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UA Receives Grant to Preserve Film of Iconic Airships

photo of airship USS Macon
News reporters stand next to the USS Macon in 1933.

Historic footage of two of Akron’s most iconic airships is now being made available to the public. Archival Services at the University of Akron received a $37,000 grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation to reformat and digitize nitrate films of the USS Akron and USS Macon. Vic Fleischer is the head of Archival Services at the university. He said it’s important for the films and photos from the 1930s to be digitized not only for historical significance but also for safety.

“And if you know anything about nitrate film, it’s very combustible, so it cannot be projected or should not be projected. In addition, as the film decomposes, it generates its own heat and can spontaneously combust.”

Fleischer said the two airships were the largest built in the U.S. and the largest to use helium for lifting. He said the 14 films show the construction and flight of the airships.