Graf Zeppelin

On 15 0ctober 1928 the Graf Zeppelin made its first intercontinental trip, a 9,926 km (6,168 mi), 111 hour crossing from Friedrichshafen to Lakehurst with Dr. Eckener in command. Capt.Ernst Lehmann, who would be killed in the crash of the Hindenburg at Lakehurst eight and a half years later, served as First Officer on the flight and U.S. Navy LCDR Charles E. Rosendahl, commander of the ZR-3 USS Los Angeles (ex-LZ 126), made the westward journey during which he also stood watch as a regular ship’s officer.Despite encountering heavy headwinds and stormy weather, Eckener had repeated the success of his first transatlantic crossing four years earlier when he delivered the LZ-126 to the U.S. Navy in October 1924 and was welcomed enthusiastically then both with a “ticker tape” parade in New York and a subsequent invitation to the White House.On this first transatlantic trip the airship suffered potentially serious damage to its port tail fin on the third day of the flight when a large section of the linen covering was ripped loose while passing through a mid-ocean squall line at night  With the engines stopped, the ship’s riggers did their best to tie down the torn fabric to the framework and sew blankets to the ship’s envelope while attempting not to fall to the raging seas just below. In the interest of safety, the riggers (including Dr. Eckener’s son, Knut) retreated back into the ship whenever it dropped to within a couple of hundred feet of the ocean’s surface. This allowed the engines to be restarted to maintain lift.The Graf crossed the U.S. coast at Cape Charles, Virginia, on October 15, passed over Washington, D.C., , Baltimore  Philadelphia , New York City  and landed at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station  After a stay in the United States, during which time its damaged tail was repaired, the Graf left Lakehurst for Germany at 1:24 am on October 29 and arrived back in Friedrichshafen  on November 1.

In 1929 the airship made two trips over the Mediterranean. On the first trip to the eastern Mediterranean in late March 1929, it carried 25 passengers and 16,000 letters to make four mail drops at Jaffa, Athens, Budapest and Vienna.The airship flew over Palestine, Egypt and Athens before returning to Friedrichshafen after completing a journey of 5,000 miles (8,000 km) in 81 hours.The second Mediterranean cruise took place in late April, flying over France, Spain, Portugal and Tangier. The airship returned to Friedrichshafen after flying north over Cannes and Lyons .Although the Graf Zeppelin ultimately had a safe and highly successful active career lasting nearly nine years, it also came close to being lost just seven months after its maiden flight while attempting to make its second trip to the United States in May 1929. Shortly after dark on May 16, the first night of the flight , the airship lost power in two of its five engines while over the Mediterranean off the southwest coast of Spain forcing Eckener to abandon the trip and turn back toward Friedrichshafen. Flying against a stiff headwind up the Rhône Valley in France the next afternoon, two of the remaining three engines also failed resulting in a loss of headway and the Graf being pushed backwards toward the sea.With Eckener desperately looking for a suitable place to force-land the airship, the French Air Ministry reluctantly advised him that he would be permitted to land at the Naval Airship Base at Cuers-Pierrefeu There the Graf Zeppelin would be kept in the hangar Although barely able to control the Graf on its one remaining engine, Eckener managed to make a difficult but successful emergency night landing at Cuers.After temporary repairs, the Graf finally returned to Friedrichshafen on May 24 where the engines were completely overhauled. it wasn’t until August 1, 1929, when the airship made another attempt to cross the Atlantic for Lakehurst, arriving on August 4. Four days later, the Graf Zeppelin departed Lakehurst for its most daring and famous trip — a four-leg complete circumnavigation of the globe.

