12 F.2d 929 (S.D.N.Y. 1925), Concrete Mixing & Conveying Co. v. Ulen Contracting Corporation

Citation:12 F.2d 929
Case Date:August 04, 1925
Court:United States District Courts, 2nd Circuit, Southern District of New York

Page 929

12 F.2d 929 (S.D.N.Y. 1925)




United States District Court, S.D. New York.

August 4, 1925

Stephen J. Cox, of New York City (Stephen J. Cox, of New York City, and A. G. McCaleb, of Chicago, Ill., of counsel), for complainant.

James L. Steuart, of New York City, for defendant Ulen Contracting Corporation.

Frank S. Moore, of New York City (James L. Steuart, of New York City of counsel), for defendant Shandaken Tunnel Corporation.

AUGUSTUS N. HAND, District Judge.

This is a suit for infringement of United States letters patent No. 1,127,660 to John H. McMichael, granted February 9, 1915, claims 2, 4, 6, 17, 21, 28, 34, and 35.

The invention has for its object to provide a method of and an apparatus for elevating and transporting concrete. The patentee describes concrete in the specification as 'a composition containing relatively large pieces of rock or stone as uniform in size as possible, together with predetermined proportions of sand, cement, and water. ' Pneumatic pressure is used to compress the concrete into a restricted conduit pipe, and then additional pressure by means of a jet of compressed air is applied to the mass near the entrance of the conduit pipe, thereby pushing the mass into and along the conduit.

The McMichael invention is a most interesting one, and has apparently met with general acceptance. Engineers at first distrusted the possibility of lifting and conveying concrete large distances by the McMichael device. The very material would be likely to clog any long pipe line. Moreover, the weight would be so great, if conveyed as a mass by means of pressure from the rear, that too great pressure for safety would be required, if, indeed, enough could be applied, where the distance was long, and concrete, as in some cases, was lifted 80 feet. Various attempts to convey sand appear in a number of patents, and in the Goldie patent, No. 707,840, sand was ejected under railroad ties by steam pressure.

In the Farnham patent, No. 747,396, there was a sand blast apparatus shown, where the sand was carried into the discharge pipe by gravity, aided by compressed air, and then ejected by an air blast nozzle entering the discharge pipe in the general direction thereof. The patent to Sticker, No. 758,118, is likewise for a sand blast.

None of these patents, in my opinion, would teach any one with imagination and talents short of a real inventive faculty to install a conveyer which would obviate the delay and expense of laying concrete by hand about the forms on which a tunnel is built. They were kinetic devices for floating light material. This was in substance so, even in case of the Goldie patent, where dry cement, or cement mixed with sand or gravel, was ejected from a short hose by an air or steam water blast. It is not accomplished by a heavy air pressure, as in the patent in suit, but by air or steam velocity.

In the McMichael patent, the second blast of compressed air at once cuts the concrete

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mass and shoves along the segment of concrete. The segment to be shoved along is of comparatively small weight and dimension, so that it can be carried wit out clogging the discharge pipe. Mr. Kirkland, the chief engineer of the complainant, described this at page 9 of the record:

'Q. 42. What is the effect, as you have observed the operation of the machine, of working the jet at the bottom directed at...

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