41 years ago on 19 Feb 1965 Boeing launched the 737-100 with a Lufthansa order. The second generation 737-300 was launched 16 years later on 5 March 1981 and the third generation 737-700 was launched some 12 years after that on 17 November 1993. The 5000th airplane has just been delivered.
Since it launched the 737 family, Boeing have built 122 of these magnificent airplanes per year.
In terms of orders, 6099 had been received by 31 Dec 2005; at a rate of 149 orders per year.
Congratulations to the Boeing team.
For you A.netters who like comparisons: The A320-100 was launched on 2 March 1984 on an order from British Caledonian (a Scottish airline based at London Gatwick) signed on 6 Jan 1984. Twenty two years later, number 2719 of the A320 Family is in final assembly, still the first generation, giving a build rate of 123 per year.
In terms of orders, 4283 had been received for the A320 Family by 31 Dec 2005; at a rate of 194 orders per year.