Patent D21,042 -- The California Car

Collected by Joe Thompson

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Car builder John Hammond received this patent for the design of the California-type car -- a double-ended car with an enclosed middle section and open sections at both ends, which debuted on the California Street Cable Railroad. The type became very popular in the transit industry, and still runs today on California Street.




SPECIFICATION forming part of Design No. 21,042, dated September 15, 1891.

Application filed June 22, 1891. Serial No. 397,148. Term of patent 14 years.

Hammond patent

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, JOHN HAMMOND, a citizen of the United States, residing in the city and county of San Francisco, and State of California, have invented and produced a new and original Design for a Car-Body; and I do hereby declare the following to be a full, clear, and exact description of the same, such as will enable others skilled in the art to which it appertains to make and use the invention.

The design relates to a car-body; and it consists in a car-body distinguished by its peculiar shape, which will be hereinafter set forth and claimed.

In the annexed drawing I have shown a perspective of the car-body.

My newly-designed car-body has a central section A, which is represented as an inclosed rectangular compartment, at the ends of which are door-openings and along the sides of which are window-openings, the said ends and sides being suitablly ornamented or embellished, as represented and suitable guard-rails being shown thereon. At each end of the said closed section is a skeleton or open-work section B, the two sections B B being alike in form or appearance and symmetrically disposed or arranged. Surmounting the central and end sections is a horizontal roof or covering C, extending the full length of the series of section. Within the skeleton sections B B, I have represented seats, of which seat D is shown parallel to the side of the car, and seat E is shown at right angles thereto or parallel to the end of the car. Beneath the several sections is delineated the flooring, and near each end of the car the trucks are visible beneath flooring and behind the steps which lie alongside the outer edge of the said flooring. On each end of the flooring or platform is seen an upright dasher F, surmounted by a railing.

What I claim is --

The herein-described design for a car-body, consisting of a central rectangular inclosed compartment or section and at each end thereof symmetrically-arranged skeleton or openwork rectangular sections, within which are delineated seats lying lengthwise and crosswise of the car, the whole being surmounted by a horizontal roof-surface, while at each end of the car-floor is a vertical dasher and beneath the flooring are seen the trucks, the whole of the aforesaid car-body being suitable ornamented or embellished, substantially as shown and described.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto affixed my signature in the presence of two witnesses.


W. D. BENT, Jr.

O'Farrell St before 1900 A typical California-type car. O'Farrell/Jones/Hyde car on O'Farrell Street before 1900. stands at Third and Market with a less ornate roof. It is now called the Central Tower (Source: [group 3:28], Roy D. Graves Pictorial Collection, ca. 1850-ca. 1968, BANC PIC 1905.17500--ALB, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.).


The Supreme Court of the United States to Be Asked Just What They Are.
An Important Patent Infringement Case Which Depends Upon Five Questions.

From The San Francisco Call / Thursday, November 21, 1895, page 9

Hammond Patent Double-Ender Streetcar

John Hammond's patent-infringement suit in the Federal courts, against the Stockton Agricultural Works, involving his double-ender streetcar patent, is now to go up to the highest judicial tribunal.

His attorney, John H. Miller, has filed a petition for a rehearing before the United States Circuit Court of Appeals, and yesterday he filed a motion to have certain puzzling questions of law sent up to the United States Supreme Court.

Mr. Harhtnond received his letters-patent in September, 1891. The cable-cars on the California-street system were of his design, and the double-ender cars on the Mission and Kearny streets electric system were also made by him. He either has a patent or he has not, and he wants to know for a certainty.

According to a decision by Judge McKenna of the Circuit Court he has not, and Judge McKenna's decision has just been affirmed by the Court of Appeals. The counsel for Mr. Hammond thinks Judge McKenna mixed up his law in that decision, hence the motion to have the questions involved sent up to the Supreme Court.

It will be the first time the august body of jurists at Washington will have had to pass upon the distinction between a "mechanical device" and a "design." Judge McKenna held substantially that the Hammond patent was simply an aggregation of designs already patented. Mr. Miller's opinion is that "design patents stand on a different basis from mechanical patents, that different rules of law apply to them, that only a minimum amount of the inventive faculty is necessary in producing tbem, and that they stand very nearly on the same plane as trademarks and copyrights." His contention is, therefore," that the courts should deal more leniently with design patents, and not apply the strict rules of law that Judge McKenna did.

The five questions he is anxious to have the Supremo Court pass upon are: Is there any difference in character between the inventive faculty displayed in producing a "mechanical device" and that displayed in producing a "design"? Should the same rules appiy to the determining of a suit involving a "design" as one involving a "mechanical device"? What is the proper test by which to determine the presence or absence of the inventive faculty? Did John Hammond display an exercise of the inventive faculty? Is the Hammond patent valid or invalid?

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Last updated 01-October-2017