This is a consignment item. It is a table medal that commemorates Zeppelin LZ 126’s Atlantic Crossing from Friedrichshafen to Lakehurst, NJ. With WW I’s end, Germany was required to pay reparations to the victorious Allies. Germany’s aircraft industry was severely curtailed in the types and numbers of airplanes it was allowed to maintain. For example, the Fokker D. VII, Germany’s finest single-seater fighter airplane, was specifically banned from their use. All its examples produced during WW I had to be handed over to the Allies. Germany’s zeppelin industry was also in a difficult situation. With the 1917 death of Graf von Zeppelin, and the use ofzeppelins for military purposes winding down, the Zeppelin Company’s head, Hugo Eckner, was looking for ways to promote the company and convert the zeppelins to more peaceful purposes. Eckner was able to convince the German and American governments that he should build azeppelin to count as part of German reparations and turn it over to the U.S. Navy. Thus, was the LZ 126 built. With his knack for gaining public attention, Eckner personally piloted the LZ 126 from Germany to New Jersey. Upon arrival, the zeppelin was accepted by the U.S. Navy and her name was changed to the “U.S.S. Los Angeles.” The craft was the safest and most successful American zeppelin ever flown, even though it had been constructed by Germans! Eckner saved his beloved company, and next constructed the LZ 127, the “Graf Zeppelin.” She was later followed by the LZ 129, “Hindenburg.” The “Hindenburg” exploded over the same Lakehurst, NJ airfield in May 1937. This effectively ended the zeppelin service that had circled the globe, covering hundreds of thousands of miles. [You might be interested to know that a reconstituted Zeppelin Company was formed earlier in the 21st Century. Zeppelins(albeit much smaller) have been flying again, transporting tourists from the company’s old base city of Friedrichshafen, Germany].
Our table medal today measures 1 1/4” in diameter. The obverse features a likeness of Hugo Eckner. The reverse has a likeness of the LZ 126 and “1924,” the year she flew to the U.S. The table medal’s bottom lists the flight dates and other information. This is a very high-quality table medal that is very important in the Zeppelin Company’s history.