Biographical Information:

Dates: 1892-1992
Dates in Ridgefield: 1950s-1992

non-fiction writer, engineer, inventor, historian, children's writer

Although he was a noted inventor and a captain of industry, Preston Bassett was better known locally as a historian, an antiques expert, and a benefactor of the Keeler Tavern. An aeronautical engineer and inventor, Mr. Bassett held 35 patents in such varied realms as anti-aircraft searchlights, automatic pilots, and commercial airliner soundproofing. A graduate of Amherst College and Brooklyn Polytech, he joined Sperry Gyroscope in 1914, became its president from 1945 to 1956, and counted the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart among his friends. In the 1950s, he bought the boyhood High Ridge home of 19th Century author Samuel Goodrich, whose pen name was Peter Parley; Mr. Bassett collected more than 100 Goodrich titles, which he eventually gave to the Ridgefield Library. President of the Keeler Tavern from 1968 to 1972, he was one of its most important benefactors, donating many artifacts, pieces of colonial-era furniture--and his expertise. The Smithsonian Institution has his collection of more than 800 antique lamps, lanterns and lighting devices, as well as some of his antique bicycles-- including the oldest known American bike. Mr. Bassett was also a writer; in 1969, he published a 244-page history of Rockville Center, Long Island, and in 1981, at the age of 89, Raindrop Stories, his book of weather tales for children, was published. His autobiography, The Life and Times of Preston R. Bassett, appeared in 1976. He died at his home in April 1992, a few weeks after his 100th birthday.

Titles (partial):
Carl Myers of the Balloon Farm, 1963
A History of Long Island Maps, 1967
A History of Rockville Center, 1969
The Life and Times of Preston R. Bassett, 1976
Raindrop Stories, 1981

–Sources: Summer 1992 Amherst Magazine; Amazon

Check the library catalog for titles by this author.