SUFFIELD, Ohio (June 8, 2010)—The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is donating a 100-year-old lifeboat from the 1911 airship named Akron to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
The Akron was Goodyear's first airship envelope.
Goodyear said the Akron was lost at sea in 1912 during an attempted transatlantic crossing. The only significant piece to be recovered from the accident was the lifeboat, in storage by Goodyear since 1912, the company said.
This airship is not the same as the Goodyear-built Navy airship U.S.S. Akron, the company said.
“The National Air and Space Museum is delighted to add this survivor of the very first Goodyear airship to its collection of historic air and spacecraft,” said Tom Crouch, Senior Curator of Aeronautics, National Air and Space Museum. “It will have a place of honor in a section of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center housing the Double Eagle II, the first balloon to fly the Atlantic, and the Concorde, which whisked travelers across the Atlantic at supersonic speeds.”
Constructed by S.E. Saunders of East Cowes on the Isle of Wight in 1910, the boat is made primarily of wood, measures 27 feet long with a 6 foot beam and weighs more than 500 pounds.
The lifeboat's radio compartment transmitted the first wireless message from the air.