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Elmer Sperry: Gyroscopic Compass, 1914

The John Scott Legacy Medal

A Scottish chemist named John Scott bequeathed the sum of $4,000.00 in funded 3% interest stock of the United States to the corporation of the city of Philadelphia. His will, written in the year 1816, stipulated that interest and dividends yielded by this stock were to be distributed in the form of premiums to men and women judged to have come up with ingenious inventions.

Each premium was not to exceed the amount of $20.00, and was to be rewarded along with a copper medal bearing the inscription, "To the most deserving." The Select and Common Councils of the city of Philadelphia passed an ordinance in February of 1834 that vested the award of the premium and medals in The Franklin Institute. In 1869, administration of the John Scott Legacy Premium and Medal was conferred on the "Board of Directors of City Trusts," which in turn referred control of the aforementioned award to its own Committee on Wills' Hospital and Minor Trusts.

April of 1882 saw a resolution made by this Committee to "favorably receive the names of any persons whom The Franklin Institute may, from time to time, report to the Committee on Minor Trusts as worthy of receiving the John Scott Legacy Medal and Premium." Having accepted the above resolution, The Franklin Institute put its Committee on Science and the Arts in charge of making the necessary evaluations and recommendations.

The thumbnail at top right is a letter written by the secretary of the Board of Directors of City Trusts, indicating that the city of Philadelphia will act on the recommendation of The Franklin Institute and award the John Scott Medal to Elmer A. Sperry.

The thumbnail at top left is the certificate presented to Sperry to commemorate his receipt of the John Scott Legacy Medal. The certificate is dated October 14, 1914, and bears the seal of the City of Philadelphia at the bottom.

At bottom left is the receipt signed by Sperry when he received the John Scott Legacy Medal and Premium, and at bottom right is the thank you note written from Sperry to The Franklin Institute upon receipt of his honor.