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decided: November 25, 1889.



Author: Blatchford

[ 132 U.S. Page 195]

 MR. JUSTICE BLATCHFORD delivered the opinion of the court.

This is a suit in equity, brought in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York, by Charles Marchand against Frederick Emken, to recover for the infringement of letters patent No. 273,569, granted to the

[ 132 U.S. Page 196]

     plaintiff March 6, 1883, for an improvement in the manufacture of hydrogen peroxide.

The specification says: "This invention has reference to the manufacture of hydrogen peroxide, or oxygenated water, by addition of barium or calcium binoxide to an acid (sulphuric, nitric, acetic, oxalic, hydrochloric, hydrofluoric, hydrofluosilic, and the like), the binoxide having been mixed with water. Heretofore hydrogen peroxide has been made by adding the barium or calcium binoxide, mixed with water, to the diluted acid, the binoxide being added from time to time in small quantities, the vessel in which the operation is conducted being set in a refrigerating medium, and the liquid being agitated or stirred to facilitate the reaction. The stirring has been performed by hand. The present invention is based on the fact or discovery that the reduction of the barium or calcium binoxide takes place under conditions must more favorable in point of rapidity and yield when the acid to be neutralized is given a movement of rotation, both vertically and horizontally, by a screw or other suitable means, which at the same time creates both constant and ever-changing eddies, the said movement of rotation being imparted continuously during the addition of the binoxide. The present invention consists, therefore, first, in imparting to the acid a movement of rotation, the time required for the chemical reaction being thereby lessened, while the reaction itself is more complete."

The specification gives a description of the apparatus which it says is preferably to be employed and forms part of the invention, in substance as follows: There is a receptacle for the acid, and a jacketing vessel, in which the receptacle rests, for containing the refrigerant or cooling medium. There is a rotating screw and a vertical power-shaft. The acid receptacle need not be of any particular size, but a good capacity is from five hundred to one thousand gallons. It is preferably hemispherical, but may be cylindrical, frustoconical, or of other suitable form; and it is made of or lined with material adapted to resist the action of the acid. For use with hydrofluoric acid, a sheet-iron or, better, a copper vessel lined with lead may be used, or one of platinum, gold, or silver, or one

[ 132 U.S. Page 197]

     otherwise rendered non-corrodible. The screw is provided with helicoidal blades, ordinarily two, three, or four in number, set obliquely on the arbor or screw-shaft. The blades are preferably pierced with holes. The screw is suspended in the receptacle, being detachably connected with the lower end of the power-shaft by two pieces, one fixed to the power-shaft, and the other to the screw-shaft, and clamped together by bolts. On the screw-shaft, above the top of the receptacle, is fixed a disc of wood or other suitable material, which catches the oil from the bearings of the power-shaft, and other foreign matters that otherwise would be liable to fall into the receptacle. The power-shaft is suspended in its bearings by suitable collars, which enable it to support the screw, and is driven from a horizontal shaft, through bevelled gearing, or by other well-known or suitable mechanical means. The length of the screw-shaft is such that the blades of the screw do not in operation touch or scrape the interior of the receptacle. The jacketing vessel is of ordinary or suitable construction. The cooling medium commonly employed therein may be placed in it. The vessel being filled with the cooling medium, the proper quantities of acid and water (say twenty parts, by weight, of acid to one hundred parts of water, or other suitable proportions) are placed in the receptacle. The screw is put in motion, and the binoxide of barium or calcium, in the state of a more or less thick emulsion or milk, is added in small quantities. The revolving screw imparts a movement of rotation more or less rapid to the liquid, producing eddies therein and constantly changing the material, and the chemical reaction takes place very regularly and completely. Sufficient binoxide is added to secure the complete neutralization of the acid without rendering the hydrogen peroxide too alkaline. After a certain time, which varies with the quantity of the article manufactured and the amount of binoxide employed, and during which the screw may be stopped, but is preferably kept in revolution, the production of the hydrogen peroxide is finished. It only remains to allow the matters in suspension to settle and to decant the clear liquor. If it is desired to obtain the hydrogen peroxide

[ 132 U.S. Page 198]

     in a state of greater purity than results from the above, the clear liquor is subjected to special chemical treatment, which, as it constitutes no part of the present invention, is not described.

Only the first claim of the patent is involved in this suit. That claim reads as follows: "1. The method of making hydrogen peroxide by cooling the acid solution, imparting thereto a continuous movement of rotation, as well in vertical as in horizontal planes -- such, for example, as imparted by a revolving screw in a receptacle -- and adding to said acid solution the binoxide in small quantities, while maintaining the low temperature and the rotary or eddying movements, substantially as described."

The answer sets up, among other defences, that the alleged invention and patent do not contain any patentable subject matter. After a replication, proofs were taken, and, on a hearing, the court, held by Judge Coxe, entered a decree dismissing the bill with costs. From this decree the plaintiff has appealed. ...

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