The Airship and Futurism: Utopian Visions of the Airship
Airships have often served as the symbol of a brighter tomorrow.
Even before the first zeppelin was invented, airships featured prominently in utopian visions of the future. This 1898 poster advertised a musical comedy on the New York stage:
And these German and French postcards predicted air travel in the year 2000:
Mixing the Airship and the Airplane: The View from the 1930’s
Futurists of the early 20th Century often combined lighter-than-air and heavier-than-air technology, as in this urban skyscraper airport and solar-powered aerial landing field:
Sometimes futurist airship visions were promoted by companies which were actually involved in the lighter-than-air business.
For example, the Goodyear-Zeppelin company, which built the American airships Akron and Macon, and which had a financial interest in the promotion of the passenger dirigible, frequently offered alluring illustrations of future airship travel.
Goodyear president Paul Litchfield and publicist Hugh Allen included the following pictures in their 1945 book, WHY? Why has America no Rigid Airships?:
These drawings from Hugh Allen’s The Story of the Airship (1931) imagined an Art Deco dining salon, promenade, and even a lounge with a fireplace.
Airships and Medicine
Airships could even advance medical technology, such as this airship tuberculosis hospital.
The Airship and the Soviet Future
Under the illusion that communism was the way of the future, Soviet propagandists loved images of modernity and enlisted the airship in their cause.
Unflyable Airship Fantasies
Sometimes illustrators got so carried away depicting lavish interiors that they neglected to leave room for much lifting gas, as in this illustration from The American Magazine.
The article described future airships to be built by the Goodyear-Zeppelin Company, which would be “fitted up as sumptuously as a Palm Beach winter hotel”: