For 100 years, the world’s largest aerospace company has been selling airplanes, rockets, and space capsules to some of the biggest companies all over the world, the U.S. military, and even NASA. Boeing (BA) has had some major accomplishments in its time. From the Enola Gay and the first Air Force One to the most well known passenger jet, the 747. The company started off this year poorly with its stock price dropping 20% and announcing layoffs to cut costs. Last month, the aviation giant signed a tentative agreement with Iran Air for the Islamic Republic company to buy 100 planes reportedly valued at $25 billion. Time Inc. brands such as Time, Fortune, and Life have been there covering Boeing since 1924. Take a look at some of these amazing photos we dug out of our archives below.
Herbert Gehr—The LIFE Images CollectionMen washing off the “Yankee Clipper” at Langley Field circa 1939.
Herbert Gehr—The LIFE Images CollectionA view showing the interior of the control room aboard the “Clipper Yankee.”
Horace BristolThe Boeing Stratoliner circa 1940.
Bernard Hoffman—The LIFE Images CollectionView of Atlantic and Azores from transatlantic Pan Am Clipper.
Horace BristolTwo USAF Boeing B-17-B bombers in flight circa 1941.
George Strock—The LIFE Images CollectionPan Am Clipper seaplane.
J. R. Eyerman—The LIFE Images CollectionBoeing aircraft factory girl Linda Gray working circa 1942.
Hansel Mieth—The LIFE Images CollectionElectric motors being assembled at Boeing plant in 1943.
John Van HasseltColonel Paul Tibbets waves goodbye just before taking off to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
Nat Farbman—The LIFE Images CollectionA scene before a test flight of Boeing 707-Tanker Transport, with mechanics and engineers holding ears as it taxies down the runway in 1954.
Nat Farbman—The LIFE Images CollectionA view of the landing gear of a new Boeing 707 jet.
Nat Farbman—The LIFE Images CollectionPres. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s plane, a Boeing VC 137-A circa 1959.
Michael Rougier—The LIFE Images CollectionProspective stewardesses during simulated flight on mockup of Boeing 707 at TWA school in 1961.
Arthur Schatz—The LIFE Images CollectionPassengers view New York City from window of helicopter taxi to New York airports in 1965.
Jon Brenneis—The LIFE Images CollectionAircraft Mechanic Lloyd Wells, hauling a toolbox past line of 707 jet planes at plant.
John Dominis—The LIFE Images CollectionMock-up of the interior of a Boeing 747 in 1967.
NASAMariner 10 spacecraft being built circa 1973.
CorbisThe space shuttle orbiter Columbia ties up traffic as it noses into a Lancaster intersection early on March 8, 1979. The shuttle is being towed to Edwards Air Force Base where it will be placed atop a Boeing 747 for the flight to Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a scheduled November 1979 orbital launch.
BoeingChina Southern Airlines Boeing 777-200 passenger jet production facility circa 1990.
H. Edward KimYoung worker making door components for Boeing 757 jet in Samsung plant.
Robbie McClaranBoeing exec. Keith Butler wearing headset and data glove as he flies a computer-created airplane shown on screen behind him, example of industrial use of virtual reality.
BoeingSide view of Boeing 747-400, the 15th model, flying through fluffy clouds on blue sky (no caps).
Cross-section of Boeing 777 plane under construction using a new modular design to improve use of space in 1993.
Adam BartosCloseup of jet engine w. exposed wires & mechanisms at Boeing factory
Dan Delong — Seattle Post-Intelligencer/APBoeing 737 aircraft on final assembly lines in panorama inside Boeing plant in 1998.
Chris MuellerA Boeing worker inspects a wheel well with a mirror and flashlight in 2004.
Gregg SegalBoeing 787 Dreamliner No.2 is prepped to receive its vertical stabilizer at the Boeing factory in Everett, WA. After it’s been through flight-testing and refurbished it will be delivered to the Dreamliner’s first customer, Japan-based airline ANA. Unlike the aluminum-clad 777s that are built next door inside massive fixed structures, all the tooling for the 787 is mobile. The three main sections of the fuselage are brought together and joined guided by an internal GPS system. As other parts of the plane are added, wings, tail etc, tooling is rolled in and rolled out. It’s designed to be a far more flexible approach to building planes, and one that Boeing hopes will get final assembly of the 787 down to three days in 2008.
Gregg SegalEmployees of Velizy, France-based Messier-Dowty roll out one of two main landing gear for the Boeing 787. In the center of the Japan-made tires are titanium stabilizers forged in Russia and machined in the U.K. That all connects to brakes made in Italy and China, wheels made in the U.S. and a central cylinder made in Canada of a steel with a tensile strength so great (120 tons per square inch) a match-stick-sized piece could pick up a car.
Gregg SegalBoeing’s 787 Dreamliner Design Center. Everett WA. Hidden above the front section of the 787 are two bunks for pilots, who are required to rotate out of the cockpit after a typical 8 to 12 hour stint driving the plane. Another set of six bunks, known as the romper room by those who know, are for flight attendants.
Gregg SegalAt Spirt Aerosystems in Wichita, KS the composite nose section of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner slowly twists through an inspection of the interior support structure. The barrel is constructed in one piece, formed around a mold with miles of precision-applied carbon-fiber ribbon.
Gregg SegalTake a 747, cut the roof off and add about 10 feet in height, and you have the Boeing 787 Dreamlifter, a flying warehouse that shuttles wings from Japan, fuselage sections from Italy, South Carolina and Kansas to the Boeing factory in Everett.
Dan WintersA Boeing F-15 as seen from the back with J-Dam bombs attached.
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