The fortunes & growth of the Boeing company are inextricably linked to the growth of Seattle from a relatively small conurbation to a major city.
The Boeing Company, a small airplane manufacturer founded in 1910, grew into the foremost manufacturer of heavy bombers flown by the US Army Air Force, the B17 & B29. Because of Boeing & the Bremerton shipyards, the Puget Sound region became a highly defended area. Military bases brought thousands of new residents & the boom in aircraft manufacturing attracted tens of thousands of new workers.
Post-war, the company continued to thrive. It produced the first US passenger jet for commercial aviation in 1959 (707). By 1957 the company & its suppliers accounted for nearly half of all the jobs in King County. By 1960 Seattle had population of over one million & Boeing employed one in ten of them – & one in four Seattleites was employed in a job directly affected by the company.
Boeing hit a financial crisis in the early 1970s due to overstretched capital & a cut in defence spending. It had to cut its workforce by two-thirds & in one year – 60,000 people lost their jobs – the local economy suffered for some years until business picked up again in the 1980s when aircraft production increased & Asian markets opened up.
At the Boeing Factory you can visit the world’s largest building-by-volume in Everett at the Boeing flight line, where the Boeing Company produces the 747, 767 and 777 commercial airplanes.More information here at:www.boeing.com/companyoffices/aboutus/tours/index.html
At the nearby Museum of Flight, there is presentation of the whole history of flight from Da Vinci to the Wright Bros to the NASA space program. Twenty airplanes are suspended from the glass ceiling. Planes include Air Force One and newly acquired Concorde. The restored 1909 Red Barn (where Boeing began) has exhibits. There is a Hands-on area where you can sit in a pilot’s seat & guide the plane down to safety.