This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
If the offer has the elements already indicated, its form is not material,1 if the contract is not one which is required to be in writing,2 or to be proved by writing.3 Accordingly, it is not error to refuse to charge that no contract exists, "if the minds did not meet on express words clearly expressed."4
An offer may be made by letters,5 or by telegrams.6 A contract may be composed of a number of different instruments in writing.7 Thus of offers by express words, an option to a town to buy a waterworks, secured by a provision in the charter of the waterworks company;8 an offer made by a city ordinance;9 as an offer by a city ordinance to perform the conditions of a lease to be assigned;10 or an offer of compensation for lighting streets;11 or to grant a telegraph company the right to erect poles in the city streets on certain specified conditions;12 or to allow a railway company to use a certain street, the railway company to pave the portion of the track between the rails in case the city paves the street;13 a vote by a township of a sum as a subscription to a railroad;14 a statute exempting the property of a railroad company from taxation;15 a petition for the construction of a private sewer with the approval thereof by council, and filing bond;16 a call to fill a pulpit at a specified salary;17 the allowance of a valid claim by the trustees of a municipal corporation, made to the holder as a basis of settlement;18 a resolution of a board of directors authorizing a sale of certain property, which is transmitted to a prospective purchaser of such property by the authority of the board of directors;19 rules of an athletic, racing, or sporting club, as to contests held thereunder;20 a by-law of a corporation offering a share of profits to its employes who comply with certain specified conditions;21 a rule or by-law of a bank, as far as concerns dealings between it and its customers to whom due notice has been given;22 rules and by-laws of an insurance company as to members who deal with such company, or as to third persons who deal with such company with knowledge that such rules are offered by such company as a part of its contract;23 time-tables as between passengers and a common carrier;24 a notice of wages to be paid for weaving styles of the first and second quality;25 a notice contained in an account rendered, to the effect that interest would be charged on all sums overdue for more than three years;26 and advertisements of various forms,27 have each been held to be valid offers. If A, who is about to collect a note due to himself and to his wife B, gives a written statement to B, showing her share in the proceeds of such note, such statement is equivalent to a promise on his part to pay over to her such amount out of the proceeds of such note.28 If a married woman notifies a tradesman that she wishes to open an account in her own name and to have certain goods charged to her, such statement is equivalent to an offer upon her part to pay for such goods personally, although they are such goods as her husband would be obliged to furnish for her support.29
7 Indianapolis Northern Traction Co. v. Brennan, 174 Ind. 1, 30 L. R. A. (N.S.) 85, 87 N. E. 215, 90 N. E. 65.
9 Wyman v. Passmore, 146 la. 486, 27 L. R. A. (N.S.) 683, 125 N. W. 213.
1 Arkansas. Hart v. Hammett Grocer Co., 132 Ark. 197, 200 S. W. 795.
Georgia. Bell v. Rosingnol, 143 Ga. 150, L. R. A. 1915D, 1184, 84 S. E. 542.
Indiana. Pittsburgh, etc., Co. v. Racer, 10 Ind. App. 503, 38 X. E. 186, 37 N. E. 280.
Massachusetts. Cavanaugh v. D. W. Ranlet Co., 229 Mass. 366, 118 N. E. 650.
Missouri. Zinke v. Knights of the Maccabees, - Mo. - , 205 S. W. 1.
South Dakota. Norbeck & Nicholson Co. v. Nielsen, 39 S. D. 410, 164 N. W. 1033.
Washington. Western Timber Co. v. Kalama River Lumber Co., 42 Wash. 620, 114 Am. St. Rep. 137, 6 L. R. A. (N.S.) 397, 85 Ac. 338; Exchange National Bank v. Pantages, 74 Wash. 481, 46 L. R. A. (N.S.) 484, 133 Ac. 1025.
Wisconsin. Zitske v. Grohn, 128 Wis. 159, 109 N. W. 20.
2 See ch. XLII and cross-references thereunder.
3 See ch. XLI.
4 Zitske v. Grohn, 128 Wis. 169, 107 N. W. 20.
5 England. Adams v. Lindsell, 1 Barn. & Ald. 681; Dunlop v. Higgins, 1 H. L. Cas. 381.
Arkansas. Hart v. Hammett Grocer Co., 132 Ark. 197, 200 S. W. 795.
Indiana. Warner v. Marshall, 166 Ind. 88, 75 N. E. 582.
Mississippi. Edward Thompson Co. v. Foy, 115 Miss. 848, 76 So. 685.
Nebraska. Bradley v. Bower, 5 Neb. (unoff.) 542, 99 N. W. 490.
New York. Sanders v. Pottlizer Bros. Fruit Co., 144 N. Y. 209, 43 Am. St. Rep. 757, 29 L. R. A. 431, 39 N. E. 75.
North Dakota. Kvale v. Keane, - N. D. - , 168 N. W. 74.
West Virginia. Shrewsbury v. Tufts, 41 W. Va. 212, 23 S. E. 692.
Wisconsin. Webster Mfg. Co. v. Montreal River Lumber Co., 159 Wis. 456, 150 N. W. 409.
