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The Boeing Company 100 Years of History

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The Boeing Company, the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners, defense, space and security systems, has remained a tradition of aerospace leadership and innovation for over 100 years. With such a long history you may wonder where and how The Boeing Company and William Boeing, the company’s founder, first began.

In 1915 after crashing a Glenn Martin “Flying Birdcage” seaplane, Boeing realized he could combine efforts with his close friend and navy engineer, Cdr. George Conrad Westervelt to design and construct the B&W Seaplane. Next, Boeing incorporated Pacific Aero Products Co., which was renamed The Boeing Airplane Company. During this time he sent 2 new Model C’s to the Navy. They loved the design and ordered 50 more to use for WWI training, allowing Boeing the first break he needed to move to a larger facility.

The next break for Boeing came in 1923 when he entered a contest against Curtiss to develop a U.S. Army Air Service pursuit fighter. Although Curtiss finished first and was awarded the contract, Boeing continued to develop its own model, the PW-9 fighter which went on to make Boeing the leading manufacturer of fighters over the next decade.

During the 1930’s Boeing reached several milestones. They created their first passenger plane, joined with Pacific Air Transport, and changed their name to United Aircraft and Transport Corporation.  Their Model 40 mail plane won the U.S. Post Office’s contract. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter the Air Mail Act of 1934 forced the company to split into three smaller entities. The split caused William Boeing to sell off his shares leaving Clairmont “Claire” L. Egtvedt as President and Chairman.

Throughout the 1940’s the company was changing and building bigger planes. The Boeing 314 Clipper took its first transoceanic flight as the world’s largest civil aircraft. They also completed the Model 307 Stratoliner which was based off the B-17 Bomber used during WWII. Throughout the war Boeing cooperated with other aircraft companies to produce over 350 planes each month and they became a large employer of women workers whose husbands had gone to war.

After the war Boeing adapted its strategies to sell military derivatives of their Stratocruiser like the C-97 and KC-97. They became a major producer of small turbine engines during the 1950s and 1960s as an effort to expand their product base past military aircrafts after WWII.

In 1970, the first 747 took its first commercial flight with Pan American World Airways, changing the airline industry by offering a larger seating capacity than any other airliner. A plant the size of 40 football fields was needed for its production.

By the 1980’s Boeing’s commercial aircraft and military versions had become basic equipment of airlines and air forces. As the numbers of passengers increased, Boeing developed new models with higher capacities to compete with other manufacturers. They also participated with work on the space shuttle and became a contractor for the International Space Station program.

In 1994 Boeing introduced the most modern commercial jet airliner of its time, the 777. It was the first airliner entirely created by computer-aided design techniques and was an important milestone in their history. Boeing later released several revamped versions of its 737, one of which became the fastest-selling version of the 737 in history.

Entering a new millennium, Boeing decided to expand its presence in aerospace and satellite communications by purchasing Hughes Electronics, the original pioneers of satellite communications. In recent years, they’ve entered several joint ventures allowing them to complete more projects for notable institutions like NASA and the U.S. Navy.

From crashed seaplanes to International Space Station contracting, Boeing has come a very long way. They’ve evolved whenever needed to truly become a premier aerospace manufacturer. MSP Aviation, Inc, in Bloomington, Indiana is a distributor of Boeing parts with over a decade of business relations. They’re proud to offer the finest commercially manufactured products to their clients and are eager to see Boeing continue to adapt and introduce new and improved products.