New York: Pudney & Russell, 1854. 29pp, sewn, original printed wrappers (moderately worn, rear wrap loose). Light foxing, old pencil marks, Very Good.
Salmon P. Chase, the anti-slavery politician who became Lincoln's Treasury Secretary and Taney's successor as Chief Justice, argued for O'Reilly and his fellow appellants. They attempted to invalidate Morse's 1840 and 1848 patents on the 'Electro-Magnetic Telegraphs.'
The Court's 6-3 decision finds for Morse, Taney writing the majority opinion. Of Morse, the Court holds that "no one has contributed more to enlarge the knowledge of Electro-Magnetism, and to lay the foundations of the great invention of which we are speaking, than the professor himself." The Court reviews the history and development of Morse's invention, the similar work of Wheatstone and Davy in England, and Steinheil in Munich; and finds that Morse's telegraph preceded theirs. An energetic dissent was filed by Grier, in which Justices Nelson and Wayne joined.
The claims of O'Reilly were not frivolous. Well-known to Congress as a tireless advocate of transcontinental wireless communication, he was an emigrant from Ireland. "After the invention of the telegraph (he) entered upon the work of extending the lines to the west, but became involved in lawsuits which almost ruined him financially" [Appleton].
Not in Cohen or Sabin. OCLC 25802195 [1- U VA], 226397273 [1- OH State Lib.] as of May 2019. Item #35849