US 2692995 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 2, 1954 c. LE.BIHAN LIFESAVING AND SWIMMING DEVICE :5 Sheefs-Sheet 1 Filed Oct. 1'7, 1952 INVENTOR: cAar/es [E BJHAM AHO'MGV Nov. 2, 1954 c. LE BIHAN LIFESAVING AND SWIMMING DEVICE 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Oct. 17 1952 [NIEA/Tok Char/8.5 [E bf/MM Nov. 2, 1954 c. LE BlHAN LIFESAVING AND SWIMMING DEVICE 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Oct. 17, 1952 IVVEN TOR Mai/es [E B/fiA/V United States Patent LIFESAVING AND SWIMMING DEVICE Charles Le Bihan, Paris, France Application October 17, 1952, Serial No. 315,363
Claims priority, application France November 23, 1951 9 Claims. (Cl. 921) My invention concerns devices adapted for use in saving shipwrecked persons and aiding swimmers more particularly swimming pupils.
It has for its object to provide a device of the aforesaid kind which is particularly handy in use and highly efiicient.
My invention consists of a pair of sleeves which the shipwrecked person or swimmer can readily engage on his arms and which are made of a flexible material having a high buoyancy, such as expanded rubber or the like.
Each sleeve has a streamlined cross-section, the inner longitudinal edge being thick and rounded and the outer longitudinal edge being thin and adapted to act as the fin of a fish. The sleeve is constructed so as to enclose at least a part of the hand and the fore-arm of the user and it is provided, on its inner rounded edge with a hole for the passage of the thumb.
Due to the flattened shape of the sleeve and due to the said thin outer edge extending as a fin, when the user holds his hands flat in a horizontal position, his arms being either folded in front of his body or extended forwards, the device affords a large supporting surface whereby the wearer is fully supported on the water surface, with his head clear of the water.
Other features and advantages of the invention will appear from the following description.
In the accompanying drawings, given solely by way of example:
Fig. l is a perspective view of a sleeve in accordance with the invention.
Fig. 2 is a plan view, to a smaller scale of the single sheet of a low density material, constituting the sleeve before it is folded over.
Fig. 3 is a cross-section along 33, Fig. 2.
Fig. 4 is a longitudinal view of the thick rounded edge formed when the sheet shown in Fig. 2 is folded upon itself.
Fig. 5 is a view of the front end of the sleeve.
Fig. 6 is a cross-section of the sleeve, along the line 66 of Fig. 1.
Fig. 7 is a partial longitudinal section along the line 77 of Fig. 1.
Figs. 8 and 9 are cross-sectional views of two other embodiments.
Fig. 10 is a perspective view of another embodiment in which the sleeve is open at both ends and adapted to be unfolded flat.
Fig. 11 is a view of the sleeve when unfolded.
Fig. 12 is a perspective view of another embodiment.
Figs. 13 to 19 concern a further embodiment.
Fig. 13 shows the device in use.
Fig. 14 is a view of the inner face of a sheet of rubber or the like, from which the sleeve is obtained.
Fig. 15 is a plan view of the sleeve.
Fig. 16 is a corresponding side view.
Figs. 17, 18, 19 are cross-sectional views along the lines 1717, 18-18 and 1919, respectively.
In the example shown in Figs. 1 to 7, my improved device is arranged to cover the hand M and fore-arm A of the wearer. It is constituted by a sleeve in the form of a flattened sheath open at the rear end and closed at the front end. Its inner width decreases progressively from the open rear end to the closed front end.
This sleeve is obtained from a sheet 1 shown in Figs. 2 and 3, which is made of a material having a light specific weight and a high buoyancy, such as natural or artificial expanded rubber, for instance a composition 2,692,995 Patented Nov. 2, 1954 such as a superpolyamid or neoprene, having a closed cell structure, said material should be adapted to resist the action of the sun and the water.
The sheet 1 has a symmetrical shape about the longitudinal axis ab (Fig. 2). The width of the sheet 1 increases progressively from a to b. The front edge 2 is cut out so as to form two pointed parts. The lateral edges 3 diverge progressively from each other from a to b along two successive straight lines having a decreasing obliquity. The rear edges 4 are arranged at an angle with respect to the axis ab, so as to give the sheet a dovetail shape comprising two pointed parts extending rearwardly at 5.
This sheet 1 is provided with a hole 6 near the front, on the axis ab, said hole having a size suflicient to allow for the passage of the thumb P of the wearer (Fig. 1).
In the example shown, the sheet 1 is not of a uniform thickness. Its thickness along the axis line ab, (Fig. 3), which is comparatively small, increases progressively on both sides of said axis and thereafter decreases down to the lateral edges 3 which form two lips of reduced thickness. In the longitudinal direction, the thickness is substantially constant from the rear edge 4 to the part abreast hole 6 and the thickness then decreases progressively down to the front edge 2, which may be cut on the bevel.
