ANew Process for the Felling ofTrees T HE attempts from time to time to cut trees with a wire heated by electricity so far have not given satisfactory results. Now a Berlin inventor, Mr. Hugo Gantke, has recently succeeded in designing an extremely simple device for the mechanical felling of trees. The trunks are cut by the friction of an ordinary steel wire about one millimeter in diameter (No. 18 B&S gage) which, as bhown by practical tests, is ablE to saw through a tree about 20 inches in diameter, in six minutes. The steel-wire, driven by an electric motor, is heated so intensely by friction on the wood as to burn a thin carbonized kerf, wbich is both smoother and cleaner than the cut of a saw. The charcoal layer adhering to the trunk is extremely thin and allows the structure and any disease of the wood to be distinctly recognized. It enables the tree to be marked with chalk, and at the same time serves to preserve any trunks that may be lct temporarily in the woods. Unlike other saws, this felling machine will work freely even on the thiekest trees, without requiring any wedges to be inserted into the cut; for instead of any shavings we have only smoke and steam and hence there is no danger of the cut's becoming obstructed. The trees may. be cut close to the ground, or even below the ground as far down as the bEginning of the roots will permit. In the latter case the stump may be safely left in the soil. The electrie motor that drives the steel wire is plaeed where it is not in danger of being struck when tbe tree falls. While mechanieal operation is in itself much more rapid tban hand-labor, a further accolera tion is derived from the absence of any intervals of rest between two cuts. As a new piece of steel wire costing but a few cents is taken for each cut, thero is no loss of time due to the sharpening of saws, etc. Only one man is required to opemte the machine as against two men working with hand saws, and the larger the tree the higher is the relative cutting speed. When electricity is not immediately available, it can be generated by any existing steam or water plant. It may frequently be found advantageous to lise a portable power-plant consisting of a 10 horse-power gasoline motor and dynamo wbich may be im\talled temporarily in a central location. A flexible oable may oonnect the dynamo with the felling machine which can be readily transported and operated by one man. An important advantage of the new method arises from the absence of any waste, the ellt only two millimeters (0.070 inch) in thickness being.;.perfectly smooth and level, whereas axes :d saws are bound to injuro the trees to a CCmsiderable extent. Review of the Report of the Commissioner of Patents THE Commissioner of Patents, Hon. Edward B. Moore, in his report to the Seeretary of the Interior, for the fiscal year ending ,une :10th, 1011, makes some very vigorous recommendations regarding needed legislation for tho United States Patent Office, besides touching upon the work already accomplished along the line of improvement in that branch of the service. The Commissioner reports the work of the Office to be in a very satisfactory condition and practieally up-to-date in all its branches. He stntes that while Congress has been faIrly liberal in its appropriations for the increase of sa1aries and providing new positions, thereby enabling the institution of many needed reforms, there is still a certain percentage of separations from the Office of trained examiners who accept offers of larger alaries from outside frms and corporatio.. The Commissioner, however, does not ask for an increase in the salaries of the examining corps at this time. Gains in Efficiency and Economy. The Commissioner reports that a saving of from five to six thousand dollars annually has been the resnl t of the change in the manner of printing certifieates of trademark registration, and that this saving will be continuGns annually. The changes in the rules of practice relating to trademarks, which were effoctive November 1st, 1911 are expected to accomplish a considerable saving of time to examiners in searching this enormons class of applications. At the present time it is required that the examiners search through some 20,000 pending applications, which are in the various stages of prosecution. It is proposed to have the same rules apply to applications for the registration of trademarks as now apply to applications for patents; that is, they must be amended within one year or the application becomes abandoned, the applicants still having the right to file new applications if desired. Plans are under way to accomplish an economy in the method of publishing and issuing the Official Gazette, to the extent of saving between eighty and ninety thousand dollars a year. This will, it is believed, increase the efficiency of the Gazette as a work of . reference, reducing its bulkiness and making it more compact and easily handled. Legislation. The Commissioner renews his reCOi-mendations with regard to the urgent jegislative needs of his Office. Paramonnt is the bill recently reintroduced by Mr. Oldfield, the Chairman of the House Committee on Patents, which provides for the elimination of one of the appeals within the Patent Office. This measure contemplates the consolidation of the board of examiners-in-chief with the Commissioner and the two assistant commissioners, forming one judicial tribunal to hear appeals taken from the primary examiner. It is argued by the Commissioner that this will accomplish an immense saving in time for the passage of appeals through the Patent Office and will also be a saving in money to the inventor, who will thus be relieved of the necessity for paying for a double appeal in the Patent Offee in carrying his cases through to the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia, the court of last resort in such cases. The policy of the Government at the present time is to avoid all ullnecessary duplication of work and relieve the oIncers of the various branches of much work that has become burdensome to all concerned, as well as wholly unnecessary. Mr. Moore statos that it is practically the unanimous opinion of inventors and manufacturers throughout the conntry that one appeal should be eliminated in the Patent Office in order to save the great cost and loss of time now involved in obtaining a final adjudication and consequent grant of patent. He further states that he har been supported widely in this effort to facilitate business, and states that this is an important part or the plan to expedite bnsiness and to grant patents to inventors