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Publication numberUS2331301 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 12, 1943
Filing dateOct 30, 1939
Priority dateOct 30, 1939
Publication numberUS 2331301 A, US 2331301A, US-A-2331301, US2331301 A, US2331301A
InventorsLee Brown Frederick
Original AssigneeAmerican Pad & Textile Company
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Life preserver
US 2331301 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 12, 1943. dF. l., BROWN I'JIFE PRESERVER wFiledvoof-A 30,7. 1939 3 Sheets-Sheet l 9 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Oct. 12, 1943.

F. L. BROWN- LnjE PREsERvER Filed Oct.- 30, 193

Patented Oct. 1.2, 1943 UNITED STATES VPATENT OFFICE Aasarsui I `7LIFE PRESERVER y y Frederick lee-Brown, Greenfield, Ohio, assigner` to The American Pad & Textile Company, l Greenfield, Ohio, a corporationof Ohio 1 Application October 30, 1939, Serial No. 302,049

s c1aims'. (c1. 9-20) The present invention relates to adevice for the saving of lives and more particularly to pref` servers to be worn by persons whose occupations and recreations impose upon them the hazard of drowning.

The greatest number of these life preservers are ofthe vest type and are intended forscon tinuous wearing over long periods of time when the wearer is actively using his or her body. In building such a preserver, as distinguished somewhat from the preservers which vhave a' large bulk of buoyant material around the head such as those used in sports like racing,'there is a balance of expediente betweenthe inconvenience upon one hand, of having a-cumbersom'e bull:A of buoyant material located at any one point upon a users body to provide a centralized center of buoyancy, and, upon the other hand, spreading the buoyant medium throughout a preserver garment as thinlyA as possible for the wearers comfort and convenience. The resulting garment is one covering a wide area'of thebody down as far as a wearers hips. c f c Although this balance of expedients does away with any great amount of bulkiness at'any given point and has many advantages" bothd as" to warmth and protection from personalrv injuries,

the center of buoyancy afforded by the jacketas a result is quite low upon the wearers body. y' The location of the center of buoyancy is v ery important. A life preserver having'a low center` of buoyancy has a tendency to lift the body of the wearer out of the water far enough to cause the wearer to tip forwardly or backwardly, the low center of buoyancy imposing upon the pre.- server a tendency to support the wearer horizontally, rather than vertically.

In the present invention; I provide a lifeY save vest wherein the bulk of the life saving material is spread as thinly if not more thinly over the wearers body than conventionally, yet provides a high center ofbuoyancy when the wearer is in the water so as to keep the wearer erect without tipping, with the wearers head and shoulders out of the water. l

In addition to the low center of buoyancy present with conventional life preservers,- Vthe conventional life preservers do not permit ready access to pockets and full freedom of activity iin sitting and climbing.

In this connection, a further object of the invention isto provide a life savevest Vwhich affords no inconvenience to a wearer using his arms for work or play and does not hinder quicl: 'access to the pockets on his regular clothingA or vtance vertically,V or if cause discomfort when he sits down or-climbs a ladder. A

In certain particulars it isalso within the intention of the present invention not only to provide a life save Avest whichaffords Vready access to pockets when the'wearer is out of the water,

but alsofrees the wearer of any restraint with regard to his pockets and the movement of his body when the wearer is in the Water.

More-particularly, oneof the purposes ofthe present invention is to provide a life preserver wherein the lower part thereof folds upwardly to shift or raise the center of buoyancy to a point proximate the chest andV shoulders of the wearer when the wearer is in the water..

Another object of the invention is to provide a life preserver which automatically changes `its center of buoyancy whenra wearer enters the water, and, as a corollary thereto may be arranged to shift the vcenter of buoyancy any disneed be, in any other direction desired.

yA further object'of the invention is to provide a life saving device of the class described which is simple in construction, easy to manufacture, and which can be quickly put on and taken off by the wearer in event quicklaction is necessary.

