Elmer Sperry, born in 1860 in Cortland, New York, was an established inventor and brilliant engineer. He is best known for his contributions to naval navigation and is recognized worldwide for his many innovative contributions including: gyro-stabilization for navy ships, the gyrocompass, the first gyro-pilot system for ship’s steering known as Metal Mike, the first full-gun battery fire control system, electric trolley cars, high-intensity search lights, dynamos, railroad safety devices, and electric automobiles.
In addition to his inventive spirit and unquenchable curiosity for mechanical devices, he demonstrated true entrepreneurial know-how. Elmer Sperry is responsible for starting eight companies that made significant contributions to the American wartime effort as well as modern-day military and commercial transportation and many other areas of modern life. Several of these companies have evolved into giants in their industry today. Sperry Marine, a division of Northrup Grumman, Sperry Rand and Sperry Rail have their roots directly linked to Elmer’s original companies.
Elmer has over 350 patents to his credit and is considered the Father of Modern Navigational Technology. In recognition of his many contributions to the United States, the USS Sperry was named after him in 1941. Elmer Sperry died in 1930.