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AMERICAN ROAD-MACH, Co. v. GOULD et al.
(Circuit Court, N. D. Illinois. July 22, 1890.)
1. PATENTS FOR INVENTIONS-NOVELTY.
The following specification of patent No. 362,679, granted May 10, 1887, to George W. Taft, is not void for want of novelty: “(13) In a machine for making roads, the combination of a carriage or body frame, supported on front and rear traveling wheels, a diagonally disposed scraper-blade extending across and supported beneath said body-frame, and an extended longitudinally adjustable rear axle, whereby one of the rear traveling wheels can be projected laterally beyond the working line of
said diagonal scraper-blade, for the purpose set forth." 2. SAME-INFRINGEMENT.
Though, in addition to this long lateral, movable axle, the machine patented has a device for adjusting the frame on the axle by means of a rack and pinion, the patent is infringed by a machine having the long hind axle, on which the frame is fastened by clamps held in place by nuts, the loosening of which enables the operator to shift the frame on the axle.
BLODGETT, J. In this case the defendants are charged with the infringement of patent No. 362,679, granted May 10, 1887, to George W. Taft, for a “machine for making, repairing, and cleaning roads." The scope and object of the invention, as stated in the specifications, relate "to improvements in that class of road-working machines in which a diagonally disposed scraper or plowing blade is mounted in connection with a wheeled carriage or supporting body, and provided with mechanism whereby the scraper can be adjusted to the different required working positions.
Another important object is to provide in a diagonal road-scraper or road-working machine a shifting rear axle, whereby the relation of the rear end of the body and the rear traveling wheels can be varied or changed to meet different conditions of work to be performed.” The construction of the machine in the particular mentioned in the last paragraph consists mainly in a hind axle much longer than the width of the frame which carries the scraper, and the frame so mounted on its axle that the axle may be slid laterally in either direction, so that the frame may be nearer to one hub than the other, and the advantages of this feature in the construction are stated in the patent to be that "it in a great measure overcomes rocking action of the body of the machine as the wheels pass over uneven ground. It also permits of the rear wheel being set over, as indicated by dotted lines, (Fig. 3,) so as to brace against the bank when plowing the secon i round, or when moving the earth turned up by the first furrow from the shoulder of the road further in towards the center of the road. It also allows an adjustment of the wheels, so that the windrow of earth can be deposited inside the line of the wheel when desired, so that the wheel can get support against the windrow. It also allows adjustment to avoid chopping action of the blade, by reason of the wheels running over clods when the machine is cutting deep, as well as facilitating changes in the relative
position of the rear wheels and carriage body, to meet or correspond with different positions of angular adjustment.” The patent has 22 claims, covering many features of the machine not now in controversy, but infringement is charged in this case only of the thirteenth claim, which is:
"(13) In a machine for working roads, the combination of a carriage or body frame, supported on front and rear traveling wheels, a diagonally disposed scraper-blade extending across and supported beneath said body frame, and an extended longitudinally adjustable rear axle, whereby one of the rear traveling wheels can be projected laterally beyond the working line of said diagonal scraper-blade, for the purpose set forth.”
The defenses insisted upon are: (1) Want of patentable novelty. (2) That defendants do not infringe.
In support of their defense of want of patentable novelty defendants have introduced a large number of United States patents upon wheel plows, cultivators, seeding-machines, ditching-machines, and roadscrapers. I do not think there is any analogy between the machine now in question and the plow, cultivator, and seeding-machine patents which have been cited on the part of the defendants, as it is quite evident to me from the proof in the case that the purposes for which the movable axle of the complainant is used is widely different from that of the extensible axles in sulky plows, cultivators, etc. The proof also shows two or more patents for ditching-machines, where the frame carrying the ditching mechanism is movable upon the axles, the object of such adjustment being to allow the wheels, or a portion of them, tr travel upon the bank while the cutting or ditching mechanism is working in the ditch.
