Frank J. Sprague

Frank J. Sprague

July 25, 1857 - October 25, 1934


Sprague was an American Naval Officer and inventor who contributed to the development of the electric motor, electric railways, and electric elevator. 

In 1892, Sprague founded the Sprague Electric Elevator Company. Working with Charles R. Pratt he developed the Sprague-Pratt Electric Elevator. The company developed floor control, automatic elevators, acceleration control of car safeties and a number of freight elevators. The Sprague-Pratt elevator ran faster and with larger loads than hydraulic or steam elevators, and 584 elevators had been installed worldwide. Sprague then sold his company to the Otis Elevator Company in 1895.

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In the 1920’s he devised a method for safety running two independent elevators, local and express, in a single shaft, to conserve floor space. He sold this system, along with systems for activating elevator car safety systems when acceleration or speed became too great, to the Westinghouse Company.

Sprague's electric system inventions revolutionized transportation on Earth.

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