Boeing: a history

By Sumit Modi

Aerospace company Boeing has announced its investment of over $300 million to bring enhanced composite production to St. Louis.


The new center on Boeing’s St. Louis campus was opened yesterday, and marks the largest commercial aviation work statement ever placed there. It represents Boeing’s efforts to diversify and grow in the region.

The facility is initially for the purpose of building parts for Boeing’s latest commercial jetliner, the 777X. It has committed over $300 million to the construction and outfitting of the center.

Bob Ciesla, Vice President and Program Manager for the 777X St. Louis project, said: “Boeing has had a presence in St. Louis for nearly 80 years. We’ve built more than 12,000 fighter jets here.

“With the opening of this new composite center, our well-trained, high-quality workforce is able to demonstrate its versatility and expertise, positioning our region for additional commercial and defense work in the future.”

While Boeing has been in St. Louis 80 years, it has existed far longer. We take a look at the illustrious company’s history:

1910: William Boeing buys a shipyard in Seattle, which will become his first airplane factory. The first airplane flight is made over Seattle.

1916: William Boeing begins final assembly of the B&W seaplane (named Bluebill) at his boathouse and takes it on its maiden flight.

1919: The Boeing B-1 mail plane, Boeing’s first commercial aircraft, makes its first flight.

1923: The Boeing NB-1 makes its first flight. The army and navy buy more than 157 versions of this plane. Boeing later creates 27 FB-5 carrier-fighters for the navy.

1934: Boeing subsidiary, Stearman Aircraft, delivers its first Kaydet to the military. This becomes the most common preliminary trainer in service, and 10,346 Kaydets are made for WWII.

1945: Boeing’s B-29 Enola Gay drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Three days later the B-29 Bockscar bombs Nagasaki.

1957: Three Boeing B-52s fly around the world in 45 hours, 19 muinutes at 520 mph. The previous 1949 B-50 record is halved.

1965: Boeing receives the largest commercial airline order of the time; United Air Lines orders 66 jetliners with options for 39 more and leasing of an extra 25.

1975: Boeing’s aerospace division begins designing, producing, and testing two low-cost spacecraft under the technical direction of the Goddard Space Flight Center.

1990: The Boeing 737 becomes the world’s best-selling jetliner.

2004: Boeing will develop a system design and demonstrate critical technologies for a secure, high--capability global communications network serving the US Department of Defense, NASA, and the intelligence community.

2012: Boeing announces it will advances its connectivity options on commercial 747-8 and 777 jetliners with in-flight cell phone use, Wi-Fi, and live TV broadcasts.

You can download the full chronology here.


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