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"My invention is further designed to dispense with a blast fan or other air-forcing devices, and produce the removing of the water hairs entirely by mechanical means, which are operated by power, so that a quick and uniform plucking of the skin takes place.
ter hairs," are separated from the fur, and | close to the skin when the same is drawn clipped or plucked from the pelt. Up to over the stretcher bar. about the year of 1881 the removal of such hairs was effected by hand, the pelt being stretched over the finger, by blowing down on the fur a part was made, and the hairs were clipped out by means of scissors. This was necessarily a slow and laborious process. An improvement was made in this art by the Cimiottis, predecessors of the petitioner, by the introduction of an air blast for the purpose of separating the fur, which invention was the subject of a patent to them, number 240,007, under date of April 12, 1881. In 1888 the Sutton patent in suit was issued, in which was introduced a rotating brush apparatus for the purpose of separating the fur, as will be hereinafter more particularly shown. Of his invention, Sutton said in the specifications;
"This invention relates to an improved machine for plucking sealskins and other furs, so as to remove the stiff water hair therefrom without injuring the soft hair or
wool of the same.
"The machine is more especially designed with a view to overcome some of the defects and insufficiencies of the plucking machines heretofore in use, and produce the plucking of the skins at the lower parts of the neck and shoulders, where the hairs point outwardly and backwardly and are the most difficult to pluck, as they lie down
"The invention consists of a machine for plucking seal and other skins, which comfor prises a fixed stretcher bar, means stretching and intermittently feeding the skin over said stretcher bar, a fixed card above the stretcher bar near the edge of the same, a rotary separating brush that is intermittently moved up in front of the stretcher bar, an oscillating guard below the stretcher bar, a rotary cutting knife and a vertically-reciprocating cutting knife work
ing in conjunction with the rotary knife for cutting off the stiff projecting hairs, said rotary cutting knife being provided with a card supported back of the knife, all of which parts are operated from a common driving shaft, so as to produce for each rotation of the same the cutting off or plucking of the hairs projecting from that part of the skin in front of the stretcher bar."
The invention was illustrated by certain drawings, some of which are here given, which, together with the description, illustrate the operation of the machine, so far as necessary for the purposes of this case.
Referring to the drawings, the inventor | is arranged a stationary card, E, which is says (in part):
attached to the ends of the stretcher bar B by means of thumb screws. (Not shown in drawings.) The points of the teeth of the card E are close to but do not touch the surface of the skin, so that the hair and fur are both straightened as the skin is fed forward. The teeth of the card E hold down the fine fur, but permit the stiff hairs to stand up between the teeth, owing to the slow forward movement of the skin, which gives the hairs sufficient time to adjust themselves.
"A represents the supporting frame of my improved machine for plucking seal and other skins. On the frame A is supported a fixed transverse stretcher bar, B, which is tapered to a narrow edge, over which the skin to be plucked is stretched. The skin is applied by tapes to the rollers B' B' which are intermittently actuated by gear wheels operated by a pawl-and-ratchet-wheel mechanism from the driving shaft S, as customary in plucking machines of this class. By the gear wheels and the pawl-and-ratchet mechanism the skin is fed intermittently for a small portion of its length over the front edge of the stretcher bar, it being unwound from the upper and wound up on the lower feed roller. Below the edge of the stretcher bar is arranged a vertically-reciprocating knife C, which moves in slots or ways of fixed guide plates C', and which is operated by fulcrumed levers C2, the rear ends of which are engaged by cams C3 on a cam shaft, S', that is supported above the driving shaft S in suitable bearings of the frame A.
"Below the stretcher bar B is arranged a rotary separating brush, F, which is supported in oscillating arms F', that are guided by pins f, in arc-shape slots f' of fixed guide plates f, as shown clearly in Figs. 1, 2, and 3, the oscillating arms F' being pivoted to horizontally-reciprocating connecting rods F2, which are provided with yokes f3, having anti-friction rollers at their rear ends, and acted upon by cams F on the cam shaft S', the cams being so shaped and timed that the forward and upward motion of the brush F takes place at the proper time.
"The brush F receives rotary motion from two belts, f', which pass over pulleys fon the shaft S' and the brush shaft, and which are kept taut by weighted idlers f, as shown clearly in Fig. 1.
"In front of and at some distance from the stretcher bar B is supported a shaft, D', in bearings of the frame A, said shaft being provided with radial arms d d, to which the rotary knife D is attached, which, in conjunction with the vertically-reciprocating knife C, serves to cut off the water hairs projecting from that part of the skin in front of the edge of the stretcher bar B. To the arms of the rotary knife D, and at some distance back of the latter, is applied a carding brush, D2, which acts on that part of the skin that is fed forward over the edge of the stretcher bar immediately after the hairs of the next preceding section of the skin have been cut off. The shaft D' of the cutting knife D is rotated from the cam shaft S', by means of an intermediate longitudinal shaft, S2, and two sets of miter wheels, D3, D'.
