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.
Offers to be accepted by the performance of an act are not, as a rule, favored in construction. Wherever it is possible to find that A was requiring B to promise to perform the stipulated act and that A was not merely making the promise which was to become a contract only in case B did such act, the courts will so find, although the language used in the offer apparently calls for an act and not for a promise.1 While the courts do not always explain the result by saying that "the contract had taken on a bilateral character,"2 they frequently assumed that the offer called for a promise, and that commencing performance implied a contract to continue.3 A contract by which A agreed to take all the railway ties that B would deliver, was construed as imposing upon B the duty of using ordinary care and diligence in preparing and delivering such ties.4 A contract by which A agrees to publish a book for B, implies a promise on B's part to furnish the manuscript.5 A promise by A to pay B for handling freight implies a promise on A's part to furnish freight.6
40 Taddy v. Sterious (1904), 1 Ch. 354, 73 L. J. Ch. N. S. 191, 52 Week. Rep. 152, 89 L. T. N. S. 628, 20 T. L. R. 102.
41 Salvation Army v. E. K. Wilcox Post No. 16, Corporation Department of Massachusetts, Grand Army of the Republic, 225 Mass. 136, 114 N. E. 60.
1 California. Los Angeles Traction Co. v. Wilshire, 135 Cal. 654, 67 Ac. 1086.
Illinois. Plumb v. Campbell, 129 111. 101, 18 N. E. 790.
Iowa. Kaufman v. Farley Mfg. Co., 78 la. 679, 16 Am. St. Rep. 462, 43 N. W. 612; Burge v. Gough, 153 la. 183, 133 N. W. 340.
Kentucky. Aver & Lord Tie Co. v. O'Bannon, 164 Ky. 34, 174 S. W. 783.
Massachusetts. Martin v. Meles, 179 Mass. 114, 60 N. E. 397.
Michigan. Garlock v. Motz Tire & Rubber Co., 192 Mich. 665, 159 N. W. 344.
Minnesota. Rotzien-Furber Lumber Co. v. Franson, 123 Minn. 122, 143 N. W. 253; Chapman v. Propp, 125 Minn. 447, 147 N. W. 442.
Ohio. Senter v. Senter, 87 O. S. 377, 101 N. E. 272.
Texas. Jones v. Gammel Statesman Pub. Co., 100 Tex. 320, 8 L. R. A. (N.S.) 1197, 99 S. W. 701.
Wisconsin. Eastern Ry. Co. v. Tuteur, 127 Wis. 382, 105 N. W. 1067.
See also Sec. 582.
2 Los Angeles Traction Co. v. Wilshire, 135 Cal. 654, 67 Ac. 1086.
This was said of a subscription contract for a railway which was said to become irrevocable when the railway was begun. The railway is not bound to complete its line, however, unless its charter is mandatory. Bentler v. Cincinnati, Covington & Erlanger Railway Co., 180 Ky. 497, L. R. A. 1918E, 315, 203 S. W. 199.
3 Garlock v. Motz Tire & Rubber Co., 192 Mich. 665, 159 N. W. 344. See Sec. 129, 130.