US 2629118 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Feb. '24, 1953 P. FRIEDER ET AL 2,629,118
BUOYANT VEST Filed Nov. 4, 1950 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 ,Feb.f24, 1953 L. P. FRIEDER ETAL 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 BUOYANT VEST Filed Nov. 4, 1950 BY L .Patented Feb. 24, 1953 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE BUOYAN T VEST Leonard P. Frieder, Great Neck, N. Y., Thomas H. Garber, Silver Spring, Md., and August G. Luisada, New York, N. Y.; said Garber and said Luisada assignors to said Frieder f Application November 4, 1950, Serial No. 194,152
Our invention relates to buoyant vests, and more particularly to an improved buoyant vest adapted to be worn in comfort during shipboard activities and on small boats and which will support a wearer in the water in a position with his head and face out of water for extended periods of time in safety and in comfort.
The buoyant vests of the prior art have been bulky, uncomfortable to wear, and confining to the user. Itis frequently desirable that life jackets be worn prior to proximate immersion in water. On shipboard when cruising in submarine areas during wartime it is frequently necessary that life jackets be worn for extended periods of time during which'their wearers must perform their usual shipboard duties. Then, too, men engaged in work on bridges, in Shipyards, on piers and the like, should wear life jackets for safety. Due to the uncomfortable experience of carrying the life jackets of the prior art around, men frequently assumed the risk rather than suffer the annoyance and restriction of movement accompanying the use of life `jackets of the prior art. Fishermen, Sportsmen in sailboats, outboard motorboats and the like, frequently wear life jackets only to find that those available are uncomfortable and impede normal activities out of the water.
One object of our invention is to provide a buoyant vest of minimum bulk consonant with the function of the vest of maintaining the wearer with his head and nose out of the Water with maximum freedom of movementand comfort not only out of the water but also in the water.
Another object of our invention is to provide fa buoyant vest which Vwill support :a wearer in :a substantially upright, slightly backwardly inclined position in the water and which will posi' tion a wearer in this fashion even though he be unconscious.
Another object of our invention is to provide a buoyant vest which is'suiiiciently ventilated so that it may be worn for long periods of time in warm climates such as encountered in the tropics.
Another object of .our invention is to provide a buoyant Vest of such comfort thatit may be worn for long periods of time without chai-lng and may be worn while sleeping without discomfort.
Another object of our invention is to provide a buoyant vest which normally has the minimum buoyancy necessary for flotation so that it may be formed with minimum bulk and which has additional inflatable elements of minimum bulk which may be inflated by the user in the water to provide additionalbuoyancy if desired;
Another object of our invention is to provide a buoyant vest which will support a wearer in the water in comfort over long periods of time with minimum chang or abrasion to the skin of the wearer.
Another object of our invention is to provide a buoyantvest which may be used to jump from heights into thewater with safety.
Other and further objects of our invention will appear from the following description.
In the accompanying drawings which form part of the instant specification rand which are to be read in conjunction therewith and in which like reference numerals are used to indicate like parts in the various views:
Figure l is a perspective view of our buoyant vest containing one embodiment of our invention with a portion of the collar broken away to show its construction.' r
Figure 2 is a perspective view showing the position assumed byour buoyant vest. in use in the water.
Figure 3 is a longitudinal sectional view of our vest with the collar removed.
Figure 4 is a perspective view showing the construction of our vest with the hood, the collar and the outer fabric of our vest removed.
Figure 5 is a perspective view showing the construction of the hood.