Several patents are also shown upon two-wheel road-scrapers, where the frame carrying the scraper is adjustable laterally upon the axle of the carrying wheels, of which the patents to Benedict & Cumming, of May, 1860, and the patent to Fleming, of June, 1883, are perhaps, all things considered, as good types as any which can be selected from the numerous exhibits introduced. There is also a patent on a fourwheel road-scraper, granted to Cook, in September, 1885, which has an extensible forward axle, that is, means for shortening and extending the forward axle for certain purposes in connection with working the machine; but this feature of construction is recognized by the patentee in the patent now before the court, and a disclaimer inserted in the patent. From the proof in the case it appears that in a four-wheel road-scraper much difficulty is encountered by the side movement, or “slewing," as it is called, of the scraper from the line of draught, by reason of the side pressure upon the scraper when working diagonally, and the chief utility of this movable axle, as covered by the thirteenth claim, is that the wheel may be made to run in a rut, or bear against the vertical side of the ditch by the roadside or a furrow, so as to prevent this slewing movement of the portion of the structure which carries the scraper, and in the working of the machine it may be adjusted to any other conformation of the ground which furnishes a guide or abutment against which the wheel may be caused to run so as to prevent this sideways or slew
ing motion. And it also appears from the proof that this difficulty does not apply to two-wheel machines, where there is a rigid connection between the team and the frame of the machine by means of the tongue, so that the team guides and controls the line in which the scraper works. In all the older devices which have been cited and put in evidence in this case I fail to find any four-wheel machines which contain the combination of elements covered by the thirteenth claim in question, and I have no doubt from the proof that the addition of this extended and adjustable axle to the road-machine has worked a decided and valuable improvement in the efficiency of the machine. I therefore conclude that the defense of want of patentable novelty is not substantiated by the proof, although I am free to admit that the patent stands upon narrow footing, and must, under the terms of the claim, and in the light of the prior art, be strictly confined to four-wheel scrapers, containing the elements of this claim or their known equivalents.
As to the claim that defendants do not infringe. The complainant's machine not only shows this long lateral, movable axle, but it also shows a device for adjusting the frame upon the axle, by means of a rack and pinion, and it is insisted with much persistency on the part of the defendants that, inasmuch as the defendants do not use a rack and pinion for the purpose of changing the adjustment of the frame upon the axle, hence the defendants do not infringe; but it will be noticed that the claim does not cover the means by which the adjustment is effected, but only the extended longitudinally adjustable rear axle, in combination with the other elements of the claim. A model of the defendants' machine is put in evidence in the case, showing a long hind axle, upon which the frame carrying the scraper is fastened by means of clips or clamps held in place by nuts, the loosening of which enables the operator to shift the position of the frame upon the axle as readily as the complainant's frame is shifted upon the axle. It is true, the work of shifting the position of the frame on the axle must be done by hand, but that, in my estimation, makes no difference. The feature of longitudinal adjustability is in the defendants' machine as clearly and for practical purposes probably as completely as in the complainant's, and hence I am compelled to find that the defendants infringe the thirteenth claim of complainant's patent as charged. A decree may be prepared finding that defendants infringe the thirteenth claim, and ordering an accounting.
CELLULOID MANUF'G Co. v. ARLINGTON MANUF'G Co. et al.
(Circuit Court, D. New Jersey. September 23, 1890.) PATENTS FOR INTENTIONS-CELLULOID-INFRIXGEMENT.
Letters patent No. 199,908, issued to the Celluloid Manufacturing Company for improvement in the manufacture of sheets of celluloid, consisting in the use of a slab of celluloid fastened upon a grooved plate through the operation of the contractile energy of the celluloid in cooling acting upon two or more elevations or depressions in the plate, so that the mass of celluloid is held firmly in place while being planed off into thin sheets, is not infringed by a device by which the celluloid is held on a supporting base by means of atmospheric pressure.
Rowland Cox, William D. Shipman, and Frederic H. Betts, for complainant.
John R. Bennett, for defendants.
