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Publication numberUS2774979 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 25, 1956
Filing dateJul 7, 1954
Priority dateJul 7, 1954
Publication numberUS 2774979 A, US 2774979A, US-A-2774979, US2774979 A, US2774979A
InventorsMoran Harold J
Original AssigneeSwitlik Parachute Co Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Life jacket
US 2774979 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 25, 1956 J, MORAN 2,774,979

LIFE JACKET 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed July 7, 1954 INVENTOR Harold J Moran ATTORNE Dec. 25, 1956 H. J. MORAN 2,774,979

LIFE JACKET Filed July 7, 1954 2 sheets-sheet 2 INVENTOR ffaro lcl J Moran ATTORNE LIFE JAQKET Harold J. Moran, Trenton, N. 3., assignor to Switlik Parachute Company, Inc., Trenton, N. .l.

Application July '7, 1954, Serial No. 441,764 (Ilairns. (Cl. 9-49) This invention relates to life jackets, and more particularly to life jackets of the inflatable type which are intended to be worn for long periods prior to inflation.

It has been routine practice for military aviators flying over water and other military personnel exposed to the possibility of water immersion to wear inflatable life jackets. Previous types of inflatable life jackets have been relatively large and bulky and have tended to interfere with the free movement of the wearer.

In the case of military aviators and air crewmen, it has been customary to wear not only a life jacket but a parachute harness, for example a harness for quick attachable chest-type parachute pack. These harnesses are usually provided with D rings at the wearers breast to which snap hooks on the rear of a parachute pack may be readily attached in the event it becomes necessary to bail out. Since previous types of inflatable life jackets have been so large that if they were worn over the parachute harness, they would cover the D rings and prevent attachment of the parachute pack, it has been necessary to wear the life jacket beneath the harness. When the wearer landed in the water he has therefore had to take time to remove his parachute harness before inflating his life jacket because inflation of the life jacket within the harness would exert such pressure on him as to make any movement, including breathing, extremely difiicult, and perhaps even result in suifocation. The comparatively bulky life jackets heretofore in use have also tended to interfere with the movements of airplane pilots in flying the airplanes and in their attempts to escape from the airplanes when necessary. I

It is therefore among the objects of the present invention to provide a life jacket which is compact enough and which is so constructed that it may be worn with a minimum of discomfort and of interference with the normal movements of the wearer. Another object is the provision of a life jacket which is arranged as not to interfere with the attachment of a conventional type of chest-type parachute pack to a harness worn beneath the life jacket. A further object is that of providing a life jacket which may be economically constructed and which is simple and fool proof in its operation. These and other objects which will be apparent hereinafter are accomplished by the invention shown in the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure l is a perspective view of a life jacket embodying features of the present invention, with the figure of a man being shown in broken lines to illustrate the position in which the life jacket is normally worn prior to inflation;

Figure 2 is an enlarged view of the chest envelope of the life jacket case, with the flaps of the envelope being shown opened to reveal its contents;

Figure 3 is an enlarged phantom view of one end portion of the neck tube of the case illustrating the means by which the slide fasteners which close the neck tube are normally held locked, and

hired ent ice Figure 4 is a view similar to Figure 1, butshowing the life jacket after it has been inflated.

As may be seen in Figure 1, the life jacket is provided with an enclosing case which includes a chest envelope 16 which is adapted to fit against the wearers breast and a neck tube 1?. which is elongated and curved to fit loosely around the wearers neck, with the opposite ends of the neck tube 12 adjoining the upper corners of the chest envelope 10.

As shown more clearly in it) includes four closing flaps ltla, which may be folded over to enclose the contents of the envelope. The flap ifla at the top of the envelope is the one which is closed first and bears at its inner corner an upstanding fastener post 22, which is adapted to extend through grommets 24 at the inner corners of the side flaps 10b and tile, and finally through a snap fastener 26 at the inner corner of the bottom flap 10d which, as shown in Figure 1, is on the outside when the four flaps are folded down to close the envelope.

Contained within the chest envelope 10 is the main body 28 of an impermeable bladder which, as more clearly shown in Figure 4, is also provided with an annular portion 30 adapted to encircle the wearers neck.

