Frank McDowell Leavitt

Managing Real Estate Broker with Fathom Realty PB00068179

Frank McDowell Leavitt was born in Athens, Ohio back in 1856 to John and Bethia.  I have no history as to his childhood or where he went to school.  However, for this post that really doesn’t matter, so let’s get to it.  In 1893, he married Gertrude Goodsell, settling in Brooklyn Heights, New York.

Within a decade of their marriage he had received some patents that made him a wealthy man.  Frank devised one of the earliest machines for manufacturing tin cans.  By 1904, he had turned his attention to weapons.  He was working with the civilian contracting firm of E.W. Bliss Company when the United States Navy hired the company to design a new type of torpedo.  The head of the company put Frank in charge of the design.  What he later invented was the Bliss-Leavitt torpedo, the chief torpedo weapon used by the United States Navy in World War I.

He died at his home in Scarsdale, New York in 1928, he was 72.

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Comments (15)

Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning James - another local for me.  That patient made him wealthy enough to live in Scarsdale.

May 13, 2021 03:38 AM
Raymond E. Camp
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

Good morning James,

I wonder if his machines were used here at the American Can Company.

Makey yourself an awesome day.

May 13, 2021 04:25 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, James, for sharing this story.

Take care, be safe and have a great day.

May 13, 2021 04:32 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, James... certainly a most creative and innovative man. Brooklyn Heights is such a lovely place I can't imagine why he moved.

May 13, 2021 05:04 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor

Where would we be without canned goods? His work has certainly made food more affordable in the USA and worldwide. Thanks James Dray 

May 13, 2021 05:32 AM
Brian England
Vacasa - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

It is crazy to me that we even have a need for such weapons but I guess war is big business and money rules the world, haha.

May 13, 2021 05:49 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning James. Frank had a creative mind. He was way ahead of his time and we have all benefited from it. Enjoy your day!

May 13, 2021 05:51 AM
Bill Salvatore - YVP Blog
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - Valley of the Sun /


Frank was brilliant.  Just blows my mind, how they can invent like that. Make the most today, and thanks again for the post.  Bill Salvatore

May 13, 2021 05:53 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I have been to Scarsdate.  One of my roomates in college invited me for a weekend to her home.  What an invention to be know for--torpedoes, no less.  A

May 13, 2021 07:07 AM
faye schubert
Branson, MO
Living the Branson Lake Life

I was recently watching the History Channel on Food in America. The tin can was crucial: moving from soldering the can with potential poisons to crimping the can was a huge innovation for safety . It also massively increased production of tin cans. 

May 13, 2021 07:24 AM
Rocky Dickerson
Realty One Group - Las Vegas, NV
Superior Service!

Good morning James! Now it is funny how those on a submarine desribe it like living in a tin can.

May 13, 2021 08:37 AM
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

Brooklyn Heights is one of my favorite places on earth because of the AMAZING views of NYC. I lived in Scarsdale for 3 years...also awesome.

May 13, 2021 10:18 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi James- it is amazing what some people can invent or come up with!!! 

May 13, 2021 12:34 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Interesting...from tin cans to torpedos. He certainly was innovative...and hopefully made a good deal of money from his invention.

May 13, 2021 09:46 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

James I have an excuse I am an Army Man not a Navy guy, but clearly the Navy guys did not step up to this post:))))))))))))))))Endre

May 13, 2021 10:23 PM