Inland Manufacturing Company Trial Part II
(continued from June 28)
Submitted by Nute Chapman
From Onaway Outlook July 12, 2013
CAPTION: (C.H. Kenrick's Patent drawings for an All Wood Steering Wheel. (2 diagrams))
A sample of Kendrick's wheel was submitted to the Cadillac Motor Company in 1919 to a Mr. Main, the purchasing agent of the Cadillac company. At this time the sample was not left with Main. Mr. Lobdell went to the Cadillac Company and talked to some of the officials. Main took Lobdell in to the president of the company, Collins, and Mr. Collins looked at the wheel and expressed himself as very much pleased with it, and said this was the finest wheel he has ever seen. He called his engineer in and talked about the wheel, the construction of it, and he stated that he was going to take a trip to the coast with four other men and wanted one wheel to put on the car in which he was going to take on the trip. We later learned that the trip was to test drive the new model Cadillac. Lobdell finished him a wheel for that purpose and Collins put it on the car for the trip to the coast.
Collins reported the results to Lobdell immediately upon his return and gave Lobdell an order for rims to be delivered in May. Main ordered them. Lobdell had an understanding with Main and the Cadillac Company; Main and Collins both asked Lobdell to give them exclusive use of that wheel and Lobdell agreed not to show or offer the wheel to anyone else for a year. Lobdell sold 14,050 wheels to Cadillac in 1921, 14,700 in 1922 and 2.500 in 1923. When the hubs stopped coming to Lobdell to assemble into these wheels, Lobdell made an inquiry and found that they were making their own wheels.
The Cadillac Motor Company kept using this same all-wood wheel made first by Dayton-Wright and then by Inland Manufacturing Company.
On February 23, 1923 Lobdell's attorneys sent the following letter to the Dayton-Wright Company, Dayton, Ohio.
Gentleman: On behalf of the American Wood Rim Company of Onaway, Michigan and under instructions from it, we hereby give you formal notice that the steering wheels from automobiles having wooden spokes and a wooden hub portion which you are now, and have been for some time, manufacturing and selling, (who previous to your manufacture of them, bought similar wheels from the American Wood Rim Company) and to other automobile companies, constitute direct infringement of many of the claims in the patent to Charles H. Kenrick, No. 1,434,616 granted November 7, 1922 and owned by the American Wood Rim Company.
We are also instructed by our client, The American Wood Rim Company, to bring suit against you for infringement at the expiration of thirty days of this letter unless you promptly cease the infringing acts and give us adequate assurance thereof within that time.
Cadillac Motor Company continued to buy the all-wood wheels from Dayton-Wright and still was buying the wheels after Inland Manufacturing Company acquired the business from Dayton-Wright.
After reading the many pages of testimonies, exhibits, patents, decisions and appeals I would like to share with our readers what I find very interesting.
Twenty-two patents alone were exhibited. Two of the patent pages are shown here.
-From The Onaway Outlook, July 12, 2013, p. 3. Retyped by J. Anderson.