US 2618780 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 25, 1952 c. A. CUSHMAN 2,618,780
PNEUMATIC HELMET Filed July 21, 1950 A Home) Patented Nov. 25, 1952 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE PNEUMATIC HELMET Cecil A. Cushman, Redlands, Calif.
Application July 21, 1950, Serial No. 175,173
This invention relates to a novel constructio of helmet adapted for use in protecting the head and neck of football players, aviators, race drivers and others requiring a protective helmet.
More particularly, it is an aim of the present invention to provide a helmet which will be lighter in weight than conventional helmets now being worn to protect the head yet which will afford a greater degree of protection.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a helmet which will protect the nose and back of the neck from injuries occurring when a blow is directed toward the front or rear of the helmet as frequently occurs in football and which frequently results in the helmet being thrown forward or backward either injuring the nose or back of the neck.
Still a further object of the invention is to provide a helmet which will afford the maximum protection to the head against a blow or force against the outer side of the helmet and wherein the amount of protection afforded by the helmet may be varied to afford a greater protection in the areas of the head most likely to receive a direct blow.
Still another object of the invention is to provide an inflated or pneumatic helmet whereby the force of any blow directed against the outer side of the helmet will be distributed to an extent over the entire head instead of being borne only in the vicinity of the blow, thereby minimizin the possibility of injury from a direct blow against the helmet.
Still a further object of the invention is to provide a helmet which may be readily accommodated to heads of different sizes by increasing or decreasing the amount of air in the infiated portion thereof.
Various other objects and advantages of the invention will hereinafter become more fully apparent from the following description of the drawing, illustrating presently preferred embodiments thereof, and wherein; I
Figure 1 is a side elevational view of one embodiment of the helmet constructed in accordance with the invention; y g
Figure 2 is a frontelevational view thereof;
Figure 3 is a top plan view of the same;
Figure 4 is a cross sectional view thereof taken substantially along a plane as indicated by the line 4-4 of Figure 1; V V v Figure 5 is atop plan viewv of a slightly modified form of the invention; 7
Figure 6 is a horizontal sectional view taken substantially along a plane as indicated by the line 6-6 of Figure,2,.and
Figure 7 is a sectional view taken substantially along a plane as indicated by the line 'I1 of Figure 5.
Referring more specifically to the drawing, and
first with reference to the embodiment thereof as illustrated in Figures 1 to 4 and 6, the helmet designated generally 8 includes an outer shell, designated generally 9, of a conventional shape, as for example, a shape corresponding to a conventional football helmet, and an inflatable or pneumatic liner, designated generally I0, of substantially the same over-all shape as the shell.
The outer shell 9 may be formed of leather, fiber, plastic or other suitable hard substance but is preferably formed of a relatively hard transparent plastic and is provided with a front edge portion II which is disposed above the level of its rear edge portion I2 and between the ends of said edge portions II and I2, the shell 9 is provided with ear portions I3 having relatively large openings I4, all as is conventional in football helmets and similar head protective helmets worn by other sports competitors and aviators to protect the head. The shell 9 is also preferably provided with a plurality of vent openings I5, a plurality of lace receiving openings I6, and the ear portions I3 thereof are each preferably provided with a snap fastener portion I! by means of which a chin strap, not shown, may be detachably connected at its ends to the bottom part of said ear portions I3.
The inflatable liner I0 may be formed of any suitable material which is airtight such as a plastic or rubber, but is preferably formed of a plastic, due to the fact that such material possesses less inherent elasticity than rubber so that the liner will more readily retain its proper shape and thickness. The liner Ill includes an inner wall I8 and an outer wall I9 which walls are connected or integrally formed along the bottom edge of the liner I0. The walls I8 and I9 combine to form therebetween an air chamber 20. The walls I8 and I9 are additionally connected by a plurality of integral portions 2| which extend therebetween and which may be of any desired size and shape and which provide means for properly spacing the wall portions I8 and I9 with respect to one another and so that certain complementary parts of the walls I8 and I9 will be spaced greater distances apart than other portions thereof. The liner I0 is provided with integral annular portions 22 defining openings 23 which extend through complementary portions of the liner I0 and which are adapted to register with the openings I4 of the shell 9. The connecting portions 2| and 22 are so arranged that all portions of the chamber or air pocket 20 are in communication. Some or all of the connecting portions 2| are provided with bores extending therethrough and through the innerand outer walls I8 and I9 to provide vent passages 24 which register with the vent openings I5 of the shell 9. The liner I0 is also provided with flattened edge portions 25 formed by parts of the inner and outer 3 walls It and 19 being secured or sealed together and. in which openings are provided which register with the openings [5 for receiving laces 26 by which the liner 10 can be detachably secured in the shell 9. the liner l preferably also include strips which extend from adjacent the top of the liner to adjacent its edge and certain of which strips may also be provided with similar openings 21,.as seen in Figure 4, to register with other openings 16 of the shell 9 for receiving additional ties or laces 26. If desired, the liner [0 may besecured to the shell 9 by any other suitable means such as snap fasteners, not shown.
