May 9, 2012 in Daily Bulletin
In an article that looks at society’s relationship with risk, Edward Tenner’s discussion of the smoking lounge on the doomed Hindenburg stands out:
- The idea of a smoking lounge nested under a large balloon filled with highly flammable Hydrogen gas seems ridiculous.
- Yet during the time of the Hindenburg smoking was an integral part of people’s lifestyles.
- The Hindenburg had to compete with luxury cruise ships to attract passengers. Not allowing people to smoke would have hurt the appeal of travelling via airship.
- Passengers would have been incredibly bored during times when there was no land in sight if they didn’t have the refuge of a smoking lounge.
- To try to mitigate the risk all lighters were confiscated when passengers boarded the ship. The smoking lounge was specially designed and contained electric lighters. A steward ensured that guests didn’t leave the lounge with lit cigarettes.
To read more about the appeal of a mode of transportation that can carry “56 people at the speed of a Buick at an altitude you could hear dogs bark”, why there’s unlikely to be a smoking renaissance ahead, how the Hindenburg was still safer than the Titanic, the role that Congress played in the Hindenburg disaster, and why blimps might become a popular method of transportation once again, click here.
Source: The American
Via: Marginal Revolution