Everyone knows that the flying airship was invented by German aristocrat Count von Zeppelin, right? Airships are known as zeppelins for a reason, aren't they?
Not so fast.
For David Schwarz, a Hungarian-born Croatian Jew, built the first airship in 1893, six years before Zeppelin started on his.
So why does Schwarz never get the credit?
Well, for starters, Schwarz's first airship didn't exactly fly. So that's not good. He started to build the second, but died before being able to complete the job. That's not good either.
Here's what we know for a fact: Schwarz' second airship, built in 1897, flew, but it wasn't exactly successful, the pilot bringing it down because it rose too fast. What we don't know is exactly how much von Zeppelin borrowed from Schwarz to create his own, working model.
Accounts diverge: some say that von Zeppelin purchased the patent from Schwarz's widow. Some say that he didn't. Others say that he did, but realized that Schwarz's designs were useless. Who knows for sure?
Well, one thing is certain: David Schwarz invented the airship. And it flew. Somewhat. Why bog down yourself with details?
Just be happy that no one talks about riding giant schwarzes.