These being among the objects ofthe present invention, other and further objects will become apparent from the drawings herein, the description relating thretorand the appended claims. Referring now to the drawings: Fig. 1 isa side perspective-ora preferred -for of the invention as it appears when fastened upon a user;

Fig. 2 is a rear View p of the life preserver illustrated in Fig. 41;

l Fig-3 shows the life preserver shown 1in-Fig. 1

whenit is unfolded and flattenedk with the outside surface up; i

f. Fig. 4 is a section taken upon the lines 4-4 shape assumedby the preferred embodimentgof the 'invention Y when the wearer is inthe water;


ancy as it exists when the wearer is out of the water.

which need not have any width or, as preferably shown in the several views, comprise substantial U-shaped cuts 3i in which a substantial amount of material is removed from the loose expanse of material 20.

All of the tubes 2'! are closed by stitching along one boundary of severance and are open along other boundaries of severance. The kapok is stuffed into tubes 2l atutheir open ends, after which the open ends are closed by stitching, thus completing the jacket insofar as providing it with a buoyant material.

The requirements and tests prescribed by the Referring now to the drawings in further` defl tail, the life preserver illustrated in Figs. l, 2, 3 and 4 is constructed to be worn as a jacket, a name by which the preserver I2 will be referred to hereafter. The jacket I is made of two Government for life preservers offered for sale to the public at large are concerned almost ex- @clusively with the amount of buoyancy present thicknesses of strong, preferably closely woven lenvelope to provide downwardly opening tubes I1 located around the chest and shoulders. The tubes Il are spaced and arranged for comfort, and to permit full movement of the users-arms. The lines of stitching I6 under the armholes I5 are spaced widely to provide an expanse of loose fabric, as at 20, which will fold upon itself without discomfort when the jacket is put onand fastened in place by the wearer. y

Any approved buoyant material, such Aas balsa Wood, cork or rubber may be used to fill the tubes Il although I prefer to use, and have shown throughout the several views the use of a fibrous material 2| known as kapok.

The kapok 2| is stuffed into the tubes I 1 from thelower ends 22, after which the tubes are closed by a line of stitching 23, which, as= shown in Fig. 3, is made horizontally around thejacket at a point near or slightly below the middle of the jacket.

In this particular embodiment of the invention, a second line of stitching 24 is made parallel to and about an inch below the rst line o f stitching 23. This provides a band or web of material 25 connecting the upper portions I8 and lower portion I9 of the jacket so that the lower portion is free to move and swing about the web 25 from a depending position. as shown inl Figs. l and 2, to a position proximate the upper portion I8, as shown in Fig. 9, where the wearer is shown in the water.

After the two stitched lines 23 and 24 are made, I add lines of stitching 26 in the lowerp'ortion .I9 of the jacket to form tubes 21 therein,` vAlthough the tubes 21 may be disposed vertically I prefer to have them horizontal so that the lines of stitching 25 between them provide horizontal bend lines assisting in an upward ilexing of the lower portion. I9 when, upon occasion, the lower portion is folded back upon the upper portion I8.

In view of the fact that the jacket is wrapped around the wearers `body and thereby ,assumes a curvilinear contour difficult to bend horizontally I sever the lower portions into four parts along three vertical cuts extending from the bottom edge 23 of the jacket to the line of stitching 24. Two of these lines of severances isfareiocated under the armholes I5 andthe otherline of severance, 33, is. in the middle of the backl The lines of severances 29 may comprise cuts in a preserver, the ruggedness of the material Y used forbuoyancy and the fastenings by which the preserver is secured to the user.

In the present invention, these requirements are fully complied with. The jacket, just described, receives the full quota of kapok necessary to meet the requirements and whether the kapok is stuffed in tubes made in an envelope as described or whether the kapok is secured to the jacket as an independent assemblage it is immaterial except insofar as the appearance and expediency of manufacturing are concerned.

The several tubes illustrated and described may receive cork or balsa wood or some other approved buoyant material. In event, however. there is not enough tubular capacity for any given quota of buoyant material, other tubes may be added along the lowerV edge of the jacket.

