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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
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. Thev 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. Even an automobile 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.
3S the sun growing colder ? ideal site from which to study the sun.
Is its heat diminishing? The conditions here surpass those of any Is it to be expected that other observatory. Cloudless days, dry at some remote day, the atmosphere, absence of dust, wind and vivifying warmth which mist, with thickly wooded mountainnow suistains abundant life sides, which lessen the radiation SO
upon the earth will die noticeable on bare mountain summits, out and that black, icy, silence and death combine to make this the spot of all will settle down over the terrestrial ball? others for solar observations. Unlike
For the express purpose of answering nearly all older observatories, which are these questions—of such profound and situated near large cities or universities, vital importance to the future of the regardless of the conditions essential for human race a great and unique ob- the observation of the heavenly bodies, servatory has been established on the the site of the Solar Observatory was summit of Mt. Wilson in California. The chosen entirely because of its pre-eminent funds for the building and maintenance fitness for the work in hand. of this great observatory, with its new While the sun is 300,000 times nearer and tremendously powerful instruments, the earth than any other known star, our have been furnished by the Carnegie In- knowledge of it is meagre and only one stitution at Washington, D. C.
of the twenty-two large refracting teleMount Wilson is situated near the scopes at the older observatories has atcities of Pasadena and Los Angeles, a tempted to make any systematic study of few miles from the Pacific, and was se- it. Solar research under the ideal condilected after careful preliminary investi- tions which prevail at Mount Wilson gation by trained astronomers
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. MT. WILSON, CALIFORNIA, SHOWING TRAIL TO ITS SUMMIT. The great Carnegie Observatory is located on the top of this mountain. It is twenty miles from Los Angeles.