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US Patent: 4,120
Improvement in shaping irregular surfaces in wood
Allen Goodman - Dana, MA
Warren Hale - Dana, MA

USPTO Classifications:

Tool Categories:
woodworking machines : cutter head machines : molders
trade specific : music instrument maker


Allen Goodman - Dana, MA


Patent Dates:
Granted: Jul. 22, 1845

Reissue Information:
Reissued as RE1,400 (Feb. 10, 1863)

Patent Pictures:
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"Vintage Machinery" entry for Allen Goodman
"We claim the method wherein above described of copying or forming the longitudinal irregularities of piano legs and other similar articles, on rough blocks of wood, by means of a carriage moving horizontally against the revolving cutter and holding both the pattern and the rough block, the cutting tool being raised and depressed for depths of cut by rollers resting on the patterns, the whole method or modus operandi being substantially as herein set forth."

In 1865 the holders of this patent sued "Charles N. Stimpson, et al. for patent infringement. Stimpson et al. were using a machine constructed under an 1858 patent granted to William N. Oakes, 20,505. A summary of that lawsuit mentions two other suits involving the Hale and Goodman patent, including one in 1855 against one Brooks, in the Southern District of New York. In that case Brooks had apparently discovered a machine from Springfield that predated the Hale and Goodman machine and used the same principle; there was another design, the Hayward design, that was even closer in construction to the Hale and Goodman design. Hale and Goodman granted Brooks a perpetual license (and possibly other considerations) and in exchange Brooks accepted a perpetual injunction against infringement. Thus, the false impression was created that Hale and Goodman had "won". In the Stimpson lawsuit, it was agreed that the Hale and Goodman patent (in the form of its reissue, RE1,400) covered only the combination of parts used, all of which were old and known mechanisms. In contrast, the Oakes patent used by Stimpson was new and ingenious, and obviously differing in certain key respects from the Hale and Goodman patent. The reissue had been, according to the court, "obtained avowedly for the purpose of stopping the use of the Oakes machine, while avoiding to claim the Hayward and Springfield machines, and the claim, if construed as the plaintiffs now contend it should be, is very ingeniously adapted to this end. It is our duty, however, to construe the patent in such a way, if possible, as to conform to the original invention." The issue was that the original patent kept the roller in contact with the pattern by a contrivance that needed the constant attention of the operator. Oakes' patent addressed that shortcoming, and the reissue of the Hale and Goodman patent quietly changed the original design and claims to something no longer needing the constant attention of the operator. In any event, the court did not rule upon the validity of the reissue because the Oakes machine could not infringe the Hale and Goodman patent because that patent covered the combination of parts and the Oakes machine did not use the same combination so it did not infringe."

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