Aviation Pioneer Boeing Turns 100

By Paul Riegler on 15 July 2016
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Boeing, the world’s oldest aircraft manufacturer, is celebrating its 100th birthday Friday. The company was incorporated in Seattle as Pacific Aero Products on July 15, 1916 by William E. Boeing, a lumberman.

It was a logical move for Boeing, given that most planes were built out of wood at the time, but it was just one of dozens of fledgling companies in the nascent industry.

Today, of course, Boeing is the largest manufacturer of commercial and military aircraft in the world. Boeing’s culture of innovation and its ability to simultaneously offer products to both commercial customers and the government allowed the company to flourish. Its competitors didn’t fare as well and Boeing absorbed many of them over the years including McDonnell Aircraft and Douglas Aircraft after the two had merged in a futile attempt to compete with Boeing; North American Aviation, which became part of North American Rockwell, which in turn became Rockwell International; and Howard Hughes’ helicopter and space companies.

Boeing is responsible for many of the world’s most iconic aircraft, including the 747 Queen of the Skies; the world’s first successful commercial jetliner, the 707; and numerous military aircraft, the Space Shuttle, and the International Space Station.

In the 1950s, Boeing staked its future on what was to become the 707, the world’s first successful commercial jetliner and a cultural icon in the making. Its wide acceptance made the company the leader in passenger jets in the 20th century, allowing it to overtake and eventually absorb all of its U.S.-based competitors.

Boeing is celebrating its centenary with a weekend celebration for employees in its Puget Sound facilities, presenting a lineup of some of its 7-series aircraft as well as other historic aircraft. It is hosting a festival at the Museum of Flight and making information about all of its planes, including interactive 3D models, available through the Boeing Innovations app, available on iOS and Android platforms.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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