U.S. engineer who developed bombsight used extensively in World War II. Born on 23 April 1880 in Somerang, Java (now Indonesia), Carl Norden graduated from the Zurich Federal Polytechnic School in 1904 and moved to the United States. In 1911, Elmer Sperry, founder of the Sperry Gyroscope Company, hired Norden to design the first gyrostabilizers used on large American ships. Four years later, Norden left Sperry to start his own company. Many of his early contracts were with the U.S. Navy. He was granted several patents for control systems that launched shipborne aerial torpedoes, robot flying bombs, and target planes, as well as catapults and aircraft arresting gears used on aircraft carriers. He also helped develop the first automatic pilot. In early 1921, Norden began work on a bombsight.
In 1928, Norden and Theodore Barth formed Carl L. Norden, Inc., with Barth as president and Norden as lead engineer. Working with Captain Frederick Entwistle, the assistant research chief of the Navy Bureau of Ordnance, Norden perfected a new bombsight, which was demonstrated for Navy and Army Air Corps leaders in 1931 and was acquired by both services. Norden sold the rights to his creation for one dollar. Soon after the war, Norden settled in Zurich, Switzerland, living quietly there until his death on 14 June 1965.
Jablonski, Edward. Flying Fortress: The Illustrated Biography of the B-17s and the Men Who Flew Them. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1965.; Pardini, Albert L. The Legendary Norden Bombsight. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishers, 1999.