US 2782430 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Feb. 26, 1957 M. l. RADNOFSKY I FLOTATION AND THERMAL PROTECTING APPAREL 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Feb. 1'7, 1953 Feb. 26, 1957 M. l. RADNOFSKY FLOTATION AND THERMAL PROTECTING APPAREL Filed Feb. 17,- 1953 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 IN VENTOR. M677 5/21. fism/asr/ FLQTATION AND THERMAL PROTECTING APPAREL Matthew I. Radnofsky, Newton Square, Pa.
Application February 17, 1953, Serial No. 337,449
Claims. (Cl. 9-20) (Granted under Title 35, U. S. Code (1952), sec. 266) The invention described herein may be manufactured and used by or for the Government for governmental purposes without payment of any royalty thereon or therefor.
This invention relates to the art of life preservers and specifically to survival apparel designed to aid flotation and thermal protection of the head and upper part of the body of the wearer. The apparel which is the subject of this invention may be used in conjunction with an anti-exposure suit provided for use by pilots or others who, through accident or mishap, may be subected to immersion in water of low temperature.
it is an object of this invention to provide protecting apparel for the head and upper part of the body of a person immersed in water of low temperature.
Another object of the invention is to demonstrate flotation gear which can be inflated to give buoyancy and which will maintain the head of the wearer above water and prevent drowning even though the wearer loses consciousness.
The invention has for a further object the provision of apparel which will protect the face of a person immersed in water and will prevent the entrance of water into the protective clothing through the opening for the eyes, mouth and nose.
Still another object of the invention is to teach the construction of flotation apparel which will insure that the wearer will float face upward with his face out of the water Without any effort on his part.
it is also an object of the invention to provide survival apparel Which may be worn comfortably when in itsuninflated condition and which presents no danger of choking or strangulation if accidently inflated.
Other objects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
Figure 1 illustrates the invention in use by a downed pilot in the water;
Figure 2 shows the vest and hood used for thermal protection with the hood inflated;
Figure 3 shows the complete flotation and thermal protection apparel on a person; 1 a
Figure 4 is a view of the complete apparel on a person but with the bladders deflated and the hood worn oil the head;
Figure 5 is a view of the flotation bladders removed from the vest;
Figure 6 shows an inflated hood only with the fur edging removed on the head of a person and detached from the vest;
Figure 7 is a detail view partly in section of the hood structure;
Figure 8 illustrates how the balloon used for turning a person in water onto his back can be folded when deflated; and
ited States Patent Figure 9 is a diagrammatic section view of the flotation bladders.
There are occasions when a human being, due to some misfortune or accident is forced into a situation where he is exposed to immersion in water of extremely low temperature. This may occur, for example, when a military pilot must abandon a badly damaged or disabled aircraft over a body of water. With the Water at freezing or sub-freezing temperature and the surrounding air also very cold, the human body could survive only for a very short time and a person subjected to such conditions would die of exposure in a matter of only a few minutes unless some sort of protection is afforded.
To this end, flotation and anti-exposure apparel has been developed to combat exposure and the ever present danger of drowning. By the use of such equipment, survival time has been raised to several hours and improvements may be possible which will extend the period of survival even longer. Applicant, by this invention, has made a worthwhile improvement over existing survival apparel.
There are several known types of flotation and antiexposure suits which, in general, exhibit similar characteristics and have several disadvantages when used as survival apparel as will presently appear.
First of all, the old apparel did not provide adequate protection to the head of the wearer. When a person was forced to rely on his survival. gear for protection from drowning he would float on the water with his face exposed to wind and spray and without any means of sealing off the opening in the clothing around his face to prevent the entrance of water at that point.
Secondly, the known types of flotation gear did not maintain the head of a person sulliciently high out of the water when the person was floating in a supine position. As a result, the wearer was forced to struggle and use up his strength to keep his head elevated, otherwise he floated with his neck and the back of his head in the water.
Also in some forms of old equipment, connecting inflatable portions passed close to the neck of the wearer and if accidentally inflated when, for example, the wearer was in the cockpit of an airplane, choking pressure would be applied to the neck. This made such equipment potentially dangerous and unsatisfactory.
Applicants invention avoids these disadvantages of the old types of equipment and provides foolproof, easily worn apparel which affords a greater degree of safety and protection than was possible with other survival apparel.
