1930s: Colour photographs of the Hindenburg interior

Colour photograph of the Hindenburg

“The two Hindenburg-class airships were passenger carrying rigid airships built in Germany in the 1930s named in honor of Paul von Hindenburg. They were the last such aircraft ever built, and in terms of their length and volume, the largest aircraft ever to fly.”


Colour photograph of the Hindenburg Dining Room 2 Colour photograph of the Hindenburg Dining Room Colour photograph of the Hindenburg Port Promenade and Dining Room Colour photograph of the Hindenburg Smoking Room 2 Colour photograph of the Hindenburg Smoking Room Colour photograph of the Hindenburg Writing Room Colour photograph of the Hindenburg Cabin Colour photograph of the Hindenburg Passenger Lounge Colour photograph of the Hindenburg Passenger Lounge 2 Colour photograph of the Hindenburg Passenger Lounge 3

49 Responses

  1. CharlesH.

    Half of those interiors were rebuilt at the Zeppelin museum at Friedrichshafen. Too bad neither pictures nor replica have the piano.

  2. Red Bunny

    We should really be able to fly in class they way they used to. Surely we have the know how to bring back this classy way to travel without the threat of the whole thing going down in flames. I wouldn’t mind a much lengthier flight or a pricier ticket if it meant accomodations such as this. It’s a shame they way we are charged a fortune to be crammed into jumbo jets like cattle, treated even worse, and never reach our destinations on time. The tragedies of the Hindenburg and the Titanic shouldn’t stop us from perfecting international travel. But no one has any money anymore… *ahem* NASA.

  3. Alysya

    @Red Bunny, if you’re willing to shell out the equivalent of $6300 for one ticket from Germany to New Jersey, and have 71 or so other people willing to pay the same, I guess you could argue that would be a viable enterprise. However, you’re forgetting the weight and fuel issues. The Hindenburg was filled with a highly inflammable gas specifically because it could support the weight of all those furnishings and people (and, naturally, because it was cheaper). Perhaps we can make safer dirigibles, but companies today are more concerned with speed and effciency than accomadating their passengers comfortably. The transatlantic flights of the Hindenburg took nearly 6 days!

    So instead of complaining about your somewhat cramped conditions, be thankful they take less than half a day in-flight, and are not in an aircraft that is a disaster waiting to happen.

    • SDC

      You’re no fun. No fun at all! Where’s your imagination and sense of adventure? And c’mon, air travel does pretty much suck, we can all admit this. I would love to fly like this if I could be guaranteed not to blow up.

    • John

      I know this comment is a year or two old, but I had to chime in on something. The Hindenburg did not take 6 days to cross the ocean. Not even close. Both the Graf Zeppelin and the Hindenburg could cross the Atlantic in two and half days to the US and something on the order of around three days to South America. Which at the time was an amazing feat considering the ocean liners of that time took five days.

      As a huge fan of this type of aircraft and having done all of the research that I have, and all of the books that I’ve read and documentaries that I’ve watched repeatedly. I can safely assure you that the Hindenburg didn’t take as long as you say to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

      Also, these pictures are quite nice, too bad not many exist of the exterior in color.

  4. t3x

    The main reason the Germans used hydrogen was that only the USA were able to produce high amounts of helium at that time.

    Another problem of the zeppelins was that they needed complex infrastructure (pole, big ground crew etc.) and were very sensitive to weather conditions, so landing often had to be delayed.
    A possibility to solve that problem would be a zeppelin/airplane hybrid. There are concepts for such helium filled lifting-bodies…

  5. Mark

    Well…six days ROUND TRIP. They advertised 2-1/2 days from Europe to New York (which really meant New Jersey).

    And it’s true: DELAG was never really a financially viable enterprise. They had too many uncertainties (delaying flight times often due to weather), and having very high labor costs due to the many crew and groundsmen needed.

    Zeppelins were symbols of German pride, and when they stopped being that, they were finished. They were not money-makers.

  6. James McBride

    I think bringing back luxury blimps (helium instead of hydrogen of course), would be a huge money spinner. Like a cruise ship in the sky.

  7. Brian Miller

    It wasn’t the hydrogen, it was the skin of the blimp that caused the rapid burning. That’s been proven time and time again. But that’s beside the point. As mentioned earlier, it’s just too darn expensive to be viable.

  8. jufjo

    I’d gladly pay 6000$ to go to the US in an Airship like the Hindenburg.
    Travel 2-3 days in luxery and class, have all the space you want, be able to smoke, enjoy fine dining, live music, amazing views, a lot less noise and NO JETLAG.
    Besides with modern technologies they could probably get the prize down a bit.
    What do people pay these days to go to the US on a luxery cruise ship?
    Surely you should compare the Hindenburg with a cruise ship not a Bo(r)ing plane.

    • Brian

      NO SMOKING, it would be just like any enclosed area where people gather right now. It is a health issue and (they) are never going to let it go!

  9. Roy Hanan

    Would liked to have seen pics of the ‘smoking room’. Yes, the Hindenburg did have a room for smoking. Entry involved passing through doors which sealed to prevent stray sparks. The Hindenburg also had a very nice wine list.

    • Patrick Russell

      There actually are two photos of the smoking room. The ones above the cabin and the writing room pics, with the black leather upholstery and the tan colored walls with the balloon and airship images on them… that’s the smoking room.

  10. Johnny Devoid

    Is that a flat-screen TV on the wall in the very last photo????? (Obviously it’s not, but what the heck is it?)

