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SUTTER v. ROBINSON.

decided: December 20, 1886.

SUTTER
v.
ROBINSON.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS.

Author: Matthews

[ 119 U.S. Page 531]

 MR. JUSTICE MATTHEWS delivered the opinion of the court.

This is a bill in equity filed by Isaac Robinson and Abraham Robinson against the appellants to restrain an alleged infringement of letters-patent granted by the United States to Abraham Robinson on June 10, 1879, for an improved apparatus for resweating tobacco. The defences relied on are, that the patent is invalid for want of novelty, and a denial of the alleged infringement. The specifications and claims of the patent, with reference to accompanying drawings, [p. 533,] are as follows:

"Figure 1 is a top or plan view of an apparatus embodying my improvements, and Fig. 2 is a vertical central section of the steam-receiver and tobacco-holder.

" Like letters of reference indicate like parts.

"It is usual to soften the leaves of tobacco, as is well known, in order to prepare them for being manufactured into cigars and other manufactured goods, and to bring out a good and uniform color. This has been done heretofore in various ways, and, among others, by dampening to leaves and exposing them to heat while in that condition.

"The object of this invention is to provide improved means for exposing the leaves to the action of steam for the purposes above set forth; and to that end my invention consists of a tobacco-holding vessel made of wood sufficiently porous to permit the steam to percolate through it, in combination, substantially

[ 119 U.S. Page 532]

     as hereinafter described, with a steam-generating apparatus and a steam-receiving chamber surrounding the vessel for containing the tobacco.

"I am aware that the general structural plan of the apparatus hereinafter described is old, and I do not, therefore, here intend to claim the same independently of a tobacco-receiving vessel made of wood sufficiently porous to permit the steam to percolate through it, as and for the purposes set forth, the said wooden vessel constituting, as I believe, an improvement upon the apparatus heretofore in use, for the reason that, in employing wood instead of metal in the construction of the said vessel, the tobacco is prevented from being tainted, and may be kept continually moist by the action of the steam instead of being merely heated and sweated by it, or steamed only by the generation of steam in the same vessel containing the tobacco, it being obvious that, if the tobacco-receiving vessel be made of metal, as heretofore in devices of this class, the steam in an outer surrounding vessel would merely heat the tobacco and sweat it without imparting new moisture to it. Neither do I here intend to claim the process, as such, of steaming tobacco.

"In the drawings A represents an ordinary boiler for generating steam. B is a tank or vessel for receiving the steam generated by the boiler A. C is a tight wooden vessel for receiving the tobacco to be treated. This vessel should be provided with a tight-fitting cover, a. I make the vessel C of wood, as an essential feature of my invention, in order that the steam may sweat or percolate through it from the tank B, and so that the tobacco will not be tainted by contact with metal. The vessel C is enough smaller than the tank B to be suspended in the latter and leave an annular space, b, between the two, as well as a space underneath the bottom of the vessel C, as shown. The space b should also be covered. In order to provide a cover for the space b, and also suspend the vessel C firmly in the B, I employ and annular rim or lid, c, having an upwardly-turned flange, c', fitted to the vessel C, and a downwardly-turned flange, c", fitted to the tank B, screws or other fastenings passing through the flanges into the parts

[ 119 U.S. Page 533]

     to which they are fitted; but it is not essential that these flanges should be continuous or extend entirely around the vessels. Neither is it essential that the flanged portions of the lid c should be continuous, or in the same piece with the remaining part of the said lid. It is, in fact, much the easier way to make the flanged portions separately from the lid proper, and I have represented them as made in that manner.

[]

"I do not, however, here intend to be restricted to any particular way of applying the lid c and suspending the vessel C,

[ 119 U.S. Page 534]

     as both may be done in various suitable ways; but I deem the manner shown to be the best.

"D is a steam-pipe leading from the upper part of the boiler A into the upper part of the space b, and E is a waterpipe leading from the lower part of the said space into the lower part of the boiler. To use this apparatus for the purpose for which it is intended, the water in the boiler should be heated until steam is generated. The tobacco to be treated should be placed in the vessel C and covered, the tobacco being then in the condition in ...


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