In this connection, it may be well to point out at this time that I prefer to add tubular capacity along theflower edge of the jacket in order to lessen the thickness of the kapok stuffing throughout the whole jacket. Itis desirable to have the jacket as thin as possible for the wearers convenience and this I can do in the present invention without encountering any further dangers of a further lowered center of buoyancy which would result if this was done with conventional constructions.

The more the kapok bulk is spread downwardly the greater will be the shifting of the resulting point of buoyancy when the wearer enters the Water.

Moreover, the free flexing of the four lower portions of the jacket about the web 25 permits the lower'y portionslof the jacket to yield freely to the movement of the users legs `when climbing orksitting. The two front lower portions slide freely out upon the thighs when the sitting posture isassumed.

In providing the jacket illustrated, the length of the jacket is determined by the average mans height so that the lower edge of the rear flaps `barely reach the top of a seat when the wearer sits down. In this way the distributionof the kapok may be made Very thin as compared with former` jackets. Moreover, the fact that the rear fiaps extend down to the top of the seat provides a padding for the back of the wearer from the `top to the bottom of a seat back.

vthe hand asthe hand isinserted into the respec- -furthersafety-- comes an anchorage by which'the lower buoyant4 of the water.

In view of the fact that the jacket l is designed for continuous wear out of the water when the user is at work or play, it will be noted further that very often, in conventional life preservers extending below the waist line, the body structure of the conventional preserver becomes strained and deformed in a way causing it 'to are outwardly permanently at the bottom. In the present invention the free movement of the lower portion relative to the upper portion has the advantage of permitting the lower portion to cling closely to the body of the user yet the lower portion I9 will yield to strains and stresses without being permanently deformed thereby.-

Referring now to the construction of the fastening means, any suitable or approvedffastening means may be employed in the present` invention. I prefer, however, to use tie" tapes made of heavy webbing so that when the knots areonce tied they will not come undone, under units assist in liftingthe wearers shoulders out reasonable use, without the loose ends being intentionally pulled. As shown in Figs. 1 andA 3, three pairs of tapes are employed, the top pair 34 of which is secured by cross stitchedV ends 35 to the front marginal edges' of the jacket near the top of tubes l1. n

The two lower pairs of tapes 3l and 38 are end securedby cross stitching 39 to the back, top portion I8 of the jacket near the lower edge of the armholes l from whence they pass over the tubes l1 in the front portions and through loops 48 that are secured to the front edges 3 at spaced points below the tapes 34.

The lower tape 33, as best shown in Fig. 4,' passes across the tubes Il at or near their lower ends without in any way hindering the' freedom of movement already described for the lower portion of the jacket. In eventanybody desires to thread the lower tape 38 through the band 25, or in event the tape 38 will normally come to'rest against the band 25 when tightened, it will be appreciated that the width of the band 25 may be increased or decreased as desired to maintain full freedom of movement upwardly of the lower portion i9 of the jacket.

Referring now to Figs. 5,. 6 and '7, a construction for a life preservar is shown which is more of a dress style than the design of the preferred embodiment. In this particular construction,

vthe line of fold 5 is a little lowerl and the amount of kapok bulk disposed belowthe line of fold is somewhat less. Moreover, the fold line is a single line of stitching rather than a web provided by a double line of stitching. In this con-- illustration only, -it being appreciated that for dress 'styles the outer layer of fabric A5l may be' made of a decorative color or pattern with quilting disposed upon the inside thereof. Moreover, the tubes may be so constructed as to be opened at will, in which case removable kapok inserts may be used in order to allow the jacket to be laundered. l Y

Referring now to Fig.r 10, a construction' is shown wherein the front portions are entirely severed atthe waist from the rear portions of the jacket. In this instance, however, the lowermost strap 38 is threaded through the web portions 25 with enough extra width provided in the web to permit free upward movement of the front, lower portions unhampe'red by the presence of the strap 38. In this particular embodi ment, the back is narrowed appreciably andthe two rear lower flaps are notv severed from each other, but move about the web 25 as a unit. VA slight cutting away above the waist line at the back, as at 55, is provided to reduce the length of web 25 as much as possible so that its curvilinear contour assumed in following the back of l a user, will not interfere with free movement of the rear flap portions upwardly. In this par-V ticular embodiment, more kapok v'is provided in the lower portion I9 in proportion to the upper portion i8 than in the other embodiments described. With this, the result is that the normal center of buoyancy out of water is unusually low, whereas when in the water, the center' of buoyancy is proportionally higher.l