6 England. Stevenson v. McLean, 6 Q. B. D. 346.
Alabama. McCleskey v. Howell Cotton Co., 147 Ala. 573, 42 So. 37.
Arkansas. Hart v. Hammett Grocer Co., 132 Ark. 197, 200 S. W. 795.
Maine. Ayer v. Western Union Telegraph Co., 79 Me. 493.
New York. Beach v. Raritan & Delaware Bay Ry. Co., 37 N. Y. 457.
West Virginia. Watson v. Coast, 35 W. Va. 463, 14 S. E. 249.
7 See ch. XLI and ch. LXIII.
8 Braintree, etc., Co. v. Braintree, 146 Mass. 482, 16 N. E. 420.
9 People v. Telephone Co., 192 111. 307, 85 Am. St. Rep. 338, 61 N. E. 428; Yincennes v. Gaslight Co., 132 Ind. 114, 16 L. R. A. 485, 31 N. E. 573; (City of) Baxter Springs v. Power Co., 64 Kan. 591, 68 Ac. 63.
10 Curtis v. Portsmouth, 67 N. II. 506, 39 Atl. 439 [citing Hunneman v. Grafton, 51 Mass. (10 Met.) 4.14.
11 Mena v. Tomlinson, 118 Ark. 166, 175 S. W. 1187.
12 St. Louis v. Telegraph Co., 63 Fed. 68.
13 Coast Line Ry. Co. v. Savannah, 30 Fed. 646.
14 Chicago, etc., R. R. Co. v. Osage County, 38 Kan. 597, 16 Ac. 828.
15 County Commissioners of Santa Fe County v. Ry. Co., 3 N. M. 126, 2 Ac. 376; County Commissioners of Valencia County v. Ry. Co., 3 N. M. 677, 10 Ac. 294.
16 Stevens v. Muskegon, 111 Mich. 72, 36 L. R. A. 777, 69 N. W. 227.
17 Jennings v. Scarborough, 56 N. J. L. 401, 28 Atl. 559.
18 McConoughey v. Jackson, 101 Cal. 265, 40 Am. St. Rep. 53, 35 Ac. 863.
19 Western Timber Co. v. Kalama River Lumber Co., 42 Wash. 620, 114 Am. St. Rep. 137, 6 L. R. A. (N.S.) 397, 85 Ac. 338.
20 Clarke v. Dunraven (1897), A. C. 59 [affirming The Satinita (1895), Prob. 248].
However, a rule of a clearing house has been held not to bind a non-member who makes a deposit with a bank which is a member.30 If A deposits a check in a bank for collection, knowing that such bank is accustomed to collect through a clearing house, such knowledge does not subject A to a rule of the clearing house with reference to the time at which settlements are to be made between members of the clearing house; and accordingly such bank will not be relieved from liability for loss if by reason of such rule of the clearing house, such check is not presented to the drawee until after the close of business on the day after the depositor received the check, by reason of which the surety is released from liability.31
21 Zwolanek v. Baker Manufacturing Co., 150 Wis. 517, 137 N. W. 769.
22 Hough Avenue Savings and Banking Co. v. Anderson, 78 0. S. 341, 85 N. E. 498.
23 Illinois. Apitz v. Supreme Lodge Knights & Ladies of Honor, 274 111. 196, L. R. A. 1917A, 183, 113 N. E. 63.
Kansas. Smith v. Republic County Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 82 Kan. 697, 109 Ac. 390.
Maryland. Royal Arcanum v. Vitz-thum, 128 Md. 523, L. R. A. 1917A, 179, 97 Atl. 923.
Oklahoma. Hines v. Modern Woodmen of America, 41 Okla. 135, L. R. A. 1915A, 264, 137 Ac. 675.
South Carolina. Roach v. Farmers' Mut. Insurance Association, 102 S. Car. 478, 86 S. E. 950.
Virginia. Fraternities Ace. Order v. Armstrong, 106 Va. 746, 56 S. E. 565.
24 Sears v. Eastern Railroad Co., 96 Mass. (14 All.) 433, 92 Am. Dec. 780; Cormack v. New York, N. H. & H. Ry. Co., 196 N. Y. 442, 24 L. R. A. (N.S.) 1209, 17 Am. & Eng. Ann. Cas. 949, 90 N E. 56; Taber v. Seaboard Air Line Ry. Co., 84 S. Car. 291, 19 Am. & Eng. Ann. Cas. 1132, 66 S. E. 292.
25 Gallagher v. Mfg. Co., 172 Mass. 230, 51 N. E. 1086.
26 In re Anglesey (1901), 2 Ch. 548.
27 See Sec. 26.
28 Lurty's Curator v. Lurty, 107 Va. 466, 59 S. E. 405.
29 Bell v. Rosingnol, 143 Ga. 150, L. R. A. 1915D, 1184, 84 S. E. 542.
30 Dorchester v. Merchants' National Bank, 106 Tex. 201, 50 L. R. A. (N.S.) 542, 163 S. W. 5.