Born: October 1, 1881
Died: September 28, 1956 Place of Birth: Detroit, Michigan
William Boeing pioneered and founded one of the largest aviation conglomerates in the world.
He was born into a wealthy family where his father had made a fortune in iron ore and lumber.
Boeing attended Yale University but left after two years to start his own lumber company.
He had first seen a flying machine in 1909 and later, in 1914, actually flew in one.
The experience enticed Boeing to enter into the aviation business with naval engineer George Westervelt.
The two men formed a company and Boeing set up the financing of a floatplane designed by Westervelt.
Boeing was able to make deals with the Navy for training aircraft during World War I and the company expanded rapidly.
During the 1920's, the aircraft industry saw planes used for postal delivery and commercial travel.
In addition, Boeing had contracts for military aircraft repairs and building biplanes while continuing his lumber business.
By 1930 the company, now named United Aircraft and Transport Company, became a large scale conglomerate which included several
individual businesses for manufacturing aircraft and aircraft parts and even a school for pilots.
During the next decade, the company designed several major airplanes in preparation for a possible war.
The government, in the mid-30's, decided that mail and war plane contracts could not be held by the same company and Boeing was forced
to split his aircraft company into several smaller businesses.
Hence Boeing retired from the aircraft business and began to successfully operate a horse breeding business.
By 1938, Boeing's companies numbered nearly 30,000 employees.
World War II brought Boeing back into the aircraft business as a consultant and the company flourished.
William Boeing lived long enough to see jet propulsion take place and to witness the introduction of the Boeing B-52, the largest
jet bomber in America.
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