In general, our invention consists of a vest made of a lining of net or like porous material to which is secured from the waist to adjacent the armpits a plurality of masses of cellular rub'-` ber or elastomer. This material, unlike sponge rubber, in which the air spaces of the material are interconnected, is composedof minute cells each of which is `individually encased in a wall of rubber like so many tiny balloons. The cells are filled with an inert gas, such as nitrogen or carbon dioxide. Since there is no communica tion between the cells the product is resilient, light in weight, extremely buoyant, and has a negligible moisture absorption. A cubic foot of this material weighs approximately six to eight pounds, depending upon the degree of expansion, as compared with actual rubber, which, before expansion, has a density of about sixty-four pounds per cubic foot. v
The massof rubber adjacent one side of the front, say the left side, is slightly less in volume than that adjacent the right front side of the vest. This eccentricity of buoyancy, as pointed out hereinafter, insures a turning moment in calm water. The mass of buoyant material secured to the back of the vestis less than that acrossthe front of the vest. .The upper portion of the vest around the neck and upper shoulders is comprised of a hood formed of the cellular flexible buoyant material. The masses of buoyant material are provided with vertically extending air passages and the hood is provided with openings adjacent these passages to permit warm air to rise upwardly, thus Ventilating the vest. The front of the hood is secured to the vest, and the back of the hood is secured only around the neck, so that the hood is adapted to float free of the shoulders when the jacket is immersed. The masses of buoyant material are covered with an outer fabric which may be itted with pockets in front. The pockets contain inflatable cells. The arrangement is such that the normal buoyancy of the buoyant masses is just suicient or slightly more than sufficient to support a wearers head above the water. For comfort and ease in breathing, an increased buoyancy is required, and this is supplied from the inflatable cells in the pockets. A crotch strap isprovided for holding the Vest in place, and a collar adapted to t around the chin and back of the neck of the wearer may also be provided.
Referring now to Figure 4, the vest is formed with an inner lining material I6 which may be made of a net or other similar porous material sufficiently strong to form the base for the buoyant material. A section of buoyant material for the left front of the vest is composed of a sheet l2 of closed-cell blown elastomer, which may be natural or synthetic rubber or the like. This sheet extends from the breast to the waist and is formed of two thicknesses. The second thickness I3 is in the form of vertically extending ribs which may be either integral with the sheet I?. or may be separate strips cemented to or otherwise secured to the sheet I2 in such a manner as to provide longitudinally extending air passageways I4. The left front mass may be joined to the lining I8 by horizontal seam I6 and vertical seams I8 and 20 and a cross bottom horizontal seam 22, which seams connect the outer fabric 86 to the inner lining I8. The right front of the lining I8 holds a buoyant mass comprised of sheet 24 of cellular elastomer of the closed-cell blown type, sheet 26 similar to sheet 24, and a plurality of ribs 28 similar to ribs i3, either formed integrally with sheet 26 or secured thereto in any suitable manner. The right front buoyant mass, composed of the two thicknesses plus the ribs, is sewed to the lining along top horizontal seam 30, outer fabric seam 32, inner vertical seam 34 and bottom horizontal seam 36. It will be observed that the left front buoyant mass is of less volume than the right front buoyant mass. When the right front buoyant mass is sewed to the lining, or otherwise secured thereto, the ribs 2B will form vertical air ducts 38 similar to the air passageways I4 formed by the ribs I3 of the left front buoyant mass.
A yoke or hood, as shown in Figure 5, is adapted to fit over the shoulders and around the neck of the vest. It is composed of a buoyant mass formed of three layers or sheets 40, 42 and 44 of closed-cell blown elastomer and a plurality of ribs 46 of the same material defining air passageways 48 therebetween. Along the upper portion of the shoulder we provide a plurality of openings 56 communicating with the air passageway-s through which air heated by the body of a wearer may rise and escape. The lower front portion of the yoke is secured to the lining ID by sewing along front seams 52 and 54 and side seams 56 and 58, which extend only part of the way around the arms. The yoke is then secured to the lining along seams 66 and 62, joining each other by seam 64 around the back of the neck. From the back of the neck to the seam 52 the yoke is secured by a seam 66 on the right side and by a seam 68 along the left side of the jacket. The left-hand rear edge 'Il of the hood 18, the entire lower back edge I2 of the hood, and the rear right edge 'I4 of the hood are free and not secured to the lining. The holes 56 not only provide venting of the air passageways but also make the main body of buoyant material over the shoulders more compressible, permitting easy raising of the arms of the wearer. The seams 68 and 62 are tangent to the back of the neck seam 64 and when on a wearer form approximately an angle of ninety degrees with each other. The arrangement is such that when the jacket is worn in water, the rear of the hood will be lifted, causing it to assume the shape of a truncated cone with the upper portion of the cone around the head of the wearer supporting it out of water in easy breathing position.
