Happy Buyers!! Congratulations Mark & Mary.

Congratulations to our clients Mark and Mary Minotti of Property Circle LLC on the purchase of their North Haven, CT project/flip house today.

Over the next few months, they will tastefully update this 1950’s ranch home into a 2019 Dream Home. Watch the renovation progress on this blog as their project unfolds.

This transformed home will be available for purchase just in time for our spring 2019 buying market. It’s ideally located close to the new Amazon Distribution Center and the North Haven Campus. Potential buyers who are interested in getting on the waitlist for this one should contact me.

Contact Rick Bassett



Charles Goodyear – New Haven based Inventor that turned Naugatuck into the Rubber Capital of the World

Charles Goodyear

Charles Goodyear

Charles Goodyear was born in New Haven, Connecticut on this day (Dec 29th) in 1800 and is best known for patenting a process known as vulcanization.

Amasa Goodyear, Charles’s father, opened the first US manufacturer of pearl buttons in the town of Naugatuck, CT in 1807, which supplied the US government with its entire inventory of metal buttons during the war of 1812. Charles was raised in Naugatuck, CT. where he learned the button trade and worked on the family farm as a young man. His enterprising father encouraged Charles to move to Philadelphia and take up an apprenticeship in a company called Rogers and Brothers.

After his apprenticeship, Charles partnered with his father to open the first domestic hardware store in Philadelphia, which is believed to be the first of it’s kind in the United States. While they enjoyed some success in the early years of the venture, it came crashing down in 1830.

In the early 1830’s the bankrupt Charles Goodyear was introduced to rubber at the Roxbury India Rubber Company in New York City where the proprietor explained that while rubber was a fine product in climate friendly Brazil, it wasn’t well suited for the extreme climates of the Northeast US as it had several fatal flaws; it melted in the summer while emitting a terrible smell and cracked in the winter.

Philadelphia County Debtor's Prison (source:

Philadelphia County Debtor’s Prison

Charles was thrown into debtor’s prison soon after returning to Philadelphia, due to his failure to pay off his creditors. He kept himself occupied with solving the flaws of rubber during his time in prison.

Speculation in the Rubber Industry in the 1830’s caused many investors to lose great sums of money as the promise of the miracle material from Brazil had failed to live up to commercial expectations. By 1835 the US based rubber industry was bust and abandoned by most investors.

Charles Goodyear Patent 3633

Charles Goodyear Patent #3633

Undeterred by the failure of rubber, Charles has a vision for 100’s of commercial applications for rubber including soles for shoes, frogmen suits,, life preservers and many more. He had virtually no resources, no formal training as chemist and his education wasn’t very deep but after many attempts over nearly 15 years to turn rubber into a commercially viable material he would develop a patented process known as vulcanization, which he received his patent for in 1844. Goodyear’s vulcanization process solved the problem of the fatal flaws that most commercial rubber manufactures in 1830’s were unable to solve.

More than sixty additional patents were granted to Goodyear for the application of his original vulcanization process for various uses, including rubber condoms, intrauterine devices, douching syringes, and “womb veils” (diaphragms).

Goodyear Metallic Rubber Shoe Company, Naugatuck, ca. 1900 (Source:

Goodyear Metallic Rubber Shoe Company, Naugatuck, ca. 1900

In 1844 Goodyear built a rubber factory in Naugatuck, which turned it into the rubber capital of the United States and put Naugatuck, Connecticut, on the map as rubber manufacturing capital during the 19th and 20th centuries.

While earning limited fame for his process, Goodyear didn’t financially profit from it as he spent all of his resources during his later years defending his patents in an estimated 32 patent infringement cases. He was in and out of debtor’s prisons in the US, England and France at least 5 times during his lifetime for running up bills which he couldn’t satisfy.

His business acumen never matched his inventive prowess as he made bad deals, failed to patent his process aboard, extended credit to people who couldn’t pay and charged far too small of a royalty percentage on his prized patent, which was the opposite problem that Eli Whitney experienced with the Cotton Gin.

Charles is buried in New Haven at Grove Street Cemetery.

Charles is buried in New Haven at Grove Street Cemetery.

From about the age of 30 through the balance of his life, he was in poor health, him and his wife lost 6 of their 12 children and his family lived in extreme poverty. When he died in 1860 he was nearly $200,000 in debt.

