Sunday, April 1, 2018

William Edward Boeing (1881-1956)

William Edward “Bill” Boeing was born in Detroit, Michigan on 1 October 1881 and died in Puget Sound on his yacht on 28 September 1956. He attended Yale University, but left to come to the Northwest in 1903, coincidentally the same year that Wright brothers achieved history’s first powered, heavier-than-air flight.

With profits from a brilliant land investment he had made near Taconite, Minnesota, he moved west and invested in timberland and other speculative ventures in the Seattle area. Boeing moved to Seattle in 1908. There, he was involved in a variety of business ventures related to wood products, including a furniture factoring and a boatyard.

Aviation was the furthest thing from Boeing’s mind in 1903 and 1903 when Wilbur and Orville Wright were creating the first aeroplane. Boeing invested $100, 000 to create the Pacific Aero Products Co.

Having founded the Boeing Airplane Company, he expanded it into a portfolio of aviation holdings which included the forerunner of today’s United Air Lines.

 In 1934, when Depression-era legislation forbade aircraft manufacturers from owning airlines, and vice versa, Bill Boeing resigned as chairman of the board and left the company.

Boeing sold all of his aircraft-related interest and spent the remainder of his life pursuing ranching and other interest. He kept his distance from the company during the coming years, living quietly in retirement except for some consultancy work during World War II. In 1954, however, he returned as the guest of honor for the roll-out of the “Dash-Eighty” prototype of the legendary 707 jetliner series.
William Edward Boeing (1881-1956)
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