The helmet Be as illustrated in Figures and '7 is substantially identical with the helmet 8 except that the liner Illa thereof in lieu of bein provided withspacing elements 2i of substantially circular cross section is provided with a plurality of'spacingstrips 2 I a which extend radiallyfrom the edge of the liner l fia toward its center or apex, as best seen in- Figure 5, and which connecting portions ZIa-are provided with ven'tpassages 24a to registerwith vent openings l5a of the shell 9a.
The outer wall l9-or llla-of the liner [0 or am, respectively, is provided'with an integral valve 28 which extends outwardly through an opening 29 in the rear portion of the shell-9 or 9a adjacent its bottom edge. The'valve28 may be of any suitable type preferably corresponding to the valve now conventionally used for bladdersof footballs, basketballs and the like and through which an inflating needleis adapted to be inserted for inflating the chamber 20 by means of an air pump connected" to the inflating needle, not shown.
It will be readily apparent that the air chamber or pocket 20 of the liner E0 or mamay be inflated to any'desired pressure and the thickness of the liner between the outer side of its outer wall and the remote side of its inner wall will vary, after inflation of the liner, depending-upon the length or thickness of the spacing elements 2l or 21a which are disposed between the inner and outer walls of'the liner, so that the inflated liner may be thicker-a'djacent-its top or apex'where blows of considerable force" are more likely to be received than adj acerit its side edge portions where directblows of 'great force are less likely-to be received.
As bestillustrated in Figure '1, the forward and rear='edge portions of the liner-extend downwardly' tobelow the frontand rear'edges ofthe helmet shell and since'said edge portions ofthe liner are inflated they will tend to expand outwardly beneath the front and rear edges of the'shell to provide a protective cushion for said edges to prevent the front and rear edges of the shellfrom injuring the nose or back of the neck" of the wearer should a blow be directed againstthe helmet 8 or Ba'which would tend toforce the helmet down in the front or in the back, respectively. It will also be readily apparent that by varyingthe'extentthat the liner is inflated, the helmet 8 or 8a may be adapted to properly fit heads of different sizes. The shell 9 or 9a is preferably formed of a'- transparent plastic and the liner [0' or I061 of afcoloredplastic so that the colored liner will be'visible through 'the'shell and will constitute the color ofthe helmet-and the color of the liners may'obviously' be varied, as desired; From the foregoing it will be readily ap- The connecting portions 2| of parent that a helmet of relatively light weight has been provided which will afford the user a maximum of protection to the head, which will function to distribute the force of a blow against the helmet over a greater area of the head, thereby minimizing the effective force of the blow on any particular region of the head due to the cushioning action of the inflated air chamber of the liner, and which will allow the liner to yield inwardly at the point directly adjacent Where the blow is received while increasing the air pressure in the remainder of the liner to thereby accomplish the distribution of the force of the blow.
Various modifications and changes are contemplated and may obviously be resorted to, without-departing from the spirit orscope of the invention as hereinafter deflnedby the'appended claims.
I claim as J my invention: 1. A protective helmet comprising an outer shell anda-liner disposed within and detach-- ably connected to said outer'shell, said'shell be ing formed of a relatively stiff material, said liner constituting an: airtight casing defining an inflated air'chamber disposed to line the inner side of the shell and having an innerwall defining a head receiving'recess, said inflatable casing including inner-and outer walls formed-of aninelastic plastic having integrally merging edges and a plurality of internal spacing strips extending between and formed integral with said inn'er and outer walls and spacing saidwalls different distances apart in different areas of the helmet whereby the inflated air chamber of said liner includes areas of different thicknesses, said shell having vent openings, said liner having boresextending therethrough and through the spacing strips and'disposed in registration with the vent openings of the shell, and saidliner casing hav-'- ing bottom edge portions extending to belowthe 2. A protective helmet as in claim 1, said -spac-' ing strips comprisin elongated relatively wide and thick bars each having portions of varying widthsand thicknesses, said-bars extending'up'-' wardly from near the bottom edgeof the liner in upwardly converging relationship to one another and terminating below and spaced from the apex of the liner.
CECIL A; CUSHMAN'.
REFERENCES CITED The following references" are of record in the file of this patent:
UNITED STATES I PATENTS Number Name Date 1,886,551 Jones Nov. 8; 1932 2,150,290 Mulvey Mar. 14; 1939 2,194,903 Holstein Mar. 26, 1940 FOREIGN 1 PATENTS- Number Country f Date 7,870 Great Britain --l89 5 260,607 Italy Oct. 3; 1928