The invention comprises a vest 24) to which are attached an inflatable protective hood 21 for the head and a three-sectioned flotation bladder 22. All the inflatable portions of the invention cooperate to raise the head of the wearer out of the water when he is floating in a relaxed, supine position in the water and to protect his head and neck from wind and water.
The vest 28 is of cotton twill or any other suitable cloth or material and is useful primarily as a means of attaching the hood and flotation bladders to the body of a person. The front of the vest is closed by a zipper .23 or by any other suitable fastening means which can be opened to permit the vest to be put on over a garment or an anti-exposure suit. Adjusting straps 24 and buckles 25 at the sides of the vest allow adjustment of the size of the vest to obtain a good fit.
Therhood portion 21 consists of a bladder 26 shaped to fit over the head leaving part of the face exposed. The bladder comprises an inner, layer 27 and a spaced outer layer 28 both of an airtight material, such as rubber, with the space between the'layers occupied by alpaca.
The two layers 27 and 28 and the alpaca between them are cemented together at spaced points 29 over the area of the bladder. The edges 30 of the layers forming the bladder are cemented together with at least a three-quarter inch overlap as at 31. The inside and outside of the bladder are covered with a restraining fabric 32 which may be of the same material as the vest and which is stitched to the overlapped edges 31 outside the area of the bladder. A protective visor 33 is also stitched to the edge 31, while fur edging 34 which forms a border around the entire opening for the face is stitched to edge 31 in a similar manner. The hood bladder is inflatable through a tube 35 attached to the bladder and provided with: a mouthpiece and check valve 36 to permit oral inflation of the bladder. The mouthpiece is held in a position where it is easily accessible to the person wearing the hood by passing the tube 35 through a loop 37 stitched to the visor. The periphery of the neck portion of the hood is stitched or otherwise attached to the vest neck line to form a unitary garment. The chin and neck portions of the hood and bladder are slit open and the vest Zipper or other'closure is extended as at 38 to also close this portion of the hood. The restraining fabric, visor and fur edging are sewed to the over-lapped edges of the bladder with a double row of stitching as seen in Figure 7 providing a passage 64 through which is threaded an elastic band 65 to help draw the bladder in over the face. The ends of the elastic are fastened on each side of the opening at the chin of the hood. The free edge of the visor is hemmed as at 66 and a drawstring 67 inserted through the hem. When the hood is being worn in the water, greater protection can be obtained by drawing the visor in close to the face by means of this drawstring, leaving only a minimum of the face exposed. As can be seen in Figure 2 practically the entire head and face of a person wearing the hood are covered and completely protected when the bladder is inflated and the closure fastened. The flap or visor 33 may be moved away from the face and folded over the hood. It can be fixed in the position by engaging the snap fasteners 39 on each side of the hood. When the hood is in place and inflated, it balloons to the extent permitted by the restraining fabric, pressing against the face and forming a seal against the entrance of water or cold air around the opening for the eyes, mouth and nose.
The vest and hood may be worn as shown in Figure 2 when only cold protection is necessary or desired. When designed for such use the vest may be provided with a pocket 40 for conveniently carrying small articles. In addition to keeping out cold air and moisture by forming a seal. around the face opening, the inflated bladder becomes a more effective heat insulator because of the increased dead air space created by inflation.
When used as flotation apparel the ensemble is provided with chest and back bladders 41 and 42 respectively which are cemented to the vest. Figure shows these bladders in a deflated condition detached from the vest. The major portion of these flotation bladders comprises two substantially similar sheets 43 and 44 of rubber or other suitable airtight material cemented or otherwise joined together along their edges as at 45. The cemented edges are reinforced with a binding tape 70 to further insure a good air seal. The chest bladders 41 are substantially rectangularly shaped panels which taper into connecting passages or tubes 46 which enter opposite ends of a pillow-shaped yoke forming the back bladders.
In constructing the flotation bladders multiple air chambers may be provided as shown in Figure 9. This construction is as follows: Four sheets of airtight material 43, 44, 68 and 69 are out to the desired outline and their edges joined together to form three adjacent airtight chambers each extending over the area of the bladders. The edges are taped as explained above and meansfor inflating each of the chambers are attached. Cylinders 52 are provided for inflating each of the outer chambers and a tube 71 is connected to the intermediate chamber to permit oral inflation thereof. Inflation of any one of the three chambers will be suflicient to provide the necessary buoyancy for the head and shoulders of a person in the water. In normal use, however, each of the outer chambers are inflated by releasing the gas from both cylinders 52. This construction provides greater security from punctures or leaks. When deflated the back bladder can be folded and the upper edge fastened to the lower edge by snap fasteners 72.