within a reasonable time, which they have demanded, and to which they are entitled. Bills embracing the substance of this recommendation were introduced by Senator Smoot and were passed by the Senate. No action, however, was taken upon these bills in the House. Other measures of importance are strongly advocated by the Commissioner. One provides for the filing with an application for patent, in addition to the draw- ing, two photographic copies of such drawing. This imposes upon every applicant for patent an additional statutory requirement, to wit, to file with each application of which a signed and attested drv,wing forms part, two photographic copies of such signed and attested drawing. The purposes of this requirement are to guard against and enable the detection of unauthorized changes in the original drawing or abstraction of such drawing and substitution of another; and to lessen the danger of serious mistakes on the part of the Office in failing to detect interferences between co-pending applications for the same invention. An important measure is that which requires that an application for patent shall be prosecuted within six months after any aetion by the Patent Office. The bill is aimed to cause the more speedy prosecution of applications and should have the effect of preventing the holding of applications within the Office for a great length of time for the purpose of extending the patent period. The Commissioner also urges the passage of the bill which authorizes the issuance of certificates of correction in eases where the patent as printed does not conform to the record. In connection with the recommendation for eliminatjon oEone of the appeals in the Patent Office, the Cornmissioner furnishes a table showing the extent of the heavy appeal docket for the fiscal year, which epitomized, shows the number of interferences declared to be 1,537; appeals to the exminers-in-chi6f, 1,102; appeals and petitions to the Commissioner, 2,912. The Heany Cases. The Commissioner reports the termination within the Office of the investigation arising ont of the original criminal trial of Heany, Barton and Everding, for forgery and violations of Sections 5403 and 5440 of the Revised Statutes. The criminal trial, which resulted in the conviction of Barton and Everding and the acquittal of Heany, was followed by the Commissioner's order against Heany to show cause why certain interferences in which his applications were involved, should not be dissolved and his applications inclndod therein and other applications also tainted with fraud should not be stricken from the files and treated as a nullity. Tho hearings resulting from this order were before the First Assistant .Commissioner, owing to Mr. Moore's being occupied with other important duties connected with the conference at Buonos Aires and the conference at Washington. Tho hearings began in the summer of 1910 and lasted for several months. The conclusions reached, ordering that the Heany applications be stricken from the files, as spi forth in the First Assistant Commissioner's decision printed in the Official Gazette of October 21th, 1911, meet with the Commissioner's unqualified approval, and Mr. Moore also takes occasion to express his appreciation of tbe valuable assistance rendered by former Examiner-in-Chief L. H. Campbell, Mr. F. C. Skinner, at present Examiner-in-Chief, and by Mr. Eugene D. Sewall, Examiner of Classification, who acted as a Board in the original in vestigations preceding the criminal trial; and of the services rendered by lr. Skinner and Josse C. Adkins, Esq., at the trial, and by Mr. Adkins and Chief Law Examiner Webster S. Ruckman, during the investigations arising out of the order to show cause. Mr. Moore states that the Department of the Interior and the Patent Office are to be congratulated at the very satisfactory termination of the criminal case and the Office investigations as well. He reiterates his statement made in a previous report and to the press that the Heany case is the only one of its kind that has ever oceured in the Patent Office during the 117 years of its history. The Patent Bar. The Commissioner invites attention to the necessity for legislation which would result in the establishment of a patent bar. It is strongly urged that a law be enacted which will provide that before an individual shall be permit:ed to practice before the Patent Office, he be required to pass an examination as to his moral, legal and technical qualifications, and that a eommittee be appointed by the Commissioner of Patents composed of officials in the Patent Office and patent attorneys of well-known standing in the profession, who shall conduct the examination under the Commissioner's supervision, the report of such committee to be subject to his approval. The Commissioner states that a redraft of a measure looking to this reform will with the Secretary's approval, be prepared and presented to Congress in' a short time. Scientific Library and Other Matters. A complete reorganization of the Seientific Library is contemplated by the Commissioner, who states that a classification of the enormous amount of foreign publications, in(uding patents and works of reference, “ and books of great valne to attorneys and examiners in their search for anticipations in the arts, is all immediate necessity. The Commissioner is disirous of ha v ing the whole subject November 25, 191 1 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN 48 1 thoroughly digested, so that it will be readily accessible and thereby do away with much expense and loss of time. The Commissioner asks for an additional force to aid in this work, and also requests an increase in the force of translators. International Conferences and Treaties. The Fourth International Conference of American States held in Buenos Aires in 1910, and the Conference of Washington of the International Union for the Protection of Industrial Property, 1911, are both referred to hy Mr. Moore as being productive of much good in the harmonizing of international relations with regard to patents, trade-marks and copyrights. The three conventions adopted at Buenos Aires were prepared by Mr. Moore and are strictly in the interest of the manufacturers, inventors and authors of the United States. These three conventions have all been approved by the United States Senate and are awaiting ratification by the twenty Latin American nations represented, several of whom, it is understood, have ratified them, and others still have them under consideration. The conference at Washington to amend and consider the Paris Convention of 