Pittsburgh Bessemer Steel Company
Supreme Court of the United States
121 U.S. 264; 7 S. Ct. 875; 30 L. Ed. 967
Argued April 5, 1877.
April 18, 1887, Decided
Error to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern
District of Illinois
This was an action at law, brought in the Circuit Court of the United States for
the Northern District of Illinois, by the Pittsburgh Bessemer Steel Company,
(Limited,) a Pennsylvania corporation, against Francis E. Hinckley, to recover
damages for the breach by Hinckley of a written contract for the purchase by him
from the company of 6000 tons of steel rails. The contract was as follows:
Memorandum of Sale.
The Pittsburgh Bessemer Steel Company (Limited) have sold and hereby agree to
make and deliver to the order of F.E. Hinckley, Esq., 204 Dearborn St., Chicago,
Ills., and the said Hinckley has purchased and agrees to pay for, six thousand gross
tons of first-quality steel rails, to weigh fifty-two (52) pounds to the yard, and to be
rolled true and smooth to the pattern to be furnished by the said Pittsburgh Bessemer
Steel Company, (Limited,) pattern No. 5.
Said rails are to be made of the best quality of Bessemer steel, and to be subject to
inspection as made and shipped, and to be well straightened and free from flaws, and
to be drilled as may be directed; at least ninety per cent. shall be in thirty (30) feet
lengths, with not over ten (10) per cent. of shorter lengths, diminishing by one foot
differences, none to be less than twenty-four (24) feet.
All second-quality rails or excess of shorts which may be made, not exceeding five (5)
per cent. of each month's shipments, to be taken at the usual reduction of ten (10) per
cent. in price, and to be piled and shipped separately, (painted white on both ends,)
as may be ordered by the inspector.
Deliveries to begin in May, 1882, in which month one thousand tons shall be
delivered, and to continue at the rate of twenty-five hundred tons per month after July
1, 1882, until finished, strikes and accidents beyond ordinary control of said steel
company, and acts of Providence preventing or suspending deliveries, alone
excepted, in which case deliveries are to be delayed for a corresponding length of