1876. Both were on demurrer. See “Official Gazette," xxxvii, 1,237; and xli, 123, for text of decisions. Meanwhile no decision has been rendered by the United States Supreme Court in the five appealed cases in which arguments from all points of attack were made against the same patent. The patent expires by natural limitation in the beginning of 1893. The corresponding patent has been canceled in Austria as far as reference to telephones is concerned. The court found that it embodied scientific


principles which are unpatentable by the Austrian law. A decision handed down by the United States Supreme Court on Nov. 14 declares the famous driven-well patent, granted to Nelson W. Green, to be invalid on account of prior use, and the decision was confirmed on a later motion for a rehearing of the case. A Circuit Court decision by Judge Shiras in Iowa, rendered about the beginning of January, 1888, declares the equally famous barbedwire-fence patent, No. 157,124, granted to J. F. Glidden, invalid on account of prior use. The latter case has been appealed to the Supreme Court. These two decisions mark the extinction of very important interests. mense sums of money had been spent on litigating them, and, although they are now annulled practically, they have in their life filled an important place in the history of inventions. An important action in extending a patent has been taken by Congress. The Forty-ninth Congress granted a petition of Mrs. Henrietta H. Cole, of New York, authorizing an extension of her patent for a fluting-machine, dated June 12, 1866. It had expired in 1883. The Commissioner of Patents, after hearing evidence, granted an extension of seven years from June 12, 1883. This is a very rare grant under the present system. When the term of patents was extended from a limit of fourteen to one of seventeen years, it was thought that extensions, formerly provided for in the statutes, would no longer be needed.

Revised Classification of Inventions.-The revised classification of inventions will be found summarized in the supplement to the "Official Gazette" of Jan. 4, 1887, xxxvii, 1. It also gives the names of the chief examiners.

Court Decisions. Below will be found a few points made in court decisions during the year 1887. The references are to volume and page of the "Official Gazette" of the United States Patent-Office:

Construction of Patents.-There may be many ways of effecting a desired result, but every patent must rest upon its mechanical devices therefor. Steam Gauge and Lantern Company vs. St. Louis Railway Supplies Manufacturing Company, xxxviii, 107.

Matter Excluded by Amendment.-A patentee having, in compliance with the requirements of the Patent Office, excluded by amendment certain matter from his original specification, is not at liberty to insist upon a construction of his patent, which will include what he was expressly required to abandon and disavow in it. (In Supreme Court). Sutter vs. Robin

son, xxxviii, 230.

Effect of English Patent on Duration of United States

Patent.-Fourteen years is the term of an English patent, and, although said patent ceases to be in force after three years from its date, if the stamp-duty is not paid, it only operates by limitation upon an aftergranted United States patent as a patent for fourteen years. Pallard vs. Bruno, xxxviii, 900.

Combination Claims to be valid must cover Operative Constructions.-Where a claim in a patent is for a combination of several elements, and it appears in evidence that the combination is inoperative without the addition of another element, such claim is void. Tarrant es. Duluth Lumber Company, xxxix, 1.425.

Public Use. A use of an invention prior to applicasubsequent completion of the invention added nothing tion can not be considered experimental when the to its patentable quality. International Tooth-Crown Company vs. Richmond et al., xxxix, 1,550.

Construction of Claims.-Claims must be construed his specification, not by that which he might have emby the language which the patentee has employed in ployed. Patent Clothing Company 28. Glover, xl, 1,135.

Evidence to prove Priority of Invention.-To antedate a patent by evidence of an earlier machine such evidence must be very clear and precise to overcome the Presumptions arising from the grant of the patent. Osborn vs. Glazier, xl, 1,137.

Description of Process in Application.-Description of a process in an application for a machine patent does not constitute an abandonment or dedication to the public of such process, so as to estop the inventor from subsequently obtaining a patent for the process if applied for in two years. Eastern Paper Bag Company vs. Standard Paper Bag Company, xli, 231.

Effect of Limitation Imposed by Patent-Office. It is wholly irrelevant to inquire whether the patentee was obliged to limit himself by the ruling of the PatentOffice. It is enough to say that he did so limit himself. Toepfer vs. Goetz, xli, 933.

Inventions. The following list comprises a few of the improvements that have been devised for the more homely and familiar walks of life. Few persons appreciate the enormous number of patents that are annually issued. A list even of one-tenth of those really deserving mention would far exceed available space. The following, therefore, should be regarded as suggestive rather than comprehensive. Those who are interested will find in the "Patent-Office Gazette" a full descriptive list which presents an adequate idea of American fertility of invention.

Coffee-making. Among the new inventions that may prove of advantage to housekeepers is a contrivance known as a "percolator," though the term does not accurately describe its operation. It consists of a small cage or basket of perforated tin or of fine wire-gauze attached to an air-tight tin float. The float forms a sort of cover for the cage and is easily detachable therefrom. A bent wire at the top of the float serves as a handle. The finelyground coffee, as much as required, is placed in the cage, and the whole is then lowered into the water.