The Graf’s “Round-the-World” flight in August 1929 officially began and ended at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey. As with many of the airship’s other flights, however, its expenses were also heavily offset by the carriage of souvenir mails to and/or from Lakehurst, Friedrichshafen, Tokyo, and Los Angeles. As with the October, 1928 flight to New York, Wealthy newspaper magnate Randolph Hearst ‘s correspondent Lady Grace Drummond-Hay was on board making her the first woman to circumnavigate the globe by air. Also representing Hearst among the passenger complement were  Karl von Wiegand and Australian Arctic explorer Sir Hubert Wilkins, and photographer/newsreel cameraman Robert Hartmann. The US Government was represented by Naval airshipmen LCDR Charles Rosendahl and LT Jack C. Richardson  A semi-documentary film entitled”Farewell” was released in 2009 which featured much of the newsreel footage of Lady Drummond-Hay shot by Hartmann during the flight. The film was later aired on the BBC under the title “Around The World by Zeppelin”.The Graf Zeppelin flew back across the Atlantic to Friedrichshafen to refuel before continuing across Eastern Europe, Russia, and the vastness of Siberia to Tokyo (Kasumigaura Naval Air Station) on a 101 hour, 49 minute nonstop leg covering 7,297 miles (11,743 km). Although the Soviet government had formally requested by radio to the “Graf” for the airship to overfly its capital, Moscow, Dr. Eckener declined because of the necessity “to take advantage of the tailwinds and remain on the straight airline without deviation or halt” necessary in order to reach Tokyo nonstop, a decision which resulted in considerable disappointment and annoyance on the part of the Russians. (To make amends for this perceived slight, a year later the “Graf” made a special two-day round trip flight from Friedrichshafen to Moscow on September 9–10, 1930 landing briefly to collect souvenir mail at Moscow’s “October Field” Crossing the inadequately mapped Stanovoy Mountains in Siberia proved to be a precarious venture with the Graf eventually being forced to climb to 6,000 feet in order to clear the range through a high mountain canyon with barely 150 feet to spare.After five days in Tokyo, the Graf continued across the Pacific to California crossing the coast at San Francisco before landing at Mines Field in Los Angeles thus completing the first ever nonstop flight of any kind across the Pacific Ocean, covering 5,986 miles (9,634 km) in 79 hours and 54 minutes

The 2,996-mile (4,822 km), 51 hour 13 minute transcontinental flight across the United States took the Graf over 13 states and such cities as El Paso, Kansas City, Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit before arriving back at Lakehurst from the west on the morning of August 29, three weeks after it had departed to the east on August 8. Flying time for the four Lakehurst to Lakehurst legs was 12 days, 12 hours and 13 minutes while the entire circumnavigation (including stops) took 21 days, 5 hours and 31 minutes and covered 33,234 km (20,651 mi).[34]3RM Weltflug coin (1930A)Germany issued a special commemorative silver 3RM coin in 1930 in recognition of the Graf Zeppelin’s historic flight. Dr. Eckener’s personal accomplishment received acclaim as well when he became just the tenth recipient (third aviator) in 42 years to be awarded the Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society which was presented to him on March 27, 1930 before a crowd of 5,000 at the Washington Auditorium in Washington, DC. The citation read that Eckener received the award “for his work in furthering the progress of airships, and to commemorate the first around-the-world flight of the Graf Zeppelin.”

In May, 1930 the LZ 127 made its first visit to South America as part of a triangular flight between Spain, Brazil, and the United States. Providing passenger, express freight, and air mail service between Germany, Spain and South America was one function which was an early consideration in the design of LZ-127. It was intended in 1928 to offer passage between Friedrichshafen, Germany, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,  The 1930 flight began at Friedrichshafen on May 18 and stopped first in Seville before leaving Europe. The Graf arrived in Brazil first at Recife (Pernambuco) docking at Campo do Jiquiá on May 22  before preceding on to Rio de Janeiro. The airship then flew back north to Lakehurst, NJ, before heading east over the Atlantic on June 2 to return to Germany with another stop in Seville. As with so many of its major journeys, the Europe-Pan American flight was largely funded by souvenir mails franked with special stamps issued by Spain, Brazil, and the United States .With the US already in the depths of the Great Depression, however, only about 7% of the very expensive stamps that had been produced had been distributed when the issue was withdrawn from sale on June 30. The Graf Zeppelin also visited Palestine in April 1929 and a second flight to the Middle East took place on April 9 1931 with a flight to Cairo, Egypt, where the airship landed less than two days later. After a brief stop, the Graf Zeppelin proceeded on to Palestine before returning to Friedrichshafen on April 23, just an hour over four days after departure. The trip took 97 hours, covered 9,000 km (5,600 mi) and crossed 14 countries on three continents.

