William Edward Boeing

William Edward Boeing (born "Wilhelm Edward Boeing") (October 1, 1881September 27, 1956) was an aviation pioneer who founded The Boeing Company.

Boeing was born in Detroit, Michigan to a wealthy German mining engineer named Wilhelm Böing who had made a fortune developing large low-grade taconite iron ore deposits and who had a sideline as a timber merchant. Anglicizing his name to "William" after returning from being educated in Switzerland in 1900 to attend Yale University, [From the PBS documentary "Pioneers in Aviation: The Race for the Moon Episode I; The Early Years"] William Boeing left Yale in 1903 to go into the lumber side of the business. He bought extensive timberlands around Grays Harbor on the Pacific side of the Olympic Peninsula. He also bought into lumber operations.

While president of Greenwood Logging Company, Boeing, who had experimented with boat design, travelled to Seattle, where, during the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909, he saw a manned flying machine for the first time and became fascinated with aircraft.

In 1916, Boeing went into business with George Conrad Westervelt as B & W and founded The Pacific Aero Products Co. When America entered the First World War in April 1917, Boeing changed the name of Pacific Aero Products Co. to Boeing Airplane Company and obtained orders from the United States Navy for 50 planes. At the end of the war, Boeing began to concentrate on commercial aircraft, secured contracts to supply airmail service and built a successful airmail operation.

In 1921 William Boeing married Bertha Marie, the daughter of Howard Cranston Potter and Alice Kershaw Potter (a descendant of Henry Leavenworth). Bertha Potter Paschall had previously been married to Nathaniel Paschall, a real estate broker and by that marriage had two sons, Nathaniel Paschall Jr. and Cranston Paschall. These two sons became Boeing's stepsons and the couple had a son of their own, William E. Boeing Jr. The stepsons went into aviation manufacturing as a career. Nat Paschall was a sales manager for Douglas Aircraft and then McDonnell Douglas. William E. Boeing Jr. became a noted private pilot and industrial real estate developer.

In 1934, the United States government accused William Boeing of monopolistic practices. The Air Mail Act ordered him to break up his company into three separate entities: United Aircraft Corporation, Boeing Airplane Company, and United Air Lines.

Boeing retired from the aircraft industry in 1934. He then spent the remainder of his years in property development and thoroughbred horse breeding. His thoroughbred farm northeast of Seattle was called Aldarra. Aldarra was later developed by William E. Boeing Jr. as a luxury residential development in 2000.

Boeing Airplane, though a major manufacturer in a fragmented industry, did not really take off until the beginning of World War II.

According to his death certificate, William Boeing died on Friday September 27, 1956 at the age of 74, just days before his 75th birthday. He was pronounced DOA at the Seattle Yacht Club, having had a heart attack aboard his yacht.

End Notes


* [http://www.nndb.com/people/797/000163308 William Boeing Biography on NNDB]


* Carl Cleveland, "Boeing Trivia", (Seattle: CMC Books, 1989)
* Harold Mansfield, "Vision: A Saga of the Sky" (Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1956)
* Robert Serling, "Legend & Legacy: The Story of Boeing and Its People" (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992)

NAME = Boeing, William Edward
SHORT DESCRIPTION = aviation pioneer
DATE OF BIRTH = October 1, 1881
PLACE OF BIRTH = Detroit, Michigan
DATE OF DEATH = September 27, 1956
PLACE OF DEATH = Seattle, Washington

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