The float keeps the coffee near the surface of the water where the ebullition is most violent, and the strength is very quickly extracted. Fig. 1 shows a common tin coffeepot with the side cut away and the percolator Coffee-makers have floating in the water. from time immemorial resorted to methods similar in principle, tying the coffee loosely in

thin cambric or placing it in the familiar little spherical wire-gauze receptacles that are to be found in every hardware shop. These, however, have the disadvantage of sinking as soon as the coffee becomes water-soaked, while the percolator floats till the process is completed, and can be easily lifted out of the water before


of the length of the tube acts upon a lever, which in turn opens or closes a valve or damper in the smoke-pipe. The necessary result is obvious. When the fire is burning fiercely the tube expands to its greatest length, a small fraction of an inch, but enough almost or quite to close the damper according to adjustment. As the heat moderates the tube contracts, and the damper opens increasing the draught and tending to maintain the temperature. An ingenious and simple coutrivance renders it easy to adjust the connections so that the machinery will act when a certain desired temperature is reached. Of course such a device can only approximate perfection. No furnace will give out an unvarying amount of heat for an indef


the beverage reaches the stage of bitterness. By means of this device coffee can be made as well in a covered tin cup, pail, or a stew-pan as in a regular strainer. Those who object to boiled coffee need perhaps to be told that it is objectionable only when improperly boiled. If rightly done, as is easy with this contrivance, the beverage is equal to the best filtered coffee. Heat Regulator. Several devices have been introduced within a few years designed to maintain at an even temperature the air of houses heated by furnaces. Some of them are adjustable by a thermometer suspended perhaps in the sitting-room of the house and operated by electric connection with the draught of the furnace. The most simple and practical appears to be an automatic governor which is operated by direct mechanical action resulting from the expansion and contraction of a brass tube passing just above the fire-box of the furnace. It can be readily placed in any heater, fixed or portable. The upper part of a portable furnace is shown in Fig. 2 as being easy of illustration. The outer jacket being cut away the tube, about an inch and a quarter in diameter, is seen extending across the interior space. At the front it is fitted with a small register for the admission of more or less air, and the rear end extends beyond the jacket toward the smoke-pipe. Just outside the jacket it connects with a small iron box containing nicely adjusted multiplying wheels, so that a slight alteration

inite time without personal care, but such an attachment as this reduces to a minimum the necessity of constantly watching the fire and frequently altering the draughts and dampers.

Oil Fuel. Another really admirable invention of the year was the fuel-cartridge, so called. As supplied to the dealers it is packed in a small tin pail holding perhaps about a pint and a half, and fitted with a cover. The cartridge itself as shown in Fig. 3 is a cylinder of rather coarse and heavy iron-wire netting, the meshes being perhaps one fourth of an inch square. The ends of the cylinder are closed by circular disks of cast-iron, perforated with small holes, and the upper one fitted with raised handles into which an ordinary stove-poker can be hooked for convenience of lifting. The inside of the cylinder is closely packed with a fibrous material, presumably asbestos. The cartridge can be used in any stove that has a damper in the smoke-pipe. When a fire is wanted the cartridge is placed in the little tin pail in which it came, or one of like size if that has been lost, and kerosene-oil of good quality is poured in until the cartridge is covered. In two or three minutes the material inside of the cartridge will have absorbed all the kerosene. A piece of paper is then placed in the stove, the cartridge is taken up with the poker and placed

upon the paper, and the latter is lighted with a match. In a few seconds the oil will ignite and burn with vigor for a full hour. After it is fully ignited the front draughts of the stove are closed, and the fire regulated by means of the damper in the smoke-pipe. If the latter is closed too tightly smoke will issue through the cracks of the stove and at once notify the attendant that more draught is required. The cartridge can not be recharged with oil until it has cooled off, so that if a continuous fire is to be maintained two or more cartridges must be used, so that while one is burning the others

FIG. 3.

contains oxides of zirconium and lanthanum. The excess liquid is removed by pressure and the cotton burned out, leaving a fragile incombustible mantle of a pure white substance, which becomes highly incandescent when the gas is lighted, and maintains this property indefinitely and without any apparent loss. Ex

FIG. 4.


may be cooling. Apparently there is no possibility of explosion or of other danger from the use of oil in this shape, unless indeed some hopelessly stupid domestic should attempt to refill the cartridge by pouring oil upon it while it is lighted, as is her frequent custom in quickening the kitchen-fire. It is proper to say that some cartridges are in the market which are filled with an absorbent of inferior grade. Where good material is used the cartridge is practicably indestructible, and its usefulness wherever or whenever continuous heat is not required, is evident.

Improved Gas-Burners. In these days, when the introduction of electric lights threatens to supersede the ordinary use of gas, improvements in burners are important. The burner shown in Fig. 4 is of foreign origin, the invention of Dr. Auer Von Welsbach. It is an improvement on the well-known Bunsen burner, consisting of a mantle or case passed over the burner and suspended by a wire frame shown in the illustration. The mantle is woven upon a stockingloom and impregnated with a solution whose precise constituents are kept secret but which

periments show an illuminating power of 16.5 candles per cubic foot of gas under a pressure involving an expenditure of 2.25 cubic feet of gas per hour (about 0.90 of an inch), and yielding a light equal to 7-32 candles per cubic foot of gas.

