IN a recent paragraph in THE JOURNAL upon the Mayer Relief Valve, the following statement occurred: “The inventor, Alvarado Mayer, of Detroit, Michigan, has been awarded a decree by the United States Circuit Court of Massachusetts, against the Shaw Valve, as an infringement upon his patent.” We were subsequently assured by Mr. Shaw that this was an error, and upon referring to the decree of the Court, we find that it runs against the city of Boston, and not against the manufacturers of the Shaw Valve, and restrains the city from further use of certain valves in the Department, but what valves those are the decree does not state. Desirous of obtaining the facts in a matter of so much importance to Fire Departments, we requested Mr. Shaw to have a statement prepared for us to publish, giving the correct situation of the valve controversy, so far as the Shaw and Mayer valves were implicated. The following letter explains itself:

BOSTON, June 23, 1883.


Dear Sir—In reply to your request tor information regarding automatic relief valves for steam fire engines, and the claims of the several patentees, I would say that April 12, 1870, letters patent were granted by the United States to Arthur M. Black, of Providence, R. I., for automatic relief valves with this broad claim : “ That a certain movement of the pressure chamber piston-rod will instantaneously open or admit of the immediate self-opening of the valve.”

April 14, 1871, letters patent were granted to James Garland for automatic relief valves with this claim covering pistons of different areas. ” The combination of the valve B arranged to work under an equilibrium of pressure the cylinder and piston appropriate to such valve and the safety valve opening by the pressure to be relieved and enabling such pressure to work the relief valve.” December 31, 1872, February 4, 1873, October 21, 1873, letters patent were granted to Alvarado Mayer, of Detroit, Mich. January 26, 1875, and August 3, 1880, letters patent were granted to Loring D. Shaw, of Boston, all for improvements in relief valves.

It is the opinion of experts that the Black and the Garland patents cover all the elements and principles in the automatic relief valves operated by pressure now in use, and that neither Mr. Shaw or Mr. Mayer can construct or have constructed relief valves under their own patents without infringing upon the Black or Garland patents.

In March, 1882, a corporation was formed in Boston named The Shaw Relief Valve Company, to manufacture and sell relief valves. This corporation purchased the whole of the Black and of the Garland patents, and the whole of Mr. Shaw’s patents, which were chiefly for mechanical construction, excepting Mr. Shaw’s right in the city of Boston ; that Mr. Shaw, while connected with the Boston Fire Department, sold to the city of Boston, giving them power to use his inventions if they desired so to do.

The city of Boston construct their own valves on the Black and Garland principles from patterns of their own.

In the issue of THE FIREMAN’S JOURNAL of Juue 9, 1883, page 485, appears an extract from a circular being issued by Alvarado Mayer, in which he claims that a decree in equity was made against the Shaw Valve. Mr. Mayer has never commenced any legal proceedings against Mr. Shaw, The Shaw Relief Valve Company, or any city or town to which either Mr. Shaw or the company have sold any valve. Mr. Mayer did, however, bring a bill in equity against the city of Boston, and the Court records show that the matter remained a long time in Court without any evidence produced or hearing had, or consideration of the matter by the Court. So, as the most economical way to close the matter, the Assistant City Solicitor, as he states, agreed to a decree without any trial, and paid to Mr. Shaw about $200—for a license to use any portion of his patents if they desired so to do.

All the numerous cities and towns that have purchased Shaw Relief Valves from either Mr. Shaw or the company, will be fully protected in their rights by the company, but to others using infringing valves, including the Mayer Valve, the following notification has been made, and the necessary legal papers are being prepared to protect the company’s rights in the premises. Very truly yours,


Attorney for L. D. Shaw.


BOSTON. June 21, 1883.

Gentlemen—We beg leave to call your attention to the following notification which we have sent to the several cities and towns of the United Stales using Automatic Relief Valves, particularly the “ Mayer Valves.”

It having come to our knowledge that you have had, or now have, attached to one or more of the steam fire engines owned by your municipality, or under its control, certain automatic relief valves for the purpose of relieving the hose or engine from increased pressure when the outflow of water is shut off at the nozzle, when such engine is in operation.

Now, therefore, because such relief valves were attached to your engines and have been used or now are in use, without authority or license from us, The Shaw Relief Valve Company, we do hereby notify you that we are the sole owners of certain letters patent, granted by the United States, for improvements in relief valves, to wit.: Letters patent granted to Arthur M. Black, April 12, 1870, No. 101,814 ; James Garland. November 14. 1871, No. 120,958 ; Loring D. Shaw, January 20, 1875, No. 159,045; Loring D. Shaw, August 3, 1880, No. 230,828; and that, by the use of relief valves as aforesaid, you have infringed, or are infringing, upon some one or all of the said letters patent; we hereby order and demand, that (excepting valves known as the Shaw Relief Valve) all such relief valves, particularly valves known as the Mayer Valte, be removed by you at once from all steam fire engines under your control or belonging to your municipality, and we hereby further demand, that you compensate satisfactorily the Shaw Relief Valve Company for all damages claimed by them for the infringement by you of any or all of the aforesaid letters patenL

In case of your failure to comply at once with these, our demands, The Shaw Relief Valve Company will proceed to enforce their rights in the premises, by process of law. Respectfully vours,



Counsellor at Law.

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