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

Not All That Glitters…

This gold-painted hardhat, presented to company president Bill Allen by Boeing workers after building the first 747, recalls company founder Bill Boeing’s start as a lumberyard owner. Allen launched the 747 program in 1966 with just 25 orders, from Pan Am; to break even, he needed 400. The gamble exposed the company to financial ruin, but ultimately it paid off: To date Boeing has sold more than 1,500 in several variants and continues to sell 747s.

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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