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Wonders of World Engineering

Part 9

Part 9 of Wonders of World Engineering was published on Tuesday 27th April 1937, price 7d.

Part 9 includes a photogravure supplement showing the airship Hindenburg. This illustrates the article on Airship Design and Equipment. The airship is also illustrated in colour on the cover (and see below).

The Cover

This week’s cover shows the giant airship Hindenburg (LZ 129), the subject of my chapter, leaving her enormous hangar at the beginning of one of her voyages to America.

The airship Hindenburg (LZ 129) leaving her enormous hangar at the beginning of one of her voyages to America

Contents of Part 9

Across the Andes (Part 2)

John Smeaton

X-Rays in Industry

Airship Design and Equipment

The Hindenburg (photogravure supplement)

From Timber to Newsprint

Conquest of the Desert (Part 1)

John Smeaton

John Smeaton

Well known for his work on the third Eddystone Lighthouse, John Smeaton was engaged at various times on the building of bridges, waterworks, harbours and many other projects. An ardent experimentalist, Smeaton was gifted with unusual aptitude for mechanics

 This is the third article in the series on Makers of Engineering History.

(Page 266)

Across the Andes (Part 2)

The story of man’s trials and triumphs in his onslaught on the Andes by C Hamilton Ellis. The chapter is concluded from part 8. This is the second article in the series on Railway Engineers at Work.

(Pages 261-265)

Airship Design and Equipment

The German airship Hindenburg has a maximum gas capacity exceeding 7,000,000 cubic feet, nearly twice that of her predecessor, the Graf Zeppelin. The regularity of the Hindenburg's transatlantic crossings makes her an outstanding example of modern engineering practice. Whatever one’s views may be on the lighter-than-air form, there is no doubt that the airship is not only an established means of long-distance transport, but is also a successful example of modern engineering practice. The Hindenburg, by reason of her famous long-distance flights - she travels regularly between Frankfurt in Germany and Lakehurst, near New York, in roughly tow and a half days - is an outstanding example of what can be done in this branch of aeronautics. This chapter gives a comprehensive description of the Hindenburg, and it is accompanied by a superb photogravure section.

In the Editorial for this part, Clarence Winchester wrote, “Of all modern engineering feats the most symbolic of our age is that of airship construction. To reduce tim,e on the transatlantic journey to roughly two and a half days is an almost miraculous achievement. This week’s chapter on the airship LZ 129 is one designed to show how far airship constructors have progressed in this most comfortable form of air travel. I have contributed it myself because I have made a close study of the “lighter-than-air” problem, and, though my personal flying experience has been concerned with heavier-than-air craft, I do not belogn to that school of thought which looks with some disdain at airships. In both methods of flight the function of the engineer is significant enough to warrant our not neglecting either of them.”

The article is by Clarence Winchester and is the first article in the series Marvels of Modern Transport.

(Pages 272-280)

You can read more on types of airship in Wonders of World Aviation.

From Timber to Newsprint

 To produce sufficient paper for one edition of a newspaper, nearly a hundred acres of forest must be felled, the timber must be transformed into pulp and the pulp into newsprint or paper by treatment in a number of ingenious machines. This chapter gives some interesting facts about newsprint, or, as it is popularly called, paper. Amazing quantities of it are used. One single edition of one New York Sunday paper - admittedly such editions are larger than those of our own newspapers - alone needs for its production the closely packed trees of nearly one hundred acres of forest. This chapter is by Thomas Walley, and is the first article in the series on The Romance of Industry.

(Pages 281-288)

X-Rays in Industry

Discovered by Professor W. K. Rontgen in 1895, X-rays are now used for a variety of purposes in industry, from revealing otherwise invisible defects in boiler welds to exposing fakes of old masters. Accidents such as boiler explosions can often be avoided by the timely X-ray examination of structures. For many years we have had cause to be grateful to the X-ray apparatus in medicine, bit few people know of the important service it is beginning to render to industry. A boiler drum, made from 1½ in. Steel plate and having welded seams may be finished and external inspection would pass it as perfect - and safe. The inspector, however, may order the boiler to be checked with an X-ray photograph, and this may reveal that the apparently perfect weld, running the full length of the seam, has a number of severe cracks caused by too rapid cooling. Had such a boiler been put into service it would probably have failed - and possibly at a tragic cost of human life. This chapter is contributed by T J Fielding.

(Pages 267-271)

The Hindenburg: Photogravure

Supplement - 2

THE PILOT'S CABIN of the Hindenburg projects beneath the hull of the airship and is 30 feet long, with a maximum width of 8 feet in the centre. The cabin contains the wheelhouse, the map and navigation room, and the direction-finding room.


(Page 276)

The Hindenburg: Photogravure


FIFTEEN MAIN RINGS divide the hull into sixteen compartments which hold the gas-bags. The keel longitudinals run almost the whole length of the ship. The envelope fabric is of lightweight linen and cotton, treated with several coatings of cellon, or ‘dope’.


(Page 275)

Inside the HindenburgThe pilot's cabin of the Hindenburg

Conquest of the Desert (Part 1)

Hundreds of thousands of acres of land in the Sudan have been reclaimed from the desert and irrigated by the building of the Sennar Dam across the Blue Nile. The pictures which illustrate this chapter have been contributed by Mr O L Prowde, MICE. Mr Prowde was the engineer in charge of this vast undertaking, so we may be certain that these are the very best photographs available. The chapter is written by Harold Shepstone and is concluded in part 10. It is the fourth article in the series on Triumphs of Irrigation.

(Pages 289-292)

You can read an account of the opening of the dam, in March 1926, here.

The completed airship Hindenburg

The Hindenburg: Photogravure

Supplement - 3

THE COMPLETED AIRSHIP LZ 129, named Hindenburg. Her overall length is 803 feet and her maximum diameter 135 feet. She has a maximum gas capacity of more than 7,000,000 cubic feet of hydrogen Her maximum width is 153 feet.


(Page 277)

In the builder's hangar at Friedrichshafen, on Lake Constance

The Hindenburg: Photogravure

Supplement - 4

IN THE BUILDERS' HANGAR at Friedrichshafen, on Lake Constance (Boden See). The design of the Hindenburg followed that of the Graf Zeppelin, but because of the additional stresses due to her larger size, the Hindenburg's members are of greater depth and thickness.


(Page 278)