« AnteriorContinua »
tory has since been taken. Some of which, in substance, is briefly as follows:
W. L. Austin, of Roxbury, Lane county, Wisconsin, testifies on oath, (see affidavit marked A,) that he has been engaged in threshing, &c., seven seasons and has used different powers, and gives, as the result of his experience, that Woodbury's horse-power is superior to any other, and enumerates its advantages as follows: Ist. The horses walk a natural gait, and you get a strong motion on your cylinder. 2d. There is but little friction in running the power, and consequently it does not wear as much as other powers. 3d. It is up out of the dust and mud. 4th. It is a strong power." He says "he tried it with eight heavy horses and threshed over 600 busbels of wheat in one day, and averaged 500 bushels per day all through one neighborhood. That, in the same neighborhood, there were four new machines of other kinds, but that this machine threshed on an average one hundred bushels of wheat more per day than either of the others. That farmers say that it is easier work for their horses in this machine than plough. ing, and that it has the further advantages of being quickly set and easily moved.'"
Messrs. Frederick Haskell and John Barker, of the firm of Haskell, Barker & Aldridge, who have extensive works in Michigan City, Indiana, for the manufacture of railroad cars and of agricultural imple. ments, concur in a statement under oath, (see affidavit marked B,) as follows: "That they are acquainted with Daniel Woodbury the patentee of letters patent granted to Daniel Woodbury, of Rochester, Monroe county, and State of New York, bearing date August 26, 1846. That they have manufactured and sold about three hundred (300) of said Woodbury's patent horse-powers which have been used for various purposes, and that they consider them the best horse-power in use: that eight horses will perform as much work on the Woodbury power as will ten horses on the ordinary sweep powers in use. Their sales have been made to farmers in the States of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa. Wisconsin, and Missouri, and they think it is the general opinion of said farmers, as well as of all others who have used the said power, that the said Woodbury power excels all others in portability, durability, and light draught. It being elevated from the ground, the gearing is less exposed to dust and sand, and, consequently, is more durable than in other powers. Standing on its own wheels when in use or moving, it saves the time of loading and unloading, which is a great advantage over all other powers. They believe the invention is of great value to the public, for which, in their opinion, the patentee ought to receive at least twenty thousand dollars." E. K. Collins, esq., of Chili
, New York, states, in his deposition, (marked C,) that he is acquainted with the horse-power patented by Daniel Woodbury, August 26, 1846, and has owned and used one of these machines for over six years, using it in all kinds of work to which it is adapted on an average 160 days or more in a year; that he also owned and used a horse-power generally called the Pitt's power, and has used and seen in use several other kinds of horsepowers, and considers himself well acquainted with all the different
kinds in use in this section of the country; that, after long experience with the various descriptions of machines, he is fully satisfied that the Woodbury horse-power machine “will perform as much work with eight horses as any other kind with ten horses; and those who have used the machines in this locality generally express the same opinion.” In enumerating the advantages which the Woodbury power possesses over all others, he states that, being mounted on wheels, " it is thus ready at all times either for work or travel, thus saving much time and labor in loading and unloading required in other machines, and also saving the expense of a wagon and hoisting apparatus ;"' again, “the main gearing is less exposed to sand and dust than any other running a cylinder with one change (of gearing) less,” and professing great advantages in the arrangement of the main pinions. And in conclusion, Mr. Collins says, “that, in view of the value of the invention of Daniel Woodbury aforesaid to the public, he, the said patentee, ought to receive ten thousand dollars.''
Messrs. Hubbard, Brown, Vine, Root, Hawley, Olmstead, and McKinney, each declare on oath that, having used and also seen Woodbury's horse-power in use, they fully concur in the statements of E. K. Collins, made in his affidavit, to which they have attached their own.
