Sperry Gyroscope Company
Found in 4 Collections and/or Records:
The Sperry Gyroscope Company researched, developed, and manufactured navigation equipment; three of the premiere products were the marine gyrostabilizer, the gyrocompass, and the high-intensity searchlight. The company was founded by Elmer A. Sperry (1860-1930) in 1910. After Elmer Sperry's death in 1930, the engineers at Sperry Gyroscope continued to develop increasingly sophisticated anti-aircraft devices, fire control, and automatic pilot systems. Directors were developed to operate anti-aircraft weapons systems and utilized observational data to calculate firing solutions. The collection comprises a drawing for an anti-aircraft fire director and a graduation certificate issued to James A. Wittie (1918-2010) for completing a four-week training course in the principles and use of the M-4 and M-7 directors.
The Sperry Gyroscope Company researched, developed, and manufactured navigation equipment; three of the premiere products were the marine gyrostabilizer, the gyrocompass, and the high-intensity searchlight. The company was founded by Elmer A. Sperry (1860-1930) in 1910. Sperry Gyroscope Company photographs and films consists primarily of images of products and inventions developed between 1912 and 1965, a bulk of materials date from 1940 through 1960. The collection has been organized into five series: Personnel; Plants, Sperry School, and Museum; Products; Public Information Department; and Visitors, exhibits, models, and patents.
The Sperry Gyroscope Company was originally organized by electrical inventor Elmer Ambrose Sperry for the purpose of manufacturing and marketing his ship gyrostabilizer, gyrocompass, and high-intensity searchlight. The records describe the development and marketing of the marine and airplane stabilizer, the high-intensity searchlight, fire control systems, the gyrocompass, airplane automatic pilot, bombsights, and the aerial torpedo. They trace the evolving relationship between Sperry and the military and the impact of World Wars I and II.
The records in Series IV of the Elmer Sperry papers were, for the most part, generated by the Sperry Gyroscope Company. They include Elmer Sperry's business and technical correspondence that describes the development and marketing of the company's aeronautical and marine instruments. Sperry's research files trace the history of the gyroscope beginning with its invention by Leon Foucault in 1854. His correspondence describes the state of gyroscopic technology and the patent situation as it existed in 1910.
Also contained in Series IV are some fragmentary administrative records. There is a copy of the minutes of the first Board of Directors meeting (June 2, 1910), reports to the stockholders (1917-1918), tax, and financial records.
After the war, the Sperry Gyroscope Company began a systematic effort to market its products abroad. The records documenting these sales initiatives contain correspondence with representatives of the English, French, Russian, and Japanese navies. Sperry's correspondence with Admiral Hideo Takedo, who represented the Japanese Navy as well as Mitsubishi Zōsen Kaisha Ltd., is of particular interest. These letters trace the process by which Mitsubishi became a licensee for Sperry products and Sperry Gyroscope gained access to the Japanese Navy. The Sperry-Takedo letters have both personal and business dimensions. The two men shared common interests and value systems based on a faith in technological progress and an appreciation of hard work. These correspondence files show that this friendship led Sperry to appreciate Japanese culture. He made several trips to Japan at the end of his life and in 1929 organized the World Engineering Conference in Tokyo.