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Böing to Boeing: the origins of the group

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Böing to Boeing: the origins of the group

Boeing, the world famous group will be celebrating their 100th anniversary this year. The group’s name has German origins. Wilhelm Böing, father of the founder of the aerospace and US defense group, was born on 19 April, 1846, in Limburg, northwest of Frankfurt, Germany. At age 22, he emigrated to the United States where his eldest son, Wilhelm Edward Böing (photo) was born on 1 October, 1881, in Detroit, Michigan. Then came Caroline and Gretchen. All three childrens’ first names, and surnames, became anglicised. Whilelm became William, the trema over the "ö" in the surname disappeared, and the "e" was added to transform it into Boeing.

He was eight years old when his father died of influenza at the age of 42. His mother remarried, but William Boeing did not get along with his stepfather. He was then sent to a school in Vevey, Switzerland, but only stayed for one year before returning to the United States. It is said he took advantage several times of his 12 months in Switzerland to visit his uncle Ludwig Böing in Mulhouse, Alsace (eastern France). Alsace was then German, remaining so until the end of the First World War in 1918. According to the city archives - although no official record attests to this - William even "underwent several training courses at the Aviatik aircraft construction company in Mulhouse".

Being passionate about everything aeronautical like many young people at the time, William Edward ( nicknamed Bill ) Boeing, with George Westervelt, using their two first name initials, founded B & W in 1916. Soon, the company’s name was changed to Pacific Aero Products, and later became Boeing Airplane Company.

One hundred years later, Boeing, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, today employs some 160,000 people in more than 65 countries, and generated revenues of 96.1 billion dollars in 2015. Bill Boeing headed his group for 18 years until 1934. He died in September 1956.

Your comments
  • Francis
    Posté the 02/18/2017 8:11 pm

    Is the president aware of the immigrant connection of Boeing. Just like him, that should make him proud?

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