The Aeroconservancy Museum Original Artifacts from 1914-1918
Lattice Girder, from LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin, ex-David Kirch Collection
David Kirch purchased this girder at Sotheby’s annual Aeronautica auction on 13 April 1999, when it was listed as a Super Zeppelin shot down over the U.K. in 1916, the catalog listing stating "Lot 411. An exceptionally large section of framework from German Zeppelin L33…" Kirch concluded that the girder had actually come from the Graf Zeppelin, LZ 127, a passenger-carrying, rigid airship that flew from 1928 to 1937 providing the first commercial, transatlantic passenger flight service. When he sold his collection in a series of 5 auctions beginning in 2012, the proceeds of which went to support his various charities, Kirch described this girder as "Lot 156. A substantial piece of braced triangular section duralumin spar from the Graf Zeppelin…" The photo of the girder in Kirch’s 2012 auction catalog was taken at exactly the same angle as Sotheby’s 1999 auction catalogue photo, not an easy feat as the girder has to be propped up at an unnatural angle to take such photos. This similarity was likely on purpose and part of Kirch’s intentional re-attribution of the girder. These two photos are shown along with a photo of the same girder today at the same angle. A single, 8-inch long channel over-hung one end of the girder, unsupported, and eventually snapped off and its location is not known. An article in the Daily Mail heralding Kirch’s 2012 auctions included a photograph of this girder standing upright, shown below. Measures 66 cm or 26 in. in length and comprised of 3 trusses measuring 28 cm x 28 cm x 28 cm.