Boeing Airplane Co., formerly Pacific Aero-Products, is officially incorporated on May 9, 1917.

  • By Walt Crowley
  • Posted 11/23/1998
  • Essay 372
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On May 9, 1917, William E. Boeing (1881-1956) reincorporates Pacific Aero-Products Co. as the Boeing Airplane Co. and moves his aircraft assembly from Seattle's Lake Union to the so-called Red Barn in a former shipyard on the Duwamish River. This action comes just 20 days after America's entry into World War I and is prompted in large part by the U.S. Navy's acceptance of Boeing's Model C trainer float plane.

Boeing had purchased the Heath Shipyard on the western shore of the Duwamish in 1910, not long after commissioning it to build his personal yacht. He had it converted for aircraft construction in 1917 following the award of a Navy contract for 50 Model C trainers. Boeing workers variously called it "Oxbow," "Plant 1" (after 1936) and, most commonly, the "Red Barn" after the yard's main building.

This complex remained Boeing's main factory until completion of Plant 2 in 1936 at Boeing Field on the opposite side of the Duwamish River. The Red Barn was sold to the Port of Seattle in 1970 and moved to the south end of the Boeing Field in 1975 to serve as the original wing of the Museum of Flight.


Peter M. Bowers, Boeing Aircraft Since 1916 (London: Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1993), 35-36, 196
Bowers cites Boeing's reincorporation on April 26, 1917, the date of application, rather than May 9, 1917, the date of approval; Robert Serling, Legend & Legacy: The Story of Boeing and Its People (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992), 3, 340; Boeing Historical Archives, Year By Year: 75 Years of Boeing History, 1916-1991 (Seattle: Boeing Co., 1991), 2
Note: In Year By Year a caption error cites May 19, 1917; Seattle Weekly, July 18, 1984.

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