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GLOEKLER v. ERIE RESTAURANT EQUIP. CO.

January 22, 1932

GLOEKLER
v.
ERIE RESTAURANT EQUIPMENT CO.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SCHOONMAKER

This is a suit in equity under the patent laws of the United States, involving two patents issued to J. E. Gloekler, i.e., patent No. 1,610,944, dated December 14, 1926; and patent No. 1,748,123, dated February 25, 1930. It was heard on bill, answer, and proofs. From these we find the following facts:

 The two patents in suit, Nos. 1,610,944 and 1,748,123, were issued to, and are now owned by, the plaintiff.

 Both patents refer to improvements in steam cookers, and have for their object the providing of a machine adapted to cook food by the application of steam heat directly in the form of an internally generated surrounding vapor. The alleged invention is in a crowded art.

 Claim 2 of patent No. 1,610,944 is typical of the five claims of this patent; it is as follows: "2. A steam cooker consisting of an outer casing having an uppermost outlet flue and a lower heat generating compartment, a heater in said compartment, an inner casing spaced inwardly from the sides, back and top of the outer casing providing a surrounding gas circulation conduit and terminating at the front in the plane of the outer casing, said inner casing having at its base a water containing bath, a front door framing and inner transverse supports above the bath, an opening and closing door in the framing, means for collecting drip water from the door, a water supply tank fixedly mounted at one side of the outer casing having a feed pipe leading through the outer and inner casing across the circulation conduit and into the bath, and a valve controlled water supply pipe leading to the tank provided with a float."

 The single claim of patent No. 1,748,123 is as follows: "A steam cooker consisting of an outer casing having a front door opening, an uppermost outlet flue and a lower heat generating compartment, a heater in said compartment, an inner casing spaced inwardly from the sides, back and top of the outer casing providing a surrounding gas circulation conduit and terminating at the front against the front wall of the outer casing around the door opening, said inner casing having at its base a water containing basin of cast metal forming a downward extension thereof and provided with a pipe leading upwardly through its bottom forming a common water supply and exhaust conduit, and a steam heating circulating pipe within the basin having supply and return connections extending through the outer wall and the side wall of the basin."

 All the elements covered by claims 1 to 5, inclusive, of patent No. 1,610,944, and the single claim of patent No. 1,748,123, are all to be found in the prior art, and, as a assembled in the claims of these two patents, are a mere aggregation of elements which do not coact to produce new and beneficial results.

 The defendant manufactures and sells a steam cooker which may be described as follows: "Defendant's cooker has an outer case provided with a heating-chamber at its base, and two cooking-chambers, on above the other, formed by inner casings spaced from each other and at the sides and back from the outer casing, the upper cooking-chamber being spaced from the outer casing at the top. The side-walls of the lower cooking-chamber are insulated. A closure-plate extends the width of the cooking chambers between the heating-chamber and the rear space, cutting off the passage of gas from the heating-chamber to the space directly back of the cooking-chamber. The gases of combustion pass up the sides and may be deflected away from the top-chamber, or may be deflected along the sides of the top-chamber and over the top of the top-chamber, and discharged at the middle of the top of the outer casing. A water-containing pan is provided over the heating-chamber and below the bottom cooking-chamber. It is separated and sealed from the bottom cooking-chamber, the pan forming a separate steam-chamber from which the steam is delivered through a valve-controlled flue from which it may be directed into, or closed off from the lower cooking-chamber, or the upper cooking-chamber, as the cooking-operation may make desirable. Water is delivered to this pan from a float-controlled tank through a pipe extending through the bottom of the case and into the bottom of the pan. Each cooking-chamber is supplied with a door opening closed with a door. A guard-plate is arranged along and under the lower door-opening, the guard-plate extending over and protecting the controlling valves for the burner in the heating-chamber. This guard-plate is slightly inclined to the face of the casing and has a slight rib at its side and front edges strengthening and finishing ornamentally the guard-plate. There is no guardplate, or other obstruction below the door-opening of the upper cooking-chamber."

 Comparing defendant's cooker with the features described in the claims of patent No. 1,610,944, it lacks the means of collecting drip water from the doors of the cooker, the means for gas circulation along the back wall of the cooker by reason of closure plates at the bottom, and the means for the direct delivery of steam from the water bath to the cooking chamber.

 Comparing defendant's cooker with the features described in the single claim of patent No. 1,748,123, it lacks the steam pipe through the outer wall of the cooker, the discharge pipe through the side wall of the water pan, and common inlet and discharge through the bottom of the water pan.

 Conclusions of Law.

 We conclude, as a matter of law, that the two patents are void for want of novelty, that, even if valid, the defendant's structure does not infringe, and that therefore ...


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