Ferdinand von Zeppelin
Ferdinand Adolf August Heinrich, Graf von Zeppelin (8 July 1838 – 8 March 1917) was a German general and the first notable builder of rigid dirigible airships, for which his surname is still a generic term.
He entered the Prussian army in 1858 and served in the Seven Weeks War and in the Franco-Prussian War. He was an observer with the Union army during the American Civil War, where he made his first balloon ascent. In 1891, he retired from the Prussian army in order to build motor-driven airships. He invented the first rigid airship in 1900.
More than 100 zeppelins were used for military operations in World War I. A passenger service was established in 1910.