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Complainant's lettered exhibit, “Wheeler & Wilson Machine with Osterhout Device No. 2,” also shows the buttonhole cutter of the patent in suit. P, of the patent drawings, represents the cutter controller, a laterally projecting finger attached by means of screws to the feed-wheel disk, F, arranged to be operated by.means of teeth in said wheel engaging a ratchet or pawl, motion to which is imparted by the motion of the main shaft of the machine. As this disk revolves, it brings the projecting point of the cutter controller into engagement with a vertical finger on the arm, L, of a lever which so moves the arm, L', of said lever, acting by means of hinges upon the vertical cutter carrier, I, as to cause the cutter bar to slightly rotate, and to bring the clutch, J, on the cutter carrier, and the clutch, J', on the needle carrier, A, into engagement. Thereupon the downward movement of the needle arm depresses the cutter carrier, and the cutter passes through the fabric. Upon the upward movement of the needle carrier, a spring causes the clutches to be disengaged, and another spring, K, upon the cutter carrier, elevates the cutter.
The defendant's machine is constructed substantially in accordance with the Tebbetts & Doggett patent. The drawing on sheet 1 of said patent shows said cutter in operative combination with a Wheeler & Wilson buttonhole sewing machine. It also comprises a circular feed wheel attached to a Wheeler & Wilson machine, and having a laterally projecting finger or controller, like that of the patent in suit, operated in the same way. As the feed wheel revolves, a pin on said finger strikes an arm of a bell crank lever, causing said lever to slightly rotate and bring a latch into engagement with a catch on a collar on a needle bar rocker shaft. This latch is fastened by means of screws to a cutter bar rocker shaft. At the extremity of said cutter bar rocker shaft is an arm which operates the cutter carrier. On said cutter bar rocker shaft is a collar with a projection or finger thereon. The upper short arm of said bell crank lever is pressed against said finger when the lower arm is brought into engagement with the controller or finger on the feed wheel; thus causing a slight rotary movement of the cutter bar rocker shaft, sufficient to bring the latch into engagement, as above stated, with the catch on the collar carried by the needle bar rocker shaft. The rotary movement of the needle bar rocker shaft, communicated by said engagement to the cutter bar rocker shaft, causes a jaw or clutch at the extemity of said arm, connected with and operated by said cutter bar rocker shaft, to descend, and, in descending, to depress a finger, with which it is in engagement, on the cutter carrier, and thus to depress the cutter which cuts the buttonhole. While the cutter is thus being depressed the movement of said cutter bar rocker shaft causes a releasing, snail-shaped cam thereon to press against the top of said bell crank lever, thus releasing the arm of said lever from engagement with the controller on the feed wheel. Defendant claims that this releasing operation accomplishes what the patentees of said machine state as the main object of their invention,-a single automatic descent of the cutter, and the prevention of further descents by means of a device independent of the needle bar. When the cutting operation is completed a spring on the cutter bar rocker shaft elevates the cutter. A comparison of the two machines shows that each has a circular feed-wheel disk, operated in the same way by the feed-wheel mechanism, and provided with a projecting pin, which, at a certain point, contacts with a lever which causes a cutter carrier to engage with a needle carrier by means of a clutch; the lever in one device acting directly upon the cutter carrier, and causing it to contact and engage with the needle carrier, and in the other device, through the intervention of an interposed cutter bar rocker shaft, engaging with a needle bar rocker shaft by means of collars and clutches thereon. In each case the cutter bar and needle bar are normally disconnected. In each case the movement of the needle-actuating mechanism causes the descent of the cutter carrier. In each case it is positively and unyieldingly actuated at a given point. In each it is normally elevated by a spring. The prior art does not show this construction, or any such combination.
Prior to the invention of the patent in suit, fingers or projections on the feed wheel had been used to bring some independent or auxiliary device into operation at a predetermined point. Thus, in patent No. 303,453, granted to F. W. Ostrom August 12, 1884, a pin on the feed wheel released certain cording mechanism, so that it was operated by a spring, and also released certain brake mechanism. This device did not suit. While it set a train of mechanism in motion, it did not throw it out of operation. In patent No. 240,546, granted April 26, 1881, to John Reece, for an automatic buttonhole stitching and cutting machine, a cutter-actuating cam on the feed wheel, acting upon the cutter lever, caused the depressor of the cutter to cut the fabric, and thereafter permitted its release. This device was combined with a sewing machine having two needles,--one to make the edge stitch, and the other the depth stitch,—so that there was no jogging movement therein, and it furnished no suggestion for adaptation to machines having such movement. Ostrom patent, No. 303,454, is for a buttonhole cutter operated by hand. It was incapable of automatic operation. Allen patent, No. 246,859, is for an attachment for trimming the edges of fabrics. The trimmer descends and cuts at each descent of the needle; thus illustrating the step by step cutter, as compared with the single-stroke cutter. Its operation is controlled by hand, and, while it might be used in a two-needle machine, it is not adapted for use in a machine having a jogging motion. Patent No. 337,273, granted March 2, 1886, to J. W. Lufkin, shows a cutter in which an arm, operating upon the cutter lever every second time that the needle descends, causes it to cut the buttonhole during the operation of the stitching, but only at the time when the needle is making the edge stitch. It differs from the stitching mechanisms here in controversy in that, while in the latter the cutter is brought into operation by means of a finger on the clamp-feed mechanism, and only descends at a certain predetermined portion of the stitching operation, the Lufkin machine operates step by step, and continuously, by alternate descents, during the entire stitching period, is actuated from a cam in the main driving mechanism of the machine, and