In 1916 William Boeing and Navy engineer Conrad Westervelt founded the Pacific Aero Products Company in Seattle, and they built the B&W seaplane. When one year later Westervelt was recalled to active service in World War I, the company was renamed to the Boeing Airplane Company. During World War I the company manufactured aircraft for Navy training and patrol. Next to building airplanes the company at first also exploited an airline, and in 1919 they started the first international postal line between Seattle and Victoria in British Columbia. In 1927 Boeing built its first commercial airplane, the Model 40. In 1929 Boeing merged with engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, and they founded the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation. Its growth was spectacular and it subsequently purchased several regional airlines, and in 1931 it was renamed to United Air Lines. But in 1934 they had to deal with federal antitrust actions and were required to split up the company into three different companies; the Boeing Airplane Company, Pratt & Whitney and United Airlines.
During World War II Boeing produced hundreds of the B-17 Flying Fortress, that became the main U.S. bomber. This airplane was cherished by the pilots, because even half shot to pieces it would still manage to remain in the air and safely return. 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. In 1958 it brought out the 707, which would prove to be a huge commercial success, and this model was succeeded by the 727, the 737 and the 747. In 1979 it extended to the 767, in 1990 to the 777. Its most recent offspring is the new 787 Dreamliner.
Boeing is the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial and military aircraft, and it controls more than half of the market for jet aircraft, next to military jets and helicopters, missile systems and space technology. Boing is the largest exporter in the United States by dollar value.