The Graf Zeppelin made another groundbreaking flight in July 1931 with a research trip to the Arctic. The idea of using an airship to explore the Arctic was one reason used to justify both the building of Graf Zeppelin, and the restoration of Germany’s right to build airships for commercial purposes.A year earlier Dr. Eckener had piloted the Graf on a three-day trip to Norway and Spitsbergen  in order to determine its performance in this region. This was followed by a three-day flight to Iceland. Both trips were completed successfully.Plans were  made to rendezvous with a surface vessel to be funded by exchanging souvenir mails to the ship. Around fifty thousand cards and letters were collected from around the world  The rendezvous vessel, the Russian icebreaker Malygin, on which the Italian airshipman and polar explorerUmberto Nobile was a guest, carried another 120 kg (265 lbs) of mails to exchange. The major costs of the expedition were met largely by sale of special postage stamps issued by both Germany (as overprints) and the Soviet Union to frank the mails carried on the flight. The rest of the funding came from Aeroarctic and the Ullstein-Verlag in exchange for exclusive reporting rights.The polar flight took one week from July 24–31, 1931. The Graf Zeppelin traveled about 10,600 km (6,600 mi) with the longest leg without refueling being 8,600 km (5,345 mies).It was in its last five years of service that Graf Zeppelin proved that an intercontinental commercial airship service was possible. it operated regular scheduled services during the summer season between Germany and South America.The Graf Zeppelin was too small and slow for the North Atlantic service,yet because of the blau gas fuel, was just capable of carrying out the South Atlantic route. The onset of regular airline service also led to a drastic reduction in the number of flights being made by the airship which, having logged almost 200 flights in 1930-31, made fewer than 60. The two airships Graf Zeppeilin and Hindenburg were  requested by the government to fly “in tandem” around Germany over the four-day period with a joint departure from Löwenthal on the morning of March 26. the Graf andHindenburg sailed over Germany for four days and three nights, dropping propaganda leaflets, blaring martial music and slogans from large loudspeakers, and broadcasting political speeches from a makeshift radio studio on board the Hindenburg while millions of Germans watched from below,

However The loss of the D-LZ 129 Hindenburg at Lakehurst on May 6, 1937 shattered public faith in the safety of hydrogen-filled airships making the continuation of their commercial passenger operations unsustainable unless the Graf Zeppelin and the still under construction LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin II could convert to non-flammable helium, the only alternative lifting gas for airships. Unlike the relatively inexpensive and universally available hydrogen, however, the vast majority of the world’s available supplies of the much more costly, less buoyant, and harder to produce helium  Since 1925, the exportation of helium had also been tightly restricted by Congress although there is no record that the German Government had ever applied for an export license for helium to use in its airships prior to the Hindenburg’s crash and fire. Although much safer than hydrogen, the greatly added expense, lack of availability, and overall degradation in lifting performance that converting to helium would impose on the Graf Zeppelin made its continued operation no longer commercially viable. That being the case, one day after the “Hindenburg” crashed in Lakehurst the nine-year-old LZ 127 was promptly grounded and withdrawn from service upon its arrival in Friedrichshafen after a flight from Brazil in 1937. Six weeks later  the airship was ferried to Frankfurt am Main on what would prove to be its 590th and final flight. Upon arrival at its massive hangar at the Frankfurt airport, the airship was deflated and opened to the public as a museum. While the Graf Zeppelin had already been decommissioned and retired,

Shortly after the Hindenburg disaster President Roosevelt approved and forwarded a Cabinet report to Congress that supported the export to Germany of enough helium to permit the soon to be launched Hindenburg Class LZ-130 Graf Zeppelin II (which unlike the LZ 127 was designed to use either hydrogen or helium) to resume commercial transatlantic passenger service by 1939. By early 1938, however, firm opposition from   the National Munitions Control Board, to a German request  to purchase up to 10,000,000 cubic feet (280,000 m3) of helium made that impossible, the Board (which consisted of the Secretaries of State, War,Navy, Treasury, Commerce, and Interior), was vested with the ultimate authority to both prohibit the export to “belligerent states, or to a state wherein civil strife exists” of any type of “arms, ammunition, and implements of war” as well as restrict the transfer of any other “articles or materials” such as helium which the Government classified as having “military importance.” At a White House press briefing on May 11, 1938, President Roosevelt’s press secretary Stephen Early announced that as the Act required the “unanimous” consent of the Control Board to approve the export of helium to Germany, the President had concluded that he was “without legal power to override the judgment of any one of the six members and direct the sale of helium for export.” In response to this statement, Dr. Eckener commented later that same day that “should this decision be final, I am afraid it means the death sentence for commercial lighter-than-air craft.”

