May 6, 2012 marks the 75th anniversary of the Hindenburg disaster, which resulted in thirty six fatalities, including one member of the ground crew. Courtesy of the richly informative airships.net, we submit the following profile for the enormous airship, with a volume exceeding that of the Titanic:
The Smithsonian National Postal Museum has organized an exhibition titled Fire & Ice that assembles various artifacts from the Hindenburg and Titanic disasters, including a promotional brochure for swift trans-Atlantic air travel, together with numerous pieces of airmail that failed to reach their intended recipients:
Of particular interest to us here at Desperado Philosophy: the curious provenance and itinerary of the duralumin used for the Hindenburg’s construction. It seems that 5000 kilograms of the metal were purchased by the Germans as salvage from the wreckage of the British airship R-101, which crashed on October, 1930 in Beauvais, abruptly terminating its maiden voyage as a commercial enterprise. Duralumin from the Hindenburg wreckage was then salvaged once again, shipped to Germany and used in the construction of aircraft for the Luftwaffe. The fate of those aircraft is unknown, though it is not inconceivable that the duralumin returned to British soil.
Also made from duralumin: a piano, manufactured by the Blüthner pianofabrik. Interestingly, the piano was covered with pale pigskin, intended to slightly muffle the tone while also eliminating reflective glare.
Though a fixture in the airship’s passenger lounge on numerous transatlantic voyages, the pig-piano was not on board the Hindenburg on the day of the disaster, having been placed on display at the Blüthner factory in Liepzig, where it was destroyed in 1943 by a British bombing raid. At the time, the factory was producing ammunition boxes, and not pianos, a tactical retooling implemented by authority of the Minister of Armaments, Albert Speer.
Finally, we note the use of the Hindenburg as an aerial ornament within the pageantry of the Nuremburg rally on September 14, 1936; the zeppelin appeared over the congress on the final day, following a formation of conventional aircraft that had been organized into a swastika formation. We also note that a tiny remnant of the Nazi insignia on the Hindenburg is available for sale on Ebay.