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British Industrial History

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Sperry Gyroscope Co

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1916.
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1929. High Intensity Searchlight.
1932. Gyroscopic Stabiliser Unit for the Conte Di Savoia.
1933.High Intensity Naval Searchlight and Distant Controller.
1933.Sperry - Villiers 'Odograph'.
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of Great West Road, Brentford, Middx. Telephone: Ealing 6771. Cables: "Sperigyco, Phone, London". (1947)

1910 The company was founded, as the Sperry Gyroscope Company, by Elmer Ambrose Sperry, to manufacture navigation equipment, chiefly his own inventions – the marine gyrostabilizer and the gyrocompass.

1915 Private company.

1916 B. E. Filmor was Managing Director. [1]

During World War I, the company diversified into aircraft components including bomb sights and fire control systems.

1918 Lawrence Sperry split from his father to compete over aero-instruments with the Lawrence Sperry Aircraft Company, including the new automatic pilot.

1924 following the death of Lawrence on December 13, 1923, the two firms were brought together.

1933 The company became Sperry Corporation. The new corporation was a holding company for a number of smaller entities such as the original Sperry Gyroscope, Ford Instrument Company, Intercontinental Aviation Inc, and others.

1937 Acquired Vickers Incorporated, manufacturer of efficient, low-cost devices for powering hydraulic control systems.

1937 Nautical and aeronautical instrument makers and engineers, specialists in searchlight material. "Sperry" Gyroscope Instruments. [2]

1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers

WWII The company did very well during the war as military demand skyrocketed; it specialized in high technology devices such as analog computer-controlled bomb sights, airborne radar systems, and automated take off and landing systems. Sperry was also the creator of the infamous Ball Turret Gun that was mounted under the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, as commemorated by the films Memphis Belle and the poem The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner.

1947 Advert: 'Afloat or in Flight SPERRY provides the best indications - of course'. Manufacturers of Marine Gyro Compasses and gyro Pilots, Aircraft gyro Pilots, gyro Horizons, Directional Gyros And Gyrosyns, Gyroscopic Stabilising Equipment, Gun Fire Control Apparatus, Navy, Military, and Commercial Searchlights, Helm Indicators. (Scientific and Optical Section - Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. A.1034) [3]

1947 Acquired the New Holland Machine Company, producer of agricultural equipment

Postwar, the company expanded its interests in electronics and computing, producing the company's first digital computer, SPEEDAC, in 1953, which provided the basis for the Univac division (formed in 1962).

1948 Acquired New Holland farm machinery company

In their early decades, Sperry Gyroscope and related companies were concentrated on Long Island, New York, especially in Nassau County. Over the years, the companies diversified to other locations.

During the 1950s, a large part of Sperry Gyroscope was moved to Phoenix, Arizona and soon became the Sperry Flight Systems Company. This was to try to preserve parts of this vital defense company in the event of a thermonuclear conflagration. Yet the Gyroscope division remained headquartered on New York - in its massive Lake Success, Long Island plant (which also served as United Nations headquarters before 1952) - into the 1980s.

1955 Merged with Remington Rand to form Sperry Rand, which became the world's 2nd largest computer manufacturer.

1961 Manufacturers of gyroscopes, and appliances for navigating ships, aircraft and submarines, specialising in government contracts, work on guided weapons and inertial navigation. 3,000 employees. [4]

Sperry Flight Systems continued to excel at aviation electronics - avionics - and it also provided avionics systems for such NASA programs as the Space Shuttle.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1916/09/08 p 226.
  2. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  3. 1947 British Industries Fair Advert 409; and p259
  4. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  • [1] Wikipedia
  • The Times, Dec 10, 1973
  • [2] Sperry Corporation history