MCCARTY V. LEHIGH VALLEY R. CO., 160 U. S. 110 (1895)

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U.S. Supreme Court

McCarty v. Lehigh Valley R. Co., 160 U.S. 110 (1895)

McCarty v. Lehigh Valley Railroad Company

No. 9

Argued November 14-15, 1895

Decided December 2, 1895

160 U.S. 110


The inventions claimed in the third and fourth claims of letters patent No. 339,913, dated April 13, 1886, issued to Harry C. McCarty for an improvement in car trucks, if not void for want of novelty, as the application of an old process or machine to a similar or analogous subject, with no change in the manner of application, and no result substantially distinct in its nature, were inventions of such a limited character as to require a narrow construction, and, being so construed, the letters patent are not infringed by the bolsters used by the appellee.

Page 160 U. S. 111

This was a bill in equity for the infringement of two letters patent issued to McCarty for improvements in car trucks, viz., patent No. 314,459, dated March 24, 1885, and patent No. 339,913, dated April 13, 1886. The application for the first patent was filed June 5, 1884, and for the second patent, August 31, 1883, so that in reality the second patent represents the prior invention. Upon the hearing in this Court, complainants abandoned their claims under the first patent, No. 314,459, and asked for a decree only upon the third and fourth claims of the second patent, No. 339,913.

The invention covered by this patent consists of a metallic bolster for car trucks, upon which the whole body of the car is carried by a swinging pivot, as shown in the following drawings:


Figure 1 of these drawings represents a side view of the car truck between the wheels, the ends of the bolster resting upon the side irons, A, of this truck. Figure 2 represents the bolster,

Page 160 U. S. 112

formed of a top iron bar, F, and a lower iron bar, G, the bar, F, being arched and bolted at its ends to the bar, G. Between the bars are the supporting metallic columns, H, which rest on the bar, G. The crown or central portion of the bar, F, rests upon these columns, the bars and columns being firmly bolted together. J represents the side bearings, which rest on and are bolted to the bar, F, and have connected with them the ends of the truss rods, K, which are of inverted arch form. These side bearings and truss rods, however, are immaterial in the present case. On the under side of the ends of the bar, G, are screwed the plates, P, whose sides are notched or grooved, as at a, to receive the columns, B, of the side irons, the plates thus forming the end guides or supports of the upper bolster. The ends of the bar, G, are turned upwardly, forming the flanges, Q, against which the ends of the bar, F, abut.

The third and fourth claims, the only ones in issue, were as follows:

"3. The lower bar, G, having flanges, Q, turned up on its ends, in combination with the arched upper bar, F, having its ends bearing against said flanges, the guide plates, P, bolted to the ends of said bars under the same, the stops or blocks, M, inserted between bars, F and G, near their ends, and the pillars, H, also interposed between said bars, as stated."

"4. The upper bolster, composed of the bent bar, F, straight bar, G, and interposing columns, M, in combination with the plates, P, secured beneath the bars, F, G at their ends, and notched or grooved on their sides at a, to receive the columns, B, of the side irons, substantially as and for the purpose set forth."

The answer of the defendants denied that McCarty was the original inventor of the alleged improvements; averred that said improvements were not of any advantage to the public, that the inventions were not patentable, had been described in prior publications, and had been publicly used elsewhere.

Upon a hearing upon pleadings and proofs, the bill was dismissed, and complainants appealed to this Court.

Page 160 U. S. 113

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