Elmer Ambrose Sperry Sr.
|Died||June 16, 1930 69) (aged|
|Known for||gyroscopic compasses|
|Spouse(s)||Zula Augusta Goodman (1860–1929) (m. 1887–1929)|
|Children||Helen M. Sperry (1889–Oct 1977)|
Edward Goodman Sperry (1890–1945)
Lawrence Burst Sperry (1892–1923)
Elmer Ambrose Sperry, Jr. (1894–1968)
|Parent(s)||Stephen Decatur Sperry (1825–1889)|
Mary Burst (1839–1860)
|Awards|| John Fritz Medal (1927)|
Elliott Cresson Medal (1929)
Elmer Ambrose Sperry Sr. (October 12, 1860 – June 16, 1930) was an American inventor and entrepreneur, most famous for construction, 2 years after Hermann Anschütz-Kaempfe, of the gyrocompass and as founder of the Sperry Gyroscope Company.He was known as the "father of modern navigation technology."
Sperry's compasses and stabilizers were adopted by the United States Navy and used in both world wars. He also worked closely with Japanese companies and the Japanese government and was honored after his death with a volume of reminiscences published in Japan.
Sperry was born at Cincinnatus, New York, on October 12, 1860, to Stephen Decatur Sperry and Mary Burst. His mother died the next day, from complications from his birth.
He was of English ancestry. His family had been in what is now the Northeastern United States since the 1600s, and his earliest American ancestor was an English colonist named Richard Sperry.
Sperry spent three years at the State Normal School in Cortland, New York, then a year at Cornell University in 1878 and 1879, where he became interested in dynamos.He moved to Chicago, Illinois, early in 1880 and soon after founded the Sperry Electric Company. He married Zula Augusta Goodman (1860-1929) in Chicago, Illinois on June 28, 1887.
In 1887, Sperry created a system to bring electricity into coal mines, heating the copper wires to prevent corrosion.This system allowed him to bring self-designed mining equipment deep below the surface, to greatly increase the production of coal. In 1888 the Sperry Electric Machinery Mining Company was founded.
In 1890, Sperry formed the Sperry Electric Railway Company.Here he used ideas from the electric trains sold by his mining company to create electric trolleys in large, hilly cities in Ohio and Pennsylvania. While working with this company, Sperry designed an electric automobile, which lead to Sperry patenting ideas that would be later used in the development of portable lead acid batteries. In 1896, he drove his car in Paris, making it the first American-made car in Paris. In 1894, General Electric bought the railway company and its associated patents.
In 1900 Sperry established an electrochemical laboratory at Washington, D.C., where he and his associate, Clifton P. Townshend, developed a process for making pure caustic soda and discovered a process for recovering tin from scrap metal.
After experiencing seasickness on an Atlantic voyage in 1898, Sperry started to work on incorporating a large gyroscope into a ship to lessen the effect of waves on the ship.His gyroscope-stabilized ship differed from others at the time by having a sensor built in to the system to detect the first signs of a wave that the system would have to work to mitigate. In 1911, Sperry worked with the US Navy to incorporate his gyroscopic stabilizer, which greatly reduced major roll of the ship, into Navy ships. While effective, Sperry's gyrostabilizer never was widely sold because of its expense, both in installation and maintenance.
Sperry found another use for his gyroscopes in 1908. Delaware (BB-28). After successful tests, Sperry's gyrocompass was soon being installed on American, British, French, Italian, and Russian naval crafts. During World War I, the importance of the gyrocompass increased as the compass was adapted to control the steering of a ship to automatically hold a steady line.Magnetic compasses on steel battleships at the time had issues with maintaining magnetic north with the variations of the magnetic field they experienced. Working with Hannibal C. Ford, Sperry began work on a gyrocompass to replace the magnetic compass. In 1910 he founded the Sperry Gyroscope Company in Brooklyn, New York on the basis of this innovation. His first navigational gyroscope was tested that same year in USS
In 1913, working with his son Lawrence Burst Sperry, Sperry created a gyro that could control the elevators and ailerons of an aircraft through a series of servos.Sperry successfully implemented his gyrostablizer technology, formerly thought to be only applicable to large ships, because of their high weight, into aircraft. In June 1914, Sperry and his son won the Aero Club of France's competition to build a safer aircraft, demonstrating the stabilizer with his son doing a "no-hands" flight past the judges. He also was awarded a Franklin Institute Medal in the same year. This gyrostabilization system, while never implemented on a massive scale, laid the foundation for his son's autopilot system.
