William Edward Boeing

William Edward Boeing



William Edward Boeing


            William Edward Boeing is a renowned American engineer as well as an aviation pioneer credited with the founding of The Boeing Company. Born in Detroit, he became fascinated with the sight of a manned flying machine and grew into the thoughts of developing an aircraft. After successfully purchasing an aircraft from Glenn L. Martin Company, he received lessons from the owner himself. Within no time, Boeing cracked the plane up and required parts to reconstruct it. He then, with the help of a friend, went ahead and built an amphibian biplane with excellent performance. He then decided to go into commercial aircraft business and bought old boat works setting for the factory. Formation of the Pacific Aero Products and Co. and was contracted by the United States Navy upon entry into World War 1 for fifty airplanes (Boeing, 2016). He later concentrated on airmail operation then transitioned into passenger service, which changed to United Airlines. The vital processes and undertaken venture by William Edward Boeing generated a niche in the market of passenger service in the aircraft industry, which influenced both the form of transportation and the commercialization process today.  


            The article will cover the product and service created by William Edward Boeing in historical context with an aim of depicting the results witnessed in the present day. It will also match the opportunity captured with the market dynamics, start-up created and its process as well as the measure of success achieved by William Edward Boeing through appraisal.   


Product and/or Service created

            The main service created by William Edward Boeing at the time was passenger transportation through aircraft commercialization. At the same time, the product instituted was the manufacture of the aircrafts at the time when there was limited supply of the same. The product of passenger transportation through aircraft commercialization was relatively new to the people at the time. According to the historical development of the aircraft industry, the main modes of transport used at the time had not factored the possibility of humans over both short and long distances (Dimensions of Airline Growth, 2010). Safety was retained through the traditional forms of road, rail, and water, which were both economical and widespread as civilization developed. Through his instinctive and thoughtful nature as well as processing abilities, William Edward Boeing determined the originality of airlines business from the simplest forms required at the time to the present evolved and developed mechanisms.

            The main instrumentation in determination of the originality in process of passenger transportation through aircraft commercialization was the general effect realized at the time. William Edward Boeing was hardly an engineer, only as an industrialist, determined the process of airlines business. His anticipation in readiness of the war at the time helped facilitate the ideas of passenger transportation through the aircrafts. His only experimentation was down to boat designing before generating the interest in aircrafts after watching a manned flying machine. The extent of building an airplane at the time was significant to the very few engineers in an established company, which did not belong to William Edward Boeing (Meriam and Kraige, 2007). Therefore, the subsequent developments in the manufacturing of the aircraft, commercialization of the services after instigating the successful airmail operation led to the development of the service and product.             

Opportunity concerning the Market

            With the opportunity taken by William Edward Boeing in establishing both a product and service, the needs’ analysis as well as generated one point to the two successes. It met a need of transportation, which was required from before. According to the historical development of human civilization, man’s main objective had been to create machines, which would be able to make work easier, faster, safer, and helpful for the betterment of life. At the same time, the modes of transport used commonly were water, land, and rail. Crouch (2006) states that due to the several distances between locations in oversees as well as domestic challenges air transport had been undeveloped. Through the help of innovation and discovery of the aircraft, transport would be possible though not commercialized at the time. Therefore, Boeing met a need that had been required from before, as distances would not be an issue from then on.

              Similar to meeting the need, he generated another in the same process. The discovery of aircrafts had been prevalent over a period in Boeing’s life. By being able to meet the need for commercial aircraft passenger transportation, he managed to generate the need for manufacturing of products that could handle the same. Aircrafts at the time were not sophisticated. After witnessing the manned flying machine, he learnt from an established company on the manufacture of an airplane (Davies, 2011). They were specifically made for light transportation of goods. Subsequently, the need to transport bombs and soldiers during the First World War altered the process of the manufacturing requirements. Reminiscent of the taught procedures, William Edward Boeing and Westervelt built the amphibian biplane, which recorded impressive performance. With the contraction by the US Navy, he generated the need for the product as well as the later inclusion of commercial passenger aircrafts.        

Creation of the Start-up

            The start-up of commercial aircraft passenger transportation was created from a simplistic purchase of an aircraft from Glenn L. Martin Company. After receiving the flying lessons and trying his hand in the piloting requirements, the cracking of the plan set path for Boeing Company’s foundations. Since it required replacement parts, which could only be achieved after several months, the decision to build better and faster ones came into play. With the assistance of George Conrad Westervelt, they managed to build an amphibian airplane with biplane dimensions (Becker, 2012). Through the fascination of the procedure, the startup took shape when he purchased the old boat works near Seattle in order to set up the factory. By using available wood from being an entrepreneurial timber man, the manufacture of aircrafts became easier. In the year 1015, the firm was organized as Boeing Airplane Company.

