A Letter from Japan. THERE is scarcely a nook from the Straits of Magellan to Alaska, and from Siberia to the Cape of Good Hope, that is not reached by the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN. Hence it follows that the Editor's mail includes letters from all quarters of the earth. The questions asked him run from the classic problem of the hare and the hunter to the request for a formula for trisecting an angle. As a rule, these letters are written in English or in one of the familiar European languages. Occasionally the Editor is puzzled by a letter written in characters which are beyond his ken. Only the other day a communication was received from Japan, which is reproduced herewith for the benefit of those who may prefer to read it in the original. Needless to say, the Editor had to ask a Japanese friend for the following translation : “THE SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN: “Dear Sirs: I am sending you under separate cover, a copy of patent specification published by the Japanese Government, for an airship invented by myself and for which patent was awarded, also a cutting from Tokyo Kogyo Zasshi (Tokyo Industrial Magazine) to which I had contributed a portion of the theory. “As a matter of fact, technical skill is necessary ' in the practical application of this invention, therefore, I am -not going to secure patents from the governments of .progressive foreign countries, but my desire .is to facilitate the manufacturers of'ithese countries in manufacturing my. invention and in putting it into practical use with their expert technique, without delay. "In order to fulfill my desire, I wish to have the honor and facility of having the details of my invention made public in your country by the papers I am submitting you. I shall feel greatly honored if your esteemed firm gives1 consideration in this matter and has the kindness to introduce my invention in your valued magazine. I will leave it entirely to your own convenience whether you use the full text or its outline. With great respect, I remain, Very truly yours, "YUJIRO ITI." The Japanese patent referred to is in the Editor's drawer, and he will be glad to show it to any one who thinks he can make use of the invention. The Original Organic Patent Act THAT our forefathers realized the importance of inventions and appreciated the part they would play in the development of our material resources, is shown by the serious attention paid, in framing the constitution, to the patent and copyright clause and the early enactment of the organic patent act of April 10th, 1790, by the Congress. The Departmental proceedings under this act, looking to the grant of patents, is interestingly told in the following extract from the Patent Official Gazette of October 9th, 1877: By act of April 10th, 1790, the first American patent system was founded. Thomas Jefferson inspired it, and may be said to have been the father of the American Patent Office. He took great pride in it, it is said, and gave personal consideration to every application that was made for a patent during the years between 1790 and 1793, while the power of revision and rejection granted by that act remained in force. It is related that the granting of a patent was held to be in these early times a weighty event in the history of the State Department, where the clerical part of the work was then performed. It is a matter of tradition, handed down to us from generation to generation by those who love to speak of Mr. Jefferson and Ks virtues and eccentricities, that when an application for a patent was made under the first act, he would summon Mr. Henry Knox, of Massachusetts, who was Secretary of War, and Mr. Edmund Randolph, of Virginia, who was Attorney-General, these officials being designated by the act, with the Secretary of State, a tribunal to examine and grant patents; and that these three distinguished officials would examine the application critically, scrutinizing each point of the specification and claims carefully and rigorously. The result of this examination was that during the first year a majority of the applications failed to pass the ordeal, and only three patents were granted. In those days every step in the issuing of a patent was taken with great care and caution, Mr. Jefferson seeking always to impress upon the minds of his officers and the public that the granting of a patent was a matter of no ordinary importance. During 1791, thirty-three patents were granted, in 1792 eleven, and in 1793 twenty, making sixty-seven under the first statute. New Roof for Patent Office Building 'T'HE Patent Office has just been sup-* plied, at a cost of something like four thousand dollars, with a new roof of slag replacing one that has served as a covering for the building ever since the great fire of 1877. It is interesting to compare the difference in cost between the new roof and the old. The one just removed was of sheet copper, but was found to be fairly riddled with holes and cracks from exposure to the elements for more than thirty years. The copper roof cost in the neigh- borhood of $40,000 or ten times as much as the new one which is being provided by the present Administration. It is stated by some of the older employees of the Interior Department that at the time the old copper roof was laid, there was a regular epidemic of graft, workmen engaged on the roof being detected in carrying away whole sheets of the copper concealed about their clothing. Even the tiniest scraps of copper were stolen, so difficult was it seemingly for the laborers to resist the temptation to acquire scraps of the valuable copper which was almost legal tender. There remains to-day hardly enough of that roof to justify the trouble and expense of carting it away. Emery Disappearing Carriage TN the 21st report (October 31st, 1911) *of the Board of Ordnance and Fortification to the Secretary of War, we find a reference to the Emery disappearing