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MR. SELDEN AT THE LEFT OF THE PICTURE.
Mr. Selden told me a story which illus- would run successfully, it would be of trated the sort of mechanical ignorance value merely as a curiosity—no sane which prevailed during the period he was human being would care to go bumping trying to gain recognition for his pat- along upon a sort of rapid-fire gun. Of ent. In 1890, when the overhead trolley all the men he wrote to and interviewed, cars were installed in Rochester, a well- only two gave him genuine encourageknown citizen, one who had pooh-poohed ment. With both men he made, at differMr. Selden's invention, came into Mr. ent times, a conditional arrangement for Selden's office and pointed through the the manufacture of his self-moving carwindow at a passing trolley car. “I wish riage. In each case he thought success, you'd tell me George,” he said, “how the recognition, were coming at last. But little wheel at the end of that long arm fate was still against him. Before opergets enough grip on the wire to push the ations could be begun, one man failed, the car along."
other died. Mr. Selden tried to interest almost The unbelief of others did not make every client he had in the invention; he Mr. Selden lose confidence in his engine, laid it before dozens of firms manufact- but, since no manufacturer would regard uring carriages and agricultural imple- it seriously, he dismantled it, and for years ments. Two men to whom he offered a and years it was stored away with the half interest in his patent for a very trunks and old furniture of the family. meagre consideration, rejected the offer For a time, during this period of its with contempt and expressed pity for retirement, the engine lay in the cellar, Mr. Selden's family. They classed Mr. and while here it was put to an odd use. Selden—and so did hundreds of others— One day, one of Mr. Selden's sons, then with the crack-brained pursuer of per- a very small boy, was prowling about the petual motion. Some of the manufact- cellar, and he discovered in a cylinder urers declared that the invention was not of the engine the family cat and a litter operable ; some that, even if the machine of new kittens. This engine, despised
of men, but later to be famous and to company in question to manufacture be the foundation of Mr. Selden's for- automobiles under the Selden patent, and tune—this engine the lying-in hospital granted the company power to issue subof a cat!
licenses to other manufacturers. But success and prosperity were await A considerable number of American ing Mr. Selden. When -Daimler and manufacturers have refused to take out Benz (who began their automobile ex- licenses under the Selden patent, their periments about 1885, and who are cred contention being that their automobiles ited with being the fathers of the automo- are not infringements of Mr. Selden's bile revival in Europe) and other Euro- invention. Mr. Selden's claim, of course, pean inventors had proved that the gaso- is that his patent is the basis of the modline motor was not only practical but had ern gasoline automobile. The case is a great commercial future, American now being thoroughly tested by a suit manufacturers commenced to awake. brought by Mr. Selden and the company The beginning of this interest came about holding his license against three promi1893; but it was not till 1896 that the nent unlicensed manufacturers. first American-made automobile was put About two years ago Mr. Selden had on the market, and not till 1899, when his 1878 engine fitted up and mounted on there were in the United States only fifty a carriage, the work all being done in acautomobiles, that the interest began to cord with the specifications of the patent have any volume. Mr. Selden now application of 1879. This automobile is found a very different attitude toward now in frequent use. It weighs about his patent. In 1899, twenty years after 700 pounds, and can carry three persons his invention had begun to beg for recog- at a speed of about eleven miles an nition, he entered into a contract with an hour. old and prominent Eastern automobile Mr. Selden's activity as an inventor company. This contract licensed the has not been limited to the field of the self-propelling vehicle, though of course long time in coming, but now that it has the automobile has been the supreme in- come it is a most gratifying one. The terest of his inventional career. He has royalty on all automobiles manufactured invented a hard rubber tire, a traction and imported under the Selden patent is device to prevent the slipping of wheels, one and one-fourth per cent of the list improvements on a hoop-splitting ma- price, and of this Mr. Selden gets a subchine, a power-driven type-writer and stantial share. The royalty for 1903, several other devices. He and his two 1904, and 1905 amounted to $814,183. sons, both of whom are inventors, are at As the number of automobiles sold is present engaged upon inventions which increasing heavily, and as the patent has aim to improve certain details of the still six years to run, Mr. Selden is in way present-day automobile.
MR. SELDEN AT THE FRONT OF THE AUTO, HIS SON AT THE LEFT, LOOKING ON. womobile inventor is not immune from breakdowns. This trouble occurred while Mr. Selden was on his way
to visit his ancestral Connecticut home.
of becoming that great rarity—a millionMr. Selden's financial reward was a aire inventor.
When the Sun Grows Cold
By Paul P. Foster
S the sun growing colder ?
Is its heat diminishing?
upon the earth will die out and that black, icy, silence and death will settle down over the terrestrial ball ?
For the express purpose of answering these questions—of such profound and vital importance to the future of the human race—a great and unique observatory has been established on the summit of Mt. Wilson in California. The funds for the building and maintenance of this great observatory, with its new and tremendously powerful instruments, have been furnished by the Carnegie Institution at Washington, D. C.
Mount Wilson is situated near the cities of Pasadena and Los Angeles, a few miles from the Pacific, and was selected after careful preliminary investigation by trained astronomers as the
ideal site from which to study the sun. The conditions here surpass those of any other observatory. Cloudless days, dry atmosphere, absence of dust, wind and mist, with thickly wooded mountainsides, which lessen the radiation SO noticeable on bare mountain summits, combine to make this the spot of all others for solar observations. Unlike nearly all older observatories, which are situated near large cities or universities, regardless of the conditions essential for the observation of the heavenly bodies, the site of the Solar Observatory was chosen entirely because of its pre-eminent fitness for the work in hand.
While the sun is 300,000 times nearer the earth than any other known star, our knowledge of it is meagre and only one of the twenty-two large refracting telescopes at the older observatories has attempted to make any systematic study of it. Solar research under the ideal conditions which prevail at Mount Wilson should result in a marked increase of our LOOKING OUT OVER AN OCEAN OF CLOUDS. Fog seen from the summit of Mt. Wilson, where observations of the sun are being made.