Frank J. Sprague
by Evelyn Jutte
July 25th marks the 159th birthday of Frank J. Sprague. Here is an overview of his life and work.
Hailed during his lifetime as the “Father of Electric Traction” by leaders in the fields of science, engineering and industry, Frank Julian Sprague’s achievements in horizontal transportation were paralleled by equally remarkable achievements in vertical transportation. During a six-decade career, Sprague distinguished himself as an inventor for his accomplishments in the development of the electric railway, early electric elevators, and the commercial electric motor. Sprague was born in Milford, Connecticut in 1857. He attended Drury High School and excelled in mathematics. Sprague won the appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, and with US$400 in borrowed cash, set out for Annapolis, Maryland, in 1874.
After the publication of the second volume in the Educational Focus series, Educational Focus, Volume 2, I (HV) interviewed editor Dr. Albert So (AS) about the book and his perspective on the elevator industry. Dr. So is an executive board member and scientific advisor of the International Association of Elevator Engineers (IAEE). He is also the academic secretary for the IAEE HK-China Branch and honorary visiting professor of the University of Northampton in the U.K. He serves on the Technical Advisory Group of Elevator World, Inc., and is based in Seattle.
HV: How did you become involved in the writing and production of Educational Focus, Volume 2?
AS: I have been associated with Elevator World (EW) for more than 10 years as the international correspondent, and I contributed technical articles to EW from time to time. Starting early 2014, I had been engaged as a contract writer of EW by monthly contributing technical articles and taking the lead to prepare two new volumes of Educational Focus. As a matter of fact, years ago, I was one loyal reader and user of Educational Focus, Volume 1, for my courses in the university. It was natural for me to help compile Volume 2 and then Volume 3. By August of 2014, I was further invited to become a member of the Technical Advisory Group of EW, and have been involved in reviewing articles submitted to EW. Continue reading