Wednesday, March 22, 2017

East Farmingdale Volunteer Fire Company History

The East Farmingdale Volunteer Fire Company was organized in 1926. The first Chief was Joseph Pfost, Sr., who served from December of 1926 to December of 1927. The department was created when the East Farmingdale area would no longer be protected under the contract by the Fire Department of the Incorporated Village of Farmingdale. The Company works under the auspices of the Town of Babylon.

The Fire Company was able to obtain a loan from the First National Bank of Farmingdale for $5,000 to erect a fire house on Maplewood Avenue. At the time, they only had a hose wagon for their only apparatus. The original name of the Company was the East End Volunteer Fire Company; its current name was changed in 1959. The fire house was moved to an expanded headquarters on Conklin Street which can house twelve pieces of fire equipment, kitchen facilities, a recreation room, and a second floor containing a meeting hall and offices. Two sub-stations were also built; one on Wellwood Avenue and the other on Melville Road.

The first official meeting was held on September 25, 1926.  They were granted a Certificate of Incorporation on August 13, 1926. At the October meeting, it was decided that the uniform would only be worn for Company social affairs, parades, and funerals. Their first fire was recorded on December 13, 1926.

At the May 7, 1958 meeting, a motion was made to form a committee to look into changing their name. It was announced at the February 2, 1959 meeting that 100% of the membership had signed the resolution for the name change. The name change was made official on May 4, 1959.


A History of the East Farmingdale Fire Company 1926-1995

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Lawrence B. Sperry

Lawrence Burst Sperry was born in Chicago on December 22, 1892, the third child of Elmer and Zula Goodman Sperry.

He built his first airplane glider during his school days in the attic of his home. After finishing school, he joined his father’s company and became a licensed pilot and undertook field work of applying a gyroscope to an airplane.

In 1914, the Republic of France issued a notice of a Safety Contest to be held.  The Sperry’s entered an improved gyrostabilizer in the contest. When Lawrence arrived in Paris, he and his mechanic installed the device on a Curtiss flying boat. On June 18th, 1914, Lawrence’s parents joined the thousands lining the Seine River to watch the competition. Like the rest of the spectators, they were awed when in a flight over the jury of experts Lawrence let go of the controls and stands up with his hands high over his head, and the plane remained level. The Sperry’s heard a gasp from the crowd when the mechanic walked out on the wing and again Lawrence let go of the controls. The Sperry’s joined in the roar of approval as Lawrence throttled the engine and the plane automatically went into a glide. When Lawrence landed safely, the jury realized that it had witnessed one of the most convincing demonstrations in aviation, and it awarded the Sperry’s a 50,000 franc prize.

In late 1915, Lawrence journeyed to England, where he conceived of a three-way gyrostabilizer to steer bombing planes, and also arranged for Sperry Gyroscope to manufacture aircraft compasses. When he returned home, Lawrence developed the first amphibious flying boat in history. He also investigated the problems of night flying by adding lights to his flying boat, and went on to make night flights of up to 80 miles.

He returned to America in 1916 and engaged in many and varied activities. He demonstrated the possibilities of the aerial torpedo to the Navy Department. He made several night flights in 1916, the first in the United States. He also built the first amphibious flying boat and the first to land a plane by the use of skids.

Sperry’s manufacturing operations outgrew its two factors and a third plant was built in Farmingdale.  The building was constructed on the corner of Rose and Richard Street. Employing about sixty men, the company produced amphibious Navy triplanes, aerial torpedoes, and the Verville Sperry racing monoplane, which was was constructed within three months.  

Lawrence Sperry was lost on December 13, 1923 while crossing the English Channel in his Messenger Plane at the age of thirty. He had planned to fly from Croydon Airport to Amsterdam. The normal route was to follow the railway to Ashford in Kent, and then on to Folkstone, before crossing the English Channel to France. It seems Sperry mistakenly followed a second railway that diverged southward and westward to Hastings. His plane was spotted five miles east of Hastings. His engine misfired and lost power, forcing Sperry to land on the water. At some point, he pulled off his flying boots, struggled out of his flight suit, and struck out towards shore. His body was found on the shore at Jury’s Gap on January 11, 1924.


Farmingdale’s Story: Farms to Flight. Junior Historical Society of Farmingdale, L.I.

“Lawrence Burst Sperry Sr.”

Smith, Victor N. “The Last Flight of Lawrence B. Sperry.” Journal of American Aviation Historical Society. Spring, 1983.

The Sperryscope. C.D. Jobson, Editor. The Sperry Gyroscope Company.
January-February, 1924. Vol. 4, No. 6