The family did receive modest royalties on Charles’s patents until 1865, which helped them to offset the effects of extreme poverty that they had lived with from 1830 – 1860. They sold the rights to the patents in 1865 just as they were due to expire.

Charles Goodyear had nothing to do with the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, which was founded in 1898 by Frank Seiberling 38 years after his death.


Duryea Motors – The 1st Commercial Car Manufacturer in America

Charles (left) and Frank Duryea in their 1893 Duryea gasoline car. From Outing magazine Vol 51 Pub. 1908

Charles (left) and Frank Duryea in their 1893 Duryea gasoline car. From Outing magazine Vol 51 Pub. 1908

Charles Duryea was born on this day (Dec 15) in 1861. Charles and his brother Frank were bicycle makers who in 1896 would go on to be the first to commercially serial produce vehicles in America. They did so under the name of the Duryea Motor Wagon Company in what was the largest automobile factory in the United States at the time.

In 1886 Charles became interested in the operation of a gasoline engine which he observed at the Ohio State Fair and began designing an engine of his own. Over the next 7 years Charles and Frank designed a prototype of an automobile which utilized that engine.

In 1893 Frank Duryea publicly road-tested their first gasoline powered automobile known as the Buggyaut in Springfield MA.  The automobile was a wagon with a 4 HP single cylinder gasoline engine. There was much fanfare and the vehicle was deemed to be promising despite traveling less than 600 feet before a belt failed and ending the maiden voyage.

On Thanksgiving 1895 Frank won first place and $2,000 in prize money in the first motor car race in America driving an 1895 Duryea, which was their 2nd car produced. It was a 50 mile race that went from Chicago to Evanston and back that took about 9 hours at average speeds of just under 6 MPH.

Encouraged by their successes, the Duryea Motor Wagon Company of Springfield, MA produced 13 identical cars known as ‘The Duryea Motor Wagon’ by hand in 1896, 10 of which were sold in the United States. Their cars were the first commercial produced automobile available for purchase in America.

In May 1896 one of the Duryea Motor Wagons was involved in the first recorded automobile accident in American. In New York City motorist Henry Wells hit a bicyclist with his new Duryea. The rider suffers a broken leg, Wells spent the night in jail in the nation’s first traffic accident.

In 1898 the Duryea brothers went their separate ways and the Duryea Motor Wagon Company was closed over personal and business disputes.

Charles Duryea

Charles Duryea

Charles, eight years older than Frank had been known to take advantage of Frank in publicity and patents.

Charles was a visionary with more than 50 patents, and a shameless self-promoter whose ideas were brought to life by his younger brother, Frank, a master mechanical engineer with 20 patents of his own. (Vogrin, B)

Frank went out on his own and eventually joined with Stevens Arms and Tool Company to form the Stevens-Duryea Company which was sold to Westinghouse in 1915.

Frank Duryea

Frank Duryea

Charles tried to produce some of his own designs with various companies until 1916. Thereafter he limited himself to writing technical book and articles. He died in 1938.

Frank received $500,000 in the Westinghouse deal and lived in comfort on the Connecticut shoreline in Madison and then later in Old Saybrook until his death in 1967,  just seven months shy of his 98th birthday.

While not a commercially successful venture; The Duryea Motor Wagon Company did pave the way for mass production in the automobile industry by being the first to serially produce (and reproduce) identical cars for sale.


Emile Berliner – The Inventor and Entrepreneur who shaped the Telecommunications and Recording Industries

Emile Berliner

Image Source: Library of Congress 2002

Emile Berliner (1851 – 1929) was a genius German-American inventor who laid much of the groundwork for modern sound transmission, musical enjoyment and powered flight.

Berliner lived in the era of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison spending much of his adult life inventing new items and improving upon conceptual ideas such as the telephone, sound recording, acoustics, flight and even flooring as well as giving back to society.

His inventions in the area of telephony, which included the microphone and the transformer, made the telephone far more practical to use than what Bell had obtained a patent for. The young Berliner (circa 1876) was so inspired by the potential of the telephone that he found numerous ways to improve on Bell’s transmission quality with his inventions. His microphone was capable of increasing the volume of the telephone transmission and his transformer made communication over distance possible. Mr. Watson from the American Bell Company was so impressed with Berliner’s patented inventions that the company bought the rights to them for $50,000 and hired Berliner.