"The brush F is made of soft bristles and is rotated at a speed of one hundred and fifty revolutions per minute. The soft bristles allow the stiff hairs to stand, while the quick motion of the brush bends the soft hair in downward direction and brushes it below the stretcher bar, so that it can be taken up and held in position by the softrubber wipers g of an oscillating guard bar, G, which moves in arc-shaped slots g' of the guide plates C'."
The operation of the machine is thus described.
"The skin is placed in the machine by being attached to the feed rollers and drawn "Immediately above the stretcher bar B tightly over the edge of the stretcher bar,
The great merit of this invention is said to consist in the use of the brush, applied by means of the mechanism shown, so as to brush down the fur, and permit the long hairs, which should be removed, and which rise at the edge of the stretcher bar, when the pelt is drawn over it, to be acted upon by the knives when the fur is brushed away, so as not to be injured.
so as to lie close to the upper and lower | carry with it the separated fur, which is surface of the same. The skin is put in in then held in position by the oscillating guard such a manner that the head end is fore-that follows the brush, and carries the fur most. The stiff hairs in seal skins point still farther back and holds it in position, toward the tail, except at the lower part while the vertical knife is raised and shears of the neck and shoulders. These parts are off, in conjunction with the rotary knife, the at the sides of the head end of the skin, as forward-projecting hairs, as shown in Fig. the skin is split open at the under side. At 1. The separating brush, after it has acthese parts of the skin the hairs point out-complished its work, is lowered sufficiently wardly and backwardly and are the most so as not to touch the skin at all, except troublesome to cut or pluck, as they lie when it is in front of the working-edge of down close to the skin when it is drawn over the stretcher bar. The next section of the the stretcher bar. A sharp and quick rub skin is now moved by the feed rollers over ever these parts of the skin from the edge the edge of the stretcher bar, and the same toward the center of the skin is therefore operation of the parts produced by the next necessary, so as to straighten up the hairs rotation of the driving shaft, and so on unand present them to the action of the cut- til the skin is finished." ting knives. When the skin is in place, the stationary card E is drawn backward a few times over that part of the skin that is upon the stretcher bar B, so as to card back the fur and hair and produce thereby a parting of the fur at that part of the skin then covering the edge of the stretcher bar. One half of the fur upon that section of skin will, by the parting, be kept above and the other half below the edge of the stretcher bar. This permits the hair upon that section of the skin in front of the edge of the stretcher bar to rise through the fur and keep its place with less trouble than when more fur is acted upon. When the fur and hair have been carded back by the card E, the same is fastened to the stretcher bar by thumb screws. The card is set back from the edge of the stretcher bar to a distance a little more than one half of the length of the fur for the purpose of holding the fur and preventing it from moving forward until the forward motion of the skin takes place. The card at the back of the rotary knife passes then over the skin in front of the edge of the stretcher bar and draws out all the fur and hair on that section, so that the fur and hairs so drawn out assume their natural positions, that is, the positions which they would have if the skin were drawn over the edge of the stretcher bar without anything for holding back the fur and hair. As soon as the card at the back of the rotary knife has passed over the sec-nary parlance a 'pioneer.' This word, altion of the skin in front of the stretcher bar though used somewhat loosely, is commonthe rubbers are quickly moved over the ly understood to denote a patent covering a same toward the center, whereby the hairs function never before performed, a wholly that lie down sidewise are raised and point- novel device, or one of such novelty and imed outwardly, causing them to stand up- portance as to mark a distinct step in the right. The rotary separating brush is then progress of the art, as distinguished from a quickly moved upward and forward and re- mere improvement or perfection of what volved in front of the skin at the edge of had gone before. Most conspicuous examthe stretcher bar, so as to separate the fur ples of such patents are: The one to Howe from the hairs, brushing down the former of the sewing machine; to Morse of the elecand leaving the stiff hair standing out. The tric telegraph; and to Bell of the telephone. rotary separating brush is then quickly The record in this case would indicate that moved backward and downward, so as to the same honorable appellation might safe
In determining the construction to be given to the claim in suit, which is alleged to be infringed, it is necessary to have in mind the nature of this patent, its character as a pioneer invention or otherwise, and the state of the art at the time when the invention was made. It is well settled that a greater degree of liberality and a wider range of equivalents are permitted where the patent is of a pioneer character than when the invention is simply an improvement, may be the last and successful step, in the art theretofore partially developed by other inventors in the same field. Upon this subject it was said by this court (Westinghouse v. Boyden Power Brake Co. 170 U. S. 537, 42 L. ed. 1136, 18 Sup. Ct. Rep. 707, quoted with approval in Singer Mfg. Co. v. Cramer, 192 U. S. 265, 48 L. ed. 437, 24 Sup. Ct. Rep. 291):
"To what liberality of construction these claims are entitled depends to a certain extent upon the character of the invention, and whether it is what is termed in ordi
ly be bestowed upon the original air-brake | ton patent a prodigious advance upon that of Westinghouse, and perhaps also upon his of the prior Covert patent, and I think a automatic brake. In view of the fact that higher degree of merit has been attributed the invention in this case was never put into to it than it deserves; but it was enough successful operation, and was, to a limited of an advance to be patentable, and to deextent, anticipated by the Boyden patent of serve protection against an infringing ma1883, it is perhaps an unwarrantable exten-chine which appropriates it." sion of the term to speak of it as a 'pioneer,' although the principle involved subsequently and through improvements upon this invention became one of great value to the public."
