Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/630

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by the evaporation of sal enixum or muriate of ammonia; not because they are ignorant of the fact that minutes and hours may intervene between a cause and its visible effect, but because they yearn to substitute mystery for simple and intelligible truth. Not everybody could be expected to investigate the matter by expensive and laborious experiments, but all unmystified human beings could and should be able to foresee the result in regard to the main point, or suspend their opinion altogether rather than accept the enchantment theory. Not their poverty but their will consents. The witchcraft delusion had long been exposed in all its bottomless absurdity when people still believed in weather-wizards, were-wolves, and broomstick excursions through the chimney; and, after ninety-eight "mediums" have been caught in flagranti, the ninety-ninth can collect a roomful of grown-up persons who are kind enough to think it possible that disembodied souls could handle a fiddle-stick, or that flying beans and cherry-stones emanate from a spirit-popgun.

Venomous serpents would disappear without the aid of St. Patrick if they had to rely on the charm of their eyes for a dinner; for a rattlesnake, deprived of its chemicals, would starve as surely as a "magic slate-writing medium" in a like predicament.


BY the statute of 1870 it was enacted that an invention, to be patentable, must possess, among other qualifications, that of newness or novelty. But what constitutes novelty is not defined. The solution of the question is left to be determined according to the circumstances of each particular case. It is this fact which makes the question such a difficult one to be answered; for in each case there is generally some little element present which distinguishes it from other cases, and makes it impossible to frame one decided rule of universal application. The question is also rendered less easy of solution from the fact that it comes up most frequently in its most difficult aspect—in cases of infringement, where the point under discussion is, whether the alleged invention is, or is not, substantially identical with some prior existing thing, which has been in common use here or described in some patent or printed publication. Yet, despite the nicety in which this question of novelty is involved, we are not compelled to leave it entirely unsolved. A careful study of the subject discloses certain principles which by their application somewhat prune down the difficulty. We are fortunate in being able to approach the question from two sides; for, as was true in the case of the two-faced