Although the Graf Zeppelin II made 30 test, promotional, propaganda and military surveillance flights around Europe between the airship’s launch in mid-September 1938 and its last flight 11 months later on August 20, made just 10 days before the formal start of World War II in Europe with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, the LZ 130 never entered the commercial passenger service for which it was built. The ultimate fates of both the original Graf Zeppelin (LZ 127) and the Graf Zeppelin II (LZ 130) were formally sealed on March 4, 1940, when German Air Minister Hermann Göring issued a decree ordering both to be immediately scrapped for salvage and their duralumin airframes and other structures to be melted down for reuse by the German military aircraft industry.

Montgolfier brothers Hot Air balloon

On 15 October 1783 Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier,  made the first human ascent in The Montgolfier brothers’ hot air balloon.  The Montgolfierr brothers Joseph-Michel Montgolfier (26 August 1740 – 26 June 1810) and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier (6 January 1745 – 2 August 1799) were aviation pioneers and the inventors of the Montgolfière-style hot air balloon, globe aérostatique. The brothers succeeded in launching the first manned ascent, carrying Étienne into the sky. Later, in December 1783, in recognition of their achievement, their father Pierre was elevated to the nobility and the hereditary appellation of de Montgolfier by King Louis XVI of France.Of the two brothers, it was Joseph who first contemplated building machines as early as 1777 when he observed laundry drying over a fire incidentally form pockets that billowed upwards. Joseph made his first definitive experiments in November 1782 while living in the city of Avignon. He reported some years later that he was watching a fire one evening while contemplating one of the great military issues of the day—an assault on the fortress of Gibraltar, which had proved impregnable from both sea and land.Joseph mused on the possibility of an air assault using troops lifted by the same force that was lifting the embers from the fire. He believed that contained within the smoke was a special gas, which he called Montgolfier Gas, with a special property he called levity.

s a result of these musings, Joseph set about building a box-like chamber 1×1×1.3 m (3 ft by 3 ft (0.91 m) by 4 ft) out of very thin wood, and covering the sides and top with lightweight taffeta cloth. He crumpled and lit some paper under the bottom of the box. The contraption quickly lifted off its stand and collided with the ceiling. Joseph then recruited his brother to balloon building by writing, “Get in a supply of taffeta and of cordage, quickly, and you will see one of the most astonishing sights in the world.” The two brothers then set about building a similar device, scaled up by three (so 27 times greater in volume). The lifting force was so great that they lost control of their craft on its very first test flight on 14 December 1782. The device floated nearly two kilometers (about 1.2 mi). It was destroyed after landing by the “indiscretion” of passersby. The brothers decided to make a public demonstration of a balloon in order to establish their claim to its invention. They constructed a globe-shaped balloon of sackcloth with three thin layers of paper inside. The envelope could contain nearly 790 m³ (28,000 cubic feet) of air and weighed 225 kg (500 lb). It was constructed of four pieces (the dome and three lateral bands) and held together by 1,800 buttons. A reinforcing fish net of cord covered the outside of the envelope.