The bladder is suitably formed of a lightweight laminate of rubber and nylon fabric, for example, which is highly impervious to gas and to water and which is sufficiently flexible to be folded into a very small space. Mounted on the body portion 28 of the bladder and communicating therewith through a valve 32 is a receptacle 34 for a cartridge 36 filled wit ompressed gas. The gas cartridge 36 is screwed into the receptacle 34 and has at its inner end a diaphragm which is perforated by a pin (not shown) actuated by an inflating lever 38. When the pin perforates the diaphragm of the cartridge 36, compressed gas from the cartridge expands through the valve 32 into the body portion 28 of the bladder.

The neck portion 33 of the bladder is folded so as to fit within the comparatively slender neck tube 12 of the case. The neck tube 12 has along its full length a longitudinal sea-m which is normally closed by means of a slide fastener dil. As shown particularly in Figure 3, the slide fastener has at each end a pair of pins 42 which are secured to the edges of the neck tube along the longitudinal seam.

To keep the slide fastener normally closed, a clasp 44 is provided at either end of the slide fastener. These clasps 4-4 are generally tubular with a pair of diametrically opposed longitudinal slits for receiving the edges of the fabric of the neck tube 12. When the clasps are in place on the slide fasteners, as may be seen in Figure 3, they engage the outer edges of the pins 42 and the first several teeth 413a of the slide fastener and prevent disengagement of the teeth.

This arrangement is disclosed in greater detail in my U. S. Patent No. 2,683,910, issued July 20, 1954.

To aid in securing the jacket in proper position on the wearer, the body portion 28 of the bladder has attached at its opposite lower corners (as may be seen in Figure 4) a pair of short straps M which extend through slits at the lower corners of the chest envelope 10 prior to inflation. These straps 14 have attached at their outer ends three-bar buckles 116 through which are threaded the opposite ends of an elongated strap 18 which extends from one of the buckles 16 under the adjacent arm pit of the wearer, across his back, under his opposite arm pit and through the other buckle 16. The end portions of the strap 18 extend around the center bar of the buckle 16 and back under the adjacent bar so that their loose ends 18a may be pulled to adjust the harness to Figure 2, the chest envelope 10b, 10c and 10d,

.fitthe wearer properly, in a manner already well known.

A connecting strap 20 extends from the center of the strap 18 at the upper back of the wearer, up along the wearers neck and through a reinforced opening 12:: in the bottom of the neck tube 12. Within the neck tube 12, as may be seen from Figure 4, this connecting strap 2-0 is formed into a 'loop 20a which extends around the neck portion 30 of the bladder.

For inflation of the life jacket, a pull cord 46 is provided. This pull cord has at its outer end a knob 48 and, as may be seen in Figure l, the pull cord is of such length that this knob 48 hangs freely from the front of the chest envelope of the life jacket in position to be conveniently grasped by the wearer.

A short distance above the knob 48, the pull cord 46 has formed in it a loop 46:: which is adapted to encircle the fastener post 22 beneath the snap fastener 26 of the outer flap d, so that pulling of the cord 46 causes the snap fastener 26 to be disengaged from the fastener 22 and this, due to the fact that the contents of the chest envelope are resiliently compressed within it, will cause the flaps of the chest envelope to spring open.

A short distance from the loop 46a, a junction is formed in the pull cord 46 where the cord is divided into three parts. The upper two of these parts, designated 46b and 460, extend diagonally upward and are attached to the outer ends of the clasps 44. The lower of these three portions of the pull cord designated 46d, extends downwardly, cured to the outer end of gas cartridge receptacle 34.

When the handle 48 of the pull cord 46 is firmly pulled, the following events will occur in sequence: first, the snap fastener 26 will be disengaged from the post 22 and the chest envelope will be allowed to spring open; second, the clasps 44 will be pulled off the ends of the slide fasteners 40, unlocking the slide fasteners; third, the inflating lever 38 of the gas cartridge receptacle 34 will be pulled downwardly to cause release of the compressed gas within the cartridge 36 through the valve 32 and into the body portion 28 of the bladder. As the bladder body 28 expands, an expansive force will be applied to the ends of the slide fastener 40 and cause progressive opening of the slide fastener along the full length of the seam of the neck tube 12. This will permit the gas to enter the neck tube 12 and complete the inflation of the life jacket, as shown in Figure 4.

