Sprague, Frank Julian (sprāg) [key], 1857–1934, American electrical engineer, b. Milford, Conn., grad. Annapolis, 1878. He was an assistant to Thomas Edison in 1883 and independently created a superior electric motor that was readily adaptable to industrial machinery. He also improved systems of electric energy and wheel suspension systems from which he developed the first electric street railway, installed at Richmond, Va., in 1887. He contributed greatly to the development of electric railways by inventing the multiple-unit system of automatic control, an automatic brake, and numerous other devices; he also developed the electric elevator.
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