Francis Moseley

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Francis Loring Moseley, 1959

Franics Loring Moseley was born in St. Paul, Minn. on August 2, 1908. His scientific education was mostly self-obtained. In the period 1927-1931 he took special courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, George Washington University, and Columbia University. His professional career started in 1928 with the McCollum Exploration Company in Texas where he constructed and operated geophysical exploration equipment. In the period 1924-32 Mr. Moseley was connected with the Electrical Research Products Company in New York, dealing with sound systems for the then-new talking motion picture industry.

From 1932 to 1939 Mr. Moseley was in the engineering department of the Sperry Gyroscope Company, Brooklyn, N.Y. Here his interest and activity in electronics and navigation began. He worked on a variety of projects in the fields of marine, aeronautical fire control, and computational equipment, involving servo, control and instrument techniques. Mr. Moseley became one of the country's foremost experts on the principles and practical applications of servo systems employing derivative damping.

In 1941 Mr. Moseley entered military service as an officer in the Signal Corps, and later in the Air Force, at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio. He progressed through grades to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He designed and built the apparatus with which, around 1942, the first automatic landing of an aircraft was performed under control of an ILS localizer beam.

In 1945 Mr. Moseley returned to civilian status and joined the Collins Radio Company, Cedar Rapids, Iowa as director of the Special Products Division. He was in charge of the group that developed one of the first multichannel airborne receivers for use with the BOR navigation system. Later Mr. Moseley moved to Burbank, Calif. to oversee the establishment of the Western Division of the Collins Radio Company, where he was Engineering Manager.

In 1951 Mr. Moseley left the Collins Radio Company and established the F. L. Moseley Company at Pasadena, Calif. He was president of this company, and was engaged in the development and manufacture of servo-actuated instruments, recorders, and related apparatus. The company was the leading producer of X-Y Chart Recorders, technology that Mr. Moseley developed in 1935.

The F. L. Moseley Company was acquired by Hewlett Packard Company in the fall of 1958, and was the first company to merge with HP. F. L. Moseley Company retained its name and continued to grow, adding a 30,000 square foot building in April 1963.


Francis Loring Moseley married Louisa Wainwright Turpin and had 4 children. The children created the Flitridge Foundation from the estate of Francis and Louisa.


Mr. Moseley passed away on 21 May 1984 in Pasadena, California.


William Gould shared the following tribute to Francis Moseley, 5 September 2016:

Francis was my almost life-long friend and business mentor. I met him when I was twelve, almost sixty years ago, at the Los Angeles Live Steamers layout. He saw my great interest in trains, and gave me my first ride behind a real live steam loco, his little 0-6-0. He befriended me, and later, when I went into business, was my mentor and business advisor. I created the master patterns for his famous Pyle generator and the headlight, as well as many others for his personal use. They were a combination of brass patterns and aluminum tooling for lost wax. He gave me his Anilam digital readout when he replaced his with a new one- turned out it was the very first readout ever made!
Francis was the most brilliant and skilled businessman I have ever known. His wife, Louisa, became a close friend of my wife Geri, as they were and are artists.
It's my understanding that he was co-inventor of radar, and also invented the famous "strip chart recorder", which you mention. But I believe the F. L. Moseley Company was manufacturing the recorder for the military late in WWII. They were used for artillery aiming and trajectory, but were failing in final testing. Facing bankruptcy, he sent everyone home and spent several days holed up in the shop, trying to figure out what was wrong. He discovered that the standard being used, developed by the National Bureau of Standards, was in error. He successfully got the NBS to correct it, with the help of his (New York) Senator and the President! No small feat! And they all passed inspection!
He invented the Servo Power Feed when he was having issues with arthritis. It was for his little Clausing mill. It formed the basis of Servo Products. I believe he funded and built the Stanford Engineering Building at Stanford University, and was instrumental in the funding of the Arecibo Telescope in Peru.
But beyond all, Francis was a kind and caring man. A taskmaster to be sure, no BS, but very fair and generous. I think of him often!
Hope this helps add to the amazing story of an amazing man!

MO-6 Turbogenerator

A Francis Moseley built MO-6 turbo generator was listed on eBay in March, 2014. The listing included photos of the generator, along with a letter from Francis, as follows:

Francis L. Mosely
700 Flintridge Avenue
Flintridge, California 91011
May 7, 1982
Dear Turbine, Customer:
This is a very over-due bulletin. It will be a short attempt to bring you up-to-date on turbine production.
The first hundred units are very far along--all castings have been received, and most of them are fully machined and ready for assembly. Shafts are on hand with magnets assembled and are now in the hands of the grinder--from him they will go to the balancing company late next week. Turbine wheels are all made and balanced. Generator windings are due for delivery today.
Regulator parts are partially machined and should be completed by the time you receive this bulletin.
Remaining to be made are steam nozzles, which are small but somewhat fussy. I will be away the week of May 10, and on my return will get busy with nozzles, whereupon assembly should commence.
Even with completion as close as it is, I don't want to put out a delivery date and then have to think of some good alibis if the date isn't met.
The price is not quite yet settled in my mind. Every single item that I buy from outside is costing more money then last time, but manufacturing seems seems to be going better than it did in the other lots. I will let you know about price just as soon as I can.
A bulletin regarding lamps and sockets is maybe a year over-due, so I won't make a promise in this letter, other than to let you know that I am worrying about the subject and am anxious to bring it to a conclusion.
Best regards,

Production Size

Postwarbob wrote:

I have letters from Francis and according to what he wrote there were only 600 1-1/2 inch turbo generators built.

Pyle National Headlight