To be clear, Berliner didn’t invent the telephone but he did made it a usable marketable device with his add-on inventions. There is long-standing and hotly contested debate as to if Phillip Reis or Antonio Meucci invented the telephone even though it was Bell who obtained notoriety for doing so with his timely patent.

Berliner was also a pioneer in the Recording Industry despite joining a party already in progress. In the early 1880’s several competitive inventors, Thomas Edison and Chichester A. Bell / Charles Tainter were working hard to create sound recording devices. Edison came up with a tinfoil model while the Bell/Tainter team came up with a wax cylinder model. While both models technically worked, they proved to be impractical as their recorded sound were both difficult to capture and the quality degraded very quickly. Berlinger looked at the device from an entirely different perspective, from the standpoint of output. He wanted to be able to reproduce sound for his talking-machine device in large quantities that could be distributed (sold) to the masses without degradation. After many attempts he came up with we now recognize as a record, that highly polished plastic-like disc with grooves that gets read by a stylus on a floating arm. His early versions of the gramophone relied on a hand crank, which didn’t work well enough to provide consistent sound so he partnered up with Eldridge Johnson to manufacture a motor-driven turntable. After a series of legal twists and turns the Gramophone became known as the Victrola, produced by the Victor Talking Machine Company and then later it would be known as the Phonograph. The name Gramophone would fade from the market but it did become the basis of the name “Grammy,” the award name presented annually by the members of The Recording Academy.

Berliner’s other noteworthy inventions and patents include:

  • Parquet Carpet – (1883, 1899 & 1900)
  • Radical Internal Lightweight Aircraft Engine – 1908
  • Helicopter – 1919
  • Numerous fixed wing innovations (1920’s)
  • Acoustical Tiles for music venues  (1926)

He was also involved in many Community and Social Causes, especially in the public health field. He is credited with saving the lives of thousands of children via his campaign for hygiene and pasteurized milk and he was a strong crusader for Women’s rights. 

Berliner was also a song writer, a piano player and published author with 5 books and numerous scholarly articles to his credit.

Many of Berliner’s inventions and contributions became the basis for modern telecommunications and recorded musical entertainment products which are on the market today .

Despite his significant and enduring contributions and orginal inventions in telephony, the music industry and aeronautics Emile Berliner’s name isn’t one that most people typically credit these accomplishments to as he lived in an era of transformative change where industry giants like Bell and Edison were casting wide shadows.


Credit Card Fraud Liability pushed to Non-compliant Merchants as of Oct 1st

On Oct. 1, 2015, new credit card rules went into effect which will transfer fraud liabilitto whichever party is the least EMV-compliant in a fraudulent transaction. This would apply directly to merchants who continue to use old “swipe” credit card processing machines. Compliance is deferred to 2016 for most ATM providers and 2017  for pay-at-pump gas stations and the balance of ATMs.

EMV-compliant card with embedded chip

EMV-compliant credit card with embedded chip

To address increasing credit card fraud, the U.S. has formally moved to EMV-compliant cards, which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa. EMV is a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions. EMV is embedded onto a payment card in a microprocessor chip that stores and protects cardholder data.  The EMV technology is designed to improve payment security, making it more difficult for fraudsters to successfully counterfeit cards.

EMV-compliant merchant card reader

EMV-compliant merchant card reader

Businesses who accept credit card payments have been faced with updating all credit card processing machines to comply with the new cards being issued. Those firms that did not update their machines by Oct. 1 can be held financially liable for any credit card fraud that takes place. This represents a major shift in liability from the credit card companies to the businesses that accept card payments.

Consumers are already seeing a difference in the way that they use their credit cards as instead of swiping in the traditional way, cards are either inserted into a terminal slot (card dipping) or tapped against the terminal scanner (near field communication) for processing.

Dipping the card begins the process of data verification between the issuing bank and the chip.  Once the card is verified, the unique transaction data is created. Near field communications cards (aka as Contactless cards) have been rolled out largely in Canada and Europe.  Most cards and terminals in the U.S. will require dipping.

EMV does not totally reduce the risk of credit card data being captured and reproduced as it still has vulnerabilities, which is why we can probably expect to the additional authentication requirements of a signature or a PIN layered on to all transactions in the near future.

Sources: Molly Brogan ( and Sienna Kossman (