Although Westervelt’s naval duties called him east before they finished constructing their first plane, Boeing continued constructing the B&Ws. Boeing incorporated the company as Pacific Aero Products Co. in 1916, but renamed it the Boeing Airplane Co. a year later. By 1917, the company employed 28 people from pilots to boat builders. When the company faced financial difficulties, Boeing used his own resources to guarantee a loan that covered wages.
World War I created the first large-scale demand for American airplanes. The Navy needed training planes, and officers were determining which models to purchase at the base in Pensacola, FL. Because the Model C seaplane could not fly from Seattle to the base, Boeing shipped two planes, by train, across the country. The demonstration went well and the Navy ordered 50 airplanes. By 1918, Boeing had 337 employees on payroll.
When the war ended, the military’s demand for airplanes ceased. Even civilian planes met limited demand. Boeing Airplane Co. was competing with war-surplus airplanes. In order to survive, the company began building furniture and sea sleds. Although Boeing received limit...
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