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Elmer Sperry: Electric Searchlight, 1920

Company History

Sperry founded his first company in 1880 in Chicago. The Sperry Electric Company manufactured the electric dynamos and arc lamps that Sperry had invented as a teenager. Over the next fifty years, Sperry's staggering number of inventions prompted him to found seven more companies for the sale and manufacture of his novel devices. Among these were Sperry Electric Mining Machine Company, Sperry Electric Railway Company, Chicago Fuse Wire Company, and Sperry Gyroscope Company.

The war in Europe created a demand for gyrocompasses that contributed significantly to the growth of Sperry Gyroscope. The Allied navies turned to Sperry with their need to equip both surface ships and submarines with the compass. As a result of these sales, Sperry Gyroscope expanded its facilities, as well as its profit. All of Sperry's companies eventually evolved into the Sperry Corporation.

In 1955, Sperry Corporation acquired Remington Rand, an early American computer manufacturer. The company was briefly renamed "Sperry Rand," but in 1978 it decided to concentrate on its computing interests and reverted back to "Sperry Corporation." In 1986, Sperry Corporation merged with Burroughs Corporation to form Unisys Corporation.