How the Hindenburg killed an entire industry

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  • Published on:  Friday, March 1, 2019
  • A routine press photo-op in 1937 ended up recording the explosion of the greatest airship ever built.Become a member of the Vox Video Lab! thanks to David Fowler, who generously allowed us to use his drawing of the plan of the Hindenburg (00:13 of the video). See more of his work here: May 1937, the airship Hindenburg burned up while approaching Lakehurst, New Jersey, on its first flight to the US that year. A flying symbol of pride for Nazi Germany, the Hindenburg was the biggest and most elaborate zeppelin ever built. At a time when airplanes were only carrying one or two people across the Atlantic Ocean, the Hindenburg was flying paid passengers, who enjoyed its dining room, reading room, passenger lounge, and even smoking room. It was an iconic luxury vessel, but it was filled with hydrogen, a flammable gas. And when it rushed its landing in New Jersey, it ended up exploding in front of a waiting group of newsreel cameras and becoming the first aviation disaster filmed as it was taking place. Sam Shere’s photo of the moment just before the ship was entirely engulfed is now an iconic snapshot that manages to perfectly frame the entire disaster.Darkroom is a new series from Vox producer Coleman Lowndes that digs into stories of the past, one photograph at a time. Watch all the episodes The headline for this video has been updated since publishing.Previous headline: The first disaster caught on is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out our full video catalog: Vox on Facebook: Twitter:
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  • Vox


     5 months ago +799

    This is the second episode of Darkroom, our new series from producer Coleman Lowndes that digs into stories of the past, one photograph at a time.
    If you haven't seen it yet, you can watch the first episode here:
    Happy Friday!

  • bunnyfreakz


     3 months ago +662

    Hidenburg had a smoking room, Jesus Christ. It's like smoking room on top of gas tanker.

  • Napoleon I Bonaparte

    Napoleon I Bonaparte

     5 months ago +1245


  • Pivotkid85


     5 months ago +662

    i really don't know how anyone felt comfortable riding in a goddamn BALLOON.

  • Aldo Arpino

    Aldo Arpino

     4 months ago +532

    USA: produces helium
    We have a super safe gas that can carry passengers without the danger to blow up?

  • Ketan Agnihotri

    Ketan Agnihotri

     5 months ago +652

    Important fact : Indiana Jones left that plane with his father, saved his and his father's life...

  • Antonio Gonzalez

    Antonio Gonzalez

     5 months ago +129

    Something about the "smoking room" sounds sketchy.

  • Ark Royal

    Ark Royal

     5 months ago +569

    interesting fact:
    There are plans to bring the Zepplins back with brand new systems and done in a much safer way.

  • Morty Sanchez

    Morty Sanchez

     5 months ago +292

    Watching that always makes my skin crawl.
    We have the distance of years behind us, but those people died horrible deaths on camera.



     5 months ago +129

    And imagine seeing this with your own two eyes in colour. Just looking at coloured photos and films makes this experience all the more terrifying, not to mention feels a whole lot closer.

  • Daenerys was just Remodeling

    Daenerys was just Remodeling

     5 months ago +129

    Still safer then United Airlines.

  • EightThreeEight


     5 months ago +269

    "Luckily, in the history of humanity, nothing bad has ever happened from lighting hydrogen on fire."
    - Mark Watney, The Martian

  • ? malpertuis

    ? malpertuis

     5 months ago +329

    The photos of the other exploded zepplins are (strangely, tragically) beautiful.

  • not your mum

    not your mum

     5 months ago +63

    I know they explode and all but I still lowkey want to fly in one of these idk they look so weirdly futuristic

  • Akorn


     4 months ago +98

    US: embargoes Helium so only they can use it
    Also US: makes airship out of Hydrogen anyways and blows it up

  • cyrilio


     5 months ago +169

    Keep these mini docs coming. Love them

  • InfiniteSauce


     5 months ago +51

    Hold up. They used hydrogen ?!
    Come on. You can literally just... light a match and it'll blow up. Sounds like a very bad idea to me.
    You can't necessarily take proper precautions.

  • Jaime Gandarilla

    Jaime Gandarilla

     2 days ago +1

    In case you didn’t know that a zeppelin with giant swastikas once flee over NYC

  • Scrub Master

    Scrub Master

     5 months ago +75

    I will forever associate that famous picture of the Hindenburg with the Led Zeppelin 1 album cover.

  • skyscreeper


     28 days ago +17

    with all due respect, the only thing I see when I look at that famous picture is the debut album of the greatest rock n roll band of all time.
    "good times bad times" starts playing