Thus, not only farmers and grain-threshers who have used the Woodbury horse-power, and have compared it with others by the severest practical tests, but also extensive manufacturers and venders of agricultural implements, who are, perhaps, yet more directly and deeply interested in the relative merits of the various improvements, unite in establishing the superiority of this horse-power over all others; and this, we apprehend, is sufficient evidence of its great value to the public. To sum up briefly the data upon which an estimate of this value can be founded : they are, first, the time and labor which it is testified is saved in the use of this power over and above all others ; second, the fact that, being mounted permanently on wheels it is always and instantly ready for work when required—a feature which obviates the necessity of loading or unloading the machinery for its conveyance from one place to another, and saves the expense of extra wagons, &c.; and third, the fact that, owing to the simplicity of the parts of this machine and its ease of traction, eight horses can accomplish more work with this machine than ten horses with any other, and that, too, with less fatigue to the animals—a superiority which, if estimated by the amount of grain threshed, with the use of equal power, is stated to be a gain, on an average, of one hundred bushels of wheat
per day. In proceeding, in the next place, to show that Mr. Woodbury has not received a reward at all commensurate with the value of the invention to the public, we are met with the difficulty which invariably arises in applications of this sort in seeking to give an exact account of the expenditures of the inventor, as also of his receipts.
The calculations in all these cases can be at the best but approximate in their character, for a material item thereof would be the time devoted to the perfection of the invention and its introduction into public use, as well as the cost of the materials used up in experiments with the invention before its ultimate completion. And it is a fact too well known to be commented upon, that mechanics, situated as Woodbury was, and inventors, as a class, rarely if ever keep accurate and separate accounts of such matters.
In this connexion we may be pardoned for quoting the eloquent decision of Mr. Holt, rendered when he was Commissioner of Patents, in his extension of the Goodyear India-rubber patent, June 18, 1858. Referring to the want of any accurate account of Goodyear's receipts and expenditures, and the generality and uncertainty of his statements on the subject, he says: Inventors, and other men of high creative genius, have ever been distinguished for a total want of what is called "business habits. Completely engrossed by some favorite theory, and living in the dazzling dreams of their own imagination, they scorn the counsels and restraints of worldly thrift, and fling from them the petty cares of the mere man of commerce as a lion shakes a stinging insect from his mane.
"The law, in its wisdom, takes cognizance of human character, and deals with men and classes of men as it finds them. It seems in this instance to have assumed, and justly, that if we would have mag. nificent creations of genius, we must take them with all the infirmities which seem inseparable from them as spots are from the sun. Hence the statute does not require that the accounts of inventors shall have that formality and that severe exactitude which might well have been claimed of a merchant with his ledger open before him. AN that is insisted on is, that the statement furnished shall be sufficiently in detail to exhibit a true and faithful account of loss and profit in any manner accruing to him from and by reason of said invention. It is manifest that it is to the results, which indicate “loss and profit, rather than the minute elements of the transactions which form the subject of the account that the law looks.''
Woodbury stated under oath, in the deposition he filed before the Commissioner, (see page 5.) “that he has kept no regular and continuous account of either his receipts or expenditures, profits or losses, and it is therefore impossible for him at this time to give any thing like a correct statement in detail or in gross of the same. But this he can upon his oath say, and does say, that during said years he and his family have lived economically; that his and their maintenance is all he can now show for a life which has been frugal, temperate, and industrious. That a part of said time his family have received assistance from the earnings of his children.” He, however, from such data which he could depend upon, estimated the amount realized from his invention as $1,150 in all, but this included amounts represented by notes not yet collected. To make this statement as explicit
as it is in his power to do, he now adds another deposition (marked E) in which he sets forth, under oath, the names of all the manufacturers to whom he has sold or given the right to make “powers” under his patent, and the amount which he has received from each. He says:
* From the persons to whom I have conveyed territory or shop rights I have received the sums set opposite their respective names: From Henry Olds, of Syracuse, N. Y.
$200 00 From a firm in Constantine, Michigan
200 00 From Titus, of Victor, Wayne Co., N. Y.
50 00 From Joseph Hall, Rochester, N. Y
125 00 From C. M. Russell & Co., Massillon, Ohio....
nothing From Whimple, Clime & Co., Chicago, Illinois
nothing From A. P. Dickey, Racine, Wisconsin.
nothing. From C. P. Rogers, Philadelphia ...
nothing. From Samuel Fitz, Martinsburg, Virginia.
nothing. From Haskell, Barker & Aldridge, Michigan City, Ind.. 400 00 From Hiram Aldridge, Michigan City, Indiana .
nothing. From J. J. Case, Racine, Wisconsin
He also swears that his net profits during the four years he himself was engaged with his brother in the manufacture of his own machines did not exceed from their sale more than $500—making, all told, but $1,525 as the profits which he can certainly ascribe to his invention.