On 4 June 1783, they flew this craft as their first public demonstration at Annonay in front of a group of dignitaries from the États particuliers. Its flight covered 2km (1.2mi), lasted 10 minutes, and had an estimated altitude of 1,600-2,000 m (5,200-6,600 ft). Word of their success quickly reached Paris. Étienne went to the capital to make further demonstrations and to solidify the brothers’ claim to the invention of flight. Joseph, given his unkempt appearance and shyness, remained with the family. Étienne was the epitome of sober virtues … modest in clothes and mannerIn collaboration with the successful wallpaper manufacturer Jean-Baptiste Réveillon, Étienne constructed a 37,500-cubic-foot (1,060 m3) envelope of taffeta coated with a varnish of alum (which has fireproofing properties). The balloon was sky blue and decorated with golden flourishes, signs of the zodiac, and suns. The design showed the intervention of Réveillon. The next test was on the 11th of September from the grounds of la Folie Titon, close to Réveillon’s house. There was some concern about the effects of flight into the upper atmosphere on living creatures. The king proposed to launch two criminals, but it is most likely that the inventors decided to send a sheep, a duck, and a rooster aloft first.On 19 September 1783, the Aérostat Réveillon was flown with the first living beings in a basket attached to the balloon: a sheep called Montauciel (“Climb-to-the-sky”), a duck and a rooster. The sheep was believed to have a reasonable approximation of human physiology. The duck was expected to be unharmed by being lifted aloft. It was included as a control for effects created by the aircraft rather than the altitude. The rooster was included as a further control as it was a bird that did not fly at high altitudes. This demonstration was performed before a crowd at the royal palace in Versailles, before KingLouis XVI of France and Queen Marie Antoinette. The flight lasted approximately eight minutes, covered two miles (3 km), and obtained an altitude of about 1,500 feet (460 m). The craft landed safely after flying.

With the successful demonstration at Versailles, and again in collaboration with Réveillon, Étienne started construction of a 60,000-cubic-foot (1,700 m3) balloon for the purpose of making flights with humans. The balloon was about seventy-five feet tall and about fifty feet in diameter. It had rich decorative touches supplied by Réveillon. The color scheme was gold figures on a deep blue background. Fleur-de-lis, signs of the zodiac, and suns with Louis XVI’s face in the center interlaced with the royal monogram in the central section graced the majestic machine. Red and blue drapery and golden eagles were at the base of the balloon. It is fitting that Étienne Montgolfier was the first human to lift off the earth, making at least one tethered flight from the yard of the Réveillon workshop in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. It was most likely on October 15, 1783. A little while later on that same day, Pilâtre de Rozier became the second to ascend into the air, to an altitude of 80 feet (24 m), which was the length of the tether. On 21 November 1783, the first free flight by humans was made by Pilâtre, together with an army officer, the marquis d’Arlandes.The flight began from the grounds of the Château de la Muette (close to the Bois de Boulogne (park)) in the western outskirts of Paris. They flew aloft about 3,000 feet (910 m) above Paris for a distance of nine kilometres. After 25 minutes, the machine landed between the windmills, outside the city ramparts, on the Butte-aux-Cailles. Enough fuel remained on board at the end of the flight to have allowed the balloon to fly four to five times as far. However, burning embers from the fire were scorching the balloon fabric and had to be daubed out with sponges. As it appeared it could destroy the balloon, Pilâtre took off his coat to stop the fire.The early flights made a sensation. Numerous engravings commemorated the events. Chairs were designed with balloon backs, and mantel clocks were produced in enamel and gilt-bronze replicas set with a dial in the balloon. One could buy crockery decorated with naive pictures of balloons.

In early 1784 the Flesselles balloon (named after the unfortunate Jacques de Flesselles, later to be an early casualty at the Bastille) gave a rough landing to its passengers. In June 1784 the Gustave saw the first (singing) female aeronaut, Élisabeth Thible.In 1766, the British scientist Henry Cavendish had discovered hydrogen, by adding sulphuric acid to iron, tin, or zinc shavings. The development of gas balloons proceeded almost in parallel with the work of the Montgolfiers. This work was led by Jacques Charles and les Frères Robert (Anne-Jean Robert, and Nicolas-Louis Robert). On 27 August 1783, theirhydrogen balloon was launched from the Champ de Mars in Paris. Six thousand people paid for a seat. On 1 December Jacques Charles and Nicolas-Louis Robert flew La Charlière, the first manned hydrogen balloon, for 2 hours 5 minutes and covered 36 km. Jacques Charles immediately flew again, alone, and ascended to 3,000 metres.Work on each type of balloon was spurred on by the knowledge that there was a competing group and alternative technology. For a variety of reasons, including the fact that the French government chose to put a proponent of hydrogen in charge of balloon development, nterest in hot air balloons was largely superseded by gas balloons over the following decades. hydrogen balloons were used for all subsequent major ballooning accomplishments, such as the crossing of the English Channel on 7 January 1785 by the Franco-American aviatorsJean-Pierre Blanchard and Dr. John Jeffries. In recent times many aviation endurancerecords have been achieved by hybrid balloon designs such as the Rozière Balloon; which combine the altitude control of hot air balloons with the permanent buoyancy of lifting gases.