In order to obtain the sleeve, the sheet 1 is folded upon itself along the line ab. By such folding operation, a rounded thick edge 7 (Figs. 1, 4, 5 and 6) is formed along the said folding line ab, and the thin lips provided by the lateral edges 3 are superposed face to face and form together a lateral longitudinal thin web portion 8. The sleeve will thus assume a streamlined shape in cross-section as shown in Figs. 1, 4, 5 and 6, and the superposed rear pointed parts 5 will form a triangular extension having its apex on the outside. The height of the inner cavity in the sleeve decreases progressively at the front end portion occupied by the fingers as shown in Fig. 4, and in a transverse direction it increases and then decreases from the folding line ab gr the superposed longitudinal edges 3, as shown in The sheet 1 is held permanently in its folded position by its front edges 2 and lateral edges 3 which are glued together along a gluing margin 9. Said gluing margin 9 is preferably interrupted at the front edge, at one or several points 10 thereby affording apertures for the outflow of the water that fills the sleeve when in use.
The flexibility of the upper and lower walls 12, 13 in the longitudinal direction is enhanced by means of transversal slots 14 (Figs. 1, 2, 7).
The sleeve is used in the following manner: the prospective wearer engages his hand flatwise into said sleeve until his thumb P freely extends through the hole 6. The inner rounded edge of the sleeve will then reach a portion of the fore-arm close to the elbow, the rear triangular extension 5 extending beyond the outer part of the latter.
The thumb being engaged in the hole 6, the sleeve is unable to rotate around the hand and fore-arm, the upper wall 12 and lower wall 13 remaining parallel to the back and the hollow of the hand, respectively. The wearer (shipwrecked person or swimmer) is thus provided with large supporting elements acting as floats and this under the best conditions for use, i. e. at the ends of his hands and arms. By holding his hands in a horizontal position, his arms being folded up on his breast or extended forwards at right angles to his breast, the wearer will enjoy a perfect stability, his whole body being vertical or substantially vertical, i. e. in the best position to ensure that his head be out of the water. Under such conditions, the wearer will be able to stand in the water for many hours without any appreciable fatigue and to wait for rescue if shipwrecked. Besides, his hands remain entirely free so that he can eventually take a grip on any raft or other floating element.
The thumb can be bent inwardly to help in retaining the sleeve in position and the other fingers can also be bent against the hollow of the hand due to the fact that the front end of the sleeve is thin and thus sufiiciently flexible.
It will also be noted that the flexibility of the sleeve is increased by the transverse slots 14 (Figs. 1 and 7) which enable the sleeve to be bent more easily.
If the wearer is a pupil learning to swim, the sleeves will facilitate his training. Generally speaking, they are useful for all swimming styles. The supporting surfaces alforded by the sleeves constitute real fins which can be displaced in all directions by moving the arms. If the arms are extended forwards in the prolongation of the body, the two sleeves will in fact act as swimming boards which enable the swimmer to execute with his feet the kicks of the crawl.
It will also be noted that the thin lateral portions 8 and the rear triangular extensions not only act as supporting surfaces but, due to the flexibility of the rubber foam or like material of which they are made, they are able to vibrate in the same manner as membranes or fins, and the user, by imparting small flapping movements to his hands will keep said vibrations in action, so that the elficiency of the whole sustaining device is considerably increased.
The device is also useful for experienced swimmers, particularly for improving their performances or effecting a lengthy race with less strain.
The rear triangular extensions 5 may advantageously extend farther to the rear beyond the wearers elbow as shown in chain-dot lines at 5 (Figs. 1 and 13).
Fig. 8 show an embodiment in which the sleeve, instead of being made of a single sheet, comprises an upper Wall 15 and a lower wall 115 which are separate members permanently assembled along the inner edge of the sleeve by means of a strip 17 of cloth, or any other flexible material, an eyelet 1%; is provided in said inner edge for the passage of the thumb. The two thin outer edges or lips of said walls 15, 16 are permanently assembled by means of a U-shaped member 19 secured to said walls 15, 16 by gluing, rivets or otherwise.
Fig. 9 shows another embodiment in which the sleeve is made of two flexible walls 20, 21 bent so as to form the inner thick rounded edge and assembled together at 22. Said walls form a double wall which is filled with a light material 23 having a high buoyancy, such as kapok, cork, etc. As in the prior embodiment described, an eyelet 18 is provided for the passage of the thumb.
In all of the embodiments described above, the sleeves, due to their flattened shape, can be stored conveniently in a restricted space, by being placed one upon the other in a pile.
Figs. and 11 show another embodiment in which the sleeve is open not only at its rear end but also at the front, at 24, whereby the wearers fingers are left free.
Moreover, in said construction, the sheet 25 is provided with a plurality of connecting members such as press-buttons 27 adapted to detachably assemble the outer edges together. The sleeve can thus be opened flat so that it can be more easily placed upon the fore arm, over the garment sleeve. It can also be stored very conveniently and used as a seat pad, especially on a flying machine, where the prospective wearer may keep it within easy reach on his seat, either on the seat itself or. on the back of the seat.
Fig. 12 shows an embodiment in which the sleeve comprises two parts or sections: a front section 28 which covers the flat part of the hand, the wrist and the forearm, and a rear section 39 covering at least a part of the arm proper of the user. The two sections are connected to each other either by means of a bellows like part 31, formed of a flexible sheet, or by one or several flexible elements, which facilitate the flexion movements of the wearers elbow.
