US 20060174396 A1
A sun shade for a hard hat includes a piece of flexible material removably and adjustably attached to a hard hat that is stretched to a substantially consistent shape by a piece of springing material. The flexible material may be attached to the hard hat using an elastic band, drawstring, or similar means for attaching. When not in use, the springing material may be removed from the flexible material and stored as a straight piece of material or rolled and stored as a coil. Additionally, the flexible material, such as fabric or soft plastic, may be folded and stored. The flexible material may also include a flap that drapes over the sides and back of the user's neck to provide enhanced protection from direct radiant energy.
1. A sun shade, comprising:
a piece of flexible material adapted to accept the crown of a hard hat and prevent direct radiant energy from striking the face and neck of a user;
a means for removably and adjustably attaching the flexible material to the hard hat;
a piece of springing material adapted to be attached to the flexible material so as to pull the flexible material radially away from the hard hat in order to create a substantially consistently sized and shaped brim.
2. The sun shade of
3. The sun shade of
4. The sun shade of
5. The sun shade of
6. The sun shade of
7. The sun shade of
8. The sun shade of
9. The sun shade of
10. The sun shade of
11. The sun shade of
12. The sun shade of
13. The sun shade of
14. The sun shade of
15. The sun shade of
16. The sun shade of
17. The method of preventing direct radiant energy from striking a user's face, comprising the steps of:
attaching a piece of flexible material to an outer circumference of a hard hat; and
supporting the piece of flexible material with a piece of springing material.
18. The method of
19. The method of
20. The method of
1. Field of the Invention
This invention is related in general to the field of personal protective equipment. In particular, the invention consists of a sun shade that can be removably adjustably attached to a construction helmet (“hard hat”).
2. Description of the Prior Art
Construction helmets, known as hard hats, are used extensively in construction, mining, and engineering projects to protect the head of a user. The primary purpose of these hard hats is to prevent falling objects from physically striking the user's head. It is expected that an object striking the hard hat will bounce off or become redirected in a glancing blow that reduces the force of the impact to the user. Additionally, by positioning the outer surface of the hard hat so that is has physically separation from the head of the user, the hard hat may act as a shock absorber, converting some of the kinetic energy of a falling object to potential energy that is released after the falling object has already bounced away.
Such a hard hat is illustrated by the drawing of
Because wearing a hard hat inherently blocks some or all air flow around a user's head, heat attempting to exit a user's body through the head is trapped in the hard hat. This tends to increase the body temperature of the user, especially if the ambient temperature in which the user is situated is greater than what would normally be deemed comfortable by the user. Additionally, these hard hats are often used in partial or direct sunlight, such as along a roadside during the middle of a sunny day. While the hard hat may be colored or made from a selection of materials that will reflect a large portion of the radiant heat and the webbing may be constructed so as to increase air flow around the user's head, the user is still exposed to radiant energy striking his face and neck. Accordingly, it is desirable to have a device that works in conjunction with the hard hat to block a portion of radiant energy, especially the radiant energy of direct sunlight, that strikes the face and neck of the user.
One approach to this problem is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,260,204, by Oliver Morrissey. In the Morrissey patent, a flexible protector for the back of the neck of a wearer of a hard hat is disclosed, as shown in the illustration of
Another approach to this problem is illustrated in U.S. Pat. No. 4,316,289 by Melvin O. Hild. In the Hild patent, as illustrated in
One approach to solving the problem of adjustable attachment is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,727,250 by Randolph Black. In the Black patent, as illustrated in
Yet another hard hat sun shade is illustrated in the U.S. design Pat. No. D379,679 by Simon J. Poole. The Poole device 30 appears to be a combination of the Morrissey sun shade (neck protection) the Hild device (rigid disk) and the Black invention (fabric covering). However, the Poole device still suffers from either a lack of support for the exterior circumference of the sun shade's brim (if the disk is not rigid), or is difficult to transport and store (if the disk is rigid).
