The Early Years: 1927-1938

The Boeing Airplane Co. ... Expanding Horizons

After Charles A. Lindbergh made the first solo nonstop trans-Atlantic flight from New York to Paris in a Ryan monoplane in 1927, there was a tremendous surge of interest in aviation.

Over the years, William Boeing had developed a close business relationship with Fred Rentschler, president of Pratt & Whitney, manufacturer of the air-cooled engine that made the Model 40A such a success as a mail and passenger transport. In 1929, Rentschler and Boeing set up a new holding company called the United Aircraft and Transport Corp. (UATC). Rentschler swapped ownership of Pratt & Whitney for 800,000 shares in the new concern, and Boeing turned over his shares for the new United stock. The Boeing Airplane and Transport Corp. became UATC on Feb. 1, 1929, with Boeing as chairman and Phil Johnson as president.

The shares became worth millions and soon UATC absorbed other aircraft concerns. These included the Stearman Aircraft Co. in Wichita, Kan., and Boeing Aircraft of Canada. Stearman built speedsters and commercial biplanes that could be adapted either for land or for sea. The Canadian company had been the Hoffar-Beeching shipyard in Vancouver, B.C., building yachts, fishing boats and ferries. After the shipyard was bought by Boeing, it added Model 40A mailplanes to its product lines. It continued to build boats, including William Boeing's 125-foot yacht, the Taconite.

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