Posts Tagged ‘airplanes’

On October 26, 1958, Pan American World Airways inaugurated the first commercial flight of the Boeing 707.

Unveiling of Boeing's new 707 jet, Renton, 1954. Image courtesy of the Museum of History & Industry, Seattle (MOHAI).

The prototype had been unveiled four years earlier in the spring of 1954, and Pan Am placed an order for twenty planes in the fall of 1955.  After its first commercial flight, the 707 quickly gained popularity.  Its success prompted technological developments in airports, air traffic control, and other aspects of air transport infrastructure throughout the 1960s, and the jet remained in production until 1979.

View from Boeing 707 jet on Pam Am Polar Flight direct from San Francisco to London, 1961. Image courtesy of Indiana University Archives.

The history of transportation is one of the major collection strengths of Opening HistoryKing County Snapshots has many more images from the Boeing Company.  Complementary collections relating to the history of aviation include: the Wright Brothers Negatives, Arizona Aviation History: The Ruth Reinhold Collection, and the Springfield Aviation Company Collection.


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On December 17, 1935, the Douglas DC-3 airplane made its first flight. Because of its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II Douglas DC-3 is generally regarded as one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made.

One of the early color photographs of Douglas DC-3 in the air was made by Charles Weaver Cushman in Chicago municipal airport (now Midway Airport) in October 1941. Photograph below courtesy of Indiana University Archives / Digital Library Program, Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection.


DC-3 of Chgo & South'n Air Lines comes down to Chgo. Airport (Oct. 10, 1941)

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On July 15, 1916, William Boeing and George Conrad Westervelt incorporated Pacific Aero Products (later, Boeing). The airplane company was started in the hangar on the shore of Lake Union in Seattle, Washington, in December of 1915. The first airplane produced at this small factory was B & W seaplane, named after its designers, Boeing and Westervelt. The seaplane, constructed of spruce lumber, steel wire, and linen fabric, made its first successful flight over Lake Union on June 15, 1916. Only two B & W seaplanes were built; both were sold to the New Zealand government to be used for pilot training there.

On the photo below, courtesy of Seattle Historical Society Collection, part of a larger King County Snapshots: A photographic heritage of Seattle and surrounding communities digital collection, men are pulling B & W into Boeing Seaplane Hangar on Lake Union, Seattle, in 1916.

	Men pulling B & W into Boeing Seaplane Hangar on Lake Union, Seattle, 1916

Men pulling B & W into Boeing Seaplane Hangar on Lake Union, Seattle, 1916

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