Who thinks about Sperry only as a company selling navigation equipment for maritime customers or radar systems for aircraft, underestimates this company a lot:
Sperry involvement in radar research reaches back to the outbreak of World War II. High qualified scientists like
Edward Ginzton (a countermeasure specialist) were working at the Sperry Laboratories. Laboratories ? Yes, there were many of them
From a Ginzton interview: "Lab #13 at Sperry was responsible in the field of microwave measurements, and
there was another lab responsible for developing the klystron, and another lab still separate from that, for the development called Doppler radar.
Before I left I was responsible for these three laboratories."
Additionally, there were early relationships between Sperry and Varian, which culmulated in the emerge of
Varian Data Machines in 1976.
And, not to forget, that Sperry was involved in the development of the very first computer systems. The Philadelphia Experiment with its complex setup of
rotating magnetic fields and a certain modulation required for sure a computer to monitor and control the test equipment. Despite the UNIVAC is said to be the first
computer (completed as late as 1946), there have been attempts to built such a machine already 10 years before. Which makes the idea of a computer being installed onboard of the ELDRIDGE in 1943
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In 1928, Elmer Sperry
sold the Sperry Gyroscope Company to the North American Aviation
Company. In a subsequent corporate reorganization, it became the Sperry
Corporation. During World War II, the company grew rapidly in response to
the surging demand for marine gyrocompasses for the U.S. and Allied
The Second World War
By war's end, some 22 companies were
producing Sperry products under license for the allied war effort.
From an employee count of 600 in 1932, Sperry grew to a wartime
peak of 32,000 in 1943. Another 32,000 were subcontracted and when
prime contractors were taken into account, over 100,000 people
worked for Sperry Gyroscope at its peak employment period in 1943.
Sperry Univac -
One of the divisions of Sperry Corporation at the time that company merged with the Burroughs Corporation to
form Unisys Corporation.
Univac - A brand of computer.
There is a historical placard in the United States Census Bureau that has the following, "The Bureau of the Census dedicated
the world's first electronic general purpose data processing computer, UNIVAC I, on June 14, 1951. Eckert-Mauchly
The Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation designed and built Univac. Over the years, rights to the Univac name changed
hands several times. Circa 1987, Sperry Univac merged with the Burroughs Corporation to form Unisys Corporation.
Sperry Rand Corporation was an early entry in the computer industry through its acquisitions of Engineering Research Associates
and Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation. It produced some of the first transistor computers for military applications, but it
experienced great difficulty in producing transistor computers for the general-purpose computing market. This paper describes the
major transistor computers Sperry Rand developed.
1933 - Sperry Corp. formed.
1946 - ENIAC, the world's first large-scale,
general-purpose digital computer, developed
at the University of Pennsylvania by J. Presper
Eckert and John Mauchly.
Aiken needed numbers for his theory of space-charge conduction in vacuum tubes, but the problems were beyond the
capability of desktop calculators of the day. Frustrated by his dilemma, in 1937 he wrote a proposal for a giant calculating machine,
one that could represent negative and positive numbers, do standard arithmetic, and carry out more than one operation in a
sequence. ....A year earlier, in 1936, Aiken had proposed his idea to the Physics Department, which did not see the same need for
a computing machine and was reluctant to give up space for one in its building. He was told by the chairman, Frederick Saunders,
that a lab technician, Carmelo Lanza, had told him about a similar contraption already stored up in the Science Center attic. ....Since
IBM funded and build the computer, it wound up consisting of the same mechanical parts the company used to construct its
accounting machines, rather than electronics. The first electronic computer, ENIAC, would be built a few years later at the University
of Pennsylvania soon after Aiken's machine in 1946.