Improved Oil-Burner. In the same direction is the Lucigen, successfully exhibited in the Crystal Palace, London. The method of producing this light lies in forming an intimate mixture of air and minutely divided oil-particles yielding a flame of extraordinary brightness. It requires the aid of a simple mechanism worked by a small supply of compressed air, and the flame is controlled by means of a tap or faucet. The light is produced by the combustion of crude and waste oils, costing by measurement from one tenth to one twelfth as much as gas, and about one twentieth as much as electric

light of the same candle-power. It was estimated as the result of the Crystal Palace experiments that an area of one half of a square mile could be brilliantly illuminated at a cost of less than twenty-five cents an hour. The quality of the light it is claimed is greatly superior to that of electricity, owing to its greater diffusiveness, rendering it less trying to the eye, and therefore better for all practical purposes. The carbon particles are raised to an intense white heat, and the form of the flame is such that they are retained in that condition for a longer period than is the case with any other system. The lucigen has been adopted with satisfactory results at the works of the great bridge over the Frith of Forth and at a large number of manufacturing establishments in Great Britain.

Improved Curtain Fixture.-Persons who are particular about the quantity and direction of the light falling through a window will be interested in a device which uncovers at will either the whole of a window, or the upper or lower half, or any part thereof. The roller (A, Fig. 5) is provided with a longitudinal slot through which the curtain passes as shown in section at B. At the left the whole appliance is shown in position for use. The roller is fixed at a middle point of the sash and a cord ascends over a pulley above the window. By pulling this upper cord the curtain unwinds and the whole window is covered. Continuing the hoisting operation the lower

half is exposed. By lowering and partially rolling the curtain, the central portion of the window will be screened, and by lowering it to the floor and then pulling the side cord, the lower half of the window is covered, and by a slightly different manipulation the upper half is covered if the room is not high enough to hoist the curtain by the upper cord. The tas

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rise to innumerable annoyances, and a latchlock operating by gravity has many claims to consideration. The one shown in Fig. 6 is very simple in construction. The diagram at the left presents a front view, and that at the right an edge. The casing has a central channel and side flanges for attachment to the door at an angle of forty-five degrees. A bolt having its lower end obliquely beveled rests in the channel riding upon an anti-friction wheel and projecting when the door is open like the catch of an ordinary knob-latch. When the door is closed it engages a beveled striking plate, and the bolt slides upward in the channel, slipping at once into the mortise when the door is shut, and automatically locking itself in its lowest position by a shoulder near its upper end. A pawl is provided at the upper end, which drops into a notch, affording additional security. A knob on one side of the door and a key on the other afford an easy means of sliding the bolt upward when the door is to be opened. The key acts through the door upon the pawl and disengages it from the other side. A set screw, however, locks the bolt permanently, so that it can not be opened by means of the key.

A Self-Closing Gate.-The accompanying sketch shows a simple device for closing a gate by means of a weight and pulleys without the usual post and chain which occupy space, and are generally in the way. An arm is attached to the upper cross-bar of the gate, and from its end a line passes around a horizontal and over a vertical pulley, the action being direct and the rise and fall of the weight perpendicular and close to the fence. The cut (Fig. 7) explains the principle, which is so simple that any one with moderate ingenuity can render himself liable


to prosecution for infringement of the patent which has been secured for the invention.

Gate for Railway-Crossings. Numerous accidents at grade-crossings have recently led to the passage of laws in several of the States framed with a view to prevent such casualties in future, and the device shown herewith is intended to simplify the problem. The invention includes a shaft journaled transversely to the track at some distance from the crossing. A crank-arm is connected with this shaft and joined to an elbow operating a gear

wheel in the post at the crossing. The wheels of an approaching engine engage trip-arms, sound a gong, lower the barriers, and the wheels of the train, passing over tread-bars, keep the barriers depressed until the last car has passed. The operation is the same in whichever direction the train is moving, and it would seem that the invention should prevent many accidents if generally introduced.

An Improved Car-Starter. The problem of utilizing the momentum of a moving car to accumulate power for starting it again after it has been stopped has received much attention from inventors. The illustration (Fig. 8) shows one of the latest attempts in this direction: 1 is a perspective, partly in section, of the car with its mechanical attachments; 2 shows the parts in detail; and 3, the connection of the spring tension band with the barrel on one of the friction-wheel shafts; 4 is a vertical section, in elevation of the starterspring, with its barrel and ratchet-wheel. A friction drum, A, is attached to the car-axle, and friction-wheels B and C bear against this, being fixed in a frame so pivoted that either of the wheels may be brought in contact with the drum. On the shaft of C there is fixed a barrel, D, to which is attached a band whose other end extends to a spring-case, G, within which is a powerful, coiled spring. This case is supported by a hanger fixed to the bottom of the car. One end of the spring is fixed to the hanger-shaft, and the other to the case. Ratchets are fitted to prevent the release of the spring when wound, until it is properly disengaged, and the connection is such that, the

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