The invention disclosed herein is a hard hat sun shade that utilizes a piece of flexible material to act as a shield from direct radiant energy, a means for removably and adjustably attaching the flexible material to a hard hat, and a means for supporting an outer edge of the flexible material so that it maintains a substantially consistent shape that provides enhanced protection for the front and side of a user's face. In one embodiment of the invention, an elastic band is secured to an inner edge of the sun shade and placed around the outer circumference of the hard hat, securing the sun shade to the hard hat. In another embodiment of the invention, a draw-string is attached to the inner edge of the sun shade. By removing any slack or play from the draw string, the sun shade is drawn against the hard hat. To prevent the drawstring from releasing the hard hat, the drawstring may be tied in a knot or clasped with a sliding clamp.
A piece of deformable material that stores energy as it is bent and that attempts to return to its original shape (the shape it had prior to being bent) may be attached to the outer edge of the sunshade. Such a springing material may include a stiff wire, such as coat hanger that is not kinked, a flat wire with a degree of springiness, a thin piece of bamboo, or other similar material that can store potential energy while being deformed. In one embodiment of the invention, this spring material may be placed within a pocket placed along the outer edge of the flexible material. It is the springing material's effort to return to its original shape that imparts a substantially consistent shape to the sun shade's brim. The spring material exerts force radially away from the hard hat while the flexible material exerts an opposite force toward the center of the hard hat. Once the springing material has pulled the flexible material to its maximum displacement away from the center of the hard hat, the forces exerted by the springing material and the flexible material reach equilibrium resulting in the substantially consistent shape.
The flexible material may be a piece of soft plastic or fabric, so long as it is shaped so as to conform to the desired shape and size of the sun shade's brim, once pulled by the springing material indicated above. The primary purpose of the flexible material is to block direct radiant energy from striking the front, back, and sides of the user's face neck and face. To this end, the flexible material is stretched between the means for attaching the sun shade to the hard hat and the springing material along the outer edge. A primary advantage of using a flexible material in conjunction with the springing material (such as a deformable energy storing rod) is that the springing device may be easily removed from the sun shade, allowing the flexible material to be folding and easily stored away. Additionally, the springing device may either be stored as a long piece of straight material (with little or no potential energy resulting from deformation) or may be rolled up and stored as a coil.
In yet another embodiment of the invention, a second piece of material is attached to the back portion of the sun shade. In this manner, the second piece of material may drape from the brim of the sun shade to provide enhanced protection of the back of the user's neck.
Various other purposes and advantages of the invention will become clear from its description in the specification that follows and from the novel features particularly pointed out in the appended claims. Therefore, to the accomplishment of the objectives described above, this invention comprises the features hereinafter illustrated in the drawings, fully described in the detailed description of the preferred embodiments and particularly pointed out in the claims. However, such drawings and description disclose just a few of the various ways in which the invention may be practiced.
This invention is based on the idea of using a spring-like material to pull a piece of flexible material away from the center of a hard hat so as to create a sun shade. An outer edge of the flexible material defines the external perimeter of the resulting sun shade's brim and an internal edge defines an opening through which the hard hat is inserted. The sun shade is removably and adjustably connected to the hard hat by a drawstring or elastic band. The sun shade's flexible material may optionally include a flap that drapes over the sides and back of the user's neck, providing even more protection from direct radiant energy.
Referring to the figures, wherein like numerals indicate like elements,
The means for attaching the flexible material to the hard hat 110 may be an elastic band 112, as illustrated in the embodiment of
The means for pulling 108 the flexible material away from the hard hat may be any material that may be bent without kinking that attempts to return to the shape it possessed before it was bent. For example, a wire coat hanger may be bent, without kinking, in a manner that stores potential energy. This potential energy will cause the deformed material to attempt to return to its original shape, resulting in a springing device. Any material that may be deformed while storing potential energy that may also be attached to the flexible material may be used, such as a thin strip of bamboo or a flat piece of wire. In another embodiment of the invention, as illustrated by the drawing of
Those skilled in the art of making sun shades may develop other embodiments of the present invention. However, the terms and expressions which have been employed in the foregoing specification are used therein as terms of description and not of limitation, and there is no intention in the use of such terms and expressions of excluding equivalents of the features shown and described or portions thereof, it being recognized that the scope of the invention is defined and limited only by the claims which follow.