Glendale, the airship capital of the world! That was the dream of a brilliant, self-taught inventor by the name of Thomas B. Slate.
Selecting Glendale as the site of the Slate Aircraft Company in 1925, his futuristic portrayal of an efficient and comfortable means of passenger travel between Los Angeles and New York, as well as the profit potential of the venture, convinced many prominent Glendale residents to become stockholders. Intrigued by his commitment to name the first airship built "The City of Glendale," the City Council leased a large tract of land to Slate at the new Grand Central Air Terminal.
The innovations incorporated into Slate's rigid-frame airship were designed to overcome various flaws that had hampered conventional dirigibles. With a hull shaped like an elongated egg, constructed of a lightweight aluminum alloy and powered by a steam-driven blower in its nose, the craft would be capable of transporting 30 passengers and crew at 100 miles per hour on 1,200-mile legs. With stops at major cities, the trip from Glendale to New York would take 36 hours. Airfare would be approximately the same as that of railway Pullman service.