George Baldwin Selden was born in Clarkson, New York back in 1846 to Henry (sorry I don’t have his mother’s name) anyway, his father you may have heard of him Judge Henry R. Selden? He defended Susan B. Anthony. The family moved to Rochester, New York where he attended the University of Rochester however, he enlisted in the 6th Calvary Regiment, Union Army before graduation. His father after pulling some strings got him out of the outfit, he then enrolled in Yale. He joined the New York bar in 1871.
In his spare time, he was tinkering with things where in his father’s basement he invented a typewriter and a hoop making machine. He represented George Eastman in patent matters. In 1876 he saw a display of the internal combustion engine at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
He set upon working on a smaller and lighter version succeeding in 1878. Because no-one had applied for one he applied for a patent in 1895. He had worded the patent so everyone who built and internal combustion engine had to pay him a royalty fee. It wasn’t until a small company known as Ford Motor Division challenged his patent that he lost all rights as the courts ruled that the patent was so broad based it was a monopoly. However, during that time he was reported to have received several hundred thousand dollars for the royalty. I 1921 he suffered from a stroke and died in 1922 from complications of the stroke. He is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester.