MR. JUSTICE BLATCHFORD delivered the opinion of the court.
On the 27th of May, 1879, the Consolidated Safety-Valve Company, a Connecticut corporation, brought a suit in equity, in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Massachusetts, against the Crosby Steam Gauge and Valve Company a Massachusetts corporation, for the infringement of letters patent No. 58,294, granted to George W. Richardson, September 25, 1866, for an improvement in steam safety-valves. The specification of the patent is as follows:
"Be it known, that I, George W. Richardson, of the city of Troy, in the county of Rensselaer, in the State of New York, have invented a new and useful improvement on a safety-valve for steam generators, and I do hereby declare that the following is a full, clear and exact description of the construction and operation of the same, reference being had to the annexed drawings, making a part of this specification, in which Fig. 1 is an end view of my improved safety-valve and its seat, as seen from the bottom; Fig. 2 is an end view of the valve alone, as seen from the bottom; Fig. 3 is vertical section at x x, Fig 1, of the valve and seat in position; Fig. 4 is a vertical section at y y, Fig. 2, of the valve alone. Similar colors and letters of reference indicate corresponding parts in the several figures. A A is the head of the safety-valve; B B B B are wings to guide the valve into its seat E E; c c is a circular or annular flange or lip, extending over, slightly below, and fitting loosely around, the outer edge of the valve-seat E E; D D is a circular or annular chamber, into which the steam immediately passes when the valve lifts from its seat at the ground joint F F; E E is the valve seat; F F is the ground joint of the valve and seat; P is the countersink or centre upon which the point of the stud extending from the scale lever rests, in the usual manner. The nature of my invention consists in increasing the area of the head of the common safety-valve outside of its ground joint, and terminating it in such a way as to form an increased resisting surface, against which the steam escaping
"To enable others skilled in the art to make and use my invention, I will proceed to describe its construction and operation. To the head of the common safety-valve, indicated by all that portion of Fig. 2 lying within the second circle from the common centre, I add what is indicated by all that portion lying outside of the said circle, in about the proportion shown in the figure. A transverse vertical section of this added portion
The claim of the patent is this: "What I claim as my improvement, and desire to secure by letters patent, is a safety valve with the circular or annular flange or lip c c, constructed in the manner, or substantially in the manner, shown, so as to operate as and for the purpose herein described."
On the 2d of June, 1879, the same plaintiff brought a suit in equity, in the same court, against the same defendant, for the infringement of letters patent No. 85,963, granted to the same George W. Richardson, January 19, 1869, for an improvement in safety-valves for steam boilers or generators. So much of the specification of the patent as is involved in this suit is as follows:
"Be it known, that I, George William Richardson, of Troy, in the State of New York, have invented certain new and useful improvements in safety-valves for steam boilers or generators; and I do hereby declare that the following is a full, clear, and exact description thereof, reference being had to the accompanying drawings making part of this specification, in which Figure 1 is a vertical section of the safety-valve and its connections, taken in the plane of the axis of the valve-stem; Fig. 2, a horizontal section taken in the plane of the line A a of Fig. 1, and Fig. 3 another horizontal section at the line B b of Fig. 1. Fig. 4 is a vertical section taken in the plane of the axis of the valve, representing a modification of my said invention; and Fig. 5, a horizontal section thereof, taken in the plane of the line C c of Fig. 4. My said invention relates to improvements in the invention described in letters patent granted to me, and bearing date the 25th day of September, 1866, which said patented invention relates to a means for providing a more free escape for the steam than could be obtained by safety-valves as constructed prior thereto, and to insure the keeping of the valve open until the pressure of the steam in the boiler or generator falls below the pressure which was required to open it, the said means so patented consisting in forming the valve with a surface outside of the ground joint, for the escaping steam to act against, the said surface being surrounded by
escape for the steam when the valve is opened, but which, although of greater diameter than the valve-seat, by reason of
"One part of my present invention relates to a means for regulating or adjusting the area of the aperture for the escape of the steam after acting on the said surface outside of the valve-seat, so that the valve may be set to close at any desired pressure below the pressure which will open it; and this part of my invention consists in making the aperture or apertures for the escape of the steam, after it has acted on the said surface outside of the valve-seat, adjustable... .
"I will first describe the preferred mode of application of my said invention, as represented in Figs. 1, 2, and 3 of the accompanying drawings. In the said figures, a represents the valve-seat, which is to be attached to a steam boiler or generator in the usual or any other suitable manner, and which is formed, in the usual manner, with a bevelled seat from the valve b, fitted thereto by what is well known as a `ground joint.' ...
