Mr. Duncan--"I notice on the redirect that Mr. Clarke changed his color."
Mr. Lowrey--"Well, perhaps he was a different kind of a roach then; but you didn't succeed in taking him.
"I beg your Honors to read the testimony of Mr. Clarke in the light of the anecdote of the pickerel and the roach."
Owing to long-protracted delays incident to the taking of testimony and preparation for trial, the argument before the United States Circuit Court of Appeals was not had until the late spring of 1892, and its decision in favor of the Edison Lamp patent was filed on October 4, 1892, MORE THAN TWELVE YEARS AFTER THE ISSUANCE OF THE PATENT ITSELF.
As the term of the patent had been limited under the law, because certain foreign patents had been issued to Edison before that in this country, there was now but a short time left for enjoyment of the exclusive rights contemplated by the statute and granted to Edison and his assigns by the terms of the patent itself. A vigorous and aggressive legal campaign was therefore inaugurated by the Edison Electric Light Company against the numerous infringing companies and individuals that had sprung up while the main suit was pending. Old suits were revived and new ones instituted. Injunctions were obtained against many old offenders, and it seemed as though the Edison interests were about to come into their own for the brief unexpired term of the fundamental patent, when a new bombshell was dropped into the Edison camp in the shape of an alleged anticipation of the invention forty years previously by one Henry Goebel. Thus, in 1893, the litigation was reopened, and a protracted series of stubbornly contested conflicts was fought in the courts.
Goebel's claims were not unknown to the Edison Company, for as far back as 1882 they had been officially brought to its notice coupled with an offer of sale for a few thousand dollars. A very brief examination into their merits, however, sufficed to demonstrate most emphatically that Goebel had never made a practical incandescent lamp, nor had he ever contributed a single idea or device bearing, remotely or directly, on the development of the art. Edison and his company, therefore, rejected the offer unconditionally and declined to enter into any arrangements whatever with Goebel. During the prosecution of the suits in 1893 it transpired that the Goebel claims had also been investigated by the counsel of the defendant company in the principal litigation already related, but although every conceivable defence and anticipation had been dragged into the case during the many years of its progress, the alleged Goebel anticipation was not even touched upon therein. From this fact it is quite apparent that they placed no credence on its bona fides.
But desperate cases call for desperate remedies. Some of the infringing lamp-manufacturing concerns, which during the long litigation had grown strong and lusty, and thus far had not been enjoined by the court, now saw injunctions staring them in the face, and in desperation set up the Goebel so-called anticipation as a defence in the suits brought against them.
This German watchmaker, Goebel, located in the East Side of New York City, had undoubtedly been interested, in a desultory kind of way, in simple physical phenomena, and a few trifling experiments made by him some forty or forty-five years previously were magnified and distorted into brilliant and all- comprehensive discoveries and inventions. Avalanches of affidavits of himself, "his sisters and his cousins and his aunts," practically all persons in ordinary walks of life, and of old friends, contributed a host of recollections that seemed little short of miraculous in their detailed accounts of events of a scientific nature that were said to have occurred so many years before. According to affidavits of Goebel himself and some of his family, nothing that would anticipate Edison's claim had been omitted from his work, for he (Goebel) claimed to have employed the all-glass globe, into which were sealed platinum wires carrying a tenuous carbon filament, from which the occluded gases had been liberated during the process of high exhaustion. He had even determined upon bamboo as the best material for filaments. On the face of it he was seemingly gifted with more than human prescience, for in at least one of his exhibit lamps, said to have been made twenty years previously, he claimed to have employed processes which Edison and his associates had only developed by several years of experience in making thousands of lamps!