13 F.Supp. 476 (S.D.N.Y. 1936), Textile Mach. Works v. Louis Hirsch Textile Machines

Citation:13 F.Supp. 476
Case Date:February 03, 1936
Court:United States District Courts, 2nd Circuit, Southern District of New York

Page 476

13 F.Supp. 476 (S.D.N.Y. 1936)

29 U.S.P.Q. 282




United States District Court, S.D. New York

Feb. 3, 1936

Page 477

Howson & Howson, of Philadelphia, Pa., for plaintiff.

Darby & Darby, of New York City, for defendant.

LINDLEY, District Judge.

Plaintiff, manufacturer of full-fashioned hosiery knitting machines, brings this suit for infringement of claims 1, 3, 14, and 15 of patent No. 1,713,628 issued May 21, 1929, to Schletter. Defendant, the American sales representative of a German manufacturer of knitting machines, sells the latter in America and manufactures and sells in America the specific attachments charged to infringe. Defendant denies validity and infringement. The patent in suit was held valid and infringed in Textile Machine Works v. Hofmann, by Judge Avis in (D.C.) 4 F.Supp. 837, affirmed in 71 F. (2d) 973 (C.C.A.3). The Supreme Court denied certiorari. 293 U.S. 601, 55 S.Ct. 117, 79 L.Ed. 693.

The patent in suit covers an attachment to be applied to a flat knitting machine of the Cotton type for making full-fashioned hosiery. Such a machine is complete in itself and is old in the art. The device of the patent, when added to the old machine, is adapted to operate in co-operation with all the regular parts of such a knitting machine previously installed and in use, or furnished as part of the equipment of new machines. The 'Cotton' machine manufactures full-fashioned hosiery and is distinguished from other old machines, of such types as circular and independent needle machines and other similarly designed primarily for the making of underwear.

The patent drawing illustrates only certain sections of the frame members of a knitting machine, but the specifications, description and claims indicate clearly that the patented device is to be attached to a complete, operable 'Cotton' machine. In order to arrive at a correct understanding of the issues, some discussion of the Cotton machine is advisable. A typical example of such a machine shows sections for knitting 24 stocking legs at one time, the operations upon one section being duplicated simultaneously on all the others. There are some 12,000 needles. All movement originates from and is controlled by one cam shaft. To add an attachment, performing additional functions requiring automatic operation, involves the location of additional power devices on the single cam shaft and raises the problems of synchronization of the attachment with other moving

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parts of the machine and avoidance of interference therewith.

Operating parts of the knitting machine include needles, sinkers, guides, carrier bars, stops, and numerous other mechanical parts, all co-operating in a complete automatic machine. The yarn guides are mounted on reciprocatory carrier bars, running lengthwise of the machine, each bar carrying one guide for each knitting section. The total reciprocating movement of the bar is the width, approximately, of a single section, so that the yarn guide may be caused to traverse the entire width of the section and put into position the yarn to be utilized by the needles of that section in the knitting operation. Such reciprocation is accomplished by mechanism operated from the main cam shaft.

The limitation upon the lateral movement of the bars is automatically controlled by the end stops, which can be adjusted, automatically in order to change the stroke of the carrier bars, in one direction only. This operation is referred to because it is required in fashioning, or, otherwise speaking, the 'narrowing' of the stocking to produce one approximately the shape of the human leg. 'Narrowing' involves not only the adjustment of the end stops gradually to shorten the stroke of the carrier bars with their yarn guides, but also the operation of elements known as narrowing points, which pick up some of the outer loops of the fabric from their needles and transfer them to inner needles, thus 'narrowing' the fabric. These narrowing points move both horizontally and vertically, the vertical movement being produced by slides, controlled by pawl and ratchet mechanism, operated from the main cam shaft.

Though there is in the machine a reversely threaded spindle, which moves the slides, causing a vertical movement from side to side, this spindle should not be confused with one similarly described, constituting a part of the device of the patent in suit. The latter carries stops for controlling the reciprocatory movement of the carrier bars by co-operation with abutments placed at suitable positions.

