Elmer Ambrose Sperry

Elmer Ambrose Sperry was born in 1860.

His father was a carpenter and his mother died when he was one day old. He was reared by an aunt in Cortland, New York. He invented household items as a young child. He was educated at the local state normal and training school, and went to Cornell for one year as a day student.

By 1890 he had founded two companies. He is one of history’s most successful inventors and entreprenuers, and is the father of modern navigation technology. In 1908 he patented the gyroscopic compass, which proved to be a crucial advantage to the U.S. armed forces. A battleship is named for him.

He held more than 380 patents for various inventions and founded eight companies. He died in 1930. The Cortland New York Historical Society has information on his life and works.