- Stock Code:
- Business Type:
- Date Founded:
- Dave Calhoun
- Headquarters Location:
- Chicago, USA
- Key Product Lines:
- Boeing 737, Boeing 747, Boeing 757, Boeing 767, Boeing 777, Boeing 787
Boeing has a long history of over 100 years. The company was founded in Seattle in July 1916, just 13 years after the Wright brothers had successfully taken to the sky. Boeing's first aircraft took the skies in 1916. It may have only sold two aircraft, but it was soon followed by a much more successful update. These were military training aircraft, and they set Boeing up to develop further aircraft, both military and commercial.
Building the Model 1
Boeing is undoubtedly connected to the very start of aviation. According to the company, William Boeing developed a fascination for aircraft when he attended the first Los Angeles International Air Meet in January 1910. He founded the Pacific Aero Products Company in 1916 (to become Boeing Airplane Company in 1917) and produced its first aircraft just one year later.
Boeing's first aircraft was sensibly named the Model 1. It was also known as the B&W Seaplane to reflect William Boeing's collaboration with colleague and company co-founder George Conrad Westervelt. The Model 1 was a seaplane built with a wooden frame, wire supports, and a linen covering. It carried two pilots.
Only two examples of this first aircraft were produced. They were initially offered to the US Navy, but there was little interest. This relationship would take off with later aircraft. Instead, the two aircraft were sold to the New Zealand Flying School, part of the country's Royal Flying Corps. They later went on to be used for airmail flights in the country.
Get the latest aviation news straight to your inbox: Sign up for our newsletters today.
More success with the Model C
Boeing's relationship with the US military began during the First World War and started the company's real success. The following aircraft, known as Model C (incorporating Boeing Models 2, 3, 4, and 5), was sold to the US Navy, and 56 aircraft were built from 1917. This was similar to the Model 1, a two-seat training seaplane. The Navy bought 51 seaplanes, and the US Army bought two converted for ground use.
These sales gave Boeing the boost it needed to keep going with aircraft manufacturing. Although the immediate years after the First World War were difficult, with many ex-military aircraft around and limited demand, it did not take long for Boeing's next development.
Love aviation history? Discover more of our stories here.
Commercial sales from 1919
Boeing moved into the commercial market with the B-1 flying boat (also known as the Model 6). This again was a seaplane and first flew in 1919. It could take two passengers and mail. Only one aircraft was sold, though, and used for mail services throughout the 1920s between Seattle, Washington, and Victoria, British Columbia.
Development of commercial mail models continued.
The Model 40 was another major success. This first flew in 1925 and, despite serious competition with Douglas, served several mail routes, with over 80 aircraft built.
The Model 1 would go on to inspire a luxury watch in the form of the Bremont Boeing Model 1. The British watchmaker is a notable fan of Boeing, often designing products in tribute to the manufacturer. The Boeing Model 247 is another offering from Bremont, named after a pioneering airliner that first flew in February 1933.
Altogether, if it wasn't for these historic aircraft, the aviation industry would not be what it is today. The pioneers helped ignite a wave of productions that would revolutionize the world of air travel.
Boeing has been making aircraft for over a century. Looking back at these models, what do you make of their overall contribution to the history of air travel? Let us know what you think of the aircraft and their operations in the comment section.