The History of Boeing in 15 Objects

A rummage through the airplane maker’s attic.

Early concept for the Boeing 727 (Chad Slattery)
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The airplane was still a novelty in 1916, when Bill Boeing flew his first, an open-cockpit seaplane he named Bluebill. Only two such airplanes were built (the other was named Mallard), but today his namesake, The Boeing Company, delivers an average of more than two aircraft per day. Boeing’s archives are proprietary, but the company granted photographer Chad Slattery rare access to celebrate its 100-year history. Some are classics; others are weird, wonderful airplanes that didn’t make it past the modeler’s shop. –The Editors

Every Fortress Starts With Blueprints

You can recognize it even in this spare 1934 sketch. The multi-engine bomber drawn by Edward Wells foreshadowed the airplane that propelled Boeing into the first rank of aircraft manufacturers. Just three years after graduating from engineering school, Wells led the team that designed Boeing’s B-17 bomber. He went on to influence the design of every Boeing bomber from the B-17 and B-29 through the B-47 and B-52, and every jetliner through the 747.

About Chad Slattery

Based in Los Angeles, Chad Slattery is a freelance photographer (and occasional writer) who has specialized in aviation and aerospace subjects for the past 20 years. He regularly flies air-to-air photo flights in a specialized Learjet. A longtime Contributing Editor at the magazine, his hobby is collecting the vintage desktop models distributed by aircraft factories.

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