This 3 1/2" x 4 1/2" swatch is from the Naval airship USS SHENANDOAH which crashed near Columbus, Ohio in September, 1925. The swatch is the skin that covered the frame of the Shenandoah and was recovered from the crash site. The 680 ft. airship was launched in 1923 and the pride of the U.S. Navy until a severe squall line brought her down. While on a publicity tour across the U.S., the Shenandoah broke in half and cracked like a giant egg. Fourteen crew members were killed but, amazingly, 29 of the crew survived when they rode their helium-filled part of the broken airship to the ground.
Also included is a 128 page book - THE WRECK OF THE NAVAL AIRSHIP USS SHENANDOAH. It has 185 photographs that cover the Shenandoah's history in detail, including pictures of the twisted wreckage and local farmers standing by the remains. Artifacts from the Shenandoah aren't easy to find today. Great coverage of the whole story is worth reading on wikipedia.
Here's a quote from the book. "On a stormy September morning in 1925, the giant Navy airship Shenandoah tumbled out of a turbulent sky and crashed into aviation history. Fourteen of the ships 43 crewmen died in the crash. The Shenandoah was Americas first rigid dirigible. It was longer than two football fields and powered by five 300-horsepower Packard engines. Ripped apart by strong winds over rural Ohio, the buoyant nose of the ship circled helplessly in the storm for nearly an hour, finally coming to rest 12 miles away where six crewmen staggered out dazed but alive. Thousands of curiosity-seekers swarmed the crash sites, trampling crops, flattening fences and stripping the carcass of the great ship almost bare. Army troops were called in to maintain control. The crash made front-page news around the world. But as the years have passed, this historic event has all but faded from our collective memory." Notice the copy under last pic.
Nice US Navy collectible. New book and 3 1/2" x 4 1/2" Shenandoah fabric - $150.
The fabric used was a high-quality, 2-ply muslin cloth that was painted with dope to stretch it over the airship frame - mottled brown on one side, silver on the other.
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