US 2849011 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 26, 195s w. w. BIRD 2,849,011
AIR INFLATED TOWER OR-THE LIKE Filed Sept. 26, 1957 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 49 ATTORNEYS.
Aug. 26, 1958 w. w. BIRD AIR INELATED TowEE 0E THE LIKE Filed Sept. 26, 1957 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 TIG. 3
D mw s. ,m5, .J MW eR o llg- 25, 1958 w. w. BIRD I 2,849,011
^ AIR INFLATED TOWER 0R THE LIKE Filed sept. 26, 1957 :s sheets-sheet s il@ E0 7a 4 7a 38 30 44 sa 70 United States Patent Oce 2,849,011 AIRfINFLA-TED rownnon i'Application septeinberfz, 1957, Serialf No.v686,462 s Claims. (Ci. *13s-'1) :lilis 'inyention'r'eltes to air supported v'structures and mrefpartclarly to self-'erecting air-inated towers or "the lilie.
l'pear from the specification hereinafter.
fInthe drawing: y Fig. l'is a vertical sectional view'througha'n apparatus "ofethe'inve'ntion, illustrating the device at l'z'ininitial stage of "ere'ction thereof;
Fig. 42 yis a Vertical sectional vview through va device Tof the invention showing it' in I fullyrt'racted 'or Stow-away condition; l
'Fig. Sis ane'levational view showing `a "rst'ist'age "of inlla'tionand erection of'the apparatus "of Fi'g. 2;
Fig. '4 is a view eorr'es'p'o'ndingito Fig. '3 but showing the apparattis at an intertnediatestage'oferection;
"Fig is 'a view'y'correspondi'rig to Fig. '4"b'11t'showling 4thefat'iparatus in (fully 'erect condition;
p Fig.` '6 is 'avertical sectionalv view' through' anerect tower ofu'rthe invention embodyinga nove1`ant`enna device;
Pig. 7'is a fragmentarysectidnalview"showing details and construction ofthe tower top plate and 'side wall fabric components, and showing schematically .the device atjniirerent 'initial stages of a retraction A'trpe'ration;
Fig.I I8 is a fragmentary `sectionalvv View 'corresponding' to portionsof Figs. 1 and y2 but "showing `a modified-form of tower height control mechanism; i
Fig. 9 is a fragmentary sectional viewthr'o'ngh the 2,849,011l Patented Aug. 26, 1.958
2 ixed'to the vplate'22by means ofa ring clainp 26 held in place`by`bolts 27 and embracing the edge of the sleeve which is rolled over a cable 28. The outside diameter of vfthe ,p1a'te`i2l2 is kept less than the diameter ofthe adjacent Yportion of the sleeve '20, for reasons to be explained hereinafter.
A"tensioning device is attached to the top plate 22 and as shownherein may conveniently comprise a cable Yi0'iixed at itslower end to a winch or the like as indicated at`32`and lis preferably connected at its yupper end to the 'threevor more divergent strands 34 which vtie lat vtheir ou'ter ends Ato `the top plate 22 so that tension forces through Lthe cable will not tend to tilt-the top plate'22. SAs shown in the drawing, intermediately of its vertical extent the Vsleeve 20 maybeprovided with agirdle 35 'Comprising areinforcing gir-th panel sewn or otherwise `I aernianently ,xe'd to ,the sleeve 20 as indicated at A36 (Fig. l`)' andprovided with grommets 37 at .intervals the/riea'round" to which are attached tension cables 38 which `wra`p 'upo'n'and are txedly connected at-their lower ends to Winches 40---40. Whereas, the drawing herewthillus- Ytrates `the vdevice of kthe invention to include a single intermediate Ajgirth panel as indicated Vat 35 and corrtSPOndingtension cables`38, it is to be understood that 'any 'preferred number ,girth .panel and tension `control devices maybe employed, if any, yaccordingto the height of the "towe'ran'd the indicated need.
, vss Villust'ratedLin-better detail in Fig. '1, the winches30, 40, -x4l) @are -arranged to `be .selectively operated, as by means of ny'suitable clutchdevices and a drivingtmechy ansfn land `motor, as indicatedat "44. VThe motor and finteriorgof the islee've A20 Fig. .'10 a' \horizo`nal' section, on reduced scale, taken 'along lir'ieX-X ofFig. 1; and
`Fig. l1 is'an' 'enlarged scalefragimentaiy sectional view "ofa'detail 'of'theni'echanismof Fig. 8. l
Generally stated, .the invention contemplates 'nli'mt proved tower ofthetype'adapted to be'erected s'impl'y' by inflation by'means ofmoderate 'air or'gas pres'sre,"snch "as `by fa centrihligal blower.
