US 2615182 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 28, 1952 J. J. PQD ELL 2,615,182
' 1 LIFE PRESERVER Filed March 1, 1950 2 SHEETS-SHEET 1 INVENTOR. V .faa/fi I Fade/Z Oct. 28, 1952 .5. J. PODELL 2,
PRESERVER Filed March 1, 1950 2 Sl-lEETS-SHEET 2 INVEN TOR.
[M Bade/"l BY grrOiPA/f) Patented Oct. 28, 1952 UNITED STATES 'PTENT OFFICE 7 Claims.
lhe present invention relates to lif preservers and more particularly to a life preserver which may be inconspicuously worn in collapsed condition, but which may be readily positioned and inflated for supporting a person in water.
The present invention is an improvement upon and extends the field of usefulness of life preservers of the type shown in my prior United States Patent No. 2,463,641 granted March 8, 1949.
In some instances it is desirable that when infiated and ready for use a life preserver be positioned adjacent a persons shoulders so that it may tend to hold the head out of the water; this is of great value in connection with a temporarily unconscious person as it gives the wearer a chance to regain his senses and take steps to save himself. While this high up position on a persons body is desirable it has heretofore been difficult to achieve with a life preserver that could normally be inconspicuously worn with ordinary clothing.
An object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved life preserver.
Another object of the invention is to provide a new and improved life preserver which may be inconspicuously Worn and yet which may be readily positioned adjacent the shoulders and neck of a user and inflated for use.
Another object of the invention is to provide a life preserver of the above character which meets -ie requirements of the Navy and other Government departments or bureaus.
Still another object of theinvention is to provide a life preserver having improved means for r taining it on the body of a user.
A still further object of the invention is to provide an improved life preserver adapted to support a wearers face upwardly away from the Water.
Other and further objects of the invention will be obvious upon an understanding of the illustrative embodiment about to be described, or will be indicated in the appended claims, and various advantages not referred to herein will occur to one skilled in the art upon employment of the invention in practice.
A preferred embodiment of the invention has been chosen for purposes of illustration and description. and is shown in the accompanying drawings, forming a part of the specification, wherein:
Fig. l is a perspective view showing one form of the present invention in non-inflated condition;
Fig. 2 is a perspective view showing the life preserver of Fig. 1 assembled with ordinary trousers;
Figs. 2a and 2b are fragmentary views showing alternative means for connecting the present life preserver with trousers;
Fig. 3 is a sectional view taken along the line 3-4 of Fig. 2;
Fig. 4 is a sectional View taken along the line 1- of Fig. 2;
Fig. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary View of means which may be used to retain the life preserver adjacent the shoulders of a user; and
Fig. 6 is a perspective view showing the life preserver of Figs. 1-5 in inflated condition and disposed adjacent the shoulders and neck of a wearer.
Referring generally to the drawings, there is shown in Fig. 1 one embodiment of theinvention in collapsed or non-inflated condition. The device comprises an inflatable belt-like portion ,i,,
connected with and extending along a. fabric strip ii for encircling the waist of a user, from which depend spacedinfiatable pockets or chambers 2 and 3, each of the pockets being provided with strap means 1 and 5 for holding the device to the shoulders or upper arms of a person. The entire device illustrated in Fig. 1 may be normally worn in inconspicuous manner at the interior of an ordinary pair of trousers (Fig. 2) and is adapted to be worn in inflated conditionas illustrated in Fig. 6. From the latter view it will be clear that the present life preserver is so Worn adjacent the shoulders and neck of a person that it is adapted to support a persons head out of the water and with the face disposed upwardly away from the water. The device will now be described in greater detail, first the inflatable portion and thereafter the straps. for securing it adjacent the shoulders of a user.
The inflatable belt-like portion l of the life preserver includes substantially .gasproof or Water impermeable material forming a passageway for conducting inflating gas to the pockets '2 andiithatnormally hang downwardly from the belt portion i and are in communication with the interior 9 of the passageway. Air or gas supplied to the belt passageway may find its way through a connecting port to the interior of the pockets or chambers. The inflatable belt portion I is shown carried by a fabric strip 6 for encircling a persons waist; the inflatable portion may be connected With the strip 6 in any manner, for example, by adhesive, stitching. spaced extensions 7, or otherwise.
The construction of each inflatable pocket is the same and hence a description of one will suffice for both. Each pocket comprises an outer wall I and an inner wall I I joined together along adjacent edges 3| to form a closed chamber I4 between the two wall portions. The chamber I4 is in communication with the passageway interior 9 through a connecting conduit I5. When deflated or collapsed as in Fig. 1, the inner and outer wall portions I0 and II of the pockets lie closely adjacent each other and the infolded relationship provides a readily inflatable chamber of relatively small size. When gas is supplied to the passageway interior 9 it finds its way down through the connecting openings I5 to the space I4 between the inner and outer pocket walls and the inner wall II may force outwardly through the pocket opening I2, to the relationship illustrated in Fig. 6. Inflation may be assisted by first pulling the inner lining I I out through the pocket opening I2 and thereafter inflating. Preferably portions 8 of the fabric strip 6 extend downwardly along and. are connected with edge portions of the openings I2 for assisting in supporting the pockets.
Gas may be supplied to the interior passageway 9 from any suitable puncturable cartridge (not shown) located within cylinder container IS. The latter container I8 may be provided with any well known device for puncturing the interiorly located cartridge to release the contained gas, and such device may be operated throughexteriorly disposed lever I6 and cord and pull button II.
In addition to the containers I8 and I80, with their gas cylinders there is also preferably provided an auxiliary inflating means comprising an oral inflating tube 26 and 26a. connected with each of the pockets through suitable inflating valves 21 and 21a. In the event of failure of the mechanism of the containers I8 or IBa to inflate the pockets, Or in the event of loss of gas over a considerable period of time, the oral inflating tubes may be utilized for supplying air to or replenishing the air which has leaked out of the pockets.
Preferably the interior passageway 9 is divided as at I3 intermediate the two pockets 2 and 3 to form two entirely separate compartments, one of which may be inflated by the inflating means I8 and the other of which may be inflated by inflating means I8a. In this manner puncturing of the passageway or pockets at one side of the division does not result in complete loss of air.
The pockets 2 and 3 may be made of any suitable size. Preferably some optimum size will be chosen which is adapted to use with belts I of any length.
The belt portion I may be worn around a persons waist within the interior of any ordinary pair of trousers so that the trousers conceal the life preserver from view. The belt I and pockets 2 and 3 are substantially flat in non-inflated condition and lie closely adjacent the body of the wearer so that it is not easy to ascertain from merely looking at a person whether or not the life preserver is being Worn. While any suitable means may be provided for attaching the ends of the supporting strip 6 about the waist of a wearer this is preferably achieved by some quick-release means such as snap fasteners mounted adjacent the ends of the strip. With such fasteners projections 24 on one portion of the fastener snap tightly into apertures 25 on the other portion of the fastener; the apertured portion of such a fastener may be mounted adjacent one end of the strip 8 and the projecting portion of the other part of the fastener adjacent the opposite end thereof so that upon bringing the ends together they may be snapped firmly into engagement. Several sets of such fasteners may be provided adjacent the ends of the strip, or at other locations therealong, to comfortably accommodate waists of different circumference and also to facilitate suitable adjustment of the device about the neck of a wearer when worn in the relationship of Fig. 6.
While the life preserver may be worn at the interior of the trousers without a positive attachment thereto, it is preferred that the life preserver be actually attached to the trousers so that it always accompanies them. This may be achieved by suspensory loops 32 connected with the beltlike strip 6 at spaced intervals, the suspensory loops 32 facilitating attachment to the suspender buttons 33 with which trousers are generally provided. These loops 32 hold the life preserver to the inner sides of the trousers at their upper portion and in effect serve as an additional lining for the trousers. The life preserver is in this manner detachably connected with the usual pair of trousers without providing any special attachment means. In instances where the trousers are provided with suspender buttons on their exterior surfaces instead of the interior as in Fig. 2, the suspensory loops 32 may merely be turned over the uppermost edge 34 of the trousers and connected with the exterior suspender buttons in a manner similar to that shown in Fig. 2.
While the suspensory loop attachment of the present life preserver is preferred it will be understood that any other suitable means for con necting the life preserver with trousers may be provided, For example (Fig. 2a) the encircling strip 6a could be provided with a slide fastener element 3'! adapted to cooperate with a complementary slide fastener element 38 carried by the upper portion of the trousers. Another alternative construction for detachably securing the life preserver with trousers is shown in Fig. 2b where the upper portion of the trousers is provided with apertured snap fastener elements 40 adapted to receive complementary projecting snap fastener portions M carried by a life preserver belt-like strip 6b. Regardless of whether the life preserver is attached through the medium of suspensory loops, slide fasteners, snap fasteners, or any other similar means, it may be readily attached to and detached from the trousers.
In the event a slide fastener is utilized for securing the life preserver to the trousers it is preferred that the portion of the fastener carried by the life preserver be located away from the edge of the belt, so that when worn as shown in Fig. 6 any metal edge is disposed away from the neck of a wearer minimizing the chances of injuring him. Also, in the event snap fastener means is utilized for attaching a life preserver to a pair of trousers it is preferred that the projecting fastener portions M be carried by the life preserver as, if they are carried by the trousers, they might dig into the sides and back of a person during times when the life preserver is removed from the trousers.
When worn beneath a pair of trousers the inflatable pockets 2 and 3 may have the side pockets I9 of the trousers extending into them through the openings I2 and I211 and the wearer may use his trouser pockets in normal manner without any interference with the life preserver pockets. The cloth pockets I9 of the trousers serve as protective layers and minimize the danger-of any object in the pocket coming into contact-with the life preserver pocket I! andpuncturi'ng it. This is not essential however, as the trouser pockets need not extend into "thelife preserver pockets. Pockets [9 of the trousers may extend loosely into the'preserver pockets or itmay, in some instances, be desired to positively attach the'trouserpocketsto the life preserver pockets, This may be achieved by a fastener such as used with garters to hold up mens hose; a U'-shaped member 2| fits around a projection 22 carried by a flexible tab'23, an adjacent clothlayer of the trouser pocket l9 being clamped or'grippedby such attachment and held in the pocket adjacent the-inner lifepreserver pocketlayer i I. If this.latterconstructioniis used, the opposite end of the. fiexibleltab 23 is preferably secured by some readily releasable snap fastener 29, with the .preserver pocket inner layer H; as the trouserpocket and inner layer I.| arepulledapart the snap fastener automatically releases and allowsseparation. Any other means. may beprovided,. in'lieu of a garter type fastener, for interconnecting a trouser pocket i 9 and the'inner lining H ;.'for example, thesnap'fastenerTZ'Q could connect. them .directlyoria. slidev fastener as shown in .Fig. 2a could i be employed.
Tometainthelife preserver in. position adjajacenttheshoulders and-neck of. a wearer there are. provided suitable adjustable retaining straps, shownin .Fi'g. 1 1 adjacent rearward edges of the pockets 2 and 3. and.the openingsi |.2..thereto. The life preserver is showninflatedreadyifor use in Fig. .6, with theretaining strapsenciroling the shoulders or upper arms .of the wearer, andstrap. means extendingv across. his .chest. In this .relationship the belt :portion I, and :strip 8 extend loosely around theneck of the wearer. .The retaining straps of each pocketofthelife .preserver aresimilar and a. detailed descriptionv of those .of one pocketwillserve vfor both.
As shownin-Figlthe strap.means.for retaining. the life, preserver at the shoulders comprises asingleendless strap; the strapportion adjacenteach pocket 2 and 3 is-so constructed and arranged thata personmay thrust his hand. and arm through. appropriate .openings.or loopsv and position the-life preserver adjacent-hisshoulders andneck. To achieve this the upper connecting portion 45 (which isconnected with the belt-like strip 6) extends downwardly to. form strapportion 46 positioned adjacent the opening i2 of'the pocket; the lowerendof this downwardly extendingportion iii thenpasses through an attachment ringv 4-! and upwardly to form strap, portion 48, which in turnpasses'through a second attachment ringdii adjacent the upperportion of the pocket and has itslfree end 52. provided with a snap fastener element or any other enlargement 53 that serves to I prevent unintentional withdrawal of'the free end through the strap guiding and retaining element. Thus the strap is continuous from the upper belt portion 45 to its free .end 52. The upper ringfifl may be attached to thelife, preserver by a loop 56 and'the downwardly extending'strap portion 46may'be retained in position adjacent the pocket "2 by spaced retaining l'oops5'i and 58. The upwardly extending strap portion 48 may be readily spaced from the attachedstrapportion-46 so that these two strap portions may cooperate-to-form a loop of sufiicient dimension to readily'receivethe arm and-shoulderof awearer. The other depending pocket 3 'isrprovided with. similar strapmeans formed by'a continuation of the common belt-like portion4'5.
The connecting strap part 45 may be stitched directly to the belt-like strip 6 but it is preferred to-have is'pass loosely through slots 30 adjacent the pockets, so that it may pass along the outer face of the strip 6. This allows the strap part 45 to shift longitudinally when arranging the life preserver at the shoulders and also makes it available for connection by a grappling hook or boat hook.
While any suitable material may be utilized for the strap itis preferred that it be some relatively strong and light material which tends to retain its shape against objectionable twisting. The nylon fabric strap material used with parachutes, and about A in width, serves well and is not subject to rapid deterioration due to exposureto salt water, rotting or otherwise. While the term strap is used for'the mean -for attaching the life preserver to the body of the wearer it will be understood that the material may be of any suitable shape, for example,'flat, circular'or otherwise; the term strap is intended to include such and is used for convenience of description.
When the life-preserver is positioned at the shoulders'of a wearer, as in Fig. 6 and as will be further described hereinafter, it is desirable that the inflated pockets be held in position adjacent the chest of the wearer. This is providedby the cooperating straps'sh'own adjacent thelower portion of each'of thepockets 2 and 3. A strap (Figs. 1 and 6) is securedat one endwith the attachment ring ll, and extends through retaining loops 6! and 62 attached to the-pocket 2 and then doubles back toward the retaining ring 41 so that a snaphook 64 carried adjacent the free end of the strap Bil may be engaged with the attachment ring 47. When in use adjacent the shoulders, the snaphook 64. of the pocket 2 and the similar snaphook 64a ofthe pocket 3 are disengaged from their atta'chment rings il'and 41a and hooked together across the chest, as shown in Fig. 6.,
In the collapsed relationship of Figs. 1 and 2 the chest straps 60 and tile hold the arm loop straps close to the pocket walls. However, by disengaging the snaphooks M and 640. from their attachment rings '4! and 41a the free or spaceable strap portion 48 of the arm loop may be readily separated from the attached portions of the arm loop strap to facilitate entry of an arm into the loop. Any confusion is thus minimized in connection with positioning the life preserver adjacent the shoulders as there is only one strap portion (48 and 48a) of each pocket'which may be spaced from the other strap portion to provide the arm loops.
While the straps may be attached to any suitable portions of the pockets 2 and 3 it is preferred that they be adjacent the openings [2 and l2a as in this relationship the straps and their rings and snaphooks are normally so located within the trousers that they cannot readily injure the wearer. Also, the oral indating tubes 26 and valves 2'! are exposed at the rear or extreme side portions of the pockets where they are notlikely to injure the wearer when the life preserver is worn in collapsed condition.
A minimum of motions is required to shift the life preserver from a normal or collapsed position about the waist of the wearer to a. position adjacent the shoulders, where itmay be inflated to support one in water. While various steps may be employed in various sequences, to thus shift the life preserver it will be found very satisfactory to first remove the suspensory loops 32 from the suspender buttons of the trousers. If the trouser pockets have been worn within preserver pockets 2 and 3 they may now be pulled out. The latter may be done by pulling the trouser pockets out of the preserver pockets. If the trouser pockets have been secured to lining H of the pocket by garter-like or snap attachment, a pull serves to disengage them. The belt portion I may now be pulled upwardly and draped around the neck, the free ends of the strip 6 being snapped together by appropriate fasteners 24-25 so as to give a comfortable encirclement around the neck. An alternative method is to remove the suspensory loops 32 from the buttons, snap the fasteners 2425 together for convenient size, and then place the preserver over the head and around the neck.
After arranging the life preserver around the neck by procedures such as the above the arms may be thrust through the loops provided by the downwardly extending strap portions 48 and 46 and these straps pulled toward the shoulders, to encircle the upper arms or shoulders. The spaceable portions 48 and 48a of the straps are so positioned that a user can readily see them and insert his arms through the obvious and logical opening. The snaphooks may then be released from attachment rings 4? and 41a and connected across the chest. Gas release buttons of containers [8 and l8a may then be operated to release gas, which passes into the passageway of belt I and thence into the chambers formed by the inner and outer pocket Walls. The inner pocket walls may at this time be out of the outer walls, having been pulled out upon removal of the trouser pocket from the life preserver pocket, or in the event the life preserver has been worn around the waist without connection between the trouser and life preserver pockets, entry of gas into the space It between the walls urges the inner layer ll out through the pocket opening.
As shown in Fig. 6 the inflated belt extends loosely around the neck of the wearer and the inflated chambers are retained high up on the shoulders of the wearer and adjacent his chest. The connecting straps and snaphooks hold the inflated chambers adjacent the chest. Even though a person may fall into the water face down, the inflated chambers will turn him over so as to face upwardly. The normal tendency of the inflated life preserver is to hold a person's head upwardly with his face out of the water. The rear portion of the inflatable belt I extends around the back of the neck and provides a comfortable rest.
The oral inflating tubes 26 (Fig. 6) preferably of rubber or other flexible material, are disposed so that their ends are readily available to the mouth of one wearing the life preserver. These tubes may be of any suitable length. The oral inflating means may be connected with the pockets of the life preserver at any suitable locations; they are shown adjacent lower parts in Fig. 1 as this is a convenient location which does not interfere with wearing the life preserver in collapsed or inflated conditions. Likewise, the containers l8 and I8a may be located on the belt at any locations where they do not interfere with wearing the device collapsed or inflated.
The present life preserver is unique in that it occupies a minimum of space and may be concealed on the wearer so as to provide complete freedom for work or play. The inflatable belt connects with the double folds of the life preserver pockets which constitute the buoyant air chambers. These pockets may receive the pockets of a conventional pair of trousers. An arrangement of light nylon straps is adapted to form a stout harness for the life preserver and the straps are sufficiently strong to receive grappling hooks or a boat hook without breaking so as to injure the wearer. The inflatable belt portion may form a collar around the neck of a user and the inflatable pocket chambers rest on his chest and adjacent his shoulders so as to make capsizing practically impossible; the head of the wearer is sustained above the water at all times so that even if he may be unconscious there is little possibility of drowning.
It will be seen that the advantages and protective features of the present life preserver are numerous. It includes the desirable features rendering it adaptable for use on ships, boats and launches and is normally adapted for use as a supplementary aid to the conventional life jackets or life preservers utilized by the Navy, Coast Guard and other activities. The present life preserver may be inconspicuously worn beneath a pair of trousers without any attachment thereto or it may be used with a conventional pair of trousers by attaching it to the suspender buttons of the trousers. If desired it may also be attached to trousers by snap fasteners, a slide fastener or any other appropriate means. Temporary attachments to the pockets of the trousers may be provided by garter-like attachments similar to those used for supporting stockings. The life preserver is relatively light and not bulky so that when worn inside the trousers it is normally concealed and cannot be readily detected by visual observation. By reason of its compactness and lightness the life preserver is well suited for use by personnel of submarines and aircraft. It may be readily removed from a position about the waist and placed in condition for usage adjacent the shoulders. Inflation may be obtained by releasing of carbon dioxide or other gas from the cylinder containers or it may be inflated by oral inflating tubes and valves. Two separate air chambers are provided so that even if any part of one chamber should accidentally be punctured the other will be available to hold gas and support a person in the water.
While the life preserver is shown in Fig. 6 with the inflated chambers of each pocket at the front of a wearer, the portions of the chambers formed by the inner walls I l and Ha may fit under the arm pits of the wearer. This may be done by the wearer lifting his arms up over the inflated portions II and Ila. The entire inflated chambers cannot move back to any objectionable extent as they are held substantially as shown by the chest straps and interconnected snaphooks 64, 64a.
As various changes may be made in the form, construction and arrangement of the parts herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention and without sacrificing any of its advantages, it is to be understood that all matter herein is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
Having thus described my invention, I claim:
1. A life preserver adapted to be worn at about waist height including belt means having a passageway therein, means depending from said belt means having an opening in communication with said passageway, said depending means comprising an outer wall forming a pocket and an inner wall normally disposed within said outer wall and forming a pocket therein, and strap means having a portion connected with and extending along said pocket when deflated and having another portion extending along said pocket and connected with said first strap portion and spaceable from said pocket and the first strap portion to facilitate insertion of an arm between said strap portions.
2. A life preserver adapted to be worn at about waist height when deflated including belt means having a passageway therein, means depending from said belt means having an opening incommunication with said passageway, said latter means comprising an outer baglike element and an inner baglike element normally disposed within said outer baglike element, means carried by said inner element to facilitate attachment to an article of clothing, and strap means having a portion connected with at least one of said elements and extending along said outerelement when deflated and having another portion extending along said outer element and connected with said first strap portion and spaceable from said outer element and the first strap portion to facilitate insertion of an arm beween said strap portions.
3. A life preserver adapted to be worn at about waist height including belt means having a passageway therein, a plurality of means depending from said belt means at spaced intervals each having an opening in communication with said passageway, each of said depending means comprising an outer wall forming a pocket and an inner wall normally disposed within said outer wall and forming a pocket therein, and strap means connected to said belt means and to said depending means at locations spaced below said belt means and including portions extending along said outer pockets when deflated and being spaceable from said outer pockets to facilitate insertion of arms between said outer pockets and strap portions.
4. A life preserver as claimed in claim 3, in which said belt means has connected therewith means for attaching it to a pair of trousers.
5. A life preserver as claimed in claim 3, in which said strap means includes a portion extending along the belt means and joining together the strap portions which extend along said outer pockets.
6. A life preserver as claimed in claim 3, in which additional strap means is connected to at least one of said outer pockets and means is connected to another of said pockets whereby said additional strap means may be connected thereto for joining the pockets with each other at a location spaced from the belt means.
'7. A life preserver adapted to be worn at about waist height including belt means, a plurality of means depending from said belt means at spaced intervals each bearing an opening for admitting gas thereto, each of said depending means comprising an outer wall forming a pocket and an inner wall normally disposed within said outer wall and forming a pocket therein, and strap means having portions connected with and extending along said depending means when defiated and having other portions extending along said depending means and connected with said first strap portions and spaceable from said de pending means and said first strap portions to facilitate insertion of arms between said strap portions. I
JACOB J. PODELL.
REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:
UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 679,502 Graham July 30, 1901 682,160 Anderson Sept. 10, 1901 1,478,351 OShaughnessy Dec. 18, 1923 I 1,634,313 Ayvad July 5, 1927 2,468,641 Podell Mar. 8, 1949 2,508,303 Sturtevant May 16, 1950 2,538,775 Goldsmith Jan. 23, 1951