The Story of Pacific Aero Products Co.

By Phin Upham

The Heath’s Shipyard in Seattle would become the first airplane factory for a fledgling company started by a man named William E. Boeing. He incorporated on July 15th of 1916, naming his company “Pacific Aero Products Co.”

Boeings was a graduate of Yale who took a job in the timber industry, where he learned more about how to build wooden structures. He also gained significant wealth as he moved up over the years. The knowledge he gained of wooden structures helped inform the construction of airplanes, and Seattle’s location made it ideal for Boeing to get spruce wood to build with.

Boeing’s fascination with flight really began with the maiden flight of the B&W seaplane “The Flying Birdcage.” Boeing was taught by Glenn Martin, the designer of the Flying Birdcage, but he soon crashed in a test flight. Martin told him that replacement parts wouldn’t be ready for some months, at which point Boeing thought he ought to just build himself a plane of his own.

Boeing’s first plane was the B&W Seaplane, which was assembled in a hangar lakeside near the northeast shore of Seattle’s Lake Union. This kicked off a small rush of seaplanes, which represented the bulk of Boeing’s first creations.

When the United States entered World War I, the Boeing Airplane Company came with it. Boeing’s model C became a Navy favorite, and they ordered fifty for production. That’s when Boeing had to relocate its operations to Plant 1, kicking off the historic company’s run into the aerospace market.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Facebook page.