The French railroad electric automotor BDF Sprague №9011 from 1902
Frank Julian Sprague (July 25, 1857 – October 25, 1934) was an American inventor who contributed to the development of the electric motor, electric railways, and electric elevators. His contributions were especially important in promoting urban development by increasing the size cities could reasonably attain (through better transportation) and by allowing greater concentration of business in commercial sections (through use of electric elevators in skyscrapers).
He became known as the “Father of Electric Traction”. Demonstrating an aptitude for science and mathematics, Sprague secured an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1874 and, after graduation in 1878 and 2 years at sea, resigned to pursue his career in electrical engineering.