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William M. Allen

Aerospace Industrialist

Born Lolo, Montana

September 1, 1900—

William McPherson Allen graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1925, and after twenty years of service as legal counsel and / corporation director with the Boeing Company, he accepted the presidency in 1945 at a most crucial time in company history. Faced with the abrupt termination of military aircraft production at the close of World War II, his first major decision as president of Boeing was to commit the Stratocruiser transport into immediate production, putting Boeing in the postwar commercial airliner market.

Under his leadership, the Boeing Company pioneered development of a long line of military equipment, which was to play a major role in making the United States among the strongest of nations. His genius produced the famed B-47 and B-52 strategic bombers, the KC-135 tankers of the U.S. Air Force, the world's first solid fuel intercontinental missile, the Minuteman, as well as helicopters and seagoing ships of advanced design.

Although William Allen is credited with making signal decisions for Boeing during his years at the controls, none were destined to become more significant than his resolution to base the company's future on a new commercial jet transport, the world renowned 707. Nearly one thousand of these were to fly the word's airways. Soon followed the 727, the 737, and the largest commercial jet, the giant 747. This total of nearly three thousand aircraft comprised over 50 percent of the world’s jet transport fleet. These aircraft have carried the supremacy of the U.S. aerospace industry into every corner of the globe while revolutionizing the international transportation systems. Much honored, he retired after his distinguished 47 year aerospace career in 1972.

Invested 1975 in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame

From "These We Honor," The International Hall of Fame; The San Diego Aerospace Museum, San Diego, CA. 1984

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Updated: March 12, 2004