As shownn Figs. 1l5,`7, l0 the towerof'l the invention 'is' constructed to comprise 'generally `a base` plate orfri'ng i 15 having a verticalflan'gel about 'which'is 'secnredlthe "'winchlnnit .is Tcorn/eniently carried ,upon the base I,plate 'deviceSyand upwardly inclined legs 146 are conveniently 'aiang'edtogprovide vertical support for a support ring .4'8 arranged "to're'ceive'the top cover plate'22 when the "latter 'isiplled down by winch 32 as to the full `line "positionthereof shoWnin'Fig. '1. LThe'base p1ate"15 is convenientlypanchored to the erection site, as" by means fof-scre'ws T49 or'Qthe like Vt'tsillustr'ated in Fig. 1;and a lowjpressjire 'air fblower'as indicated 'at '50 or othenair `js'ipply devioe "Stich as Va 'pump, Lgas cylinder or generator iis `arrangedto Adeliver airorgas underipressure to 'the yfor purposes to lbe explained hereinafter. p l
Thus ,'fit 'will fbe `appreciatedA 'that 'the tower fabrication 'as,hereinabovedescribed is'adapted forstorage and transpoitpurposesto be collapse'djand/or folded in its 'fully l'de'ila't'edform upon the supportingframe comprising/the `legsf4p6^andthe 'sup'por'tring y48; las inthe mannerv illus- "'trated'iin Fig. `2 'ofi the -drawing herewith. A'The device `of ithe'nvention 'is ndesigned forv many'purposes under ay large variety "of installation conditions, and may 'for Vexample ,be carried '"on Aa transport vehiclewithlthebase ring T15 Or,'the unit maybe designed for eld erectionpnrposes, andlthus'upon unloadi controllingthe'cables ingofttheunit 'at the erection'siteythe'basering 15 is rstancliored tothegground'and 'theair supply device ,"$.0`is then' activated to 'commence .inflation of` the struc- "tureq V"As `a`ir"irio'ves Sinto the `structure"the Winches A0 38 are Sinitiallybraked toperrnitlthe 'airfo"'rst inflate 1the'sleeve onlylintdthe condition shown inLFigfjS, cThen, the'winclies .4.0 `are1per`mitted to unwind 'inf'respons tofurther tower inflating tensions transmitted `tothe cables 38,"asi`by'se'lectives'lipping of the clutches controllingv'therwinches.40;40. AAt thesame time'the "winch5-32icont'rolling the tension cablel 30 is'held braked, 'Wl'lelby the structure next assumes thecondition Lshown "in \'itstsolid line posi'tionsf Figsjl and 4. rlThus,'the-,in
,atin'gsa'ir initially vca'usesV the lower Vport-ionv of the. tower structure'torise'asftothe positions shown in Figs. .1, 4, whilelbeing co'nstantlyunder 'restraint of the'tension "cablesSSL This mode of operation maintains the partially erected tower in stable condition and invulnerable to wind gusts or the like throughout the erection process. Upon complete release of the lengths of the tension cables 38 (at which point the girth panel 35 will have attained its ultimate elevated position) further erection of the tower structure is then obtained by restrained relief of the windlass 32 controlling the tension cable 30. The air input is thereupon permitted to cause the centrally folded top portion of the tower structure to rise upwardly within the annular wall formed by the previously erected lower portion of the structure, and to exfoliate upwardly and into the condition illustrated by Fig. of the drawing herewith. Throughout the entire erection process the ditferent portions of the tower structure are maintained under the centralizing tension effects of the cables 38 and 30, as explained hereinabove; although if desired external guy wire devices such as are indicated at 54, 56 (Figs. 4, 5) r'nay of course be additionally employed. Subsequent deflation and controlled collapse and nesting of the structure into the transport or storage configuration thereof shown in Fig. 2, is attained by simply permitting escape of the inating air and reverse operation of the Winches 32-40 by the motor 44.
The tower of the invention may be employed for a variety of purposes, such as for support of military field equipment or the like. In the drawing herewith, for eX- ample, a searchlight or radar reector device is illustrated at 60 as being carried by the top plate 22. However, it will of course be understood that the tower may be used for any other purpose, and that the topplate 22 may for example mount an interiorly supported functional component as indicated at 62 (Fig. 9) in lieu of the exteriorly mounted apparatus as shown in Figs. 1-5. Also, as shown in Fig. 6, the tower of the invention may be readily constructed to include an antenna device which may be in the form of a metallic screen or metal coated fabric or the like as indicated at 65 applied to the interior or to the exterior of the tower sleeve material, and comprising any desired vertical portion thereof, as may be preferred.
