W2667 TO ISAAC B. MCQUESTEN from William Dunn
Jan 21 1885
From: New York
I.B. McQuesten Esq
Yours of the 17th is to hand and contents noted. I agree that it is unfortunate the Dr. and I cannot act in harmony, but I am hardly responsible for it and have done everything even contrary to my inclinations to satisfy him. Giving explanations, aswering irrelevant, even impertinent questions, devoting time in opposition to my own judgement to satisfy him on some point or some of the innumerable business that would be conjoined either against the Patents or myself. From motives of policy knowing that more could be accomplished by unison that [sic] antagonism. I have made every concession that could be made without entirely ignoring all self-respect. The difficulty has been the Dr. in taking charge of the business thought that gave him control of me, in this I gave him to understand there was a misapprehension, stating plainly I was under no obligations to act under his directions if it was contrary to my judgement. This however I have done frequently to my loss and nothing to his or any other person's benefit. In a word he has no faith in me and I have every reason to have as little in him as I cannot recollect a single instance when he has shown any candor, kept faith in me or acted in such a way as to enable me to cooperate with the slightest reliance. His own admissions warrant this want of confidence but for months I have known this, hence have not allowed myself to be disappointed.
On the 2nd inst. I finished detailed Drawings of the Coupler and contemplated improvements for which I was promised, action would be taken to obtain a Patent.1 At the time of making the sketches I had misgivings that the result would be similar to all the other propositions emenating from the same source. the prediction has been verified. After nearly three weeks delay I wrote on Monday to the Dr. asking him to return the Drawings as I had no reason to expect anything would be done. This morning I received the enclosed "Patent".--I do not like to be doubtful but I do not think that there has been any search made at the Patent Office in Washington because if such were done properly and there were any "Anticipations." [Tracings??] or Copies of such Patents would have been forwarded, or Tracings and Dates &c. as proof that the work had been done and to enable the Client to judge whether "papers good for much" could be got or not. This is the course that is followed by all regular Patent Attorneys, with the practice of the "Irregular" I am unacquainted. So far as the attaining the Patent is concerned other steps will have to be taken apart from any aid from the Doctor. This however was partially looked for as it was in keeping with everything else. From the preceding it will be plain I do not expect much assistance now in any shape. Hence will have to depend upon my own exertions in bringing the business to any degree of prominence.
With regard to the Boston R.R. Commissions I am going to [be] corresponding with them relative to the Coupler. They accepted the Couplers, would as meeting the requirements of the Law regarding Safety, but that does not debar them from recognizing any other that may be brought to their notices, and which meets their approval. the objections raised by some railroad men against several of the Selected Couplers, as they increase the danger which Coupling with the ordinary Drawhead which is a serious objection because it is reasonable to expect that Old Couplers will be in existence on some of the cars now in use for years to come. Two of the couplers selected Janney & Cornell are not really Automatic because the former requires a "Pin" to be put in to make the fastening after the cars are brought together. And the Cornell requires a "wedge" to be used in the way. However they are "Safety-Couplers" but both are expensive. The "Ames" is uncoupled by lifting up the "heel" of the fastening apparatus and if the car are at all extended it is difficult to uncouple before slackening. There is no provision to prevent the cars from coupling while "Shunting." This is from the lifting chain running from the car out towards the front of the Drawhead and when the Drawhead is pushed back the distance is lessened and the chain slackened which allows the apparatus to assume its coupling position. This can also be said of the Hilliard. Another objection to the Ames, is, the points of draft are not on a straight line. All of these objections do not exist or are provided against in this one.-- the proper cause to pursue now is to introduce the subject by bringing it to the notice of the "Car Manufacturers" as well as the Master Car Builders as it will be necessary to have the approval of some of them and then co-operation before getting capitalists interested. I have seen several practices but waiting in the false hope that matters might be more amiably arranged by some candid and divided action on the part of the Dr. as your representative but the result has been nothing but delay and vexation. I have abandoned all thoughts of accomplishing anything by further recognition of him especially when holding the opinion that has been forced upon me.
From [the] foregoing facts, I feel myself placed in rather a [perilous??] position. A new Patent ought to be obtained at once. Apart from that already granted it would be of but small value but as an improvement enhances the one already in existence because it not only perfects the invention but protects it from further encroachments and strengthens the claims. Therefore the two Patents would have necessarily to be held together. To me the new claims would be only worth what could be obtained for its use in connection with the other and the same to any one else, It was my intention to make an assignment of this Patent to you (under no consideration to the Dr.), and would expect a fair share of the results. The Models I have spent considerable on in making the changes etc, and am still devoting some time to the business. For I know if anything is done it has to be done at once. As I stated in my last I have not at present the necessary funds to carry all the necessary requirements to completion. Hence if I cannot get aid to enable me I will have to relinquish the strength of attempting to do much, or anything for the present at least, and let the matter drop. I have gone over the subject very candidly And without explanations you will understand the position of affairs.
Wm [William] Dunn
1 Dunn already had patents on a train car coupler and was now trying to patent some improvements that he had designed for it, see W1707, W1711, W1712, W2656, W1532, W2671, W2675, W1714, W1716, W1721, W1741. For more on Dunn, see W2554a.