McCormick v. Graham's Administrator,
129 U.S. 1 (1889)

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U.S. Supreme Court

McCormick v. Graham's Administrator, 129 U.S. 1 (1889)

McCormick v. Graham's Administrator

No. 108

Argued December 5-6, 1888

Decided January 7, 1889

129 U.S. 1


Claims 1 and 2 of letters patent No. 74,342, granted to Alvaro B. Graham, February 11, 1868, for an improvement in harvesters, namely:

"1. The combination, as set forth, in a harvester, of the finger beam with the gearing carriage, by means of the vibratable link, the draft rod, and the two swivel joints, M and M', so that the finger beam may both rise and fall at either end, and rock forward and backward."

"2. The combination, as set forth, in a harvester of the finger beam, gearing carriage, vibratable link, draft rod, swivel joints, and arm, by which the rocking of the finger beam is controlled,"

are not infringed by a machine constructed under letters patent No. 193,770, granted July 31, 1877, to Leander J. McCormick, William R. Baker, and Lambert Erpelding, assignors to C. H. & L. J. McCormick.

It is apparent from the proceedings in the Patent Office on the application for Graham's patent, and from the terms of his specification and of claims 1 and 2 as granted, that the intention was to limit the modification which Graham made to the particular location of the swivel joint, M', on which the cross-wise rocking movement takes place, and to the rigid arm by which the positive rocking of the finger beam in both directions is affected and controlled.

Page 129 U. S. 2

In the defendants' machine there is no such rocking of the finger beam as in Graham's patent, but only a swinging movement, as in prior patents, on a pivot in the rear of the finger beam, and there is no arm which can depress the finger beam, but only a loose connection to it, the same as existed before, and there is no swivel joint, M', located and operating as in the Graham patent, and it does not infringe claim 1 or claim 2.

In equity for an accounting for infringement of letters patent. Decree awarding damages to the complainant. Respondents appealed. The case is stated in the opinion.

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