The flotation bladders are attached to the vest so that the yoke is positioned on the back across the shoulders of a person wearing the vest with the bladder extending above the shoulders and neck to support the head. The connecting tubes 46 pass underneath the armholes 47 to the front of the vest and the chest panels are secured in position to lie over the chest about midway between the waist and neck. The outer layer 44 of the bladder material forming the chest bladders is slit near its free ends on each of the chest panels to form a mouth or opening 48 and pocket-shaped bladders 49 have their open ends 59 secured in mating relation to the openings 48 to form a bladder portion extending from and overlying the chest panels. A pocket 50 for marking dyes or other articles may also be provided on the chest panels. In deflated condition the pocket-shaped bladders lie flat against the body and may be secured in that position by snap fasteners 51 provided for that purpose. The chest bladders may be made without the opening 48 and pocket-shaped portions 49 in which case the bladders 41 are made somewhat larger. Gas cylinders 52 containing a gas such as :carbon dioxide are attached to the front of the chest bladders and are connected to the bladders by tubes 53 entering the valves 54. The back and chest bladders are connected together by the tubes 46 and all will be inflated when either of the valves is opened by pulling the release cord 55. When inflated the back bladder abuts the back of the head and neck of a person wearing the apparel and when worn in the water by a person floating on his back acts to support the head and neck out of the water. When deflated the back bladder folds down and hangs like a large collar.
The apparel, as shown in Figure 3, is not self-righting in the water but only a very small effort is required on the part of a person wearing the apparel to roll onto his back from a face-down position in the water and once he floats on his back the apparatus is very stable and the danger of overturning is practically non-existent. However, a further device may be employed to insure a backdown position in the water. This device is an inflatable balloon 56 which can be removably secured to the vest by means of an eye 57 fastened to the front of the vest to receive a clip fastening 58 swivelcd to the balloon. The balloon is inflated from a small gas cylinder 60 and is further attached to the vest by a nylon cord 61 which is normally coiled and retained in one of the pockets 50, the end of the cord being attached to a loop 62-on the vest.
When a person wearing the apparel lands face-down in the water, he can release gas from the cylinder 60 to inflate the balloon. As the balloon is inflated, it rises to the surface of the water and exerts a turning moment on the vest causing the person to turn in the water onto his back. The fastener 58 can then be released to permit the balloon to float on the water at the end of the cord 61 out of the way of the person. When deflated the balloon can be folded and tucked under a loop 63 on the vest.
Thus it can be seen that there has been provided a neat, effective flotation and thermal protection garment which will adequately protect a person immersed in low temperature water against exposure and drowning for relatively long periods of time and which can be worn comfortably out of the water and in restricted quarters.
Obviously many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in the light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.
1. Thermal protection apparel comprising a fabric vest having attached thereto an inflatable bladder constructed of two layers of airtight material joined along their edges and forming a hood for the head of a person, said layers forming therebetween a sealed compartment, there being loosely packed between the layers of airtight material and in such compartment an even thickness of alpaca, and oral means directly connected to said alpaca filled compartment for inflating said bladder.
2. Thermal protection apparel comprising an inflatable bladder constructed of two layers of a material impervious to air, the two layers being joined along their edges and having therebetween a thickness of loosely packed alpaca, the two layers forming the bladder and the alpaca being cemented together at spaced points over the area of the bladder thereby forming a sealed compartment with the alpaca packed in such compartment, the bladder being shaped to completely cover the head and neck of a person except for an opening for the nose, mouth and eyes, and oral means to inflate said bladder, said oral means being directly connected to said alpaca filled compartment.
3. The apparel set forth in claim 2 in which the outer surfaces of the bladder are covered by a restraining fabric.
4. The apparel set forth in claim 3 further characterized by a fur edging bordering the opening for the nose, mouth and eyes and by a visor which can be utilized to partially cover said opening to aiford protection to the nose, mouth and eyes.
5. Thermal protection apparel comprising a fabric vest having attached thereto an inflatable bladder constructed of two layers of airtight material joined along their edges and forming a hood for the head of a person, there being loosely packed between said layers an even thickness of alpaca and a tube and mouthpiece attached to the bladder to permit oral inflation of said bladder.
