89 - Jules BRÖNNER (1823 - 1888) [1]

Franz Julius BRÖNNER, was a Fabrikant in Frankfurt and the inventor of a Gasbrenner which was a major innovation at the time and which was patented in a number of countries, including the USA. [2] 

In his Luxembourg application for a brevet d’importation, filed on 14 April 1866, BRÖNNER explained:

Diese Erfindung betrifft die Construction von Gasbrennern durch welche die Leuchtkraft erhöht, respect. eine bedeutende Gasersparnis erzielt wird. Diese Brenner sind so construiert, dass das Gas durch einen Brenner von gewöhnlicher Bohrung direct in einen zweiten Brenner von gewöhnlicher aber weiterer Öffnung geleitet wird, um von Diesem unter einem geringeren Druck zur Flamme zu gelangen. 

Wo eine besonders ruhige Flamme wünschenswerth ist, lasse ich das Gas aus dem unteren Brenner durch eine Zwischenlage von Baumwolle, Asbest, mit Metallspaehne, Siebe, oder dergleichen nach dem oberen Brenner strömen.

BRÖNNER filed two drawings to illustrate his invention: the initial design and the advanced design with a glass chimney, which he described as follows:

Dieselbe besteht in einem Schornstein mit oder ohne Lichtschirm, der in einer solchen Höhe über dem Gasbrenner angebracht, dass nur der oberste Teil der Flamme in den Schornstein reicht, während der übrige Teil der Flamme frei brennt.

In support of his patent application BRÖNNER filed a Gutachten which clearly established the merits of his invention.

The Chambre de commerce was not going to challenge the opinion of a panel of German experts in the field and reported to the Government:

La Chambre de commerce a jugé qu'il n'y avait pas lieu de nommer des experts pour faire rapport sur le mérite de cette invention dont les avantages ont été constatés par des personnes dont le nom fait autorité dans les sciences, et attendu que les brevets accordés au sieur Brönner par la plupart des autres états du Zollverein portent la durée du privilège respectivement à 5, 10 et 15 ans, elle est d'avis qu'il il y a lieu d'accorder un brevet d'invention et d'importation pour le terme de 5 ans.

The patent was thus granted by Wilhelm III on 18 June 1866.

Unfair competition

In 1875 BRÖNNER took a Scottish plumber to court because the latter sold burners under the name « Brönner’s burners » which had not been manufactured by BRÖNNER. [3]

BRÖNNER won the case:

The Court of Session has had before it the case of Julius Brönner, Frankfort-on-Maine, against Donald McVean, plumber, Glasgow. The prayer of the petition was to interdict the respondent from in any way advertising or offering for sale, or selling, or from in any way causing to be advertised or offered for sale, or sold as Brönner’s burners, any burners not manufactured by the complainer. After hearing counsel for parties, the Lord Ordinary gave judgment. 

He said that the evidence showed that from 1871 there had gradually sprung up a crowd of imitators of the burners in question, and that until April, 1875, Mr. Brönner took no steps to prevent any of these going to the public. The reason was obvious. So far as appeared, no one was professing to sell these imitation burners as Brönner's burners, but as « B. Burners » and « Economisers ». 

In 1875, however, the complainer got an injunction against a London firm, who were selling a spurious imitation as Brönner's burners. The question in this case for decision was - was the respondent entitled to offer for sale burners as Brönner's burners which were not manufactured by Mr. Brönner? His lordship thought the evidence disposed of the averment that such burners had been extensively manufactured and sold by other persons as Brönner’s burners. The plea that the term had become of public right could not be sustained; amid the other averment that the complainer had no patent would have been a good plea if supported by facts, and if the Court were dealing with a proper case of trade mark. 

His lordship held that there was nothing false or fraudulent in Mr. Brönner stamping on his burners the words « Brönner’s patent », although the patent had lapsed, because it was a burner which had become known by that name. 

His lordship was of opinion that Mr. McVean had violated that which was a good common law-right of every manufacturer of goods, by selling goods manufactured by him as the goods of another manufacturer. 

Interdict granted with costs.


[1] FamilySearch database

[2] Das Gasbüchlein des Herrn C. F. A.  Jahn, Frankfurt a/M 1868, US patent n° 84.675, GB patent n° 2679/1866

[3] The Sanitary Record, 29 January 1876, page 78