The looms in question were merely placed on one of the floors of the factory, and were fastened to the floor by means of ten screws in each loom, as the case states, " merely for the purpose of keeping the said looms in their places and in a steady position, and not otherwise, during the operation and working of the said looms They were worked by a band carried by the fixed machinery. Any one of them could be separately disconnected with the motive power, and they could be easily and conveniently removed without injury to themselves or to the building.
In House v. House, 10 Paige, 158, the chancellor had occasion to consider the statutory provisions which have been cited, and he observes that it was impossible, in a sentence of three lines, to define what was to be considered as part of the freehold itself, and what mere fixtures or things annexed to the freehold for the purposes of trade or manufacture; and that it was, therefore, still necessary to resort to the principles of the common law and to the decisions of the courts, in order to ascertain what is a substantial part of the freehold and what is a thing annexed thereto for the purpose of trade or manufacture. These observations are certainly just; for it is quite obvious that the statute does not mean that the executor shall take everything not essential to the support of the walls of a building, but that only such things are spoken of as are not a constituent part of the freehold, or of the artificial structure erected on the land.
The case Lawton v. Salmon, decided by Lord Mansfield, and reported in a note to Fitzherbert v. Shaw, 1 H. Bl. 25S, furnishes a criterion by which the character of chattels annexed to the freehold may be determined. That was a case of salt-pans, made of hammered iron and riveted together, which were brought into the salt-house in pieces and might be removed in pieces. Davenport, for the defendant, argued that if the salt-pans were removed, the house would go useless to the heir and the executor gain nothing but old iron. Lord Mansfield says: " The salt spring is a valuable inheritance, but no profit arises from it unless there is a salt-work, which consists of a building, etc., for the purpose of containing the pans, etc., which are fixed to the ground. The inheritance cannot be enjoyed without them. They are accessories necessary to the enjoyment and use of the principal. The owner erected them for the benefit of the inheritance, he could never mean to give them to the executor, and put him to the expense of taking them away without any advantage to him, who could only have the old material, or a contribution from the heir in lieu of them." The ground of the decision was, that the pans had a specific relation to the inheritance. They were adapted to use in connection with the inheritance, and, by removal, would lose all the value which that adaptation gave them, and become merely old iron. It was this on which the case turned. The specific form which the iron had received, fitted the . pans for use with and made them valuable in relation to, the inheritance, and not valuable as property unconnected with the inheritance. Applying this principle to the case of a factory, the wheel or engine which furnishes the motive power, and all that part of the gearing and machinery which has special relation to the building with which it is connected, would belong to the freehold; while an independent machine like a loom, which, if removed, still remains a loom, and can be used as such wherever it is wanted and power can be applied to it, will still retain its character of personalty. With the rule as thus stated, many of the cases coincide, and those, too, which have been carefully examined. Powell v. Monson Co., 3 Mason, 459; Gale v. Ward, 14 Mass. 352; Cresson v. Stout, 17 John. 117; Swift v. Thompson, 9 Conn. 63; Teaff v. Hewitt, 1 McCook, 511; Vanderpoelv. Van Allen, 10 Barb. 157. It is true that, upon this subject, all the cases cannot be reconciled, and that perhaps no rule can be laid down, in abstract terms, which will furnish a clear guide in every case. But in respect to the species of property, the rule we act upon in this case is not difficult of application, and it will, we think, generally coincide with the actual intention of persons erecting and owning such property.
81 New York, 38. - 1880.
Rapallo, J. - The mirrors and gas fixtures in controversy were placed in the house in 1870 by Mr. Curtis, who was then owner thereof. We concur with the court below in its conclusion that they were not so attached to the building as to form part of the realty. Gas pipes which run through the walls and under the floors of a house, are permanent parts of the building, but the fixtures attached to these pipes are not. They are not permanently annexed but simply screwed on projections of the pipes from the walls, left for that purpose, and can be detached by simply unscrewing them. It was shown that the fixtures in question were simply put on in the usual way. The mirrors were not set into the walls, but were put up after the house had been built, being supported in their places by hooks or supports, some of which were fastened with screws to the wood work and others driven into the walls, and were capable of being easily detached from these supports without interfering with or injuring the walls. All these articles were, in their nature, mere furniture, and, therefore, chattels, and not appurtenances to the building. Winslow v. Merchants' Ins. Co., 4 Met. 311; Vaughen v. Haldeman, 33 Penn. 523; Rogers v. Crow, 40 Miss. 91; Montague v. Dent, 10 Rich. L. R. (So. Car.), 135; Shaw v. Lenke, 1 Daly, 487; Lawrence v. Kemp, 1 Duer, 363; Beck v. Rebow, 1 P. Wms. 94. In respect to such articles, the mere declaration of the owner that he intends that they shall go with the house does not make them realty. They no more constitute part of the realty than would pictures supported by fastenings driven into the wall. Assuming that such fastenings or support become part of the building, it does not follow that the mirrors or pictures which they support acquire the same character.