When the bladder is inflated, the neck portion 30 will be in place around the wearers neck and the body portion 28 will rest against the wearers breast, being held in place by the straps 18 and 20. The wearer will thus be comfortably supported in an upright position in the Water, with the jacket giving him considerable freedom of movement for swimming or other activity.

The bladder is provided with an inflating tube 50 which has at its outer end a valve 52 which may be opened to permit oral inflation of the bladder.

The life jacket before inflation is extremely compact and offers a minimum of interference to normal body movements. it also leaves exposed the D rings 54 of a conventional quick attachable chest type parachute harness, as illustrated in broken lines at 56, so that a chest Parachute pack may be readily attached to these rings 54 even though the life jacket is worn above the harness. Therefore, the harness need not be removed before the life jacket is inflated, thus saving considerable time after immersion and reducing the possibility of drowning as well as eliminating the hazard of premature inflation.

It will therefore be appreciated hat the aforementioned and other desirable objects have been achieved y h pres n invention Hcweverit should be em- Phasized that the Particular embodiment of the invention, which is shown and described herein is intended the inflating lever 38 of the with some slack, and is se- 4 as merely illustrative rather than as restrictive of the invention.

I claim:

1. A life jacket comprising an inflatable bladder having an elongated curved neck portion and a body portion communicating therewith, a container of compressed gas adapted to be released into said bladder upon the actuation of a movable inflating member, a flexible case having a tubular portion adapted to fit around the wearers neck and enclosing the deflated and folded neck portion of said bladder and having along substantially the full length of said tubular portion a seam closed by fastener means which are separable by internal pressure, said case also having a chest envelope adjoining the opposite ends of said neck tube and enclosing the deflated and folded body portion of said bladder, a releasable locking means normally holding at least a portion of said case closed, a release member connected to said releasable locking means and to said movable inflating member whereby movement of said release member unlocks said case and releases the compressed gas into said bladder to force said case open.

2. A life jacket comprising an inflatable bladder having an elongated, curved neck portion and a body portion communicating therewith, a container of compressed gas adapted to be released into said bladder upon the actuation of a movable inflating member, a flexible case having a tubular portion adapted to fit around the wearers neck and enclosing the deflated and folded neck portion of said bladder and having along substantially the full length of said tubular portion a seam closed by fastener means which are separable by internal pressure, said flexible case also including a chest envelope adjoining the opposite ends of said neck tube and adapted to rest against the wearers chest and having flaps enclosing the deflated and folded body portion of said bladder and said container of compressed gas, releasable fastening means maintaining said flaps in closed position, and a release cord connected to the releasable fastener of said closing flaps and to the inflating member of said container ofcompressed gas whereby pulling of said cord opens the envelope portion of said case and releases the compressed gas into said bladder to inflate said bladder and force the tubular portion of said case open along said seam.

3. A lifejacket comprising an inflatable bladder having an elongated, curved neck portion and a body portion communicating therewith, a container of compressed gas adapted to be released into said bladder upon the actuation of a movable inflating member, a flexible case having an elongated, curved tubular portion adapted to fit around the wearer's neck and enclosing the deflated and folded neck portion of said bladder and having along substantially its full length a seam with a slide fastener extending along and closing said seam and with clasps engaging the end portions of said slide fastener and holding the same normally closed, said flexible case also including a chest envelope adjoining the opposite ends of said neck tube and adapted to rest against the wearers chest and having flaps enclosing the deflated and folded body portion of said bladder and said container of compressed gas, releasable fastening means maintaining said flaps in closed position, and a release cord connected to the releasable fastener of said closing flaps, to said clasps and to the movable member of said container of compressed gas whereby pulling of said cord opens the body portion of said case, removes the clasps from the end portions of said slide fastener and releases the compressed gas into said blade to inflate said bladder and force said slide fastener open.

A lite ia ket c mprising an infla able ladder having an elongated, curved neck portion and a body portion communicating therewith, a container of compressed gas adapted to be released into said bladder upon the actuation of a movable inflating member, a flexible case having a tubular portion adapted to fit around the wearers neck and enclosing the deflated and folded neck portion of said bladder and having along substantially the full length of said tubular portion a seam closed by fastener means which are separable by internal pressure, said flexible case also including a chest envelope adjoining the opposite ends of said neck tube and adapted to rest against the front of the wearers chest and having flaps enclosing the deflated and folded body portion of said bladder and said container of compressed gas, releasable fastening means maintaining said flaps in closed position, and a harness including an adjustable encircling strap extending from opposite sides of said chest envelope under the wearers arms and across his back.

