Ira Hobart Spencer
Ira Hobart Spencer was born at Barkhamsted, Conn., June 19, 1873. He was the son of Uriel and Harriet Spencer and the descendant of Jared Spencer, son of Sir Thomas Spencer of England, who was the first settler in Haddam, CT, in 1688. His education ward largely acquired under the tutor of his mother, who was a school teacher in Greenwich, CT and a professor at Trinity College, Hartford, where the family moved when he was twelve. He was the caretaker of St. James Episcopal Church, where part of his duty was to blow the pipe organ during church services. Possessing a natural aptitude for mechanics, he conceived the idea of a machine that would perform this work automatically and constructed a hydraulic motor or turbine to be operated by the usual water supply in the church. It worked with such efficiency that he was given orders for similar water motors for other churches. After obtaining a patent in 1892, he organized the Spencer Motor Co. to manufacture it. The company developed an extensive business with pip organ manufacturers and subsequently was reorganized as the Organ Power Co., with Mr. Spencer as vice president. In 1904 he invented an electric organ blower which was given the trade name ôOrgoblo.ö In supplying the demand for the motor his company had become the largest of its kind in the world. A large percentage of the pipe organs in America and abroad were are pumped by the Spencer ôOrgoblo.ö In 1905 Mr. Spencer developed a turbine vacuum cleaner or central cleaning system for large buildings which was installed when the building was constructed. It sent all the dust and dirt from each floor to a central receiver in the basement. The Spencer Turbine Cleaner Co. was organized in 1907 to manufacture this device. Spencer Turbine Cleaner Co. was consolidated with the Organ Power Co., July 2, 1918 to form the Spencer Turbine Co., of which Mr. Spencer was president until his death, at which time was doing an annual business of more than $2,000,000. Due to conditions of the World war in 1918 he developed the turbo-centrifugal air compressor to supply compressed air for light power purposes, in foundries, in automobile factories and pneumatic tube systems in department stores, theaters and office building. He received more than 100 patents on his inventions and several were pending at the time of his death. He died in Hartford CT, April 28, 1928.
1994 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee