68 F. 428 (D.Md. 1895), Horn v. Bergner

Citation:68 F. 428
Party Name:HORN v. BERGNER et al.
Case Date:May 13, 1895
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Page 428

68 F. 428 (D.Md. 1895)



BERGNER et al.

United States Circuit Court, D. Maryland.

May 13, 1895

Witter & Kenyon, for complainant.

H. T. Fenton, for defendants.

MORRIS, District Judge.

The complainant is an unincorporated joint-stock company, under the laws of New York, suing by its president, as the assignee of patent No. 488,630, December 27, 1892, granted to Alfred C. Hafely, who is also a member of the complainant company. The defenses are want of novelty, want of patentability, want of notice of the patent, and noninfringement. The patent is

Page 429

for a method of making corners, covers, and like parts for books, boxes, and similar articles of celluloid or kindred material. It appears from the testimony that sheet celluloid, which is made of extreme thinness, and which in sheets is highly elastic, dense, and durable, and susceptible of a high polish, and may be tinted of any color, and which can be rendered plastic by heat, had, before the alleged invention of Hafely, been used as a veneering for the covers of albums and books. The sheet of celluloid having been embossed by any desired design by being pressed between heated dies, and, being cut to proper sizes, was cemented to the foundation for the cover, and the edges were turned over upon the cover and made fast by cement or glue or small metal fastenings. The result of this method was very unsatisfactory, particularly at the corners. The beauty of the sheet celluloid largely consists in its resemblance to solid ivory, and to the impression on the sight and senses that it is not a thin veneer, but that the cover was made of a solid material. In turning the sheets of celluloid over the corners, prior to Hafely's alleged invention, there was always some wrinkling, or fullness, or want of smoothness, or physical indication of some kind which disclosed that the celluloid was but a thin, applied veneer, and this marred the effect and merchantableness of the result. So much was this the case that it was usual to make the sides of the cover of celluloid, but to make the covers of plush, so as to conceal this defect, and for this reason the use of celluloid for album covers was quite limited. Hafely, with other associates in the complainant joint-stock company, was engaged in the manufacture of albums, fancy boxes, and similar articles, and for some time was unable to overcome this difficulty, which, for the purposes of manufacture, was a great obstacle in the use of sheet celluloid. After trials and experiments, he hit upon the method which he has patented, and which has now produced results which are very beautiful and artistic, and which have obtained great commercial success. The covers of such albums and books and similar articles, in order to have the substantial appearance required by the ornamental figures embossed on the sheet celluloid veneering, must be made thick, of wood or paper boards, or filled in with padding, and the corners must not be sharp and rectangular, but should be rounded and beveled, or cup-shaped, as the complainant's expert has called them. The discovery of Hafely was that...

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