5. A life jacket as claimed in claim 3 wherein the opposite ends of said encircling strap are respectively attached to the opposite lower corners of the body portion of said bladder and extend through openings in the folded chest envelope prior to inflation of said life jacket, said harness also including a connecting strap extending through an opening in the tubular portion of said case and having a loop extending around the neck portion of said inflatable bladder within the tubular portion of said case.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,128,423 Manson Aug. 30, 1938 2,135,095 Antognazzi Nov. 1, 1938 2,165,300 Peterson July 11, 1939 2,538,775 Goldsmith Jan. 23, 1951 2,683,910 Moran July 20, 1954 FOREIGN PATENTS 416,842 Germany July 31, 1925

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2128423 *Jun 5, 1935Aug 30, 1938George Manson FrankLife preserver
US2135095 *Apr 16, 1937Nov 1, 1938Aurelio Antognazzi MarcoLifesaving appliance
US2165300 *Nov 24, 1937Jul 11, 1939Peterson Gerhard JSafety life belt
US2538775 *Nov 13, 1946Jan 23, 1951Goldsmith Henry ALife preserver
US2683910 *Oct 8, 1951Jul 20, 1954Switlik Parachute Co IncFastener device
DE416842C *Dec 25, 1924Jul 31, 1925Fritz GraetschRettungsguertel
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2876468 *Apr 3, 1956Mar 10, 1959Garrett CorpLife saving flotation device
US2886835 *Apr 30, 1957May 19, 1959Switlik Parachute Co IncInflatable life preserver
US3064287 *May 1, 1959Nov 20, 1962Knapp Monarch CoValve system for inflatable safety devices
US3077618 *Feb 10, 1961Feb 19, 1963Stearns Mfg CompanyWater sport belt
US3103022 *May 10, 1961Sep 10, 1963Jonathan HardingInflatable assault life preservers
US3113327 *Jul 20, 1960Dec 10, 1963Harmon A CookPortable life preserver
US3362034 *Jun 2, 1965Jan 9, 1968Walter OldhamInflatable body attachments and other articles
US3441964 *Jan 23, 1967May 6, 1969Bernhardt Apparatebau Gmbh CoLife jacket
US3449777 *May 16, 1967Jun 17, 1969Hosoya Kako Co LtdAutomatic inflating floating device
US3681801 *Jun 4, 1970Aug 8, 1972Jean Pierre BelQuick-release inflatable envelope for life jackets and the like
US3814353 *Jan 5, 1973Jun 4, 1974Winzen Res IncBalloon reefing sleeve and launching method
US4276669 *Jan 23, 1978Jul 7, 1981Virgilio SubaAutomatically-inflatable life preserver
US4355987 *Oct 15, 1980Oct 26, 1982The Garrett CorporationLife raft inflation system
US4623316 *Jul 7, 1983Nov 18, 1986Ratliff John CFlotation vest
US4767371 *Aug 27, 1987Aug 30, 1988Jackson Michael AInflatable buoyancy oilskin jacket
US5393254 *Jul 5, 1994Feb 28, 1995Ducheshe; Claude A.Lifesaving apparatus
US5738557 *May 30, 1996Apr 14, 1998Biesecker Douglas APocket-sized, emergency flotation device
US6203246 *Jan 26, 1999Mar 20, 2001William L. CourtneyBreak away counter weight assembly with neutralizing buoyancy offset for diver's safety
US20120018478 *Jan 25, 2010Jan 26, 2012Phokus Research Group, LlcQuick deployment of stored equipment
DE1260989B *Jul 2, 1963Feb 8, 1968Kidde Walter Co LtdEinrichtung an Schleudersitzen
WO1985004634A1 *Apr 2, 1985Oct 24, 1985Monique MariottoIndividual salvage device
WO2010085761A1 *Jan 25, 2010Jul 29, 2010Phokus Research Group, LlcQuick deployment of stored equipment
WO2012063019A1 *Nov 10, 2011May 18, 2012United Moulders LimitedInflation device with pressurised container and means for visual inspection of the presence of the container
Classifications
U.S. Classification441/94
International ClassificationB63C9/125, B63C9/00
Cooperative ClassificationB63C9/1255
European ClassificationB63C9/125A