Appeal from the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.
Before L. HAND, AUGUSTUS N. HAND, and CHASE, Circuit Judges.
The patent in suit is for a bearing shim of hard metal to which is securely anchored a soft metal face. Such a shim may be used in any split bearing, and is especially useful with split bearings using forced feed lubrication, as is now common on the crank shaft of internal combustion engines, because it permits such a close approach of the slim face to the rotating shaft that there is no appreciable avenue left for the escape of the lubricating oil forced into the bearing through holes in the shaft; furthermore, it does not do any damage as would a shim made entirely of hard metal if such a shim were permitted to bear upon the turning shaft.
General Motors is the owner of the patent, and Laminated Shim Company, Inc., the other plaintiff, is the exclusive licensee. The defendant is a dealer within the Southern district of New York in soft metal faced shims manufactured by National Motor Bearing Company, Inc., of Los Angeles, Cal. This manufacturer is defending the suit.
At the opening of the trial, counsel for the plaintiff elected to rely on claims 3 to 8, inclusive. These claims follow:
"3. A combined shim and bearing comprising a substantially U-shaped spacing portion made from a comparatively hard and non-yieldable metal, and a facing portion made from a comparatively soft bearing metal within which the free ends of said spacing portion are embedded to thereby provide a unitary structure.
"4. A combined shim and bearing comprising a spacing portion made from a comparatively hard and non-yieldable metal and a facing portion made from a comparatively soft bearing metal, a part of said spacing portion being embedded in said facing portion to thereby permanently connect said portions together, and the unitary structure thus provided having a hole to accommodate a securing bolt.
"5. A combined shim and bearing comprising a spacing portion made up of a plurality of superposed hard and non-yieldable metallic plates, and a facing portion made from a bearing metal and adapted to form a part of a bearing, said parts being permanently joined together, the unitary member thus formed having a hole to receive a securing bolt.
"6. A combined shim and bearing comprising a plurality of superposed U-shaped laminae made from a hard and substantially non-compressible metal, and a facing portion made from a bearing metal and with which the free ends of said laminae are permanently connected to thereby form a unitary structure.
"7. A combined shim and bearing comprising a plurality of superposed U-shaped laminae made from a hard and resistant metal, and a facing portion made from a softer and more easily compressible bearing metal and within which the free ends of said laminae are embedded, to thereby provide a unitary device.
"8. A combined shim and bearing comprising a plurality of superposed U-shaped laminae of different thicknesses one from another and made from a resistant and substantially non-compressible metal, and a facing portion made from a more easily compressible bearing metal and within which the free ends of said laminae are embedded to thereby provide a unitary article."
A shim may be of whatever size the particular bearing in which it is used requires. Its primary purpose is to permit the wear in the bearing to be readily taken up by providing a removable spacer between the halves of the bearing proper, and the lamination of the shim is merely an aid in the take-up process. One or more of the laminae can be peeled off easily to give a uniform reduction in thickness over the entire surface of the shim. On split bearings lubricated by the splash system an opening along the shaft where the bearing halves were held apart by the shim was rather desirable as it provided a means for the oil to get in to the face of the shaft turning in the bearing and also served somewhat to cool the bearing. With the advent of forced-feed oiling, the oil pressure from within the shaft had a tendency to push oil out through the space between the face of the shim and that of the shaft to cause an undesired loss in the oil pressure by the loss of oil past the shim and in an internal combustion engine also made it smoke.
Such forced oiling began to be used widely in automobile engines when they were constructed to run at high speeds. In 1917, the patentee, who was chief engineer of the Northway Motor & Manufacturing Company, undertook to develop a shim which could be used in low-priced automobile engines made with a minimum of hand labor in fitting the bearings. He knew that the shim had to be of metal hard enough to hold the halves of the bearing apart when they were tightly bolted and so keep them from pinching the shaft and that the side of the shim which must bear upon the shaft to prevent the escape of oil must be of metal softer than that in the shaft to prevent scoring. So much was obvious. By soldering soft metal to the edge of the shim, he got something that would do what he desired, but found that soldering did not produce such a union between the hard and soft metals of the shims that they would withstand handling ...