Mast Foos Company v. Stover Manufacturing Company
This was a writ of certiorari to review a decree of the circuit court of appeals dismissing a bill in equity brought for the infringement of a patent, and appealed to that court from an order of the circuit court for the northern district of Illinois, granting a preliminary injunction. The bill was filed by the petitioner, Mast, Foos, & Company, an Ohio corporation, and was founded upon letters patent No. 433,531, granted to the petitioner, upon the application of one Samuel W. Martin, for an improvement in windmills.
In his specification the patentee states that the 'invention consists, essentially, of an improved back gear organization involving an external toothed pinion, and an internal toothed spur gear, the pinion being mounted on the wheel shaft, and the gear having formed on or connected with it the wrist pin, to which the operating pitman is attached, whereby the speed of the main shaft as applied to the wrist pin and pitman is reduced, and whereby, also, all pounding and lost motion is prevented as the pitman connection passes over the center and changes from a pushing to a pulling action. This object is accomplished by the fact that a plurality of the pinion teeth are always engaged with the internal spur gear, resulting in giving a perfectly uniform and smooth and noiseless reciprocating motion to the actuating rod, thereby prolonging the life of the machine by saving it from constant jarring and preventing wear and tear.'
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'The freedom of the organization from lost motion and sudden jerks as the wrist pin passes over the center renders the operation of the pump smooth and regular. This increases the effectiveness of the pump, and prevents undue wear and tear.'
The following diagram illustrates the patented combination:
Petitioner sought a recovery only upon the first claim:
'1. The combination, with a windmill driving shaft and a pinion thereon, of an internal toothed spur wheel mounted adjacent to the said shaft and meshing with said pinion, a pitman connected with the spur wheel, and an actuating rod connected with the pitman.'
Almost immediately upon filing the bill motion was made for a preliminary injunction, which was granted, largely upon the authority of an opinion of the circuit court of appeals for the eighth circuit in the case of Mast, F. & Co. v. Dempster Mill Mfg. Co. 49 U.S. App. 508, 82 Fed. Rep. 327, 27 C. C. A. 191, 85 Fed. Rep. 782. An appeal was taken from that order to the circuit court of appeals, which not only reversed the order for the injunction, but dismissed the bill. 60 U.S. App. 325, 89 Fed. Rep. 333, 32 C. C. A. 231.
Whereupon petitioner applied for and was granted a writ of certiorari from this court.
Messrs. H. A. Toulmin and Lysander Hill for petitioner.
Messrs. C. K. Offield, Charles C. Linthicum, and Loren L. Morrison for respondent.
Mr. Justice Brown delivered the opinion of the court: