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Aeronautical instruments

Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
Scope Note: Accelerometers; Air-speed indicators; Altimeter; Artificial horizons; Automatic pilot; Course-line computers; Density altitude computers; Distance measuring equipment; Drift indicator; Flight engineering; Flight recorders; Ground-speed indicator; Guidance systems; Inclinometer; Inertial navigation; Instrument flying; Kymograph; Navigation computer; Omnirange system; Radio beacons; Radioisotopes; Rate gyroscopes; Stall warning indicators.

Found in 8 Collections and/or Records:

Aviation equipment, 1933-1971

Accession: 1995-220Identifier: 1995-220-II.
Scope and Contents:

The Aviation equipment series consists of direction finders, transmitters, receivers, antennas, control panels, ground controls, radio compasses, commercial airline equipment and aircraft, helmets, radio sets, and other aviation related parts and equipment. These images date from 1933 to 1971. Related materials can also be found in the Government projects series.

Dates: 1933-1971

Edward J. Nossen collection of RCA contract proposals

Accession: 2761

Edward J. Nossen (1930-2016) was an engineer in the Radio Corporation of America's Government Systems Division at Camden, New Jersey. He invented a range-determining system that can rescue air craft. The Radio Corporation of America (renamed RCA Corporation in 1969) was best known for its pioneering radio and television development and manufacturing. In addition to consumer electronics, RCA was a major player in the development of electronics for industrial and military applications. This small collection consists of contract proposals and technical reports that were mostly submitted by RCA Government Systems Division, Camden. The proposals have Nossen's name written on the cover. The proposals and reports relate to communication systems being developed between 1964 and 1990.

Dates: 1964-1990

Elmer Sperry photographs

Accession: 1985-257

Elmer A. Sperry (1860-1930) was an electrical engineer who established the Electric Light, Motor, and Car Brake Company in 1883 and then founded the Sperry Electric Mining Machine Company in 1886. After selling his patents to General Electric, he went to work for the company as a consultant. This collection includes original materials, as well as copy work from other sources and images which show Sperry's inventions; there is some ephemera, family photos, employees, and views of the Sperry Company's Brooklyn drafting rooms.

Dates: 1847-1945

Products, 1912-1965

Accession: 1986-273Identifier: 1986-273-III.
Scope and Contents: Products series is divided into eleven subseries: Aeronautical Systems; Air armament; Aircraft sights and turrets; Army Fire Control (AFC), Bomber Navigation Systems (BNS); Marine systems; Microwave and electronic equipment; Navy Fire Control (NFC) and Navy systems; Radio and electronics; Surface armament; and Searchlights.Throughout the subseries many folders are titled with “AN/” followed by a series of letters and numbers. The United States military use letter combinations to designate electronic and communications equipment. This designation system is called the "Joint Communications-Electronics Nomenclature System" or “AN” for short (Army-Navy). All designations have the “AN/” prefix followed by three letters, a number, and potentially followed by another single letter and a version. The letters in different positions signify the installation, equipment type, and purpose. See the Wikipedia entry for Joint Communications-Electronics Nomenclature System for the full explanation of the letters in the system. Aeronautical systems subseries are images of parts and components for aircraft related to autopilots, gyros, and navigation. There are many folders containing images of products from various Sperry departments. Departments were assigned numbers, however, there is no key within the collection that explains what the numbers mean or what the name of the department was. The images date from 1912 to 1918 and from 1926 to 1964. The films in this subseries are primarily of flight tests, there are a few films not produced by Sperry that show old versus new methods of manufacturing or installing different parts, and there is a three part series about weighted guidelines.Air Armament subseries are images of components primarily related to radar. There are also images of parts, components and the production of aircraft bombers Hustler B-58 and Tempo I, and the air-to-air guided missile, the Sparrow. The images date from 1948 to 1962. There is one film showing various tests of targeting by air.Aircraft sights and turrets subseries contains images of bombsights, gunsights and turrets. The images date from 1916 to 1947. There are many films showing tests of gunsights, particularly the Airborne Gunlaying System (AGL). There are also films showing various turret experiments, specifically with the Central Station...
Dates: 1912-1965

Sperry Gyroscope Company anti-aircraft fire director schematic diagram and graduation certificate

Accession: 2505

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.

Dates: 1942

Sperry Gyroscope Company Division photographs and films

Accession: 1986-273

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.

Dates: 1915-1962; Majority of material found within 1940-1960

Sperry Gyroscope Company Division records

Accession: 1915

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.

Dates: 1910-1970

Sperry Gyroscope Company, Inc., 1910-1929

Accession: 1893Identifier: 1893-V.
Scope and Content:

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.

Dates: 1910-1929