6. The apparel described in claim 5 in which the outer surfaces of the bladder are covered with a restraining fabric.
7. The apparel of claim 6 in which the hood completely covers the head and neck of a person except for an opening exposing the nose, mouth, and eyes and said opening is edged with fur. a
8. The apparel of claim 7 in which said hood is provided with a flexible visor which can be brought into position to at least partially cover said opening.
9. The thermal protection apparel described in claim 8 in which the two layers of airtight material and the alpaca between them are cemented together at spaced points over the area of the hood.
10. Thermal protection apparel comprising a fabric vest having a neckline and having attached thereto an inflatable bladder constructed of two layers of airtight material joined along their edges and forming a hood for the head of a person, there being loosely packed between said layers a uniform thickness of alpaca, said two layers of material and the alpaca between them being cemented together at spaced points over the area of the hood, the outer surfaces of said hood being covered with a restraining fabric, said hood completely covering the head and neck of a person wearing the hood except for an opening exposing the eyes, mouth, and nose, the vest being separable along a line running down the front of said vest, and the neckline of the vest being joined to the periphery of the neck portion of the hood the portion of the hood from the junction with the vest to the opening for the mouth, eyes, and nose being also separable along a continuation of said line and a common closure to efiect closing of the front of the vest and hood.
11. Flotation and thermal protection apparel comprising a fabric vest having attached thereto an inflatable hood and inflatable chest and back bladders.
12. Flotation and thermal protection apparel comprising a vest having a yoke and having attached thereto an inflatable hood and inflatable chest and back bladders, said hood completely covering the head and neck of a person wearing the apparel except for an opening exposing the eyes, mouth, and nose, said chest bladders being two separate inflatable compartments each joined by tubular sections to the back bladder so that all three bladders may be inflated by introducing an inflating gas into any one of the bladders.
13. Thermal protection and flotation apparel as described in claim 12 in which said back bladder is a substantially rectangular compartment attached to the yoke of the vest so that when the apparel is worn by a person floating on his back in the water, the head and neck of the person will be supported out of the water.
14. Flotation and thermal protection apparel comprising a vest having breast portions, 21 neckline, and a yoke portion, an inflatable hood bladder joined to said vest along the neckline, an inflatable chest bladder attached over each breast portion and an inflatable back bladder secured to the yoke portion, said hood bladder being composed of two spaced layers of airtight material joined together along their edges and separated by a quantity of insulating matter in solid form, and said hood bladder having an aperture to permit introduction of a gas between the layers, said chest bladders and back bladder being formed in common from a first sheet of airtight material whose edges are joined to the edges of a similarly shaped second sheet of airtight material to form a rectangularly shaped back bladder compartment connected by a separate passage to each of two chest bladder compartments, at least one of said compartments being provided with an aperture to permit the introduction of a gas between said sheets of airtight material.
15. Flotation means for survival apparel, said means comprising chest bladders and a back bladder formed in common from a first sheet of airtight material whose edges are joined to the edges of a similarly shaped second sheet of airtight material to form a rectangularly shaped back bladder compartment connected by a separate passage to each of two chest bladder compartments, at least one of said compartments being provided with an aperture to permit the introduction of a gas between said sheets of airti gh-t material, said first sheet having its exposed surface in contact with and fixed to the apparel, said second sheet having a narrow opening in the portions forming each of the chest bladders and associated with each of said chest bladders, a pocket-shaped bladder having an open end, the edges of said open end being joined to the edges of the narrow openings in said second sheet in mating relation thereto, said pocket-shaped bladders forming extensions of the chest bladder compartments.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,081,862 Park Dec. 16, 1913 1,102,772 Lyman July 7, 1914 1,208,232 Taylor Dec. 12, 1916 1,313,936 Bailey Aug. 26, 1919 1,361,210 Wheeler Dec. 7, 1920 1,375,803 Souliotis Apr. 26, 1921 1,640,270 Furman Aug. 23, 1927 1,670,591 Merifield May 22, 1928 1,752,120 Taylor Mar. 25, 1930 1,811,847 Hellrick June 30, 1931 FOREIGN PATENTS 429,029 France Sept. 13, 1911 557,220 Great Britain Nov. 10, 1943 566,097 Great Britain Dec. 13, 1944