GREEN, J. This is a suit in equity to restrain an alleged infringement by the defendants of letters patent No. 199,908, granted to the complainant as assignee of John W. Hyatt, for “improvement in the manufacture of sheets of celluloid and other plastic compositions." Of the validity of this patent, there is no question. It has been critically examined by the circuit court of the United States for the district of Massachusetts, in the case of Celluloid Manuf'g Co. v. American Zylonite Co., 31 Fed. Rep. 904, and sustained in all respects. The only question involved in the present litigation is that of infringement. The patent in question concerns itself with the manufacture of sheets of celluloid and other plastic compositions. Celluloid, as an article of commerce, had been known for years. It is a compound of which pyroxyline is the base or principal ingredient. Pyroxyline is made by subjecting vegetable fiber to the action of sulphuric and nitric acids. To the pyroxyline base is added a solvent, usually camphor and alcohol, which softens or dissolves it, and then pigment may be added to give color. The solvent converts the pyroxyline into a jelly-like mass, which, upon being subjected to heat and pressure, and to a thorough mechanical kneading, resolves itself into a solid, homogeneous mass, which is called “celluloid.” It is rough and porous in texture, and somewhat brittle, when cooled. By the reapplication of heat, however, it is rendered plastic, in which condition it can readily be caused to assume any desired form or shape by moulding or pressure. In the manipulation and treatment of celluloid, however, one difficulty seemed almost insuperable. Experience had shown that for the manufacture of many articles, and for use in many respects, thin sheets of celluloid were far preferable to the more usual forms of bar or cylinder. Cutting or planing such thin sheets from a larger mass or block of celluloid had been accomplished, but not with such success as to justify the adoption of the processes. The great difficulty in the cutting or planing operation was that the plastic "material was apt to rise from the surface supporting it, and ride up the knife,” thus producing a material irregularity in the cutting, or stopping the operation altogether. Evidently, the great desideratum was some tool or
some process by which the slab or block of plastic material would be firmly and securely held in place upon the surface supporting it during the operation of shaving or planing it into thin sheets. It was to accomplish this purpose that the inventor, Mr. Hyatt, originated the process and the mechanism secured to the complainant by the letters patent in question. Hyatt describes his invention, generally, as an improvement in the manufacture of sheets of celluloid and other plastic compositions, and he declares that the objects of the invention are "accomplished by causing the union in a single slab of a number of sheets or pieces of celluloid, this being effected by pressure and heat, which contemporaneously amalgamate the sheets into a slab, and also force portions of the under side thereof into channels or inclined grooves in the surface upon which the slab rests, which grooves are so arranged that, upon the hardening and shrinking of the material, the portions thereof in the grooves operate as a series of hooks or clutches to retain the slab in place, after which the plate supporting the slab is placed upon a machine for planing, whereby the material is shaved or planed off in sheets or pieces of any desired thickness, the sheets being subsequently dried in open frames, whereby they acquire and retain formation.” The specification in the letters patent describes an apparatus for doing this, in which the middle of the upper surface of the plate is a slightly-raised boss, wholly covered with grooves and intermediate ridges or elevations, and the grooves on either side of the central vertical longitudinal plane of which, incline inward and downward towards that plane, and again, “the purpose of retaining the slab in position may be effected, also, by vertical apertures in the plate, or, in fact, apertures or elevations of any order, in or upon or about which the plastic composition can be forced, and then permitted to harden; the essence of this element of the invention being to asfix a plate of plastic composition upon a plate immovably, by combined heat and pressure and subsequent cooling.” In other words, the improvement in the manufacture of celluloid sheets, inventedi by Hyatt, and as specifically described in his specification, consists in placing in a pile a number of rough sheets of celluloid upon a grooved plate in a chase or mould, subjecting them to a high degree of heat, and to great pressure, by which they are solidified into a compact slab, the lower portion of which is, at the same time, forced into the grooves, then cooling the material, causing it to shrink so that such part of the material as has been forced into the grooves, by reason of the shrinkage, operates as a clutch or hook grasping the metal of the tool with immense power, and holding the slab firmly by a tension towards the center against any movement or force, either lateral or upward. "Thus," to quote from the specification, “is the prime object of the invention accom
Of the various and numerous “claims” of the inventor it is now contended that the defendants are guilty of infringing the twenty-eighth, thirtieth, and thirty-first. These claims are as follows:
“(28) The within-described process of making sheets of plastic composition, which consists—First, in forming and causing the adhesion of a slab of the