The buoyant masses of the hood, as can be seen by a reference to Figure 3, have their lower edges spaced from the upper edges of the rear buoyant mass I6 and from the upper edges of the left and right from buoyant masses. This provides an area into which or out of which air may iiow from the lower air passages. The lower portion of the rear or" the lining holds a rear buoyant massI 'I5 which is of much less volume than the front buoyant masses. It, too, has a plurality of ribs "I8 dening Vertical air passages 88. The buoyant mass i6 is confined by the lining and the fabric 86 along an upper seam 82, the side seams I5 and and a rear lower horizontal seam B4. The outside of the hood yis formed by fabric 86. This fabric may be dyed with a dye of a bright color easily visible in the daylight and locatable at night by its ability to iluoresce under searchlights containing an ultraviolet element of the spectrum. In addition, the fabric covering and the lining may be treated with any mildew-resistant material known to the art.
It will be observed that the sewing of the front covering to the back lining forms a series of pockets into which the buoyant masses are positioned. The lining and the front covering protect the cellular rubber material. To the front of the outer covering 86 we secure a pair of pockets 96 and 92'. These pockets are sewed adjacent the front covering oi our vest along the upper seams 94 and 96 and vertical seams 98 and H00. Each of the pockets contains buoyant material and an inilatable balloon |02 each fitted with a tube |04 through which the inflatable bailocns or bladders may be inilated. If desired, a small cylinder of compressed gas. as is well known to the art, may be used to inflate the cells I82. These cells, when inflated, provide additional buoyancy in front of the jacket.
The buoyant masses we have thus far described are sufficient to support a wearer in the slightly inclined, face upward position shown in Figure 2, though the buoyancy is not sul'cient to hold the wearer out of the water in easy breathing position when the water is rough. In other words, the buoyancy of the jacket is slightly below that desired for safety at sea under all conditions. In order to be able to provide a jacket which can be worn with comfort for shipboard duties or in and about the water we have reduced the buoyancy of the xed buoyant masses to a point below the desired buoyancy but 'aealane s still sufficient to float a wearer. When immersion takes place, a wearer inflates the cells in the pockets so that these will assume the position shown in Figure 2, thus maintaining the wearer` in a comfortable position for easy breathing.
A belt |06 is secured to the lower portion of.
the vest in any suitable manner and is provided with a front buckle |08. A crotch strap in the form of a V is secured to the back of the belt adjacent the upper portions thereof. A connecting buckle ||2 secures a single front crotch strap I|4 to a snap hook ||6 through an adjustable buckle I I8. The snap hook is adapted to be secured to a ring carried by the jacket. A wearer may be lifted from the water by means of this belt, if desired.
A collar |20, which comprises a sheet of cellular rubber material |22 enclosed lin a fabric cover |24 may be sewed to the jacket as shown lin Figure 1. This collar is provided with a buckle |26 and a chin strap |28 for securing the collar around the head of the wearer', as shown in Figure 2. The collar cradles the head and prevents it from dropping to the rear or to the sides when a person is unconscious. When the chin strap is secured, the collar will prevent the head from dropping forward, so that a wearer may sleep with safety in the water.
The total buoyancy of the front masses is greater than the buoyancy of the rear masses, thus inducing a turning movement constraining the wearer to float in the front upward position. The buoyancy of the rear masses, principally that of the free end of the hood, is such that the wearer will be floated in the inclined position with his head resting on the hood which, due to the manner in which it is secured to the lining, will form a truncated cone faced downwardly. The securing of the pockets so that the lower ends are free causes these to move upwardly and away from the body when iniiated, as shown in Figure 2. In this position the buoyant cells apply a much greater turning moment to the body, insuring that the position at which the wearer fioats will be rearwardly inclined, that is, face upwardly. The Ventilating channels provide sufficient circulation of the air to keep the wearer comfortable when wearing the jacket on shipboard, even in warm climates. The reduction of the buoyant material in volume, accompanied by the use of an extremely light buoyant material, prevents the jacket from being ugly and bulky, as is the case with traditional life vests.
The arrangement of the buoyant material around the head has a strong directing force on a body dropped in any position in the water, insuring the turning of the body, head upwardly. The distribution of the buoyant masses insures that a person will float face upwardly. The provision of a greater buoyant mass on the right side of the front than on the left side of the jacket, as pointed out above, will turn a person face upwardly even in calm water. This prevents the center of gravity and the center of buoyancy from reaching a position of dead center, as might be the case if an unconscious person were immersed face downwardly in the water. The uneven distribution of the buoyant masses in the front of the jacket insures a turning moment when a person is lying face downwardly. This turning moment, once started, turns the face out of the water, in which position our jacket will maintain a wearer.
