art would be much stronger with almost any other type of mechanism. But valves and their operating gear are so widely interchangeable as practically to constitute an art in themselves and to leave little room for invention in incorporating one type or another in widely differing kinds of separating apparatus.
Having taken the Viesbeck mechanism it would not, in my judgment, constitute more than an engineering improvement, falling short of invention, to further provide for the delay of the movement of the upper gate valve until the filling of the refuse chamber with water, as an additional safeguard, by the use of an automatic pressure switch which responded to the filling of the chamber. Having determined upon an automatic delay, the idea of a pressure switch operated by the fluid of the filled chamber follows naturally. In fact, it is difficult to see what other method could be adopted. Pressure switches are admittedly standard equipment, and the addition of the pressure switch to this type of valve is not, in my judgment, invention.
I have no doubt that the valve gear of the patent in suit was an improvement over the older valve operating mechanisms which had been successfully used. But when we consider the high degree of efficiency which through modern training ordinary mechanical engineers have attained, and that devices which seem remarkable to the layman are ordinary standard practice, it is impossible to find invention in this structure.
No. 1,937,190 ("Rectilinear Flow")
Claims 1 and 2
The validity of this patent has not been put in issue. Its infringement at the beginning of the operation of the Tamaqua plant was admitted. The only question is how long that infringement continued. I find as a fact that the infringement continued until November, 1935, or for a period of about a month, when the vertical baffles were removed and the structure now used was installed. Since that time there has been no infringement for several reasons: first, because of the removal of the bafflles; second, because the rotating rakes are close enough to the surface of the fluid in the cone to produce a rotary and not a rectilinear flow; and third, because the feed of the coal is below the top of the rakes and within range of the most pronounced rotary motion of the fluid medium.
I find that, since the date of the making of this change, this patent has not been infringed.
No. 1,949,242 ("Independent Water Refill")
Claims 2 and 3
This patent has for its principal object the separation of the source and means for introducing the agitation water from the source and means for introducing the water necessary to fill the refuse chamber. The difficulty with the former system was that the agitation water had to be delivered under a steady head, whereas the refuse chamber was emptied from time to time and required an intermittent and sudden influx of water to fill it. If, as in the "water-on-bottom" patent, these two functions were performed by the same system, you would have irregularities in the flow of agitation water and disturbances in the cone which obviously were to be avoided. The illustration given by the defendant of the bathroom equipped with toilet, wash basin and shower is a good one, the toilet corresponding to the refuse chamber, the wash basin to the agitation water, and shower to the wash water. If the plumber fails to separate these systems, the basin and shower will be cut off or cut down whenever the toilet is flushed. Every modern system makes a separation of systems by means of an independent refill tank for the toilet, and this is approximately what this patent does. The claims in suit, however, are not nearly as broad as that, and, in addition, they disclose another secondary object, which is to fill the collecting tank and the refuse chamber by gravity without the expenditure of additional energy in pumping. This is done by putting the filling chamber below the sand sump but not above the level of the refuse chamber.
Both claims in suit call not only for means to discharge the water from the sand sump into the filling chamber, but also for means connecting the upper part of the sand sump directly with the filling chamber. Without regard to the importance of this element, there is no question that both the claims include it as part of the combination, and I do not see how infringement can be found unless it is present.
The defendant's accused system at Tamaqua contains no such element or any equivalent, and consequently does not infringe. None of the water in its system used for the independent filling of the refuse chamber can come directly from the sand sump, but all of it goes into a refill chamber and thence into the refuse chamber. Consequently these claims are not infringed.
The defendant also argues that it does not infringe because, before the water in allowed to flow by gravity into the refuse chamber, it is raised by pump to the refilling chamber. Hence, says the defendant, it does not infringe because its means are not "means permitting the fall of the liquid so collected * * * into said chamber." I think that this point is well taken. It seems to me that the entire intent of the patent with respect to its secondary purpose is the use of gravity only as the force to refill the refuse chamber, and the mere fact that there is gravity fall from the refill chamber to the refuse chamber is not sufficient to infringe the claims. In other words, the introduction of a pump would seem to entirely defeat one of the express purposes of the patent, although it is undoubtedly a secondary purpose. It is not necessary, however, to put noninfringement upon this ground, since it seems to me so clear upon the other.
Since there is no infringement the question of validity is not passed upon.
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