Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.
Vintage photos of:
Oct. 15, 1910. "Wellman airship seen from Trent." Walter Wellman's hydrogen dirigible America just before being abandoned by its crew near Bermuda, 1,370 miles into an attempt to cross the Atlantic from New Jersey. Its engines having failed, the America drifted out of sight, never to be seen again. View full size.
"Anthony's Wireless Airship." A small powered blimp used in 1912 to demonstrate remote control of aircraft by wireless telegraphy. ("Professor Anthony has exhibited a method of airship control of his own by wireless. He and Leo Stephens recently gave an exhibition of starting, controlling, turning and stopping an airship by wireless which was quite a long distance from the station which controlled its action.") View full size. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection.
The Navy airship ZR-1 (USS Shenandoah) under construction in 1922-23 at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, New Jersey. The 680-foot, 36-ton zeppelin, the first rigid airship to use helium rather than hydrogen, broke up in a storm over Ohio in 1925 with a loss of 14 lives. View full size. George Grantham Bain Collection.