US 2409166 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 8, 1946- J. M. TRACY ETAL S IGNAL DEVICE Filed Jan. 17, 1944 w t a Patented Oct. 8, 1946 SIGNAL DEVICE John M. Tracy and Harold G. Veeder, Loudonville, N. Y.
Application January 17, 1944, Serial No. 518,672
4 Claims. 1
Our invention relates to signaling devices and particularly to devices of this character which may be raised to a substantial elevation whereby to attract the attention of searchers and indicate the location of the signaling party where such party would otherwise be invisible or difficultly discernible. More particularly our invention relates to a signaling balloon detachably combined with means for inflating the same with hydrogen.
The principal object of our invention is to provide an easily portable signaling device including a balloon and a hydrogen generator for inflating it, all of which may be compactly assembled and packed in a small container. Another object is to provide a device of this character in which the balloon element and the gas generating means are connected together in operative relation but in which the balloon element, when inflated, may be readily detached from the other means. A further object is to provide a device of this character of simple construction which can be cheaply manufactured and assembled.
With these objects in view our invention includes the novel elements and the combinations and arrangements thereof described below and illustrated in the accompanying drawing in which Fig. 1 is a fragmentary side elevation view of one embodiment of our device partially in section and with certain portions broken away to show details thereof;
Fig. 2 is an elevation view of our device packed in a suitable container with portions of the container broken away to show the device therein;
Fig. 3 is a fragmentary perspective view of a valve element; and
Fig. 4 is a fragmentary plan view of a detail.
It is to be understood that, for the purpose of clearly illustrating our invention, the thickness of certain portions thereof, as shown in Fig. 1, has been exaggerated.
Referring to the drawin our device comprises a balloon element l consisting of a thin bag or envelope 2 of rubber or other gas impervious material having a restricted tubular neck or throat portion 3 terminating in an enlarged elastic rib or bead 4. Vulcanized inside the throat portion at 5 is a rubber valve element 6 which is shown in perspective in Fig. 3. This valve element is of rubber and the opposite sides thereof at the top are compressed rather tightly together so that the passage 1 between them is closed at the top as shown in Fig. 3. The bottom 8 of the valve element is open so that gas flowing upwardly therethrough under pressure will force the sides 9 and ill of the valve apart and pass through the opening 1 into bag I. On the other hand, gas pressure in the bag will tend to maintain the sides 9 and I0 pressed together, thus maintaining the valve closed against outflow of gas from the bag.
Extending into the throat portion 3 of the bag and tightly gripped thereby is an inverted, funnellike element l I which may be formed of any rigid but light material such as aluminum or a plastic. The funnel is provided on the exterior with an annular groove 12 with which the bead 4 engages in gas-tight relation due to its elasticity. Below theannular groove I2, the exterior of the funnel is provided with a second annular groove I3 with which the bead IA of the rubber casing l5 engages in gas-tight relation. Within the rubber casing 15 is an hermetically sealed container id of frangible material such as thin glass and which is here shown as spherical and in contact with the inner bottom edge I! of the element ll. Within the container i6 is a dilute acid 18, preferably hydrochloric acid. Below the container I5 and within the casing I5 is a cuplike element l9 containing particles of a metal 20, preferably zinc, which is adapted to react with the acid IE to generate hydrogen. The casing I5 stretches tightly around the funnel II, the container l6, and the cup [9, and may be further secured in gas-tight relation with the cup [9 by the wrapping 2|. Between the bottom of the container l5 and the top'of the cup ill the rubber casing is drawn in by means of the cord 22 so that the rubber casing forms a cushion between the container l5 and the cup. Thus, the casing l5, the funnel H, and the cup [9, are assembled to form a gas-tight container communicating with the bag 2.
Vulcanized or otherwise connected to the bead 4 is the eye 23, best shown in Fig. 4, and a similar eye 24 is vulcanized to the outside of the casing as shown. A string 25, preferably a strong light thread, is tied to the eye 23 as shown at 26 and a free end 21 of the string is preferably provided so that it may be tied tightly around the throat portion 3 of the bag after it is detached from the gas generator to insure that no gas leaks out of the envelope. The string 25 is rove through the eye 2% and is wound on a spool 28 which is shown as positioned under, but which is not attached to, the device.
Fig. 2 illustrates a suitable carton 29 having a removable cover 3!] within which the device is packed as shown; the bag i being folded downwardly around the device as shown. Thus a very compact unit is provided.