  11. Greg Friedman

    Another factor limiting a revival of the big airship is the loss of German expertise in piloting. No one could handle these ships like Hugo Eckener and his proteges. When the American navy had its big airships, all but one succumbed to weather-related accidents. Someone would have to recreate the experience of the men who piloted the Graf and the Hindenburg. Recall that the Graf operated safely for its whole life.

  12. julesargonaut

    Who said there were no ash trays? wrong,there was a smoking room where the air was pumped in from below the ship maintaining a slightly higher pressure than the surrounding rooms therefore no gas could enter. For good measure all lighters in the room were chained to the tables. As to the piano, obviously didn’t survive the crash, but there were two others, the one on the old Graf and the one made for Graf 11 that Goering grounded to build fighters. If they survive they’re probably in the possession of some geriatric old nazi who in the privacy of his own bunker still has his slaves play a little Wagner to remind him of the old days !

  13. JB

    I read somewhere that there was a piano in the lounge with all the structural metal parts made of aluminium and covered with pigskin to prevent sparking.

    I also read that there was only one lighter on board and it was chained to the waist of an attendant in the Smoking Lounge.

    I only wish I’d been around to fly this magnificent aircraft.

  14. Patrick Russell

    Actually, the only piano that was made was the one for the Hindenburg. The original Graf Zeppelin was too small to add that much weight, and the Graf II had to be lightened in anticipation of helium inflation following the Hindenburg disaster. I’ve actually never even heard of Blüthner having designed a piano for the Graf II, so perhaps it was never even intended to have one aboard.

    The Hindenburg’s piano, by the way, was not aboard for the last flight. It seems to have been removed at some point during the 1936-37 winter layover and was never put back aboard. It may have been a weight-saving measure since they added a new row of passenger cabins during that winter layover. The piano was returned to the Blüthner factory and placed on display. It was, sadly, destroyed during the war when the factory was bombed.

    • janna

      5th grade

  15. Brian O'Connell

    @Greg: Also the tendency of weather cells to crop up at one end or the other of the airships caused the American ones to go down (literally twisted apart in squalls). Of course now there’s sufficient weather radar technology to be able to read conditions around the ship to either allow one to maneuver around or compensate for the ship to survive.

    Of course the slow speeds are still the chief reason not many are willing to invest in it, though there are some airships being constructed primarily for construction, inaccessible areas, tourist attractions or flying restaurants.

  16. ff0rt

    I have a real passion for the big Zeppelins. One of my secret, impossible dreams is to cross the ocean on the Hindenburg. Not in it’s last travel!

  17. Magdalene

    The reason they don’t have them now is because they were and remain impossible to control in all but the mildest weather conditions. The slightest of breeze can put them miles off course, and as anyone who has piloted a blImp (which, despite being a different beast altogether, are susceptible to the same problems as zeppelin ) can tell you all but immpossible to manouver in anything but the nicest of weather.

    Those that say traveling in an Aeroplane today does not have the same amount of class or service have obviously not been keeping abreast of the services available to first class patrons on most commercial flights, as almost any airline worth it’s salt competes for it’s share of top dollar paying clients with massive amounts of ‘value added’ perks from seats that fold down into complete single beds with Egyptian cotton 1000 count sheets and goose down duvets, complete customizable micheline 3 star rated chef approved tasting menus, large HDtv wifi compatable data and entertainment centres, and partition-able mini cabins to ensure your complete privacy from other travelers during your flight, on top of the regular perks on usually gets in first class. The reason we don’t have them, and believe me, I really wish they did work too, is because they don’t… No matter how many romantic dreamers wish they did, they have proven time and time again, to be unfeasable.

  18. SDC

    I flew business class from Newark to Ireland recently, and yes, the bed folded down and we had the nifty TV station which played 4 episodes of the office, and you could order wine in plastic cups, but ultimately you were still stuck in that little space with no moving around. It would be kind of cool if they put you in hibernation like 2001 maybe, at least then you could be unconscious for the trip.

  19. carmen webster buxton

    How beautiful! More like an ocean liner than anything else. Thanks to all the knowledgeable commenters who taught me a few things about zeppelins. Funny how all the steampunk stories that have “airships” never talk about how hard they are to pilot.

  20. George

    I did like the photos of the interiors, as I had never seen them before. With the big red and black swastikas on the tail, I could never have flown on one. A modern version, yes, of course. About the fare: a bit pricey, but I could save the money or use my charge card!
    In the broadcast, on the recording “Hear It Now!”, there is the moment when the great airship is in flames and crashing to the ground at Lakehurst, when the phrase “Oh, the humanity!” is uttered by Herbert Morrison, the CBS reporter covering the event. Sad that the tragic event has been turned into some mocking post-modern irony, by those who were not even remotely involved and who have no idea of the historical context. But it was precisely that crash that nixed the commercial use of airships.
    There is an interesting book (appearing originally in The New Yorker) written by John McPhee, called The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed, about an attempt to reintroduce the airship into modern commercial service.

  21. Daniel

    Am I the only one who can see that these aren’t photographs, but paintings?

      • Daniel

        They’re clearly photorealist paintings. It doesn’t even take a very close look to see that, and I’ve seen much more convincing examples. If you feel sure that they’re photographs, perhaps you’d say what makes you think that. Do you have access to a documentation trail? To color negatives from the 1930s?

  22. txike47

    Worth remembering that the Hindenburg exploded upon reaching the USA,
    because they were denied the HELIO to ‘inflate’ instead of hydrogen
    that made him a real buzz bomb.
    Mr. FDRoosevelt and industry interests the war, the Germans feared equip
    for war that they, too, had been preparing for the very near future years.

  23. JackSpratt

    The furniture looks surprisingly modern – chrome etc.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.