Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search results

Archives at The Museum of Flight

Böing, Wilhelm, 1846–1890


Biographical Note

Wilhelm Böing was the father of William Edward Boeing (WEB), Sr., founder of the Boeing Company. Born in the North Rhine-Westphalia area of Germany on May 3, 1846, Böing was a veteran of the Austro-Prussian War. He immigrated to the United States in 1868 settling in Detroit, Michigan, and started working as a laborer. He soon was hired by Karl Ortmann, a local lumberman and immigrant from Vienna.

Böing married Ortmann's daughter, Marie, on December 25, 1880 and they had two children, William and Caroline. He Anglicized his name to William Boeing. He built his fortune from land, timber, and mineral rights on lands in Minnesota doing very well financially and able to help fund Detroit's first art museum in 1883.

Boeing died from influenza circa 1889-1890 (sources differ) at the age of 42, leaving behind his wife Marie (Ortmann) Boeing and their children.


Wikipedia, and

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Wilhelm Böing letters

 Collection — Box: Assorted rare collections, Box 1, Folder: 1-6
Identifier: 2018-00-00-154
Contents of the Collection The collection contains six handwritten letters ranging from February 26, 1869 to April 18, 1883 between William E. Boeing, Sr. (WEB) and his father, Wilhelm Böing. It is not always clear who is writing to whom in the letters, since father and son shared the same name. Additionally, not all of the letters have accompanying envelopes which could provide clarification based on the address. The letters are in German and have not been translated.

William E. Boeing Sr. Papers

Identifier: 2005-10-06-B
Abstract William E. Boeing, Sr. (1881-1956) was an aviation pioneer and founded The Boeing Company in 1916. The collection holds textual materials, such as correspondence, philately, business-related materials, clippings, and ephemera, as well as photographs and illustrations related to his personal and business life, circa 1783-2008. Major areas of interest include family photographs and extensive personal and business-related correspondence.

The Museum of Flight | 9404 E. Marginal Way South | Seattle WA 98108-4097 | 206-764-5874
Contact us with a research request