In 1916, Sperry joined Peter Hewitt to develop the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane, one of the first successful precursors of the UAV.
In 1917, Sperry solved the issue of magnetic compasses indicating the opposite position when an aircraft is turning, inventing the Gyro Turn Indicator.This turn indicator was later modified into what is known now as the Turn and Slip Indicator. With a Directional Gyro and Gyro Horizon added later, Sperry created a core of flight instruments that became standard equipment on all aircraft.
During both world wars, Sperry's company profited from military demand for gyroscopes. During World War I he worked to create a "flying bomb", and on March 6, 1918, he guided an aerial torpedo for more than half a mile using radio control.His technology was subsequently used in torpedoes, ships, airplanes, and spacecraft. Sperry moved into related devices such as bombsights, fire control, radar, and automated take off and landing.
Working with the US Navy, Sperry developed a system to control the entire battery of a battleship from an interior room of the ship.This control system used his gyroscopic equipment to correct an individual gun's position based on changes in course of the ship, allowing the entire battery to focused on one point. This control system was installed on all battleships of the United States Navy during World War I.
Sperry was a founding member of the U.S. Naval Consulting Board, 1915.
Starting in 1914, Sperry began working with the US Navy to develop higher-power lighting for use with naval turrets.Out of this partnership, Sperry and his team created a new kind of arc lamp that heated a gas to incandescence, creating a source of light five times brighter than other continuous light sources of the time. In 1918 he produced a high-intensity arc lamp which was used as a searchlight by both the Army and Navy.
In 1923, Sperry's son Lawrence died in the English Channel in the crash of an airplane of his own design. In January 1929, Sperry sold his Sperry Gyroscope Company to North American Aviation. The following year his wife died, on March 31, in Havana, Cuba.
Sperry died at St. John Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, on June 16, 1930, from complications following the removal of gallstones six weeks earlier. He was 69 years old.
Sperry was a member of the following groups:
A gyroscope is a device used for measuring or maintaining orientation and angular velocity. It is a spinning wheel or disc in which the axis of rotation is free to assume any orientation by itself. When rotating, the orientation of this axis is unaffected by tilting or rotation of the mounting, according to the conservation of angular momentum.
A gyrocompass is a type of non-magnetic compass which is based on a fast-spinning disc and the rotation of the Earth to find geographical direction automatically. The use of a gyrocompass is one of the seven fundamental ways to determine the heading of a vehicle. A gyroscope is an essential component of a gyrocompass, but they are different devices; a gyrocompass is built to use the effect of gyroscopic precession, which is a distinctive aspect of the general gyroscopic effect. Gyrocompasses are widely used for navigation on ships, because they have two significant advantages over magnetic compasses:
Sperry Corporation (1910–1986) was a major American equipment and electronics company whose existence spanned more than seven decades of the 20th century. Through a series of mergers, it exists today as a part of Unisys while some other of its former divisions became part of Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Technologies, and Northrop Grumman.
Hermann Franz Joseph Hubertus Maria Anschütz-Kaempfe was a German art historian and inventor. He was born in Zweibrücken and died in Munich.
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Ernst Otto Schlick was a German naval engineer. He tried to solve the problem of rolling of ships at sea by installing large gyroscopes. The gyroscopic "stabilizers" gave disappointing or dangerous results in practice. An Englishman before him in 1868, Henry Bessemer had tried to use hydraulics and a spirit level watched by the steersman to stabilize ship rolls, also with dangerous results.
