Rare blimp footage available for first time
— Archival Services of University Libraries will host a public viewing of three historic airship films on Friday, Oct. 23, at 1 p.m. in Archival Services, located in Polsky Building LL10, in downtown Akron.
The films, which are part of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Records in Archival Services, were transferred from their original nitrate motion picture stock to safety film and digitized through a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation.
Now publicly available for the first time, the films include rare footage of the construction, christening and operation of the U.S.S. Akron (ZRS-4), a U.S. Navy rigid airship that was once called “the largest, strongest aerial creature ever fashioned and flown by man.” The biggest airship ever built in America to that point and the largest airship in existence, the Akron crashed off the coast of New Jersey on April 4, 1933 killing 73 of its crew members. The disaster spelled the beginning of the end for the rigid airship in the U.S. Navy.
Some of the films included in this project also contain rare archival footage of the construction of the Goodyear Airdock, a special hanger that Goodyear built in Akron to house the colossal dirigibles. The airdock, once called “the seventh wonder of the world,” was the world’s largest airship hanger, and at the time it was built, the largest building in the world without interior supports: a distinction it would maintain for nearly four decades.
The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
These and other resources on the history of lighter-than-air flight, the rubber industry and the Akron area are available by visiting Archival Services, which collects, preserves and provides access to materials that primarily document the history of the University and the region. Public hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please visit Archival Services online.