Boeing is one of the world's largest military and commercial aircraft manufacturers. Additionally, it produces electronic
warfare systems, advanced defense and weapons programs, missile systems, and space and satellite technology.
In 1916 William Boeing and Navy engineer Conrad Westervelt founded the Pacific Aero Products Company in Seattle, and they
built the B&W seaplane. Westervelt was recalled for World War I and the company was renamed “Boeing Airplane Company.” In
1925, Boeing made a contract with the U.S. Post Office to distribute mail among cities between San Francisco and Chicago,
all of which was transported by Boeing’s first commercial airplane, the Model 40.
During World War II Boeing produced hundreds of the B-17 Flying. By 1944 the Seattle factory produced sixteen B-17 aircraft
per day. Another aircraft was the B-29 bomber, the most famous of which was the Enola Gay that carried the first atomic bomb
to Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. It was followed in 1952 by the B-52 bomber.
Boeing’s business exploded in 1958 due to the release of the Boeing 707, which was a huge commercial success, and would be
succeeded by the 727, 737, and 747. Eventually the 737 would become the best-selling commercial jet-powered passenger plane
and the 747 the largest commercial jet. In 1961 the company diversified into other technologies, and it designed the first
steps of the enormous Saturn rocket that brought the Apollo capsule to the moon.
The first Jumbo Jet was built in 1970 with the 747 and could around 500 people. Despite the Jumbo Jet’s popularity, the enormous
costs of development and manufacturing brought Boeing to the edge of bankruptcy. In 1973 Boeing had to let go almost 60% of
its staff, but a revival of commercial and military orders revived the company.
Today, Boeing is currently the largest supplier of NASA and provides electronics, rocket stages, and components for the International
Space Station. After acquiring Hughes Electronics’ Space and Communications divisions, Boeing has become a significant contributor
in the satellite manufacturing industry.