Narrowing involves another operation, namely, the adjustment of the stops to shorten the throw of the yarn guide carrier bars. Further detailed description is not essential; but it is to be observed that the narrowing mechanism is a unit which constitutes a part of the old machine and that when the narrowing operation is completed the end stops and the slides are returned to their initial positions by the turning of the spindle by hand in a direction opposite to that in which they rotate in the narrowing operation. This is termed 'racking-out.'

The Cotton machine includes leggers and footers. It has as one of its attachments the so-called split sole attachment. It has long been in common use in making split seams, and this function is referred to in the patent as being well known.

Schletter's attachment is a device to be added to the machine we have been discussing and intended to make possible other and additional results. Its essential parts are the reversely threaded spindle, stops mounted thereon capable of being moved toward and from each other by rotation of the spindle in opposite directions. Ratchets are provided at the end of the spindle, adapted to turn the same in one direction or the other. With mechanical connection, it is possible to operate the ratchets by power from the main cam shaft. There is included a mechanism for determining which of the ratchets is to be operated, which in turn determines the direction of rotation of the spindle. There are two pattern chains, one of which determines the time of operation of the spindle, and the other, the direction of rotation. The means for operating the ratchets, which need not be discussed fully, is mentioned in the patent as 'pattern controlled means for determining the time of operation of the spindle. ' The mechanism for determining which of the pawls will engage the ratchet is described by the patentee as 'pattern controlled means for determining the direction of rotation of the spindle. ' The stops shown in the device are a well-known form of split-seam stop, having an undercut portion and capable of being oscillated, when an open or so-called 'herring-bone' seam is to be formed. The claims relied upon are not directed to the specific form of stops shown, nor to split-seam stops as distinguished from splicing stops, nor do the claims call for oscillating stops or include the oscillating means as a part of the invention. The patentee expressly states that his concept is not limited to the use of these specific stops for this specific purpose.

I have mentioned some of the elements of the mechanism without attempting to create a mental picture of the combination. This I do not deem essential, in view of the

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record, which will be submitted to the court of review.

As pointed out, the device is intended to co-operate with a full-fashioned machine, to which it is attached; and its function is to provide means for fashioning such designs as clocks upon full-fashioned stockings, doing both reinforcing or splicing work and split-seam work. This purpose, the patentee said, his device accomplished by an action, whereby 'yarn-guides can be accurately controlled to lay a yarn over a distance less than the full length of a course being knitted, as for reinforcing or for so-called split-seam work, wherein sections of fabric are connected by suture seams. For this purpose I preferably employ opposed stops with conjoint controlling means, arranged to move them toward or from each incrementally, but any equivalent means or devices may be employed which will effect the purpose of the invention.'

In the ordinary operation of the knitting machine, the yarn guides are controlled only by the end stops and lay the yarn over the full width of the fabric being knitted, that is, from selvage to selvage. In contrast, Schletter's purpose was to furnish accurate control for yarn guides which lay the yarn over a distance less than the full width of the fabric or less than the full length of the course being knitted. This action produces 'reinforcing' or split-seam work. Reinforcing is the knitting of additional thread over a particular area of the main body of the fabric, producing in such area a double thickness. Splicing, as used by the patentee, refers to the same operation. 'Split-seam work,' according to the patentee, means inserting in the body of the stocking an area formed by separate thread or fabric, as distinguished from a reinforced area, involving a separate thread knitted in to reinforce the main body of the fabric. The two types of work are commonly known as reinforced or splicing and as split-seam or insert work.

In practical operation, certain of the carrier bars travel the full course of the fabric being knitted and are controlled by the end stops. When a clock is inserted, the carrier bar laying the thread for the insert is controlled by auxiliary stops, an abutment on the bar contracting at each end of the auxiliary stops with the inner face of one of the same. Simultaneously, other carrier bars for laying the thread on either side of the insert are controlled by the end stops at one end of their throw and by the auxiliary stops at the other, an abutment on the carrier bar striking against the end stops at one end of its route and on the outer side of one of the auxiliary...

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