"It is desirable, that, so soon as the pressure of the steam in the boiler or generator reaches the pressure at which it should be relieved, the safety-valve should open wide for the free escape of steam, and that the valve should remain open until the pressure in the boiler is reduced below the pressure by which the valve was opened, and that it should be so organized that the engineer may be able to adjust it so that it will close at any desired number of pounds pressure below the pressure at which it was opened. To accomplish these results was the main object of my said invention.
"To the upper surface of the valve I secure a cap-plate or annulus, m, formed with a downward-projecting flange, n, at its outer periphery, leaving an annular space, o, all around between the outer periphery of the valve and the inner periphery of the flange n of the said cap. And the upper surface of the valve-seat a is extended all around, a little beyond the outer
"From the foregoing it will be seen, that, when the pressure of steam in the boiler or generator becomes sufficient to lift the valve from its seat, it acts against the surface of the annular space o between the bevel of the valve-seat and the downward-projecting flange n of the cap, to assist in lifting and holding up the valve, particularly when the valve is borne down by the tension of a spring, which presents an increasing resistance as the valve is lifted. If the projecting rim q were in the same plane with the lower edge of the flange n, the diameter of these parts being greater than that of the valve-seat, on the lifting of the valve and cap, the area of the opening between the flange n of the cap and the projecting rim q would be greater than the area of the opening between the valve and its seat, just in proportion as the diameter of the one is greater than the other, and the steam escaping from the valve would pass unchecked between the flange n and rim q, and would not exert any force against the surface of the annular space o; but, as the rim q extends above the lower edge of the flange n of the cap-plate, it follows that the aperture between the valve and its seat, by the lifting of the valve, is
"I have described and represented this as the simplest mode of adjusting the area of the aperture for the escape of the steam after it passes the valve-seat; but it will be obvious, that the same result may be attained by equivalent means, such, for instance, as making the ring q in adjustable segments, so that its diameter can be increased or diminished; but this would be more complicated than the mode first and fully described; and it will also be obvious, that the devices for holding up the valve may be inverted, as represented in Figs. 4 and 5 of the accompanying drawings, in which a' is the valve-seat and b' the valve, with its bevelled ground joint, the valve-seat a' having a flat annular surface c', beyond the bevel, and the valve an annular surface d', with a downward-projecting flange e', the lower edge of which, when the valve is closed, extends a little below the plane of the surface c' of the valve-seat, and a narrow annular space being left for the escape of steam between the inner
The claim of the patent is as follows:
"What I claim as new, and desire to secure by letters patent, is, the combination of the surface beyond the seat of the safety-valve, with the means herein described for regulating or adjusting the area of the passage for the escape of steam, substantially as and for the purpose described."
The answers in the two suits set up want of novelty, and cite, as anticipating patents, three English patents — one to Charles Ritchie, No. 12,078, August 3, 1848; one to James Webster, No. 1,955, July 12, 1857; and one to William Hartley, No. 2,205, August 19, 1857; also, an English publication made in 1858, called "The Artizan." Infringement is denied, and it is averred that the valves which the defendant makes and sells are the inventions of George H. Crosby, and are described in two patents granted to him and owned by the defendant, one No. 159,157, dated January 26, 1875; and the other, No. 160,167, dated February 23, 1875.
The same proofs were taken in the two suits, and they were heard together in the Circuit Court. In each suit that court made a decree dismissing the bill, 7 Fed. Rep. 768, and from each decree the plaintiff has appealed.
When Richardson applied for his patent of 1866 his claim read thus: "What I claim as my improvement, and desire to secure by letters patent, is, increasing the area of the head of the common safety-valve, outside of the ground joint F F, and terminating this addition with the circular or annular flange or lip c c, constructed in the manner, or substantially in the manner shown, so as to operate as and for the purpose herein described." This claim was rejected as defective, because not for a device, and it was amended to read as granted.
In the application for the patent of 1869 there were two claims. The second related to means for preventing the guides and stem of the valve from binding, and was rejected as not new, and stricken out, though the descriptive matter on which it was founded was retained. The first claim, as applied for,
The view taken by the Circuit Court, in dismissing the bills, was, that some valves had been made before 1866, which embodied the same general principle as Richardson's, and were of some value, operating through the expansive power of steam exerted upon an additional chamber outside of the ground joint; and that what Richardson did was to so regulate the action of the chamber outside of the ground joint, by a crack or opening between the lip of the valve and its main body, that the steam would be confined or huddled, when it sought to escape from the chamber, and so the valve would be held up just long enough, and could fall rapidly before too much steam was lost. But, the cases went off on the question of infringement, and the Circuit Court found, that while the defendant's valve employed an additional surface to lift the valve as soon as it began to blow, and the pressure was regulated in part by a stricture, it differed from the plaintiff's, in that the additional area was not outside of the ground joint, but inside, and was not acted on independently of the valve itself, but was a part of it, and the escaping steam did not act at all by impact, but wholly by expansion. The conclusion was, that as Richardson was not the first to apply the idea of an additional area or of a stricture, he could not enjoin a valve which resembled his only in adopting such general ideas, and that his claims did not cover a valve having the mode of operation of the defendant's.
