After Zeppelin’s LZ-4 was destroyed when winds tore it off its moorings while it was undergoing repairs August 1908), Professor Johann Schütte, together with his students, began to design an airship from scratch. With the financial backing and cooperation of Dr. Karl Lanz, a manufacturer of wooden products they formed the Luftschiffbau Schütte-Lanz on April 22, 1909.
The company introduced a series of innovations including a streamlined shape and internal keels to reduce drag, cross-shaped fins with rudders and elevators and a unibody construction. The weakness of these airships, which led to their demise, was that Schütte favored wood for their construction rather than aluminum. When operating in humid environments, the glue used in the joints would breakdown and the ships fell apart under stress.
In total Schütte-Lanz built 22 airships that flew and another 6 that never made it off the ground. The company also submitted a proposal to the U. S. Navy, but lost the bid to Goodyear Zeppelin for the construction of the USS Akron and Macon.