Thus it will be appreciated that I have provided a life preserver wherein the bulkiness of buoyant material may be spread more thinly throughout a garment for the convenience of a user when worn yconstantly upon land, yet pro-'- vides a raised center of buoyancy which prevents tipping of the user when in the water. Consequently, although a preferred embodiment and several modifications of the invention have been shown-and described herein it will be apparent to those skilled in the artthat various Y and further uses, modications and changes may be made without departing from the spirit and; substance of the invention, the scope of which is commensurate with the appended` claims; s

What I claim is:

1. A life preserver tailored to be worn as a vest comprising an envelope lcomposed of an inner and outer layer of fabric stitched marginally together, intermediate lines of stitching providing tubular constructions disposed vertically in the upper portion and horizontally in the lower part of said envelope, a buoyant material of kapok inserted in said tubular constructions and two parallel lines of stitching securing the buoyant material in place in the upper portion and providing a web construction by which one part of said tubular constructions are movable into overlapping relationto another part of said tubular l constructions.

2. A life preserver tailored to be worn as a vest by an adult comprising an envelope composed of an inner andr outer layer of fabric stitched mar-y ginally together and cut on a pattern providing armholes, intermediate lines of stitching providsecuring the material in the vertical tubes and` described,the-details are'shown for purposes of providing a bend construction by which the tubular constructions in the lower part of the er1- velope are movable into overlapping relation to the upper tubular constructions about a plurality of fold lines. l

3. A life preserver jacket tailored to be worn as a -vest comprising a buoyant body portion disposed around the chest of a user below the top of the shoulders, fastening means for holding said body portion in place upon a user including ja draw string at the waist, and freely movable in dependently acting separate body portions secured by fabric to and depending from the first named body portion below the waist of the wearer under the inuence of gravity and exing along horizontal stitch linesand said draw string to fold back `upon and into overlapping contact with the first. named body portion under the iniluence of buoyancy.

4. A lifepreserver characterized in connection with an adult of average size by two layers of fabric tailored to be worn as a vest comprising an upper buoyant body portion having buoyant materialr disposed around the chest of a user and held in place by lines of stitching cooperating to permitl ready fitting of the body portion around the torso, fastening means for holding said body portion in place upon the user, a lower buoyant body portion divided into parts depending independently from the upper portion under the influence of gravity and each oldable back upon and against the buoyant material in the upper portion along a plurality of horizontally dis-- posed vertically spaced lines of stitching-under the influence of buoyancy in water. i

5. A life preserver comprising a quilted envelope tailored to be worn as a vest and filled with thinly spread buoyant material, means for securing the envelope upon a person, and meansV for sluiting the center of buoyancy of the buoyant material outwardly and upwardly with respect to the person when said person enters the water, including a lower portion comprising a plurality of separate and independently movable depending sections bounded and quilted by vertically spaced parallel lines of stitching to provide horizontal fold lines within the sections and be'- tween the sections andV envelope, said envelope and sections being spaced vertically from each other when the sections are in hanging position and movable into overlapping position under the influence of buoyancy.