While it may be admitted that the Sut ton patent was a distinct step in the art, and is entitled to protection as a valuable invention, nevertheless it cannot be said to be a pioneer patent in any just sense. In the English Lake patent of 1881, of which more will be said hereafter, there is doubtless a suggestion of the use of brushes for the purpose of separating the fur from the long hair to be removed. And so in the Covert patent of 1884, which was the subject of consideration by Judge Wheeler in the case of Cimiotti Unhairing Co. v. Mischke, 98 Fed. 297. In that case it was said that Covert's patent had been mechanically, but not commercially, successful, and that in lieu of a rotating separating brush, shown in Sutton's patent, Covert used a revolving cloth-covered cylinder, and it was held that this was not equivalent to the separating brush, and Sutton's invention was an advance upon anything theretofore shown. Of the Covert patent Judge Coxe, in the course of an able opinion sustaining the Sutton patent (Cimiotti Unhairing Co. v. American Unhairing Mach. Co. 53 C. C. A. 230, 234, 115 Fed. 498, 502), said:
Furthermore, it appears that while the Cimiottis acquired an exclusive license under the Sutton patent in 1888, the same was not put into commercial use until the introduction of coney skins as a substitute for sealskins, about the year 1890. During this time the Cimiottis were unhairing a large number of skins, and preferred to continue to use the air-blast machine of their own invention while paying tribute to Sutton. It was the introduction of the coney industry, in 1890, that gave stimulus to the use of such mechanisms as those used by the Cimiottis and the respondent in this case. We think it fair to say that this record discloses an invention of merit, entitled to some range of equivalents in determining the question of infringement, but it is not one of those broad, initiative inventions where original thought has been embodied in a practical mechanism, which the courts have been ever zealous to protect, and to which a wide range of equivalents has been accorded.
Due weight is given to the Sutton patent when it is given credit for dispensing with the plate which Covert had in addition to the brush, and which he supposed would carry down the fur away from the cutting mechanism, but which Sutton has accomplished in giving, in a measure, at least, this added function to the brush of not only "Covert came nearer than any one else parting the fur, but carrying it down and to a successful machine. He had but one away in preparation for the clipping by the more step to take, and here he became be- knives. Any one who accomplishes the wildered and went astray. He missed the same purpose by substantially the same apparently simple arrangement of the ro- mechanism, using the elements claimed in tary brush, which alone was necessary. Sutton's patent, may be held to be an inIt will not do to say hat the prior art | fringer. showed such a brush. Every element of the combination in controversy was unquestionably old, but there was nothing in the prior art to suggest a rotary brush working in the environment shown in the Sutton patent. There was nowhere a rotary brush making a 'part' on a keen-edged stretcher bar and brushing the fur down and out of the reach of the cutting knives during the moment necessary to the removal of the stiff hairs. It is the presence of this element in the combination which produces a new result and entitles its originator to protection."
In the same case, Judge Wallace (p. 237, Fed. p. 508), in his concurring opinion,
"I do not think the machine of the Sut
Sutton has taken the step which marks the difference between a successfully operating machine and one which stops short of that point, and that advance entitles him to the protection of a patent.
The argument here is confined, as to the alleged infringement, to the eighth claim of the Sutton patent, which is as follows:
"8. The combination of a fixed stretcher bar, means for intermittingly feeding the skin over the same, a stationary card above the stretcher bar, a rotary separating brush below the same, and mechanism, substantially as described, whereby the rotary brush is moved upward and forward into a position in front of the stretcher bar, substantially as set forth."
