On July 15, 1916, William E. Boeing incorporated what would become one of the largest global aircraft manufacturers in the world. At inception, the company was actually called the "Pacific Aero Products Co." but a year later, William Boeing would rename it the Boeing Airplane Company, after himself. The first aircraft produced for sale by Boeing was called the "B&W," which stood for Boeing and Westervelt - George Westervelt was a good friend of Will Boeing. The plane was a two-seater seaplane powered by a 125hp Hall-Scott A-5 engine.
William Boeing first tried to sell the B&W to the U.S. Navy, but they decided to pass on the plane. Instead, Boeing managed to sell the first two B&W planes to the New Zealand Flying School. The planes did not disappoint, as they were used to make the first airmail flights in New Zealand history.
Boeing finally made some headway into the lucrative market in the U.S. in 1917, when two Model C airplanes were sent to the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola in Florida for a demonstration of their capabilities. The Navy was impressed and ordered 50 Model Cs, making them Boeing's first production series aircraft.
As years passed and technology improved, Boeing expanded rapidly, which was helped by demand surges during major wars, such as World War II. During WWII, Boeing was contracted to build large orders of aerial bombers. Interestingly, many of the workers working on the bombers were women whose husbands had left for the war. At its peak, airplane production was scaled up to over 350 planes per month, but as the war ended, over 70,000 people were laid off at Boeing (again, mostly women).
Today, Boeing designs and develops a diverse range of products, including military aircraft, jetliners, satellites, missile defense, launch systems and human space flights. The company trades publicly on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker BA.
Few inventions have changed how people live and experience the world as much as the invention of the airplane. learn more in our Industry Handbook on The Airline Industry.