Oskar Erbslöh

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Oskar Erbslöh
Oskar Erbslöh, the winner of the Gordon Bennett race of 1907 in St. Louis, after the start in the Pomeranian balloon ;
Photo by Edvin Levick
Oscar Erbslöh in St Louis in 1907 with the Gordon Bennett Cup

Oskar Erbslöh (also spelled: Oscar ) (born April 21, 1879 in Elberfeld ; † July 13, 1910 near Pattscheid ) was a German aviation pioneer.


Erbslöh came from an Elberfeld merchant family. His father, Carl Emil Erbslöh ran a manufacturing business there. Oskar received his education at the Elberfelder Realgymnasium and completed a commercial training in Hanover. Around 1900 he gained commercial experience abroad and traveled to North America. He turned to various sports at an early stage and in 1904 to aviation . After completing his military service, he entered his parents' business in 1905 as a partner. He died in 1910 when the airship "Erbslöh" named after him crashed .


In 1905, Oskar Erbslöh received his qualification as a balloon pilot from the Niederrheinischer Verein für Luftschifffahrt, founded in 1902 . After he had repeatedly won first prizes in national races as early as 1906 and on September 30, 1906, together with Hugo von Abercron, he finished ninth in the Düsseldorf Ballon at the first Gordon Bennett race in Paris , he won on September 15, 1907 of the international competition of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale . In addition to the winner's trophy, he also received the gold plaque of Prince Bonaparte for this trip, which made him internationally famous.

On October 21, 1907, he won the second Gordon Bennett Cup for balloonists in St. Louis (USA) with his Pomeranian balloon . He and his companion Henry Helm Clayton covered 1,403.55 kilometers in 40 hours. This victory meant that this internationally renowned cup could be held in Germany the following year.

In 1908 Oskar Erbslöh turned more to motorized airship travel. Under his chairmanship the Rheinisch-Westfälische Motorluftschiff-Gesellschaft was founded, the purpose of which was to build motor airships. In 1909 the city of Leichlingen provided this company with a plot of land of 20 acres (= 5.1 hectares ) on a lease basis in the Balken district . available, on which a fixed airship hangar was built. Simultaneously with the construction of the hall, the construction and production of the airship "Erbslöh" began, with which Oskar Erbslöh had a fatal accident on July 13, 1910 near Pattscheid (since 1975 in Leverkusen ). A report from the New York Times that his father died during Oscar's funeral as a result of a shock and stroke contradicts a statement in a publication by the family company from 1914, according to which the father “barely ten months later went to see his son Grave followed ”.


1913 asked the city Leichlingen (Rheinland) with Kaiser Wilhelm II. For permission to be allowed to lead the airship Erbslöh in their coat of arms, but this was turned down by Wilhelm granted.

A memorial for Erbslöh stands in Leichlingen near the Oskar-Erbslöh-Strasse named after him . Streets in Wuppertal , Solingen , Essen and Langenfeld as well as the air sports group based in Langenfeld also bear his name. On August 24, 2011, the community council of Schönefeld decided to name a street in the entrance area of Berlin Brandenburg Airport after Oskar Erbslöh.

The tombstone

The tombstone of the now abandoned grave is located in the old Lutheran cemetery Hochstrasse in Wuppertal.

Sources and literature

  • Gustav von Eynern: News about the Erbslöh family. Lintz, Düsseldorf 1905 (Library of the Bergisches Geschichtsverein within the Wuppertal-Elberfeld City Library)
  • Illustrated aeronautical communications. German magazine for aviation. Official organ of the German Airship Association, Issue 10/11, XI. Born in Strasbourg-Berlin 1907.
  • Germany ahead in the skies! Oskar Erbslöh, winner of the Gordon Bennet race in St. Louis. In: The week. No. 45, November 9, 1907, August Scherl, Berlin 1907, pp. 1967 and 1969 f.
  • Oskar Erbslöh: Report on the victory drive. In: Aeronautical Calendar. 1st year, J. Rieken, Berlin 1908, pp. 65–95.
  • Oskar Erbslöh: The German Gordon Bennett victory in 1907. In: Bröckelmann (Hrsg.): Wir Luftschiffer . Ullstein, Berlin / Vienna 1909, pp. 105–116.
  • The bursting of the cloth airships. In: In the realm of the air. Germany moving forward. III. Year, No. 15, August 10, 1910, Emil Pilger Nachf., Berlin 1910.
  • The Leichlingen disaster. In: Berliner Tageblatt. Volume 39, No. 352, July 14, Berlin 1910.
  • The crash of the steering balloon "Erbslöh". In: Süddeutsche Illustrierte Zeitung. 5th year, No. 31, July 31, 1910, Heilbronn 1910, p. 483 ff.
  • Saurin-Sorani: Oskar Erbslöh with the Gordon Bennett Prize of the Air in 1907. In: Bergische Heimat. Volume 5, number 10, Verlag Ernst Scholl, Ronsdorf 1931, p. 239.
  • Hans Werner Hinrichs: “Erbslöh” exploded in the morning mist. In: Westdeutsche Rundschau. Wuppertal, July 8, 1960.
  • G. Schmitt, W. Schwipps: Pioneers of early aviation . Gondrom Verlag, Bindlach 1995, ISBN 3-8112-1189-7 .
  • Erich Schroeder: Oskar Erbslöh, a Rhenish aviation pioneer . Deutscher Aero-Philatelisten Club eV, Cologne 1997.
  • Erbslöh archive. Family association Julius Erbslöh, Wuppertal, Springe 2008.
  • Uwe Boelken: Rheinische Luftschifffahrtsgeschichte in Leichlingen. In memory of the crash of the Erbslöh airship on July 13, 1910. City of Leichlingen (ed. And publisher), Leichlingen 2010.
  • Karl-Hugo Dierichs: Death came out of the smoke screen. Erbslöh's crash. In: Bergische Blätter. 33rd year, July 3, 2010, Wuppertal 2010, pp. 7–9.
  • Andreas Erbslöh: The airship "Erbslöh". In: Andreas Erbslöh: Family Association Julius Erbslöh. A journey through time. Hannover 2014, ISBN 978-3-925658-22-8 , pp. 125 f.

Web links

Commons : Oscar Erbslöh  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ History , website of the Düsseldorfer Aero-Klub eV (Wolfgang Martin), accessed on November 8, 2014.
  2. Erbsloeh's Father dead. Dies from Apoplexy, Due to Shock, at His Son's Funeral. In: The New York Times. July 18, 1910.
  3. ^ Gebrüder Erbslöh: New building 1914 . Elberfeld 1914.
  4. ^ Letter from the Reich Minister of the Interior to the District President of Düsseldorf, Ref .: IV a 2893, 1913. Illustration in: Andreas Erbslöh: Familienverband Julius Erbslöh. A journey through time. Hannover 2014, ISBN 978-3-925658-22-8 , p. 126.
  5. Template - GV / 065/2011 , decided on at the 27th meeting of the municipal council of Schönefeld on August 24, 2011, accessed on August 17, 2012.
  6. ^ Wolfgang Stock: Wuppertal graves. Historical walk through all of the city's cemeteries . Thales Verlag, Essen 2007, ISBN 978-3-88908-482-8 , p. 153 .