is not provided with any means for determining the cutting operation. These machines do not anticipate the combination of the patent in suit. They show that there es. isted, in the prior art of buttonhole stitching machines, hand and automatically operating cutting attachments, and that fingers, similar to that of the patent in suit, for starting the various operations at a definite time, were well known, and that controlling devices, limited in adaptability and scope, had been constructed. They serve to illustrate the problem then presented in the art, namely, in a machine imparting a jogging motion to the work, how to connect a finger on a feed wheel with a cutter bar so that at a predetermined time the cutter bar would be automatically thrown into such posi. tion that upon actuation of a depressor the cutter bar would descend and cut a buttonhole slit, and would thereafter be automatically · prevented from continuing such cutting operation. In patent No. 301,974, granted July 15, 1884, to Arthur Felber, the cutter carrier is mounted upon the needle carrier, and connected therewith by a spring which acts as a depressor. The cutter carrier moves up and down with the needle. The needle has a jogging movement relatively to the cloth. When the needle descends at a certain portion of the stitching operation to make an edge stitch, the spring-actuated cutter descends with it, and cuts the cloth. When it jogs to make the depth stitch, a projection on the cutter strikes upon an intercepting jaw, which holds the cutter out of contact with the goods, and prevents it from cutting. It is claimed that this machine was impracticable, and various obvious reasons are given in support of said claim. The evidence shows, however, that it had some small measure of success, as applied to a limited class of work. This machine is arranged to operate automatically with relation to the jogging movement, and is, in a limited sense, controlled, as argued by counsel for defendant, by a cutter controller or intercepter, and provided with a depressor. But the mechanism and mode of operation of this machine are radically different from those of the patent in suit. Osterhout's cutter bar is normally detached from the needle bar. Felber's is continuously attached, and is actuated at every descent of the needle bar. Osterhout's depressor and cutter controller operate through a train of mechanism only to cause a positive and unyielding descent of the cutter to make a single cut. Felber's depressor consists of a mere spring, which causes the cutting by means of its resiliency, and which, when not cutting, opposes every descent of the needle. His so-called “controller" "is a mere smash block, against which the cutter carrier necessarily smashes at every descent of the needle bar during the stitching of the whole of one side of the buttonhole.” I concur with the expert Quimby in his statement as to said machine, which is as follows:
"There is no disclosure or suggestion in the Felber patent of a cutter controller, moving with the work-feeding mechanism, a cutter carrier and depressor, and, between the cutter carrier, depressor, and cutter controller, & train of connections susceptible of being so affected by the cutter controller as to bring about a single actuation of the cutter at any prescribed stage in the stitching of the buttonhole. Nor is there in tbe Felber patent any suggestion
or disclosure of the employment of a wide cutter to cut the buttonhole slit at one stroke. Hence the Felber patent does not show or disclose the invention of said claiins of the patent in suit."
Much testimony has been taken upon the question whether one Egge or Osterhout was the prior inventor of an automatic button. hole cutter. The evidence as to the original Egge machine, of 1879, for stitching buttonholes, and as to the cutter mechanism attempted to be used therewith, is not directly material, as the proposed cutter attachment never went into practical use, and was a mere abandoned experiment, and also because Egge has failed to show reasonable diligence in reducing to practice, or any excuse for his long delay. He admits that he knew of no sewing-machine head on which this cutter attachment could be used; that he left it out of his application for a patent for the automatic buttonhole stitching device; that, in his crude suggestion of a cutter capable of being used therein, he stated that he preferred to cut the buttonhole in the usual manner, after it was made; and that he never attempted to introduce or sell or reproduce said cutting mechanism. But in January of 1885 Egge again began experiments in the construction of a buttonhole stitching and cutting machine; and in the latter part of February, 1885, he constructed and operated a practical machine, containing a cutting mechanism, for which on July 13, 1886, he obtained patent No. 345,419. The machine feeds at every vibration of the needle bar, and a lug or trip on the feed bar, contacting with or pressing against the crosspiece, keeps the cutter elevated until after one side of the stitch and the barring stitchings are completed. Then, as the feed bar commences to move backward, said lug permits certain pawls to come into vertical alignment, and the cutter is depressed by the upward movement of said crosspiece. The operator then shifts the feed plate to make the barring stitches, and thereby determines the cutting operation. It will thus be seen that the Egge 1885 machine was not strictly an automatic cutter, as applied to the then existing machines. Irrespective of the objections to its practical operation, it was constructed upon a different princi. ple from that embodied in the device of the patent in suit. It did not comprise a rotary cutter controller, nor any device capable of automatically cutting a buttonhole slit, by a single stroke of the cutter at a predetermined point in the sewing operation. The mechanism for forming the complete buttonhole was necessarily shifted by hand. The machine of the Egge patent, therefore, is so differentiated from that of the patent in suit that at most, if it be prior in conception and reduction to practice, it can only affect the claim of the patent in suit as a pioneer patent.
This review practically covers the devices introduced as anticipations which are earlier than the invention of the patent in suit, and the Egge 1885 machine. An examination of the patents and models, and a consideration of the expert evidence and of the arguments of counsel, have failed to satisfy me that any of the devices materi. ally detract from the evidence of inventive skill shown in the Osterhout patent. Some of the machines were failures. Others worked imperfectly. The Felber and Egge devices, which gave the best re