U.S. Supreme Court
King v. Gallun, 109 U.S. 99 (1883)
King v. Gallun
Submitted October 10, 1883
Decided October 29, 1883
109 U.S. 99
1. In his specification, A describes a process for placing hair in small bundles and by a bailing press uniting several bundles into a bale of a convenient size for transportation. Held that this description does not show a patentable invention.
2. The court will take judicial notice of matters of common knowledge, and of things in common use.
This was a bill in equity brought by Wendell R. King, the appellant, against August Gallun and Albert Trostel, to restrain them from infringing letters patent No. 152,500, dated June 30, 1874, granted to the appellant for certain improvements in baled plastering hair.
The invention and its advantages are thus set forth in the specification:
"It is found that the wants of the trade in plastering hair require it to be compressed for transportation in packages of from three to five bushels; this amount of hair forms a package of a good size to conveniently handle, weighing from twenty to forty pounds. The trade unit for the article of plastering hair is always the bushel; it is sold by the bushel or by the multiple thereof."
"Heretofore this hair has been packed in a mass of a certain number of bushels baled together, varying in amount as the order required, so that when received, the retail dealer was compelled to parcel out the same and weigh it to suit his customers. This is a disagreeable and difficult thing to do, as the hair is dirty and matted together, and after it is once removed from the case into which it has been compressed by a bailing press, is bulky and not easy to reduce again to a convenient package. For the convenience of the trade, I propose to form the hair in small bundles of one bushel each and unite several bundles into a bale of a convenient size for transportation. "
"I first place a bushel of hair into a paper sack loosely, or only so far packed as may be readily done by hand; several of these one-bushel packages are then placed side by side in a baling press. I use for this purpose the baling press heretofore patented to me; they are thus compressed forcibly together, so that the bale produced will be a compact firm bale, occupying only about one-fifth of the original bulk; the paper bags which still envelop the individual bushels of the bale keep said bushels separate and serve at the same time to protect the hair."
"The bale, after being compressed, is tied in the usual way, and is then in shape for transportation without further covering, although it may be desirable, if the bale is to be sent a long distance, to envelop it in a stout sacking. Hair baled thus may be separated by the retail dealer into bushel packages, each of which remains compressed into a small size and is in convenient condition to handle."
The claim was as follows:
"Having thus described my invention, I claim as an article of manufacture the bale B of plasterers' hair, consisting of several bundles A, containing a bushel each by weight, enclosed or encased in paper bags or similar material, and united, compressed, and secured to form a package substantially as specified."
The defense was want of novelty in the alleged invention, and that the same was not patentable.
The circuit court dismissed the bill, and from its decree the complainant has appealed.