William Edward Boeing

In 1915, William E. Boeing, a filthy rich landowner from Seattle who had made his fortune in the timber trade, entered into partnership with Commander G. Conrad Westervelt, a serving naval officer attached to the Seattle Navy Yard , to manufacture aircraft which the pair hoped to sell to the US Navy. Unfortunately Commander Westervelt was posted to the eastern coast in July 1916, leaving his partner to carry on the project alone.

The first aeroplane built by Boeing was the B&W Mk.1, a two seat biplane floatplane, which made its maiden flight on the 29th June 1916, and in April 1917 he set up the Pacific Aero Products Company (subsequently to become the Boeing Airplane Company).

The entry of the USA into World War I would provide the fledgling company with further Government orders for flying machines, but none would actually be forthcoming before the armistice (The two Mk.1s built being sold to the New Zealand Flying School in December 1919). Nevertheless subsequent Military orders would soon establish the Boeing Company as one of the major suppliers of Aircraft to the evolving US Army Air Corps.

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