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Elmer Sperry: Electric Searchlight, 1920

Sparking an Interest

Inventor Elmer Ambrose Sperry dabbled in various scientific fields on his quest to improve technology. In 1880, twenty-year old Sperry had just completed his studies at the Cortland Normal school of New York's Cortland village. The young man focused his scientific interests on electricity. This interest was sparked by the publicity given to Thomas Edison's invention of a practical incandescent bulb during Sperry's final term at Cortland Normal. Sperry was also interested by the arc lamp, developed by Charles Brush of Cleveland, Ohio, which had been famous for several years prior to Sperry's graduation. The late 19th Century, saw the novel world of electrical engineering open wide to the technological possibilities dreamed up by bright young inventors.