Edward H. Ashcroft, as assignee of William Naylor, obtained reissued letters patent of the United States, No. 3,727, dated November 9, 1869, on the surrender of letters patent No. 58,962, issued to said Naylor, October 16, 1866 for an improvement in safety-valves. Ashcroft brought a suit in equity, in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Massachusetts,
In the present case, the defendant has introduced in evidence the before-named English patents to Ritchie, Webster and Hartley, and the English patent to William Naylor, No. 1,830, granted July 1, 1863; and also letters patent of the United States, No. 10,243, granted to Henry Waterman, November 15, 1853, and the reissue of the same, No. 2,675, granted to him July 9, 1867. In view of all these patents, and of the state of the art, it appears that Richardson was the first person who described and introduced into use a safety-valve which, while it automatically relieved the pressure of steam in the boiler, did not, in effecting that result, reduce the pressure to such an extent as to make the use of the relieving apparatus practically impossible, because of the expenditure of time and fuel necessary to bring up the steam again to the proper working standard. His valve, while it automatically gives relief before the pressure becomes dangerously great, according to the point at which the valve is set to blow off, operates so as to automatically arrest with promptness the reduction of pressure when the boiler is relieved. His patent of 1866 gave a moderate range of pressure, as the result of the proportions there specified, and his patent of 1869 furnished a means of regulating that range of pressure, by a screw ring, within those narrow limits which are essential in the use of so subtle an agent as steam.
In regard to all of the above patents, adduced against Richardson's patent of 1866, it may be generally said, that they
Thomas Adams, of Manchester, England, who has spent a lifetime in the manufacture and practical working of safety-valves, testifies, that the Ritchie and Webster valves have never been in use practically in England, and the Hartley only in two or three cases, when it was a failure; that he himself has made and applied, in England, about 15,000 of Richardson's valves; that, if loaded at 120 pounds per square inch, his valve returns to its seat with a very small loss of pressure; that the Beyer valve, loaded at 120 pounds, reduces the pressure 30 pounds, before returning to its seat; and that Naylor's has been superseded by Richardson's.
It appears to have been easy enough to make a safety-valve which would relieve the boiler, but the problem was to make one which, while it opened with increasing power in the steam against the increasing resistance of a spring, would close suddenly
Ritchie's patent, in speaking of his valve, says: "This valve is weighted by a helical spring i (shown at Figure 2) of sufficient power according to the required pressure of the steam; and, when it is intended to be used as a reserve safety-valve, I place the spring around that part of the stem below the valve, that is to say, within the boiler, as shown at Figure 2. The
The evidence in the present case shows satisfactorily, that valves made in conformity with the measurements of the drawing of Ritchie's patent do, in practice, reduce the pressure in the boiler to such an extent, after that pressure is properly relieved, and before they close, as to involvo great loss of time and consumption of fuel before the initial pressure is restored. The experimental valves produced by the defendant as structures made according to Ritchie's patent vary from the dimensions of his drawing, and the variations are those which result from the instructions given by Richardson in his patents. Ritchie gives no information how to make a valve work at a predetermined pressure, or how to make it work with a small range of difference between the opening and closing pressures, or how to proportion the strength of the spring and the size of the stricture to each other. The same thing is true of the Webster and the Hartley patents.
The Webster patent shows a huddling chamber and a stricture. But the evidence shows that valves made with the proportions shown in the drawings of Webster work with so large a loss of boiler pressure, before closing, as to be practically and economically worthless. Webster's patent describes a means of making the area for the escape of steam adjustable, consisting
Nothing further need be said as to the Hartley valve or the Beyer valve.
The original patent to Waterman was issued in 1853. His attention had been turned to the subject of safety-valves for locomotive engines. He invented what is described in that patent, but he testifies that, before 1866, he never saw a safety-valve capable of keeping the pressure at a point not above working pressure, and of relieving the boiler with but a small loss of pressure; that his valve would let the steam down about 15 pounds, and was not practical for an ordinary locomotive; and that the Richardson valve, when introduced, went at once into general use. The Waterman valve had a supplemental surface, on which the steam acted to aid in the raising of the valve; and this was shown in the drawing of Waterman's original patent, but the specification did not describe it. Waterman's original patent did not show the use of a spring, and prior to its reissue his valve had not been made with a spring. After Richardson obtained his patent of 1866, and Waterman knew of Richardson's valve, they combined the interests in their two patents, and the reisue of Waterman's was obtained, with the co-operation of Richardson, he signing as a witness the specification of the reissue. That specification, granted in 1867, describes an overhanging part of the valve as increasing its area outside of, and beyond, the ground joint, and a concentric rim or ledge, which directs the steam upward against such overhanging part of the valve, so that the valve is assisted in rising. The specification was drawn in view of Richardson's patent and valve, and for the purpose of making a claim, which was then made, and which was not in Waterman's original patent, to a combination of the concentric rim or ledge with the overhanging part of the valve. The specification states, that the valve and its seat are so constructed that the escaping steam will act on an increased area of the valve after it has risen from its seat, and strike the overhanging or
If anything which Richardson did in respect to reissuing the Waterman patent, could, in any event, affect the rights of the present plaintiff under either patent sued on, as to which we express no opinion, it is sufficient to say, that the present defendant claims, in its answers, no benefit from any action of Richardson's in respect to the Waterman patent, as operating in its favor or inuring to its benefit, as an equitable defence in these suits.
