100 Years of Progress and Tradition



The 2nd of July 1900, when the first Zeppelin rose into the air, represents not only the
beginning of the unprecedented history of an air vehicle, but also of that of a business.
The visionary Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin was successful in applying the perfected
steering and manoeuvring capabilities of the airship in his pursuit of the old human
longing for the sensation of "floating".

Portrait of Count Zeppelin (by Anneliese Hermes

He also had his outstanding employees develop and realise an aluminium lightweight
construction design. The airships of Count Zeppelin excited the imagination of
contemporaries in the first years of the twentieth century more than any other
technical innovation.

The legendary triangular girder of chief engineer Dürr or the first aluminium wing on
the tail unit of the airship LZ 126 are examples of the constant challenge of finding
perfect solutions.

Described in many books and honoured with a museum, the airships represent the starting point
of a history of technology with widespread repercussions.

Count Zeppelin and his capable successors have left their mark on the industrial history of the city of Friedrichshafen and the Lake
Constance region. As a direct result of Zeppelin activities and the airship construction of Zeppelin GmbH, more than 50 firms have
been established over the years. Gears with high quality gearwheels were necessary for air-plane and airship construction, which
were not available on the market.

Without further ado, Zeppelin founded a gearwheel factory in 1915, which today has a leading
position as a system supplier for automobile manufacturers around the world under the company
name ZF Friedrichshafen AG. The Zeppelin Foundation is the owner of this company.

Karl Maybach constructed airship motors for Zeppelin and was technical managing director of the
Luftfahrzeug-Motorenbau GmbH, a subsidiary company of Zeppelin. After 1945, Motorenbau
separated from the Zeppelin concern and is today known as MTU (Motoren- und Turbinenunion)
Friedrichshafen, affiliated with the Daimler concern.

Claude Dornier was an employee of Count Zeppelin and began the spectacular construction of large
airplanes, which led to the world famous giant flying ship Do X.

In 1932, Dornier purchased all of Zeppelin’s business shares in this technology. Today, the Dornier
business belongs to EADS.

The Zeppelin industrial and commercial enterprises are led by Zeppelin Baumaschinen GmbH. This
company was founded in 1954 as a result of the cooperation with Caterpillar and is today one of the
largest sales and service organisations for construction machinery.

Zeppelin Silos & Systems GmbH developed from the manufacture of aluminium and stainless steel
containers for the chemical and plastics processing industries. Today the company is among the
leading suppliers on the global market.

The former manufacturing branch of antenna technology built directly upon the experience gained
from the production of extremely light and high-tensile strength structures in the airship construction
area.

On the 2nd of July 2000, Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH christened the airship of the new
generation. With this Zeppelin airship NT 07, a new era of passenger travel with airships in the
spirit of Count Zeppelin begins.

In 1950, the Zeppelin Foundation founded the Metallwerke GmbH as the successor
to the Zeppelin Luftschiffbau GmbH. Thus began the activities which led to Shelter
technology and mobile systems.

At first, a "Lightweight Construction Department" built, for example, luggage racks
for railways, gondolas for cable railways and single-axle aluminium trailers for motor-
cycles. Tanker trucks were built and fire department vehicles have been equipped.
The company won a good reputation with the development of a special modifications
branch for vehicles.

The beginning of the nineties saw the independence of the company under the name Zeppelin Systemtechnik GmbH, which was
later renamed as ZEPPELIN MOBILE SYSTEME GmbH.

In january 2010 ZEPPELIN MOBILE SYSTEME GmbH have moved to their new
headquarter in Meckenbeuren, just 10 kilometres away from the original place in
Friedrichshafen.

The increasing demand for mobile medical systems, communication and surveillance
tasks - especially in system integration, development and new applications - required
the expansion of manufacturing capacity (see more details in category "Company").