“Santa Claus Express” Goodyear Airship, 1925

Smithsonian Snapshot celebrates the Christmas season with this 1925 photo of Goodyear’s “Santa Claus Express” airship from the National Air and Space Museum.

In the 1920s, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. of Akron, Ohio, built a fleet of small civil airships that were used to demonstrate the value of lighter-than-air flight and to train future airship pilots. One of those airships, “Pilgrim I,” was the first designed for inflation with helium.

In 1925, “Pilgrim 1” was renamed the “Santa Claus Express” and used for toy delivery. In the photograph shown here, Pilgrim’s pilot Carl Wollam holds the gondola door for Santa, portrayed by Goodyear employee Jack Yolton.

To learn more about holiday deliveries, visit the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum website.

This photo is one of 137 million artifacts, works of art and specimens in the Smithsonian’s collection. It is currently not on display, but the Pilgrim gondola is on display at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. To learn more about this item, visit the National Air and Space Museum website.

Posted: 19 December 2012
About the Author:

Jessica Porter Sadeq has worked in the Central Office of Public Affairs since June 2007. In August 2008 she joined the Internal Communications department as an internal communications coordinator.