rad blimp tattoos (and zeppelin tattoos) that hearken back to the glory days of airships. Just take a look and tell us you wouldn’t risk burning alive to travel in style in a blimp.
If these rad blimp tattoos do pique your interest and you are interested in riding in a blimp, you’re actually shit out of luck, as a quick Google search immediately yields “Sadly, there is no reliable way to snag a blimp ride in the United States.”