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US Patent: 6,185
Planing-machine
Patentees:
Thomas J. Wells - New York, NY
Daniel Barnum - New York, NY

USPTO Classifications:
144/114.1, 144/118, 144/242.1, 144/278.1

Tool Categories:
woodworking machines : cutter head machines : wood planers

Assignees:
Daniel Barnum - New York, NY

Manufacturer:
Not known to have been produced

Witnesses:
Charles W. Smith
Henry T. Drew

Patent Dates:
Granted: Mar. 13, 1849

Patent Pictures:
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"Vintage Machinery" entry for Daniel Barnum
"Vintage Machinery" entry for T. J. Wells
Description:
This patent was litigated in Wilson v. Barnum, Eastern District of Pennsylvania court, May 1849. Wilson was the assignee of the infamous Woodworth patent, 5,315X. The Woodworth patent had already been upheld when compared to designs using any variation of a cutterhead achieving the "dip and lift cut"; in the Woodworth design the cutterhead is cylindrical, and the cutters cut into the wood and then back out, which provides a smooth cut and reduces wear when cutting dirty lumber. Other designs had used truncated cones and similar tricks in unsuccessful attempts to evade the Woodworth patent. The Barnum and Wells machine has a "Bramah disk", a horizontal disk carrying the cutters. Rather than using the path of the cutters to achieve the "dip and lift cut", the stock itself is bent slightly as it passes under the cutterhead so as to achieve a dip and lift cut. The majority of the expert opinion heard by the court was of the opinion that this approach was novel and did not infringe. Judge John K. Kane was of the opposite opinion, and granted the requested injunction against Barnum. The Woodworth cartel was rumored to have paid enormous amounts of money in bribes to judges, patent officials, and legislators to maintain and extend their patent monopoly.

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