Monday, 2 September 2013

It was the wurst of times...

Otto von Bismarck probably didn't say 'Laws are like sausages - it is better not to see them being made.' He certainly didn't say 'Zeppelins are like sausages - it is better not to see them being made', which isn't surprising, given that Otto died in 1898, almost two years before the maiden flight of Ferdinand von Zeppelin's first airship.

Surprisingly, wurst production does have more in common with Zeppelin manufacture than the shape of the finished product. Specifically, as this great piece from Edible Geography points out, the gas bags containing the hydrogen that gave the airships lift were made from cow's intestines, just like sausage skins. In World War One, producing one of Count Zeppelin's now-weaponised flying sausages used up as many cow's guts as thirty million or so regular sausages, so sausage production was banned in Germany and in all German-occupied territories.

'Zeppelins versus sausages' - like 'guns versus butter', only not quite so catchy.


Update - not quite such an obscure factoid as I'd assumed - I've just caught up with Channel 4's TV documentary Attack of the Zeppelins on 4oD, which also had the straight dope on the Zeppelins-versus-sausages model. As with most modern documentaries it was a bit CGI-heavy but, to be fair, it cut to the story quite soon and kept the inevitable 'here's what we're about to show you' in-programme trailer to a minimum. The documentary's still available on line for a short time, (if your device can use Adobe Flash Player - I'm not sure if regional access is limited) on 4oD.