U.S. Supreme Court
Estey v. Burdett, 109 U.S. 633 (1884)
Estey v. Burdett
Argued November 21-23 1883
Decided January 7, 1884
109 U.S. 633
Claim 1 of letters patent No, 81,241, granted February 23d 1869, to Riley Burden, as inventor, for 17 years from August 24, 1868, for an "improvement in reed organs," namely,
"The arrangement, in a reed musical instrument, of the reed board A, having the diapason set a and its octave set b and the additional set L, extending from about at tenor F upward through the scale, substantially as and to the effect set forth,"
defined and construed.
A reed board with two sets of reeds and a third partial set was made and put into an organ by one Dayton prior to the invention of Burden, and, such organ being put in evidence, it was held that the alleged infringing organs contained nothing which, so far as said claim 1 was concerned, was not found in such prior organ.
As to claim 2, namely,
"The reed board A, and foundation board G, constructed with the contracted valve openings D F F, and the reeds arranged in relation thereto, all in the manner described,"
it was held that, in view of the state of the art, there was no invention in making the length and size of the valve opening greater or less in a reed board of a given width, or where the reed board was made wider or narrower, or had more or less sets of reeds in it, either full or partial, and that the vibrating ends of the lowest and longest reeds in such prior organ were as near together as they were in the reed boards of the alleged infringing organs. On these views, a decree was entered in favor of the defendants.
Bill in equity for infringement of a patent for reed celeste organs