6. A life preserver characterized in connection with an adult of average size, comprising two spaced layers of fabric tailored to be worn asv a vest, having a back portion and two front portions extending to a level below the waistline, said iront portions being joined to the back portions by loose lfabric intermediate arm holes in the upper part of the vest and notches over the side pants pockets of theV wearer in the lower edge of the vest, buoyant material disposed between the layers in the upper part of the vest, means for securing the buoyant material in placeincluding stitches predisposing he upper part to dex readily to follow the contour of the torso, buoyant material disposed between the layers in the lower part, means for securing the buoyant material in place in the' lower part including stitching arranged to allow the lower parts to flex upwardly without crushing the buoyant material when the wearer is sitting, and away from the body and up when the wearer is in the water, means for securing the free edges of the front portions together when the Vest is put on including a strap fastened at one point tothe back portion and free 'to drawwitn respect to the front portion at approximately the waistline between the upper and-lower parts. y

7. A life preserver characterized in connection with an adult of average size by two layers `of fabric tailored to be worn as a vest with spaced lines of stitching joining the two layers to form tubular compartments, buoyant material in said compartments,V said vest having a back portion and two front portions extending to a level below the waistline, means for securing the free edges of the frontportions together when the vest is put on, said front portions being separated from the back portion by arm holes in the upper part of the vest and notches in the lower margins of the vest below the arm holes, which notches extend upwardly to a point proximate to the waistline, the stitching in the upper part of the vest comprising vertical lines of stitching extending from a point below the top of the vest to a point proximate to the waistline to provide flex lines permitting ready ilexing of the vest between the compartments to follow the curve of the torso, there being suilicient loose fabric between the front and back portions to accommodate persons of varying girth, the stitching in the lower parts on each side ofthe notches comprising lines of stitching parallel with the waistline to provide flex lines permitting relative movement of the lower compartments without crushing the buoyant; material inthe compartments, said upper and lower parts being separated by stitching bringing the two fabrics close enough together to form a fold line approximately at `the waistline so arranged that `the upper and lower parts may fold substantially against each other without crushing the buoyant material in the compartments when the wearer sits down or is in the water.

8. A life preserver tailored to be worn as a vest comprising a jacket having a predetermined amount of buoyancy and including an upper buoyant body portion received around the ribs of the wearer' below the top of the shoulders and a lower buoyant body portion divided into freely movableindependently acting separate body portions secured by fabric to and depending from the upper body portion. to a point below the waist of the wearer under the innuence of gravity, fastening means for holding the body portions in place upon the wearer including an element for drawing the jacket against the body` of the weari er at the waist, saidelement predisposing the upper edges of said separate body portions inwardly towards the body of the-wearer and said separate body portions exing along horizontally disposed stitch lines to fold back upon and into overlapping contact withl said upper buoyant body portion under the iniluence of buoyancy.


Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2535874 *Nov 7, 1947Dec 26, 1950Starn Roy ELife jacket
US2563966 *Oct 26, 1946Aug 14, 1951American Pad & Textile CompanyLife preserver jacket
US2893020 *Apr 8, 1954Jul 7, 1959American Pad & Textile CoFlotation garment
US3090205 *Nov 23, 1959May 21, 1963Hypro Diving Equipment CorpHarness pack for free diving apparatus
US3939511 *Jan 16, 1974Feb 24, 1976Ove Hviding ButtenschonLife-saving device
US4523914 *Jan 26, 1983Jun 18, 1985U.S.D. CorpConformable buoyancy compensator
US5459874 *Mar 15, 1993Oct 24, 1995Patti GilmerConstruction of flotation swimsuits
US7037155Jul 25, 2003May 2, 2006Freeman Jeffrey GPersonal flotation devices
US7252625May 11, 2006Aug 7, 2007Perka David JTorso arch support for use in aquatic sports
US8568062 *May 8, 2008Oct 29, 2013Consensum AsSafety device and method for scuba-diving
US20040203302 *Jul 25, 2003Oct 14, 2004Freeman Jeffrey G.Personal flotation devices
US20040258481 *Dec 22, 2003Dec 23, 2004Courtney William L.Personal flotation device with eccentric fixed and mobile ballast and buoyant members
US20060073943 *Nov 30, 2004Apr 6, 2006Perka David JTorso arch support for body board users
US20100183373 *May 8, 2008Jul 22, 2010Stoeoed JanSafety device and method for scuba-diving
U.S. Classification441/111
International ClassificationB63C9/115, B63C9/00
Cooperative ClassificationB63C9/115
European ClassificationB63C9/115