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Elmer Sperry

AKA Elmer Ambrose Sperry

Born: 12-Oct-1860
Birthplace: Cortland, NY
Died: 10-Jun-1930
Location of death: New York City
Cause of death: Complications of Surgery
Remains: Buried, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Gender: Male
Religion: Baptist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Inventor, Business
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Gyroscopic compass

Elmer Sperry's gyroscopic compass, which eliminated variations caused by the Earth's natural magnetism, made naval, air, and eventually even space navigation much more reliable, and made its inventor a millionaire. His subsequent inventions included a gyroscope-guided autopilot steering system, high-power searchlights, electric trolley and railroad safety mechanisms, and early guided missiles. His first invention, when he was six years old, was a horseradish grater that eased his grandmother's kitchen work, and at 20 he persuaded a local manufacturer to underwrite the establishment of the Sperry Electric Company, which eventually lit Kansas City and Omaha. Several of his companies, united under the umbrella name Sperry Corporation (now Unisys), were major American manufacturers through most of the 20th century.

Father: Stephen Decatur Sperry (b. 1825)
Mother: Mary Burst Sperry (d. 13-Oct-1860 childbirth)
Wife: Zula Augusta Goodman Sperry (m. 1887, d. 1929, four children)
Son: Lawrence B. Sperry (aviator-inventor, b. 1892, d. 1923 air crash)
Son: Elmer Sperry, Jr. (b. 1894, d. 1968)
Son: Edward Goodman Sperry
Daughter: Helen Marguerite Sperry Lea

    High School: Cortland Academy, Cortland, NY (1877)
    University: BA, Cornell University (1880)

    National Aviation Hall of Fame 1973
    National Inventors Hall of Fame 1991
    Sperry Products, Inc. Founder & President (1929-30)
    Sperry Rail Service Company Founder & President (1911-30)
    Sperry Gyroscope Company Founder & President (1910-29)
    Chicago Fuse Wire Company Founder & President (1900-11)
    Sperry Electric Railway Company Founder & President (1890-94)
    Sperry Electric Mining Machine Company Founder & President (1888-94)
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    American Chemical Society
    American Petroleum Institute
    American Physical Society
    American Society of Mechanical Engineers
    Franklin Institute
    Japan Society
    National Academy of Sciences
    Young Men's Christian Association
    English Ancestry

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