The collar is raised automatically upon immersion of the jacket on a wearer in the water. It provides suflicient turning moment to turn a wearer face upwardly with a minimum of buoyant masses. In a series of jumps from heights it was found that the jacket immediately brought the wearer to the surface and in a rearwardly inclined, face upward position. Lying face downwardly in calm water, the jacket turns a person face upwardly in a matter of seconds. A person wearing the jacket in the water may swim with ease. By inating the cells of the pockets a wearer will be supported out of the water a greater distance than otherwise and su'icient buoyancy is present to support a wearer for long periods of time. The particular cellular rubber material is such that its rate of water absorption is substantially negligible so that there is little loss of buoyancy over long periods of time. Only the chang of the surface of the rubber material and the rupture of the cells reduces buoyancy and this is conned to the surface. Furthermore, the fabric covering keeps this action to a minimum. It will be observed that the ventilating passages and 28 and the corresponding upper passages 46 extend substantially vertically and are positioned adjacent the body of a wearer. This can readily be seen by reference to Figure 3. The passages form flues. They are open at the bottom and communicate to the atmosphere adjacent their upper portions. In this manner as the air in the passages becomes heated from body heat the heated air will rise escaping to the atmosphere at the top and being replaced by cooler air coming into the passages at the bottom. As pointed out above, the lower ends of the passages in the hood also communicate with the atmosphere and are vented at their upper ends by the apertures 50. Cool air will be drawn into the bottom of these and pass upwardly to the apertures 50. A portion of the air from the bottom passages may also ow upwardly through the passages 46 admixed with cool air. It is believed that the manner in which the Ventilating passages function will be clear from the drawings and the structure described above.
It will be seen that we have accomplished the objects of our invention. We have provided a buoyant vest of minimum bulk consonant with the duty of the vest to maintain a wearer with his head and nose out of water, aiording maximum freedom of movement and comfort both in the water and out. We have provided a vest which will support a wearer in a substantially upright, slightly backwardly inclined position in the water even though the wearer be unconscious. Our buoyant vest is provided with ventilation so that it may be worn for extended periods of time in warm climates without undue discomfort and without chang. Our buoyant vest is such that additional buoyancy may be given to the assembly by inflating inflatable members positioned in effective locations.
It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is Within the scope of our claims. It is further obvious that various changes may be made in details within the scope of our claims without departing from the spirit of our invention. It is therefore to be understood that our invention is not to be limited to the specic details shown and described.
1. A buoyant vest including in combination a fabric foundation provided with armholes, and including front and back portions, masses of cellular buoyant material secured to said fabric foundation at said front and back portions and means providing elongated vertically extending Ventilating passages formed in said masses of cellular buoyant material adjacent the body of a wearer and means providing communication with the atmosphere adjacent the bottom and top of said passages.
2. A buoyant vest as in claim 1 in which said fabric foundation is formed of porous material.
8. A buoyant vest including in combination a fabric foundation provided with a front, back and armholes, a lower mass of buoyant material secured to the fabric foundation and extending from the waist to adjacent the armholes, a hood formed of flexible buoyant material extending over the shoulders of the fabric foundation in front and in rear and having its lower portion terminating adjacent the upper portion of the lower mass of buoyant material, means securing said hood to the fabric foundation along the lower front portion thereof and along the shoulders of the fabric foundation, the rear portion of said hood being unattached to the fabric foundation, the construction being such that when the buoyant vest is immersed in water upon a wearer the rear of the hood will float away from the fabric foundation to support the back of the head of a wearer.
4. A buoyant vest as in claim 3 in which said buoyant material is formed of masses of cellular elastomer having vertically extending Ventilating passageways .and said hoodris formed with a plurality of openings communicating with saidv REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:
UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 144,561 Palmer Nov. 11, 1873 212,402 Richards Feb. 18, 1879 576,649 Bell et al. Feb. 9, 1897 817,656 McCalla Apr. l0, 1906 1,252,842 Richardson Jan. 8, 1918 2,226,564 Kienitz Dec. 31, 1940 FOREIGN PATENTS Number Country Date 3,961 Great Britain 1889 18,005 Great Britain 1908 102,632 Great Britain Dec. 21, 1916