            The startup was later changed with the view of improving the manufacturing materials from that of timber. The wooden frame one the plans had been sufficient in the initial stage, it was cheaper and readily available as well as being easy to design to specification. However, change was required in the analysis of materials required when the shift to airmail transport and combat requirements were made. After World War 1, the design copy was changed from the American into adoption of European planes. Development of planes, which could be used in training pilots, encouraged Boeing to increase its ability in manufacture of the same (Dimensions of Airline Growth, 2010). The technological advancements at the time also galvanized the expansion and numerous availabilities of workforce within the company. With the contractual designation from the United States Navy, the company was able to increase the fleet, design, carriage, and durability of the aircrafts.

            The startup faced uncertainty after the wars as the need for the specific combat planes decreased. William Edward Boeing decided to improve on the aircrafts’ usage into the diversification of consumer goods as well human transportation. In the consumer goods, the prominent feature was the inclusion of furniture. By trying to alternate the manufacturing concerns and abilities of airplanes into that of consumers, the startup performed dismally. Distances, fuel charges and preferences of the two services affected the company’s stature in the industry (Becker, 2012). William Edward Boeing decided to advance the manufacturing process into commercial airlines for humans as well as luggage throughout. The prosperity of the startup was ensured by the increased demand and supply of commercial aircrafts, which could transport human and goods through large distances at affordable rates and with respective safety concerns.                     

Measure of Success Appraisal

            William Edward Boeing contributed immensely to the wider field of engineering in various ways. As one of the pioneers in the aviation industry he helped determine the various designs used in the manufacturing of aircrafts to this day. His achievements with the company ensured that engineering of aircrafts is able to focus on the templates of safety concerns on all the passengers and crewmembers, as well as the longevity of the materials used in the process of manufacture (Pinier, Hanke, and Tomek, 2012). Through the company formation, the contribution towards aeronautical space excursions paved way for various discoveries of such measures like air buoyancy, development of the planes for aircrafts performance and major design changes in subsequent commercial planes. He also paved the way for younger innovative engineers and enthusiasts in developing faster, safer, and longer-lasting materials as well as airplanes for passengers and commodities.

            Boeing’s contributions to the society were notable in various ways, both positive and negative. Through contractual obligations to the US Navy, he provided for the airplanes, which were responsible for the atomic bombs. On the positive note, he provided a platform for communication when he succeeded in the airmail transportation in the United States at the time with limited technological advancement. He set the innovative contribution by making sure that commercial airlines would transport people and their luggage from one distant place to another with relative ease and preferential manners. In addition, he provided employment opportunities to various members of the society. According to Shrader (2005), at the start, his factory employed hundreds of workers due to the demand and witnessed the steady growth. Despite the turmoil after the Second World War, his commercialization of passenger transportation ensured several hundred of thousands obtained a source of income both directly and indirectly.                


            The vital processes and undertaken venture by William Edward Boeing generated a niche in the market of passenger service in the aircraft industry, which influenced both the form of transportation and the commercialization process today. The airlines industry and human transportation system on a worldwide scale took the precedence set up by William Edward Boeing through deliberate action of innovation and wit. The main issues covered include the engineering aspects of the main contributions made to the aircrafts capabilities, design, materials use, and the overall application to human transportation. It is worth noting that despite not being an engineer, the interest showed by Boeing in the flying manned machine generated the innovative mindset vital for the implementation enjoyed today by millions of passengers. In addition, his success as a businessperson and entrepreneur maintained the overall landscape in making sure his ventures thrived.


Becker, W. (2012). Turbulence: Boeing and the State of American Workers and Managers by Edward S. Greenberg, Leon Grunberg, Sarah Moore, and Patricia B. Sikora. Personnel Psychology, 65(1), 216-219. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2011.01242_6.x

Boeing.com. (2016). Boeing: Boeing History. Retrieved 27 January 2016, from http://www.boeing.com/history

Crouch, T. (2006). Wings. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Davies, R. (2011). Airlines of the Jet Age. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press.

Dimensions of Airline Growth (2010). Jan Krueger. Market Research Unit, Boeing Commercial Airplane Company, P.O. Box 3707, MS75-04, Seattle, Washington 98124. February 1979. 59p. (2005). Journal of Travel Research, 18(4), 36-36. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/004728758001800412

Meriam, J., & Kraige, L. (2007). Engineering mechanics. New York: Wiley.

Pinier, J., Hanke, J., & Tomek, W. (2012). Ares I Aerodynamic Testing at the Boeing Polysonic Wind Tunnel. Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, 49(5), 853-863. http://dx.doi.org/10.2514/1.59969

Shrader, W. (2005). Fifty years of flight. Cleveland: McGraw Hill.

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