In order to understand this inventor's position, it must be borne in mind that, as he declares in his second deposition, he had not at the time of obtaining his patent a capital of more than $1,000, (a sum insufficient to commence a manufactory of the machines on his own account,) and that he had then already expended over five hundred dollars upon his invention. He therefore sought for two years, as far as it was in his power, to persuade others to manufacture the machines and purchase rights, until at last his brother consented to advance money sufficient to commence a manufactory in Rochester, N. Y. After continuing this manufactory four years, his brother found it so unprofitable that they were obliged to give it up, and from that day to the present Mr. Woodhury has worked as a mechanic, travelling about the country, and by his own unaided individual exertions has thus brought his machine into extensive public use and notoriety. But as is too often the case, while poor Woodbury has thus toiled on in the face of all sorts of discouragements, and earning the smallest wages, others have reaped the advantages of his labor by the sale of his invention. Haskell, Barker & Aldridge, for instance, the extensive agricultural implement manufacturers at Michigan City, Indiana, paid Mr. Woodbury, as is in evidence, $400 for a shop right; under this right, as they themselves testify, they have sold some 300 of his machines, and their profit upon each machine could not have been less than $50. The same may be said of Mr. Hall, the manufacturer in Rochester, and Mr. Case, in Racine; in fact, all who have had anything to do with the invention have realized large profits, except the inventor who has devoted the past seventeen years to its introduction into public use.
H. Rep. Com. 112—2
While thus travelling about, working as a mechanic, he could not receive the compensation which a man working steadily from day to day would earn, and as he himself deposes, "up to last year, owing to travelling expenses and the time expended in perfecting patterns, &c., I have not received over one-third of the amount of wages usually allowed to ordinary mechanics ;'' a deficiency which the amount received from the sale of his patent rights upon the moderate terms which he consented to take would by no means make up.
It appears, then, that since the date of his patent, in consequence of his poverty and his peculiar circumstances, this invention has earned barely a livelihood for the support of himself and family, although he has worked and labored more constantly and severely than by far the majority of working men, and that his whole labor during this period has been expended upon his invention and in an endeavor to bring it into public notice. He himself testifies under oath (page 25 of evidence from Patent Office) that since the date of his said patent, (August 26, 1846,) with the exception of a few months, he has devoted his whole time, means, and talent in improve. ments on said horse-power and in the invention and perfecting other machinery for threshing grain, intimately connected with said power, and in introducing said power to the public notice and getting it into
That in so doing this deponent has, with nearly his whole time, expended a large amount of money, and has been obliged, with his family, to live at the cheapest rate, foregoing many of the necessaries and all the luxuries of life for the sole purpose of getting his inventions so perfected and into use as to bring him a competence in his
In addition to his own sworn statement of these facts, Mr. James Howes, of Rochester, New York, swears (page 19 of evidence from Patent Office) that he has been acquainted with Daniel Woodbury for the last ten years, and is well acquainted with the trouble and expense incurred by said Woodbury in perfecting his said horse-power, patented August 26, 1846, and introducing the same, and that said Woodbury has not been adequately rewarded for his time and es pense devoted to said horse-power, and that said Woodbury has ex. pended all the money he could obtain in perfecting and introducing said power to the great discomfort of himself and family.”
Colonel James Patten, of Troy, New York, who, since 1850, has been engaged in the sale of agricultural implements, says, (page 21: "And further deponent says that he is acquainted with the said Daniel Woodbury, inventor and patentee of said power, and that he has good cause for believing, and does believe, that said Woodbury is a poor man, and has but recently perfected his invention and gotten it fairly before the public and ready to gather in the proceeds of the industry, labor, and skill of the past fifteen years; and that to deprive him at this time of the protection of letters patent would, in the opinion of this deponent, and of others competent to judge in the premises, be an act of great injustice, and would leave him in his old age destitute of the means of sustenance, and wholly withhold from him a well-earned remuneration for an invention of immense value to