As shown in Fig. 12, the front end of the sleeve can be closed by an additional portion, glued or sewn on, affording glove fingers 29, said glove fingers could be replaced by a mitten.
Fig. 13 shows a further embodiment in actual use, the two sleeves being shown at 56 and 51. 50 (Fig. denotes the front part f the sleeve 56, whose inner rounded edge 52 will extend down to the fold of the users elbow. 50 denotes the rear triangular extension. The sleeve is made of a sheet 57 of expanded rubber or other suitable material as explained above.
This sheet is rounded at its front corners '58, it is provided with two holes 59 and slit along oblique lines 60, 61 so as to form a flap 63 adapted to pivot around the part 64.
In order to form the sleeve, the sheet 57 is folded upwardly along its longitudinal axis XX (Fig. 14) and the free edges of the sheet are glued together along a margin es. The gluing can be reinforced by small intermediate strips 69 (Fig. 14) of rubberized cloth which will prevent any tearing off. The gluing may be replaced or completed by means of rivets or clips. By reason of the elasticity of the material, the sleeve will then take a streamlined shape in cross-section and the marginal portions of: will form lateral flat extensions (Fig. 17) which are thin and flexible and adapted to act as the fin of a fish. The flap 63 is then folded over upon the front part of the sleeve (Fig. 15) by pivoting around the part 64, the two holes 59 coming one upon the other. The flap 63 is then glued along its edges upon the front part of the sleeve.
Before folding the sheet 57, it is preferred to glue upon its inner face two retaining plates 70 of rubber or the like, which act to increase the buoyancy of the device and to strengthen the pointed rear. extensions.
When in use, the thumb of the wearer extends through the registering holes 59 and his other fingers extend freely outside (Fig. 13), which affords various advantages as explained above. The wearer may also withdraw his thumb from the holes and extend his whole hand to the outside in order to execute any desired operation.
The retaining plates 70 (Fig. 16) will then grip the outer part of the elbow and contribute to prevent the sleeve from slipping off from the fore-arm.
The flap 63 could eventually be folded down upon the inner face of the sleeve instead of the outer face.
Having now described my invention what I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
1. A float device for saving shipwrecked persons and aiding swimmers comprising a sleeve made of a buoyant flexible material and having a streamlined cross section, the inner longitudinal edge of the sleeve being rounded and fitting around the wearers arm and the outer longitudinal edge forming a thin and flexible web which extends laterally, the said sleeve having such length that it will cover at least a part of the, hand and the forearm of the user, said sleeve being provided in the front part of its inner rounded edge with a hole for the passage of the thumb.
2. A float device as claimed in claim 1, in which the sleeve comprises at its rear end an extension having a substantially triangular shape and tapering outwardly beyond the Wearers elbow.
3. A float device as claimed in claim 1, in which the sleeve comprises a single sheet of a buoyant flexible material folded longitudinally, and means for securing to each other the longitudinal edges of said sheet.
4. A float device as claimed in claim 1, in which the sleeve comprises a single sheet of a buoyant flexible material folded longitudinally, means for securing to each other the longitudinal edges of said sheet, the sheet being slit obliquely in its rear part on both sides of its longitudinal axis so as to form a flap which is folded upon the front part of said sleeve, and means for securing the flap to the sleeve.
5. A float device as claimed in claim 1, in which the sleeve comprises a single sheet of a buoyant flexible material folded longitudinally, means for securing to each other the longitudinal edges of said sheet, the sheet being slit obliquely in its rear part on both sides of its longitudinal axis so as to form a flap which is folded upon the front part of said sleeve, means for securing the flap to the sleeve, retaining flexible plates arranged upon the inner face of the rear part of the sleeve, on both sides of its longitudinal axis and means for securing said retaining plates on the sleeve.
6. A float device as claimed in claim 1, in which the inner face of the sleeve is provided with transverse slots.
7. A float device as claimed in claim 1, in which the sleeve comprises an upper wall and a lower wall, flexible means adapted to secure to each other the inner longitudinal edges of said walls and means adapted to se-, cure to each other the outer longitudinal edges of said N211 s.
8. A float device as claimed in claim 1, comprising a glove attachment secured to the front of the sleeve and adapted to close the same.
9. A float device comprising a sleeve as claimed in claim 1 and adapted to cover the fore-arm, and comprising further an auxiliary sleeve made of a buoyant flexible material adapted to cover the upper part of the arm above the elbow, and flexible liaison means connecting said sleeve and said auxiliary sleeve.
References Cited in the file of this patent Number 5 149,513 216,455 789,428 1,611,427 2,111,358 10 Number UNITED STATES PATENTS Name Date Ormsbee Apr. 7, 1874 Primbs June 10, 1879 Hruby et a1. May 9, 1905 Evans Dec. 21, 1926 Crockett Mar. 15, 1938 FOREIGN PATENTS Country Date Great Britain of 1907 Great Britain Oct. 19, 1931