car- x. ir -? T 'K T y V 1? \ 4 * n t v 1 13 .1 f £_ tf £c s9 2 h W 1 ;U' ^5C J 4% 1 -S A*- IP t £"f 5^, ^ -U \«T0 T / i ') 7V 1 V) -f c * 1L%^- T 7 )> i 4- 6* "T r 7 I) -fe- Y$\s> A IV £ £ |b ^ ^ ^ 9 w fee fat ^ L T t? ^ T r * je n 'l -i / J 7, \) %< ^ ^ JK: fk y i f fyt- 4 n^ P i ^— ^ “? ffr ^ ^1^ Mi / 502 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN December 2, 1911 riage. In the report the Board says: “There have been no developments, so far as the Board is informed, in connection with the Emery gun carriage, and the board can only repeat what has been said heretofore in regard to the history of this carriage. All the work on the Emery design has been done under direct legislative enactment, and the only part to be taken by the Board in the matter is that, when completed, if ever, the carriage is to be tested under its supervision.” The report goes on to refer to the several special acts of Congress, beginning with that of February, 1893, and appropriating $130,000 up to the Act of May 27th, 1908, and concludes its reference to the matter as follows; “In its last annual report the Board stated that 17 years had elapsed since the construction of a carriage of Emery's design was first authorized. This remark may now be varied by saying that 18 years have passed and the government still has nothing to show for the expenditure of 95 per cent of the appropriations except the foundations for the carriage which were put in three years ago in order to enable Mr. Emery to obtain an additional $5,000 as provided by the act of 190S, practically the first which required him to do anything in return for money paid him." According to the report, of the $114,343.02 available for the execution of the present contract with Mr. Emery for his carriage, $100,811.51 has been paid him, and the report says: "There may be added to the $114,000 mentioned above the sum of $135,656.98 paid under the first contract, which was canceled by congressional authority, so that the total amount authorized has been a quarter of a million dollars. Of this sum there remains to be paid Mr. Emery $13,531.51, or slightly more than 5 per cent of the total amount authorized." The Board includes seven Army officers headed by Leonard Wood, Major General, Chief of Staff, President of the Board and one civilian member, William Warner. Notes for Inventors A Lamp Dimmer for Motor Cars.—The extremely brilliant and dazzling head lights of motor cars are at times very objectionable and some municipal regulations forbid their use. Warren A. Greenlaw of Melrose, Mass., provides, in a patent (No. 1,005,197) for dimming the lamp by sliding the burner away from the strong focal or reflecting point in front of the reflector. To do this, he supports the burner so that it can slide longitudinally and utilizes fluid pressure to move the burner from its normal position.. This enables the driver of the car to dim his light whenever desired by sliding it out of its focal relation to the reflector. Novel Wrench.—In patents No. 1,004,-561 and No. 1,004,562, William Henry Joseph Fitzgerald of Braintree, Mass., shows a wrench in which the shank carrying the fixed jaw is tapered, reducing toward the fixed jaw, the sliding jaw has a tapered shank sliding on the shank of the fixed jaw and a yoke encloses both tapered shanks and can be conveniently set to secure the sliding jaw in any desired adjustment. Lubricating Air Brakes.—Edwin A. Emery of St. Louis, Mo., has patented (No. 1,004,000) a lubricating means for fluid pressure brakes in which is provided means for charging the air in the train pipe with a lubricant. A pipe connects the exhaust port of the triple valve to the chamber at the non-pressure side of the brake cylinder piston in order to vent the lubricant laden air released from the brake cylinder to the said non-pressure chamber to lubricate such chamber. Novel Initiating Apparatus.—Some secret societies employ many mechanical aids in connection with their introduction of new members. Such a device is shown in patent No. 1,004,857, and presents the appearance of an ordinary platform scale. The platform, however, is collapsible and as it falls, operates an alarm mechanism. The candidate by moving the scale beam releases locking, devices and the platform on which he is standing falls and sounds the alarm. The patentee is Erastus De-Moulin of Greenville, 111. Preserving Corn With Tar.—To preserve corn in the ear and with the husk on is the purpose of patent (No. 1,004,033) to Benjamin F. Johnson of Macclenny, Fla. In doing this, he ties the husk beyond the tip end of the ear with twine and then submerges it in pine tar. A coating of dust is then applied after which it is plunged into air slaked lime. Advertising Novelty.—Robert Klotz of Chicago, has patented (No. 1,004,660) as an advertising novelty, a device including a head having a pivoted jaw and a movable tongue. Associated with these is a drawer which can be utilized for any purpose and means are provided so that the movement of the drawer operates the jaw and tongue of the head. New Vulcanizing Process.—John R. Gammeter of Akron, Ohio, assignor to B. F. Goodrich Company, same place, has-patented (No. 1,004,865) a method of vulcanizing in which the tubing to be vulcanized is inflated and a band is wrapped spirally around the tube, the wrapped portion being simultaneously fed through a vulcanizer at the same rate the band is applied, and unwrapping the band from the vulcanized portion. Fly for a Coat.—Ordinarily garment flies are open at the edge. Abraham D. Goffin of New Haven, Conn., in a patent (No. 1,004,869) presents a garment fly which has a closed edge the inner flap of the fly having a. button hole formed through it and the same flap has a slot through which the finger may be passed in buttoning and unbuttoning the garment, thus avoiding the necessity of having the fly open at its outer edge. Increasing Relative Amount of Hydrogen in Hydrocarbons.