Giles v. Heysinger,
150 U.S. 627 (1893)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Giles v. Heysinger, 150 U.S. 627 (1893)

Giles v. Heysinger

No. 152

Argued December 7, 1893

Decided December 18, 1893

150 U.S. 627


When, in a suit in equity for the infringement of letters patent, the court below makes an interlocutory decree in plaintiff's favor, and then entertains a motion for a rehearing and receives affidavits in support of it, and denies the motion, this Court does not feel itself at liberty to consider those affidavits.

The first claim in letters patent No. 218,300, issued August 5, 1879, to William Mills and Christian H. Hershey, for an improvement in haircrimpers, viz.:

"A hair-crimper consisting of a nonelastic metal core C, and braided covering A, said covering A being cemented to said core C throughout its entire length, substantially as described,"

is void for want of novelty.

This was a bill in equity brought by Heysinger and one Christian H. Hershey, now represented by the administrator of his estate, against the appellants, trading under the name of Noyes, Smith & Co., to recover damages for the infringement of letters patent No. 218,300, issued August 5, 1879, to William Mills and Christian H. Hershey, for an improvement in hair crimpers.

In their specification, the patentees state that

"this hair crimper is intended to be applied to the hair in the manner of the crimping papers formerly in common use, the ends being turned under out of sight, and the hair retained by the folds thus made."

"It consists essentially of a strip of soft, nonelastic metal, preferably flat, covered with a fibrous coating, cemented thereto, so that when cut into proper lengths for use, the ends

Page 150 U. S. 628

will not fray out, but remain the same into whatever number of pieces the crimper may be divided, thus rendering it specially adapted for use with children, where crimpers of different lengths are often required, while at the same time greatly simplifying and cheapening the cost of manufacture."

The crimper consists of a core of what is known as "gardeners' lead," which is passed in long strips through a liquid cement known as "dextrine" and is then wound about by a braid of fibrous covering, and the adhesive material taken up in the passage through it of the leaden core is thus interposed between the fibrous covering and the soft metal core, making an adhesion between them, while leaving the outer surface of the braid soft and unsaturated.

"Were the fibrous surface thoroughly saturated with adhesive matter, the crimper would be comparatively useless, as the least moisture in the hair would cause its adhesion thereto."

The article is manufactured in long strips, which are laid away and dried, after which they are run through a cutting machine, which cuts the strip into pieces of equal length, laying them out in dozens, which are then bundled and boxed for the market.

The first claim of the patent -- the only one charged to have been infringed -- reads as follows:

"A hair crimper consisting of a nonelastic metal core, C, and braided covering, A, said covering, A, being cemented to said core, C, throughout its entire length, substantially as described."

Upon the hearing in the court below, a final decree was entered for $360.85, with costs, from which decree defendants appealed to this Court.

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