WHAT OTHERS DAY
THE SWINGING HARNESS CONTROVERSY.
A PARAGRAPH in FIRE AND WATER of the 25th inst. contained a statement so inaccurate, not to say unjust, that I trust you will do me the favor to insert this rectifying communication.
It is declared in Kansas City, Mo„ by parties whose facilities for acquiring reliable information are said to be of the best, that the claims against that city, as set forth in the suit instituted by the Worswick Manufacturing Company of Ohio for infringements on patents upon the swinging harness, are destined to certain defeat.
Careful search has been made in every direction by the authorities of Kansas City for data in any way calculated to throw light upon the question of harness suspension prior to the issuance of the Sullivan patent. This search has resulted in the discovery of letters patent covering the open collar hinged at the top, taken out in 1856, and of letters patent granted to Ira Ellis covering a suspending device for use on ordinary road wagons, which is substantially the same as shown in the Sullivan patent. It has also been proven, beyond the possibility of doubt, that harness was suspended over the place occupied by the horse when at the hose cart, as far back as 1871. This harness included collars open at the bottom, hames fastened to the collars, and the entire harness suspended from the ceiling by means of ropes, pulleys and counter-weights. It was in use in the Louisville Fire Department, and was the invention of Thomas H. Pendergrast, who failed to patent his device. This harness was in continuous use from August, 1871, until long after the date of the Sullivan patent. A large amount of similar evidence is said to have been obtained.
As understood at this distance, the inference in Kansas City seems to be that the city of Philadelphia has settled with the Worswick Company for an alleged infringement of patent, but a statement from what is considered a trustworthy source is to the effect that Philadelphia has not made such a settlement. Certain it is that no suit was tried before the Philadelphia courts, but it was reported in Kansas City that an acknowl. edgement had been made on the part of the judge who reviewed the Buffalo (N. Y.) testimony, and who held that Judge Cox’s decision was just, according to the defense that the city of Bufialo made. But Buffalo, in its defense, only put two witnesses upon the stand, and these were impeached by five or six on the opposite side.
The case of Buffalo, however, has no bearing upon that of Kansas City, which last-named place defends its cause on evidence of an entirely different nature, and has the depositions of over ioo first-class witnesses in its favor. The decision in Kansas City will not be reached before the October term of the court, but all indications are in the direction of a victory for the municipality.
No arrangement whatsoever has been made by me with any party or parties anywhere relative to the use of my patents in connection with the devices of others. Neither has any money been paid by, nor can any be justly claimed of me, all my inventions being distinctly defined and recognized as of a primordial nature. CHARLES E. BERRY.
CAMBRIDGE, MASS., June 30.