owner of the Zeppelin Museum in Meersburg, Heinz Urban, owns the
world's largest personal archive with numerous text and pictures,
which have not been published yet. Below are notes of the former
boardengineer Conrad Müller, who started his professional career
as an engine constructor and was enlisted 1909 because of his enthusiasm
for the aviation of prussian airship battalions. He did not know
which adventures and dangers awaited him. Graf Zeppelin himself,
about whom exist many interesting facts, and his chief constructor
Ludwig Dürr instructed Müller in the technical command of the airship
LZ 3. Conrad Müller was stationed in Metz first and later in Cologne.
There he learned about the half stiff airship of major Gross and
the unstiff airship of major Parseval. A conflict with a captain
induced him to leave the military and change to the "Deutsche
Luftschifffahrt AG" (DELAG), a company which belonged to the
"Luftschiffbau Zeppelin". ( Airship building company Zeppelin)
From his workplace Baden-Baden he was enticed from professor Johann
Schütte, who began the construction of a Schütte-Lanz-Airship with
a wooden skeleton in Mannheim. Schütte disappointed Conrad Müller
so he took the job as a chief constructor at the "Luftschiffwert
GmbH" in Munich, which constructed the Veeh-Airship with a
steel skeleton. No other airship technician was able to collect
so much different experience.
Conrad Müller did not want to work with airships any longer after
a lot of accidents, breakdowns, and the fire of navy airship LZ
18 killed a lot of his companions. He then saw the airships as flying
crematoriums. He changed back to the engine construction, worked
for different companys and was one of the founders of "Bayrische
Motorenwerke" (BMW). In the meantime the airplane construction
made enormous progress; therefore he manufactured air engines for
the military with his former colleague Rapp. After a quarrel he
resigned and was transferred to the westfront as leader of the plane
pool, which assembled and repaired the engines. At the end of the
war he lived in Munich.
Zeppelin chief Dr. Hugo Eckener successfully transported a repair
airship to New York in 1924, which excited the whole world. The
Bavarian post master general then had the idea to create an air
mail service with a Zeppelin airship. He wanted Conrad Müller. Müller
declined the offer because he saw in the airships only a dream of
the past, but in airplanes the future.
The book shows on the one hand the indescribable jubilation on appearance
of the air ships and on the other hand the unbelievable exertions,
privations and dangers which the pioneers of the air ship epoch
had to bear. Lots of them lost their assets, their health, or their
The text was composed by Rudolf Kaefer who wrote essays about Graf
Zeppelin and published scripts about Hugo Eckener and Alfred Colsman.
The text is illustrated with many pictures which Heinz Urban took
out of his enormous pool. The pictures were freed from spots, discoloration
and damage with modern digital technique, which gives a special
optical shine to the book. The title "Luftschiff marsch!"
(Airship go!) was taken from the military command language. Another
easy title could have been "The Adventure of Aviation".