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Schreyer v. Chicago Motocoil Corp.

March 6, 1941


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 and MAJOR, Circuit Judges, and BALTZELL, District Judge.

SPARKS, Circuit Judge.

Appellants charged appellees with infringement of United States patent No. 2,178,512 to Schreyer. The patent was issued October 31, 1939, on an application filed October 3, 1938, Steam-O-Matic Corporation has the exclusive license to make, use and sell throughout the United States the alleged improvements described in the patent. The individual defendants, Holger Thielgaard, Ted Thielgaard and R. C. Masters, respectively President, Vice-President, and Secretary-Treasurer of the degendant company, were made defendants on the ground that they were using the insolvent company as a shield for a willful and flagrant infringement. The defenses were invalidity and non-infringement. The defendants also filed a counterclaim in which they charged appellants with unfair competition. The appellees admitted, and the court held, that the patent was infringed if valid, but the court held that each of the four claims was invalid. The court at the conclusion of the evidence dismissed the complaint as to the individual defendants. It thereafter dismissed both the complaint and the counterclaim for lack of merit and assessed one-half of the costs to each party. The appeal is from this decree.

The alleged invention relates to electric irons, and is more particularly directed to a combination electric iron and dampener. We learn from the specification that its chief objects are the provision of an iron and dampener having a water container secured to the shoe of the iron which container overlies the entire surfact of the shoe; a plurality of baffies in the container to prevent the water from surging; a cover sealed to the container and having a steam chamber or dome at the forward end thereof, provided with baffies therein; a continuous channel in the shoe of the iron into which the steam is discharged from the dome for an even distribution of outlet openings arranged in the shoe and communicating with the channel; a support for setting the iron on its heel; and thermo-responsive means for cutting off the current to the heating element at a predetermined degree of heat.

The base or shoe of the iron may be of any suitable material, preferably aluminum. The shoe is provided on its top surface with a continuous channel at its forward end, and a relatively large depression extending from a point adjacent the channel to near the heel of the shoe. The channel has a plurality of perforations therein, providing discharge outlets to the under surface of the shoe, and the depressed portion is adapted to receive an electrical heating element therein. A filler pad of asbestos, or other suitable material, is placed over the heating element and is provided with a plurality of perforations. The container is secured to the shoe and is provided with a bottom wall which forms an enclosure or top wall for the continuous channel, and engages the filler pad to retain the heating element in position. The container is preferably constructed of an aluminum casting and is secured to the shoe by means of cap screws which draw the bottom wall of the container into contact with the filler pad, to retain the element in position and to cause the bottom wall to engage the shoe to form an enclosure for the heating element and channel. The cap screws extend through the bottom wall of the container, and head portions are provided with internal threads for securing a cover to the container.

When the container is in fixed position on the shoe, it engages the periphery of the shoe to form a perfect enclosure for the heating element and channel, and its contact with the pads serves to conduct the heat through the container. The container is also provided with a plurality of baffles which extend from the bottom wall and are disposed angularly with their top edge portions directed toward the rear of the container.

The cover of the container is provided with serrations along its lower edge which coact with corresponding serrations on the top edge of the container. Two bolts extend through the cover into the threads provided in the heads of the cap screws and these bolts serve to retain the cover in sealed position with the container. The cover is preferably a casting, with a steam chamber or dome, cast integrally therewith, and an upwardly extending lug, at the extreme ends of which a metal grip is secured therebetween by a bolt.

The dome is preferably provided with a plurality of angularly directed oppositely positioned baffles which are arranged to provide a central opening through which the upper end of a pipe is directed, which pipe has its lower end secured in the threaded head of a hollow cap screw, which in turn extends through the bottom wall of the container and is threaded into the shoe. This cap screw serves to securely retain the forward end of the container in position, and it also serves as a means through which the steam is exhausted from the pipe into the continuous channel of the shoe. There is an annular recess in the bottom wall which provides an opening above a depressed portion that communicates with the continuous channel in the shoe. The cap screw is provided with a plurality of transverse openings that communicate with the annular recess of the container for directing the steam from the lead pipe into the channel.

The cover has a screw cap opening for filling the container with water. The heating element has the usual electric connections. The current used to heat the shoe also heats the water.After the water is heated to the boiling point the steam will rise into the dome and when under sufficient pressure will be forced through the lead pipe to the hollow cap screw and outwardly of the transverse openings into the continuous channel and perforations. When the steam is thus admitted, it circulates therearound and is evenly distributed through the series of perforations to the under side of the shoe.

During the ironing movements, the water is withheld against surging action by means of the baffles, or metal wool which may be placed between the baffles. In order to admit the passage of water from one compartment to another, a plurality of openings is provided in the baffles adjacent the bottom wall of the container.

As the dome is positioned at the forward end of the iron, the iron may be set up on its heel while heating, and also for steaming purposes, and in order to support the iron on its heel a bracket is provided.

The patent has four claims and each is relied upon.*fn1

Appellees rely upon the following patents in support of the lower court's ruling on the question of validity: Slonaker, No. 1,683,145; Butman, No. 1,697,224; Izumiya, No. 1,830,875; Schaefer, No. 1,962,940; Skolnik, No. 1,696,583; Deems, No. 2,027,767; Quertainmont, No. 38,162 (French), and Hirigoyen, No. 330,870 ...

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