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Clapp v. Corporation.

December 5, 1940


Appeal from the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division; John P. Barnes, Judge.

Author: Sparks

Before SPARKS, MAJOR, and KERNER, Circuit Judges.

SPARKS, Circuit Judge.

Appellant charged appellee with infringement of United States patent No. 1,570,032 to Baldner, issued January 19, 1926, on an application filed June 7, 1921.This bill also charged appellee with infringement, and the inequitable appropriation, of United States improvement patent No. 1,980,117 to Clapp and Eickhoff. Both of these patents were owned by appellant at all times here in question. The defenses were invalidity and non-infringement. Claims 2, 3, 4 and 13 of the Baldner patent, and claims 1, 8, 13, 22 and 27 of the Clapp patent were relied upon. At the trial, however, appellant withdrew his charges of infringement as to claims 8, 13, 22 and 27 of the Clapp patent.

Special findings of fact were filed by the court, upon which it concluded that appellee had not infringed claim 1 of the Clapp patent, or any of the claims at issue of the Baldner patent. The decree was in accordance with the conclusions of law, dismissing the complaint as to both patents for want of equity.The appeal is from that part of the decree which affects only the Baldner patent.

This patent, which is a continuation in part of the patentee's then pending application, serial No. 453,978, filed March 21, 1921, relates to dispensing apparantus for plastic or semi-fluid materials, and more particularly to measuring means therefor, by which the discharge is regulated in measured quantity. Its primary object is to simplify the structure and the means and mode of operation of such apparatus, whereby it will be cheaper in construction, more efficient in use, positive in operation, uniform in action and accurate. Other objects are to provide a dispensing apparatus with a control device which will insure the uniform and continuous discharge of the material in meassured quantities; to provide automatic control means by which the discharge mechanism will be automatically arrested when a predetermined quantity of the material has been ejected; to provide means for readily adjusting the apparatus to discharge the material in greater or less measured quantity; to further provide for automatic coin or finger control for setting the mechanism in operation; and to provide in conjunction with the dispensing apparatus a booster, or ejector pump, to insure uniform and continuous discharge.

The patented apparatus comprises a container for the material which is discharged in measured quantity. The container rests upon a base which contains the dispensing, or ejecting apparatus, and the base is provided with an inlet opening with which the open bottom of the container registers. The bottom of this base, or housing, comprises a plurality of parallel, semi-circular grooves which communicate with concentric bores, or circular passages in the housing, and extend beyond the receiving opening. Located in each of the semi-circular grooves, and extending into the corresponding bore, is a revoluble spiral conveyor, of which there may be any number in the series. These conveyors extend a sufficient distance through the bores to afford ample bearing therein for the conveyor screws, while at the opposite end, the conveyor screws are provided with trunnions or drive shafts, having bearings in the terminal wall of the receiving recess, through which they extend into the adjacent pocket, or chamber, where they carry intermeshing gear pinions.

The drive shaft of one of the conveyor screws is extended beyond the housing of the base to afford a drive connection for the series of conveyor screws.The conveyor screws may be manually operated by means of a hand crank, or they may be motor driven. The shaft extension is, or may be, provided with a beveled gear pinion with which meshes a second pinion upon a vertically disposed drive shaft. Carried by the shaft is a worm wheel, with which meshes a worm upon the armature shaft of a driving motor. Upon operation of the driving motor, the spiral conveyors will be simultaneously actuated to discharge grease or other plastic or semi-fluid material from the container, through the lateral boxes into the pressure chamber formed at one end of the base or housing. The bores all communicate with this pressure chamber and simultaneously discharge thereinto.

At its upper end the vertically disposed drive shaft carries a bevel gear, meshing with a similar gear upon a transverse shaft to which may be connected a hand crank for hand operation of the apparantus. Whether by hand crank or motor, the worm wheel will be connected to the shaft by a pawl and ratchet. Thus far described, the mechanism is substantially that disclosed and claimed in Baldner's co-pending application.

Leading from the pressure chamber of the base is a discharge conduit, in which is a rotary power-driven meter, comprising a cylindrical housing having inlet and outlet passages.Mounted eccentrically within the circular housing is a rotor having therein two oppositely disposed overlapping sliding blades or vanes. These are bifurcated on their inner edges to receive a spring by which the blades are forced apart and against the wall of the housing as the rotor revolves. During the rotation of the rotor the blades reciprocate to and fro, maintaining at all times their bearing contact upon the interior walls of the cylinder under the influence of the spring.

The grease or other plastic or semifluid material enters the cylinder from the pressure chamber through the inlet passage, filling the space immediately back of the blade until the succeeding blade passes the inlet part, whereupon the charge of material is forcibly advanced by the movement of the blade.

The capacity of the spiral conveyors is greater than that of the rotary meter so that the material is always maintained in the pressure chamber and supplied thence to the rotary meter under a relatively high pressure. The excess material advanced by the spiral conveyor merely leaks back, or when the bores are filled to the maximum pressure, no more material can be forced therein and the material will merely push backwardly into the container, thus insuring at all times an ample supply of material under pressure at the inlet part of the rotary meter, which in turn insures the intake chamber of the meter being fully and completely filled at a uniform pressure at each rotation of the rotor. This intake chamber being of a predetermined capacity receives a like charge at each half rotation of the rotor, and serves as a unit of measurement. The rotary meter is so designed that a predetermined number of rotations shall equal exactly one pound, or a pint, or a quart of the material as desired by the purchaser.

Upon rotation of the blades, the charge of material received upon the cylinder is discharged upwardly through the outlet and the discharge conduit. The rotor is positively driven by means of a bevel gear upon the shaft of the rotor, meshing with a similar gear upon a vertically disposed shaft, mounted in a suitable bearing in the top wall of the pressure chamber. At its lower end the vertical shaft carries a gear pinion meshing with a similar pinion upon a stub shaft carried by one of the spiral conveyors, thus driving the rotary meter and the spiral conveyors in unison.

The specifications continue in a lengthy description of Baldner's meter, or measuring device, and its operations.That part of the description is considerably longer than that which we have heretofore set out.It specifically describes the means by which the predetermined amount of the material desired by the purchaser may be delivered to him immediately by either manually operating a switch to start the motor ...

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