—Dr. David T. Day, the well-known petroleum expert of Washington, D. C, has patented (No. 1,004,632) an apparatus for treating hydrocarbons in which an intermediate oil chamber connects with one of the vapor chambers and tubes connect the vapor chamber through the oil chamber, the purpose being to produce hydrocarbons containing more hydrogen than before, in proportion to the amount of carbon, and in doing this the hydrogenating tubes are immersed in the body of oil which is being distilled and are heated by the oil to a temperature as high as or greater than that of the distillate vapors, thus utilizing the heat of the oil for superheating the commingled hydrogen and oil vapor and effecting saturation of oil with hydrogen, the saturated vapor passing off to an outlet chamber and thence through a goose neck to the condenser. Legal Notes Assignment by Trustee in Bankruptcy.— In deciding Ex. p. Eyton O. G., 171, pg. 481, the Commissioner of Patents, in denying that portion of the petition which asked that the patent, when granted, be issued to the assignee as requested, said: “To investigate the laws of various foreign countries in order to determine the titles to applications for patents pending in this office filed by foreigners who have subsequently become bankrupt would place an enormous and unnecessary burden upon the office. Since it is unquestionably proper to issue the patent in the name of the applicant, this is believed to be the safe rule in such cases. In the present instance petitioner has not shown that any hardship would result from following this plan." In the Hubert case, decided September 11th, 1911, published October 17th, 1911, the Commissioner of Patents held that if an assignment be of record, transferring the entire right, title and interest without any qualifications or reservations, and said instrument contains a request to issue the patent to an assignee, such action will be taken by the office, even if licenses be also of record. Also that a patent will npt be issued in accordance with the request contained in an alleged assignment which is made subject to any exclusive license. Conflicting Patent Decisions.—Two interesting decisions, handed down in different districts of the Seventh Circuit, have recently been published. The state of facts in both cases was practically identical, that is infringement of the Claude and Hess patent (No. 664,383) and the effect upon this patent of the inventors' English patent, dated June 30th, 1896, which expired by limitation June 30th, 1910. This patent concerns the use of acetone as an absorbent for compressed acetylene and appears practically to dominate the packaging of acetylene in cylinders in this country. The important claims in this patent cover a so-called gas package, while the English patent relates to the process. The defendants contended that the two patents were for the same subject-matter and that, under the provisions of Sec. 4887 R. S., the American patent expired with the English. Judge Kohlsaat decided that they were for the same matter and denied an injunction (See 188 F. R. 85). Judge Dennison, a few weeks later, held that the two patents were for different subject-matter and that, according to the Leeds&Catlin case, 213 W. B. 301, the American patent was still in force (see 188 F. R. 89). Presumption in Reissue that Law was Complied With.—In the case of the John Kitchen, Jr., Company v. Levison (Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, July 3rd, 1911, 188 Fed. Rep. 658) the Court said: “From the reissuance of the patent it is to be presumed that the law was complied with and the proceedings can only be impeached for fraud,” quoting Seymour v. Osborne, 11th Wall. 516-543. Mileage Ticket Decision.—In the case of Rand, McNally&Company, in the Circuit Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, January 10th, 1911, rehearing denied April 11th, 1911, the Court held that the Richardson&Langston patent (No. 669,-489) for a script book, containing a series of coupons to be detached and exchanged for passage-tickets, the essential feature of which is that the units are expressed in money instead of in miles, as in the ordinary mileage tickets, which adapts them to more convenient use on transportation lines having different rates, disclosed patentable invention, and is valid; also held infringed. In this case District Judge Carpenter filed a strong dissenting opinion. A Warning from the Bench.—It is not often that a judge on the bench will give a general warning to practitioners such as that given in the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia in the case of American Stove Company v. Detroit Stove Works, and Barstow Stove Company. Barstow Stove Company v. Detroit Stove Works, and American Stove Company. In the decision, Mr. Justice Robb in his usual clear and forcible manner, said: "We have observed a tendency on the part of patent attorneys to disregard the rules of evidence by asking questions more or less leading and suggestive, and it may not be amiss to state that where timely objection is noted in the record, this court will be disposed to apply the rule and entirely disregard such testimony. The witness instead of giving his independent recollection of past events becomes, by this practice, a mere echo whose recollection stimulated by leading questions keeps pace with those questions. The practice is objectionable and subversive of justice, and should be stopped." "Penny a Pound Profit."—In the case of ex parte Loft, Asst. Commissioner of Patents Tenner holds that writing a descriptive word in a distinctive manner does not render it registrable as a trade-mark and that the phrase “Penny a Pound Profit” is discriptive as applied to candy. In reaching his conclusion the Asst. Commissioner says the phrase is in his opinion clearly descriptive of the quality of the goods and is also of an advertising character.
This article was originally published with the title "The Inventor's Department"