George Baldwin Selden

Managing Real Estate Broker with Fathom Realty AR LLC PB00068179

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.  

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Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

you always get the most interesting people to share with us - Another person I didn't know! I love the idea that the patent was so broad it was like a monopoly! 

Nov 14, 2016 08:48 PM #1
faye schubert
Keller Williams Tri-Lakes Realty - Branson, MO
technology and marketing specialist

It makes me wonder about today and people stimulated only by looking at their phone, versus wondering how to build something and how to make it work.

Nov 14, 2016 08:50 PM #2
Raymond E. Camp
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

Good morning James,

Having lived in Rochester area all my life he and his father are very familiar.

His Mothers name was Laura.

Make yourself an astonishing day.

Nov 14, 2016 08:59 PM #3
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

The man saw opportunity and seized it. That is a definition of a true entrepreneur.

Nov 14, 2016 09:08 PM #4
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
Realty National - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

NOW comes a man who had the foresight to take an idea and modify it, patent it and then it takes the industrialist Henry Ford to show an old dog new tricks.

Nov 14, 2016 09:24 PM #5
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning James Dray ,

How interesting! I agree with Joe Pryor "The man saw opportunity and seized it. That is a definition of a true entrepreneur!"

Nov 14, 2016 09:34 PM #6
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker

Good morning James! Goes to show you, Henry was one to challenge you when you got in his way! And, again, no clue! Enjoy your day!

Nov 14, 2016 09:47 PM #7
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Very interesting stuff and it sounds like that was quite a patent, but definitely seems like it was too broad.

Nov 14, 2016 09:53 PM #8
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning again James. What an inventive guy. Sorry about the pun.

Nov 14, 2016 10:18 PM #9
Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

Thanks for the lesson today - I've not heard of this one at all

Nov 14, 2016 11:17 PM #10
Rebecca Lewis
ODAT Realty Services, Inc - Grayson, GA

Once again I had not a clue about another important american inventor. Thanks for my daily history lesson

Nov 15, 2016 12:14 AM #11
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I love people who can see opportunity in a crowded field.  Most individuals would just say, there is nothing there.  A

Nov 15, 2016 12:21 AM #12
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

It's good to learn about people like this to know where we have been and where we can go.

Nov 15, 2016 05:48 AM #13
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

Your person of the day, George  Baldwin Selden, seemed to fare better in this lifetime from the Yale/NY BAR experience vs the 6th Calvary Union Army he almost served. Do not know too much about internal combustion engines - went to Google.  Brought back memories, though.  Recall a psychic reading where the psychic once told me that a person I was interested in at the time and I had a 'spontaneous combustion'  type of relationship. 

Nov 15, 2016 06:26 AM #14
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

Hello James and George Baldwin Selden was quite the inventor and thanks for the history lesson ...

Nov 16, 2016 11:55 AM #15
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