When it is desired to use the signal the cover of the container 29 is removed and the device withdrawn therefrom. The frangible container l6 may be smashed by merely striking it with or against some hard object. When the container is broken the acid and the zinc are brought together and hydrogen is evolved in the reaction which follows. When a slight gas pressure has developed within the casing l it will force the sides 9 and of the valve 6 apart and the gas will flow into the bag I and thus inflate it. When the bag is inflated it can readily be separated from the gas generator container by pulling or rolling the bead 4 out of the groove I2 and pulling or rolling the neck portion 3 from the end of the funnel. The valve 6 while it allows gas to flow upwardly will not let gas flow downwardly because of the gas pressure on the sides 9 and ll! of the valve which hold it shut. However the neck of the balloon below the valve may be positively tightly closed by wrapping and tying the free end of the string around it. The balloon is then permitted to rise; its height being controlled by the length of the string payed out. The purpose of running the string through the eye 24 on the casing I5 is to prevent accidental loss of the balloon; the casing i5 and its contents serving as an anchor.
The balloon I, when inflated, may be of any desired diameter, depending upon the overall size of the container 29 which it is convenient to carry, and the diameter of the balloon, of course, is determinative of the volume of hydrogen which must be generated. The size of the container l6 which contains the acid and the size of the cup I 9 which contains the zinc must be sufficient and so proportioned that suflicient hydrogen will be generated to inflate the bag, and hence the overall size and the combined weight of the assembled parts depends upon the diameter to which the bag is to be inflated. Ordinarily a balloon inflated to a diameter of 18 to 24 inches should be sufficient.
From the foregoing it will be apparent that our device provides a signaling means which may be raised above the surrounding trees in a forest or may be raised to a substantial height from a life boat or raft where the signaling parties are on a body of water. The bag may be given any color or combination of colors which will make it most readily discernible against the background where it is expected to be used.
What we claim is:
1. In a compact, portable signal device adapted to :be carried by hunters for use in indicating their location when lost, the combination with a balloon bag formed of thin elastic material and having a restricted throat portion, of a hydrogen generator separate from said bag and comprising a gas-impervious casing of elastic material enclosing and closely engaging a hermetically sealed container having an acid therein, whereby said container may be broken by a blow on the outside of said casing, a metal in said casing adapted to react with said acid to generate hydrogen when said acid container is broken, and passage forming means providing communication between said generator and said balloon bag and frictionally engaged by the restricted throat portion of said bag for detachably connecting said balloon bag to said generator; whereby said bag, when inflated may be detached from said generator.
2. A compactly packaged portable signal device adapted to be carried by hunters for use in indicating their location when lost and comprising the combination with a balloon bag formed of gas-impervious material and having a restricted throat portion, of a check valve in said throat for preventing the outflow of gas from said bag, a hydrogen generator comprising an elastic casing separate from said bag and concuring the throat of said balloon bag to said casing and providing a passage for the flow of hydrogen from said generator into said bag, whereby said bag, when inflated, may be detached from said generator, a string attached to said bag for controlling the ascension of said balloon, and a container enclosing and protecting the whole and forming a compact, portable unit.
3. A compact, portable signal device adapted to be carried by hunters for use in indicating their location when lost, said device comprising a balloon bag of thin, elastic, gas-impervious material having a restricted elastic throat portion through which hydrogen may be introduced into said bag, a check valve in said throat to prevent the outflow of gas, a hydrogen generator comprising a casing of elastic, acid-proof, gas-impervious material separate from said balloon bag and enclosing and closely engaging a hermetically sealed container of frangible material having an acid therein, whereby said container may be readily broken by a blow on the outside of said casing, a second container having an open top and enclosed and closely engaged by said casing with said acid container formin a closure for the open top of said second container, a metal in said second container adapted to react with said acid to generate hydrogen, and means detachably securing said balloon to said generator and forming a passage for gas from said generator communicating with the throat portion of said bag, whereby said balloon bag, when inflated may be detached from said generator.
4. A compact, portable signal device adapted to be carried by hunters and comprising, in combination, a balloon bag of thin, elastic, gas-impervious material having a restricted elastic throat portion through which a gas may be introduced into said bag, a check valve in said throat to prevent the outflow of gas, a hydrogen generator comprising a casing of elastic, acid-proof, gas-impervious material separate from said balloon bag and enclosing a metal and a hermetically sealed container of frangible material containing an acid adapted to react with said metal to generate hydrogen; said casing also being provided with arestricted elastic throat portion and closely engaging said frangible container; whereby said container maybe broken by striking the outside of said casing to bring said acid in contact with said metal; a rigid tubular element extending into and being frictionally engaged by the restricted throat portions of said ba and casing to provide communication therebetween but being more readily separable from said balloon bag than from said casing, whereby to free said bag when inflated while retaining said generator and said tubular element in assembled relation to form an anchor for said bag; a string secured to said bag, a. spool on which said string is wound, and a comparatively small eye on said generator intermediate said bag and said spool through which said string is rove; whereby, when said bag is freed from said generator, said generator assembly will function as an anchor and said string will prevent uncontrolled rise of said inflated balloon bag.
JOHN M. TRACY. HAROLD G. VEEDER.