Richardson is, therefore, entitled to cover, by the claim of his patent of 1866, under the language, "a safety-valve with the circular or annular flange or lip c c, constructed in the manner, or substantially in the manner, shown, so as to operate as and for the purpose herein described," a valve in which are combined an initial area, an additional area, a huddling chamber beneath the additional area, and a strictured orifice leading from the huddling chamber to the open air, the orifice being
Richardson is also entitled to cover, by the claim of his patent of 1869, under the language, "the combination of the surface beyond the seat of the safety-valve, with the means herein described, for regulating or adjusting the area of the passage for the escape of steam, substantially as and for the purpose described," the combination with the surface of the huddling chamber, and the strictured orifice, of a screw ring, to be moved up or down to obstruct such orifice more or less, in the manner described.
The Richardson patents have a disc valve, an annular huddling chamber, an annular stricture at the outer extremity of the radii from the centre of the valve, an additional area which is radially beyond the disc valve, and a cylindrical steam-way. But, before 1866, an annular form of safety-valve was well known. Such a valve necessarily requires an annular steam-way. In the defendant's valve, complainant's Exhibit A, the same effects, in operation, are produced as in the Richardson valve, by the means described in Richardson's claims. In both structures, the valve is held to its seat by a spring, so compressed as to keep the valve there until the pressure inside of the boiler is sufficient to move the valve against the pressure of the spring, so that the steam escapes through the ground joint into a chamber covered by an extension of the valve, in which chamber the steam acts expansively against the extended surface, and increases the pressure in opposition to the increasing pressure of the spring, and assists in opening the valve wider; this chamber, in the defendant's valve, has, at its termination, substantially the same construction as Richardson's valve, namely, a stricture, which causes the steam to act, by expansive
There is one structural difference between the two valves, which is now to be mentioned. In the Richardson valve, all the steam which escapes into the open air escapes from the huddling chamber, through a stricture which is smaller than the aperture at the ground joint. In the defendant's valve, the valve proper has two ground joints, one at the inner periphery of the annulus, and the other at its outer periphery, and only a part of the steam, namely, that which passes through one of the ground joints passes into the huddling chamber and then through the stricture, the other part of the steam passing directly from the boiler into the air, through the other ground joint. But all of that part of the steam which passes into the huddling chamber and under the extended surface, passes through the constriction at the extremity of such chamber, in both valves, the difference being only one of degree, but with the same mode of operation.
In the Richardson patent of 1869, the stricture is regulated as to size by an adjustable screw-ring. In the defendant's valve, there is a screw-ring or sleeve, which closes the escape orifices from the central chamber, more or less.
In the defendant's valve, the huddling chamber is at the centre instead of the circumference, and is in the seat of the valve under the head, instead of in the head, and the stricture, instead of being at the circumference of the head, is at the circumference of the seat of the valve. But this is only the use of means equivalent to those shown by Richardson, while the
Richardson's invention brought to success what prior inventors had essayed and partly accomplished. He used some things which had been used before, but he added just that which was necessary to make the whole a practically valuable and economical apparatus. The fact that the known valves were not used, and the speedy and extensive adoption of Richardson's valve, are facts in harmony with the evidence that his valve contains just what the prior valves lack, and go to support the conclusion at which we have arrived on the question of novelty. When the ideas necessary to success are made known, and a structure embodying those ideas is given to the world, it is easy for the skilful mechanic to vary the form by mechanism which is equivalent, and is, therefore, in a case of this kind, an infringement.
It follows, from these views, that
The decrees of the Circuit Court must be reversed, and each case be remanded to that court, with a direction to enter a decree sustaining the validity of the patent sued on, and decreeing infringement, and awarding an account of profits and damages, as prayed for, and to take such further proceedings as may be proper and not inconsistent with this opinion, and with the further direction, as to the suit brought on the patent of 1869, to grant a perpetual injunction, according to the prayer of the bill.