Skip to main content
Notice: The Library is open for research by appointment only, please visit our research services page for more information.

Lawrence Sperry Aircraft Company, 1918-1927

Accession: 1915Identifier: 1915-IV.


  • Creation: 1918-1927

Historical Note

In 1915 Elmer Sperry's son, Lawrence Sperry (1892-1924), was put in charge of the Sperry Gyroscope Company's Aviation Department. Two years later, he founded his own company, the Lawrence Sperry Aircraft Company, to develop and market the airplane stabilizer, aerial torpedo, and automatic pilot. Lawrence Sperry was a daring test pilot and his exploits in the 1916 Paris Air Show provided both his company and Sperry Gyroscope with valuable publicity. After Lawrence Sperry died in a December 13, 1924, flight across the English Channel, the rights to the aeronautical instruments developed by Elmer and Lawrence Sperry reverted to the Sperry Gyroscope Company.

Scope and Contents

The Lawrence Sperry Aircraft Company records include technical and sales correspondence, engineering drawings, and reports that document the development of the aerial torpedo, automatic pilot, airplane stabilizer, and other aeronautical instruments. Correspondence with the Navy's Air Service Department describes the company's research, development and testing programs. There are also a number of reports on test flights. Patents and financial records document the relationship between the Lawrence Sperry Aircraft Company and the Sperry Gyroscope Company, as well as the agreements of both with the Curtiss Aeroplane & Motor Corporation. The Perry-Curtiss joint venture culminated with the invention of the flying bomb (1917-1918), which placed Sperry controls on a Curtiss-designed plane.


4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Additional Description

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research. Litigators may not view the collection without approval.

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA