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October 1, 1880


APPEAL from the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Massachusetts. The facts are stated in the opinion of the court.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mr. Justice Woods delivered the opinion of the court.

Mr. Arthur v. Briesen for the appellant.

Mr. J. L. S. Roberts, contra.

On July 14, 1868, letters-patent No. 79,989 were granted to one H. Y. Lazear for an improved apparatus for broiling steak by gas. This patent was transferred by the assignment of the patentee to one W. Phillips, who, by another assignment, transferred it to James L. Sharp. The invention was represented and described as an upright cylinder or closed casing of sheet-metal, with a lid for closing the top, and with an open bottom. The diameter of the open bottom was traversed by a V-shaped horizontal trough, dividing it into two equal openings, through which the flame of a gas-stove, over which the apparatus was placed, might enter in two equal sheets. The trough was filled with plaster of Paris or other good non-conductor of heat, and upon this non-conductor the dripping-pan was placed for receiving the juices of the meat. The steak was clasped in a wire broiler, which was placed in the cylinder or closed casing in a vertical position, with its lower end resting in the dripping-pan, the two flat sides of the meat being equally exposed to the two sheets of flame which entered the lower end of the cylinder in the manner stated. The object was to produce an apparatus in which both sides of the meat might be cooked equally and at the same time, and in which the drippings from the meat might be caught in a pan, where it would be protected from the injurious effects of the heat. The latter object was obtained by the non-conductor filling upon which the drip-pan rested, and which filled the V-shaped trough. The trough served to contain the filling and support the pan, and to divide the flame into two equal sheets, which ascended along the sides of the steak.

The first and third claims of the patent were thus stated:––

'1. The V-shaped trough E and the filling E, by which the flame is divided, and the grease protected from burning, and smoke thereby prevented, substantially as described, in combination with a gas steak-broiler.'

'3. An apparatus for broiling steak by gas, whereby the steak is broiled or cooked simultaneously on both sides, or where the sides are equally exposed to the flame and heat, substantially as shown and described.'

On May 3, 1876, Sharp filed the bill in this case. He claimed to be the sole owner of the letters-patent issued to Lazear, and charged that the defendant, the Dover Stamping Company, had unlawfully and wrongfully made, used, and sold, and was making, using, and selling, large quantities of gas-heaters, such as were described and claimed in the letters-patent, in infringement of them and in violation of his exclusive privilege.

The bill prayed that the defendant might be compelled to account for and pay over all gains and profits derived from the infringement of the patent, and for a perpetual injunction restraining it from making, using, or vending gas-heaters embodying the invention described in the letters-patent claimed by complainant.

Upon final hearing in the Circuit Court the bill was dismissed. Sharp thereupon brought the case here by appeal.

It is conceded by the defendant that the gas-heaters manufactured by it embody the invention claimed in letters-patent issued to Lazear. The defence relied on is that Lazear 'was not the original and first inventor of the whole or any substantial or material part of the things set forth and claimed as new in said letters-patent, but that prior to said alleged invention thereof the same had been described and set forth in the following specified letters-patent of the United States, and known to and used by the several patentees therein named, at the places of their respective residences, that is to say: No. 28,781, dated June 19, 1860, and granted to William F. Shaw, of Boston, Massachusetts; No. 38,018, dated March 24, 1863, and granted to James M. Dick, of Buffalo, New York; and No. 66,911, dated July 16, 1867, and granted to D. C. Teller, of Terre Haute, Indiana.'

Dick's patent was not introduced in evidence, but Shaw's and Teller's were.

The apparatus described in the Teller patent was a cylindrical vessel, having a central opening in the bottom, and an annular opening around the central opening, and a series of vertical wires or rods inserted in the annular bottom that intervened between the two openings. An ...

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