Home Page About Us Contribute

















The Selden Patent

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The Selden Patent
Person

The Selden Patent, as it came to be known over the years, was the first United States patent for a vehicle that could be called an automobile (although it was titled Road Engine).  The patent was filed May 8, 1879 and officially patented November 5, 1895.

George B. Selden, the original patent holder, sold his patent rights in 1899 to William C. Whitney, and together they would use it not to build motor cars but to collect royalties from other automobile manufacturers through the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers.  It was some time later that he built his own vehicles under the Selden marque.

Henry Ford fought the patent, and after an 8-year legal battle initially lost the case based on a ruling that any gasoline-powered self-propelled vehicle fell under the Selden patent but later won on appeal on the basis that Selden's automobile was powered by a Brayton-cycle engine where there are separate cylinders for compression and power, whereas Ford's (and most other automakers') were based on the Otto-cycle engine where compression, ignition, power, and exhaust all take place in the same cylinder.  This is the basis of most modern automobile gasoline engines today.

Page Sections
Documents
Article Index


Documents

DateDocument Name & DetailsDocuments
5 November 1895Road Engine
United States Patent US 549,160
George B. Selden

PDF
- 349KB - 6 pages


Article Index

DateArticleAgency/Author/Speaker
September 16, 1909MOTOR CAR PATENTS UPHELD BY COURTThe New York Times


Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library

The Crittenden Automotive Library at Google+ The Crittenden Automotive Library on Facebook The Crittenden Automotive Library on Instagram The Crittenden Automotive Library at The Internet Archive The Crittenden Automotive Library on Pinterest The Crittenden Automotive Library on Twitter The Crittenden Automotive Library on Tumblr  
 
 


The Crittenden Automotive Library

Home Page    About Us    Contribute




By accessing the The Crittenden Automotive Library/CarsAndRacingStuff.com, you signify your agreement with the terms and conditions on our Legal Information:  Disclaimers & Privacy Policy page.

To notify The Crittenden Automotive Library of errors, suggest topics, contribute information, make a comment on a page or to ask a question e-mail us.