Thrust SSC

The first supersonic land speed record is set by Andy Green in ThrustSSC (United Kingdom) on On 15 October 1997, exactly 50 years and 1 day afterChuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier in the Earth’s atmosphere. ThrustSSC, Thrust SSC, or Thrust supersonic car, is a British jet-propelled cardeveloped by Richard Noble, Glynne Bowsher, Ron Ayers and Jeremy Bliss. Thrust SSC holds the World Land Speed Record, set on 15 October 1997, when it achieved a speed of 1,228 km/h (763 mph) and became the first car to officially break the sound barrier.

The car was driven by Royal Air Force fighter pilot Wing Commander Andy Green in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, United States. It was powered by twoafterburning Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engines, as used in the British version of the F-4 Phantom II jet fighter. The car was 16.5 m (54 ft) long, 3.7 m (12 ft) wide and weighed 10.5 tons (10.7 t), and the twin engines developed a net thrust of 223 kN (50,000 lbf), a power output of 110,000 bhp (82MW), burning around 18 litres per second (4.0 Imperial gallons/s or 4.8 US gallons/s). Transformed into the usual terms for car mileages based on its maximum speed, the fuel consumption was about 55 L/km (0.05 mpg-imp; 0.04 mpg-US). By comparison, the Concorde burned about 0.8 gallons/sec (10500 kg/h, 2885 gallons/hr) at full power, with typical 17 miles per U.S. gallon (14 L/100 km; 20 mpg-imp) per passenger (100 passengers were maximum capacity). The record run in October 1997 was preceded by extensive test runs of the vehicle in Autumn 1996 and Spring 1997 in the Al-Jafr desert (located in Ma’an Governorate) in Jordan, a location unknown before for its capabilities as a test range for high speed land vehicles, with numerous advantages compared to the salt deserts of the Western United States

Richard Noble broke the world land speed record in 1983 with his earlier car Thrust2, which reached a speed of 1,018 km/h (633 mph). The date of Andy Green’s record came exactly a half century and one day after Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in Earth’s atmosphere, with the Bell X-1 research rocket plane on 14 October 1947.Both Thrust SSC and Thrust2 are displayed at the Coventry Transport Museum in Coventry, England. Thrust SSC is housed in a barrel-roofed hall. Visitors can board the pit trailer from which Thrust SSC runs were controlled, and can ride a motion simulator depicting a computer-generated animation of the record-breaking run from the perspective of Green.Several teams are competing to break the record, including Richard Noble’s Bloodhound SSCproject and the North American Eagle project.


English Novelist, humorist and lyricist, Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE was born 15 October 1881. His work includes novels, short stories, plays, poems, song lyrics, and numerous pieces of journalism. He enjoyed enormous popular success during a career that lasted more than seventy years and his many writings continue to be widely read. Despite the political and social upheavals that occurred during his life, much of which was spent in France and the United States, Wodehouse’s main canvas remained that of a pre- and post-World War I English upper-class society, reflecting his birth, education and youthful writing career. An acknowledged master of English prose, Wodehouse has been admired both by contemporaries such as Hilaire Belloc, Evelyn Waugh and Rudyard Kipling and by recent writers such as Stephen Fry, Christopher Hitchens, Douglas Adams, J. K. Rowling, and John Le Carré.Best known today for the Jeeves and Blandings Castle novels and short stories, Wodehouse was also a playwright and lyricist who was part author and writer of 15 plays and of 250 lyrics for some 30 musical comedies, many of them produced in collaboration with Jerome Kern and Guy Bolton. He worked with Cole Porter on the musical Anything Goes (1934), wrote the lyrics for the hit song “Bill” in Kern’s Show Boat (1927), wrote lyrics to Sigmund Romberg’s music for the Gershwin – Romberg musical Rosalie (1928) and collaborated with Rudolf Friml on a musical version of The Three Musketeers (1928). He is also in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Wodehouse sadly passed away on 14th February 1975 however his work continues to enjoy enormous popular success and is still widely read, and the musical comedies to which he contributed remain popular to this day.