Aleksey Nikolaevich Krylov was a Russian naval engineer, applied mathematician and memoirist.
The Naval Consulting Board, also known as the Naval Advisory Board, was a US Navy organization established in 1915 by Josephus Daniels, the Secretary of the Navy at the suggestion of Thomas Alva Edison. Daniels created the Board with membership drawn from eleven engineering and scientific organizations two years before the United States entered World War I to provide the country with the "machinery and facilities for utilizing the natural inventive genius of Americans to meet the new conditions of warfare." Daniels was concerned that the U.S. was unprepared for the new conditions of warfare and that they needed access to the newest technology.
The Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane was a project undertaken during World War I to develop a flying bomb, or pilotless aircraft capable of carrying explosives to its target. It is considered by some to be a precursor of the cruise missile.
The Elmer A. Sperry Award, named after the inventor and entrepreneur, is an American transportation engineering prize.
Preston Rogers Bassett was an inventor, engineer, and pioneer in instruments for aviation.
Ship stability is an area of naval architecture and ship design that deals with how a ship behaves at sea, both in still water and in waves, whether intact or damaged. Stability calculations focus on centers of gravity, centers of buoyancy, the metacenters of vessels, and on how these interact.
Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine is a part of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. Through various mergers, Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine was built on heritage that includes Decca Radars, Sperry Marine, and C. Plath and Litton Industries. Sperry Marine is headquartered in | New Malden,UK, with offices in Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, China, India, Singapore, South Korea, USA, and Canada.
Benjamin Garver Lamme was an American electrical engineer and chief engineer at Westinghouse, where he was responsible for the design of electrical power machines. Lamme created an efficient induction motor from Nikola Tesla's patents and went on to design the giant Niagara Falls generators and motors and the power plant of the Manhattan Elevated Railway in New York City.
Charles Stuart Ballantine, better known as Stuart Ballantine, was a noted American inventor.
A fibre optic gyrocompass is a compass and instrument of navigation. It is sometimes part of a ship's set of compasses, which also include a conventional gyrocompass and a magnetic compass. The compass comprises a fibre optic gyroscope sensor, which links to a computer and then locates north. This in turn links to a compass readout to provide a heading. It has very high reliability and requires little maintenance during its service life. The entire system usually includes a sensor unit, a control and display unit, and an interface and power supply unit. It is often linked with the ship's other navigational devices including GPS.
The gyroscopic autopilot was a type of autopilot system developed primarily for aviation uses in the early 20th century. Since then, the principles of this autopilot has been the basis of many different aircraft control systems, both military and civilian.
Nicolas Minorsky was a Russian American control theory mathematician, engineer and applied scientist. He is best known for his theoretical analysis and first proposed application of PID controllers in the automatic steering systems for U.S. Navy ships.
Hannibal Choate Ford (1877–1955) was an American inventor and electrical engineer best known for his work during the first half of the 20th century.
Anschütz & Company, today known as Raytheon Anschütz, produces marine navigation systems and related instruments. It formed in 1905 in Kiel, Germany in order to produce the first gyrocompass for large ships, which entered service in 1907. The company expanded to produce autopilots and new forms of compasses. The original company was broken up at the end of World War II.
Edward Goodman Sperry, vice president, treasurer and a director of Sperry Products, Inc., Hoboken, ...
Elmer Ambrose Sperry, Jr., a pioneer in gyroscope development and son of the founder of the Sperry Gyroscope Company, died here Saturday at the age ... He was born May 9, 1894, in Cleveland, a son of Elmer Sperry, Sr. and Zula ...
Elmer A. Sperry, inventor, died yesterday morning at St. John's Hospital, Brooklyn, from complications which set in after he had recovered from an operation for gallstones six weeks ago. He was in his seventieth year.