The elements of this claim are five in
number: 1, a fixed stretcher bar; 2, means | tion here is, Does the machine of the refor intermittently feeding the skin over the same; 3, a stationary card above the stretcher bar; 4, a rotary separating brush below the same; 5, mechanism whereby the rotary brush is moved upward and forward into a position in front of the stretcher bar, "substantially as set forth."
spondents infringe the eighth claim of the Sutton patent? One of the respondents' machines is in evidence, and we have carefully examined it. Its general outline may be seen in the annexed copy of the photograph in evidence: (see opposite page.)
The operation of the alleged infringing machine is such that when the power is applied for moving the stretcher bar, it is carried forward to the revolving brush, and after the brush has separated the fur from the hair, carried upwardly, to be acted upon by the cutting knives. The reciprocating
In making his claim the inventor is at liberty to choose his own form of expression, and while the courts may construe the same in view of the specifications and the state of the art, they may not add to or detract from the claim. And it is equally true that, as the inventor is required to enume-motion of the stretcher bar from the brush rate the elements of his claim, no one is an to the knives is produced by the action of infringer of a combination claim unless he the crank (operating with the cam) on the uses all the elements thereof. Shepard v. main shaft, as shown in the photograph. Carrigan, 116 U. S. 593-597, 29 L. ed. 723, | At the same time the mechanism for feed724, 6 Sup. Ct. Rep. 493; Sutler v. Robin- ing the machine is in operation, actuated by son, 119 U. S. 530-541, 30 L. ed. 492-495, 7 the same application of power. This mechSup. Ct. Rep. 376; McClain v. Ortmayer, anism (shown in the photograph at the 141 U. S. 419-425, 35 L. ed. 800-802, 12 side of the respondents' machine) consists Sup. Ct. Rep. 76; Wright v. Yuengling, 155 of the pawl (attached to the main frame) U. S. 47, 39 L. ed. 64, 15 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1; and the ratchet wheel (attached to the movBlack Diamond Coal Min. Co. v. Excelsioring frame), turning when the pawl engages Coal Co. 156 U. S. 611-617, 39 L. ed. 553-therein, and acting with the worm gearing 555, 15 Sup. Ct. Rep. 482; Walker, Patents, § 349. This principle is particularly important when we come to consider the "stationary card above the stretcher bar,"-an element of the eighth claim.
shown, to turn the roll which is part of the feeding mechanism. The operation is such that when the stretcher bar is carried from the knives to the brush in the return motion, the action of the pawl upon the ratchet wheel, with the worm gearing, causes the roll to turn and the pelt to be carried forward, the extent of the feed being regulated by the adjustment of the pawl. By this means the necessity of an independently acting mechanism for the feeding apparatus is avoided and the operation simplified.
The Sutton device, as we have seen, has a stationary stretcher bar; the respondents' mechanism has a movable stretcher bar. The fixed stretcher bar, about which the other mechanism acts, is made a distinct
The anticipating mechanism set up in this case is the so-called English Lake patent of October, 1881. This patent has been the subject of much adverse comment in the cases involving a consideration of it. And it appears to have lapsed for nonpayment of taxes in June, 1885, and not to have been a successful machine. It may be the fact that the patent is not distinctly worded, and that the drawing and specifications are somewhat confused. It does appear, however, without contradiction in the record, that the machine now used by the respond-feature of the eighth claim. It is not presents was made in a large measure from the ent in the respondents' mechanism, unless it drawings of the Lake patent. Mischke, one is true, as argued, that the one is substanof the respondents, was put upon the stand tially the equivalent of the other. It is by the petitioners, and testified that he said to make no difference whether the knife made the changes in a short time from the and brush are carried to the stretcher bar Lake patent, which resulted in the alleged or the stretcher bar is carried to the knife infringing machine. The Lake patent and brush. This might be true if the meshowed two brushes, whereas the respond- chanisms were substantially the same, and ents' machine has dispensed with one and there was a mere transposition or substituchanged the position of the other. He also tion of parts. Such changes would amount admits to have changed the position of the to an infringement. But in determining incam and shortened the crank arm as shown fringement we are entitled to look at the in the Lake machine. It seems to be the practical operation of the machines. The position of the petitioners' expert that other elements of the eighth claim are to be Mischke made the changes in the Lake pat- used in connection with the apparatus ent necessary to convert it into an operative shown in the Sutton patent, substantially as machine by adopting the controlling fea- described. If the device of the respondents tures of the Sutton patent. But whatever shows a substantially different mode of are the defects of the Lake patent, the ques-operation, even though the result of the