1883, was attended by delegates from forty nations, including nations adherent to the Paris Treaty and those specially invited to participate, but who had no voting powers. Important conventions affecting changes in both the patent '.nd trade-mark laws were discussed at the conference, and the final convention was adopted and signed by the delegates suhject to the ratification of their various governments. The language of the conference was French as provided by the Treaty of Paris. Mr. Moore, who was chairman of the American delegation, states that it was the announced opinion of all the delegates present that it was the most successful conference of the Union ever held. He states that aside from the very desirable changes of the laws of nations relating to patents and trade-marks, there is another important underlying reason why these conferences are desirable. They bring together men familiar with the subjects to be discussed, who become well acquainted and talk over their differences not only in formal session, but in private conversation, while mingling socially. During the conference the Commissioner received a cablegram announcing the passage by the German Reichstag of a law upholding the treaty between Germany and the United States, providing that patents of American inventors should not be revoked by the German government for failure to work or manufacture the same in Germany within four years, provided, however, the same is manufactured in the United States in the same period of time. Mr. Moore personally negotiated this treaty with Germany and in addition succeeded in accomplishing the revision of the laws of Norway, Sweden, and Swhzerland, so that the manufacture of patented inventions in those countries by United States citizens is not longer required in order to sustain their patents. It is thought that several other countries will speedily follow this example. Urgent Need for New Quarters for the Patent Office. As a climax to his other very strong and well-considered recommendations, the Commissioner reiterates with renewed emphasis the very imminent need of new quarters for the United States Patent Office. He offers in his report two remedies for the over-crowded and wholly inadequate conditions that now exists. The frst is a complete rpmodeling of the present building in accordance with plans which he has drawn up and which have been approved by the Supervising Architect of the Treasury and the Architect of the Capitol. The second is the construction of a new building on the site immediately north of the library of Congress. and which was contemplated by the Daniels bill, introduced in the 61st Congress. The Commissioner urges many excellent reasons in support of his contention, not the least of which is the constant danger from destruction by fire which threatens the valuable archives of the Patent Office, and the loss of which would work irreparable damage to the commercial interests of this country. Considering the fact that there is a net surplus in the United States Treasury earned by the Patent Office and paid in by the inventors amounting to more than seven millions of dollars, the Commissioner believes it only fair that part, if not all, of this sum should be expended in the furnishing of larger and better quarters, with modern facilities for the force, which would then be in a position to accomplish the best possible results in the work for which the outside inventive public pays the total cost. This is a matter in which the whole country is interested and it should be the avowed determination of every manufacturer, merchant and inventor in the United States to aid in every way possible, within his power, the building of a newer, greater and safer Patent Office. Death of Examiner McKee ROBERT M. McKEE, an assistant examiner in the United States Patent Office, died at his home in Washington on November 5th. Mr. McKee was the oldest examiner on the force, being in his eightieth year. H e was a native of Hanover, Chautauq ua County , N ew Yo rk, served in the Army of the Potomac during the civil War, and gained an enviable reputation as a teacher in the Washington public schools, being up to 1876 supervising principal of one of the prominent school districts. In 1885 he entered the Patent Office as an assistant examiner and for many years examined pneumatic and other door checks and hinges. While nearly eighty years of age, he did not seem an old man, having a bright, alert manner, a clear active intellect and the appearance of being ten years under his real age. He was able to perform his duties in a most satisfactory manner up to his last illness of nearly three months. He was genial, kindly, possessed the ability to make and keep friends, was skillful in his business, and able to do a man's work to the end and will be greatly missed by the many who had business in his special classes of invention. Notes for Inventors Electric Lamp as a Bed Warmer.-John Alden of Boise, Idaho, has patented (No. 1,004,956) a bed warmer which includes a metal casing covered with asbestos so that it will not burn the feet of the sleeper and having an opening through which the heat from an electric lamp in the casing can escape to heat the bed. Imitation Air Voyage.-In a patent (No. 1,005,061) Robert Macfarlane Murie of Invercargill, New Zealand, provides an apparatus for producing the illusion of traveling in an airship. The apparatus includes a dark room, a lift to support the passengers which is caused to move up, down and sideways in the dark room. A screen is arranged in front of the passen- ; gers and moving pictures are projected on the screen, the moving picture device and the lift being connected together so they will move in unison to heighten the illusion. Combined Aeroplane and Parachute.- William A. Crawford-Frost of Baltimore, Md., has patented (No. 1,005,609) an airship improvement in which a supporting plane is provided with openings and a parachute folds upon the top of the plane to close the openings and opens upwardly to extended position to operate as a parachute when desired. A Concrete Floor With Glass Blocks.- Henri L. J. Crochet, assignor, of Paris, France, has patented (No. 1,005,611) a readily removable paving block for rein-forced concrete floors, which is of glass, and has an external thread and is formed in its inner end with a light recess which is adapted to receive a spanner so that the block can be conveniently turned when it is desired to r em o v e it.
This article was originally published with the title "The Inventor's Department" in Scientific American 105, 22, 480-488 (November 1911)