It is a particular feature of the construction of the invention that when the tower is in fully erected condition the upper end of the sleeve 20 rolls over the rounded edge portion of the top plate 22, as shown in Fig. 7. Then,
. during the initial stage of deflation of the tower, when the air pressure is relaxed and the cable 30 is first pulled upon, the top plate moves downwardly inside of the sleeve structure 20 without interferences therewith. The
v freed portion of the sleeve structure 20 thereupon folds outwardly and upwardly above the top plate 22 into progressively larger annular folds as shown by the broken line illustration in Fig. 7. Thus, as the top plate continues to be drawn downwardly inside of the infolding material of the sleeve member 20, there is thereby provided a natural infolding and nesting of the tower parts as the sleeve 20 is deliated and retracted into its compactly folded condition as shown in Fig. 2.
As shown in Figs. S, 1l, the base support structure of the device may be modified to provide another form of progressive control of the inflating operation. For example, in lieu of the open leg supports 46 referred to hereinabove, the support ring 48 may be carried by an airtight frusto-conical shell 70 welded or otherwise fixed at its lower end to the base ring 15. The horizontal ange portion 72 (Fig. l1) of the ring 48 is dimensioned to receive in vertical support an annular ring 74 carried by the girth panel 3S hereinabove mentioned.
A resilient gasket or the like is preferably provided between the mating surfaces of the rings 48, 74, so as to render the juncture therebetween to be substantially airtight. Air passageways as indicated at 76 are provided in the wall of the ring 48; and as shown in Fig. 8 in this form of the arrangement the air supply device 50 is connected to deliver into the interior of the shell 70. Re-
leasable latch devices as indicated at 78-78 are carried by the shell 70 and are so arranged that their latch portions extend into holding connection with registering lugs 79 formed on the girth ring 74. The ring 74 initially seats downwardly upon the support ring 48 and is latched thereto by means of the spring urged latch devices 78.
When air is first discharged into the interior of the device it enters the shell 70 and then ows upwardly and out through the apertures 76 and thence into only the upper portion of the sleeve 20, thereby causing it to i11- ate and exfoliate upwardly as illustrated by way of example in Fig. 8, if the tension cables 30, 38 are initially held down. Then, upon release of the winch controlling the cable the top plate 22 will be permitted to rise upwardly through the center of the previously inflated upper portion of the sleeve; until the entire upper portion of the tower above the girth panel is inated into upstanding form. Thus, at this position of the apparatus it is fully usable in half-mast form, wherever such erection of the tower to intermediate elevation is suicient for its intended purpose.
If, however, it is required to erect the tower to its full height, the inflation operation is commenced as explained hereinabove but the latches 78-78 are released prior to release of cable 30. This permits air to ow into the lower component of the sleeve 20. As soon as this lower section is inflated the cables 38-38 are permitted to play out in response to the pull of the inflation pressures until the lower section of the sleeve is fully extended. The cable 30 is then permitted to play out whereby the plate 22 rises from the support ring 48 and the upper section of the tower exfoliates until the apparatus is y in its fully extended form. To retract this tower the internal ination pressure is reduced and cable 30 is pulled down by winch 32 until the platform 22 seats upon the support ring 48. The cables 38--38 are then pulled down by their Winches to the condition illustrated in Fig. 8 whereupon total release of the internal air pressure permits the entire assembly to collapse into folded form. As explained hereinabove, throughout the entire erection process the cables 30, 38 are maintained under tension so as to stabilize the structure against deilections laterally, such as in response to wind gusts or the like.
It is of course to be understood that although only a few forms of the invention have been illustrated and described in detail, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the invention is not so limited but that various changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the appended claims.
l. A self erecting air inated tower comprising a rigid base member, an elongated sleeve formed of exible substantially airtight material tixed at its bottom end to said base member and having a reduced diameter closure member at its upper'end sealing the latter, girth panel means encircling said sleeve member intermediately of its ends, tension cables extending separately from said closure member and from said girth panel interiorly of said sleeves, winch means selectively controlling release and tensioning of said cables, whereby said ,tower may be progressively inflated and deflated by alternate input and release of air from the interior of said sleeve coincident with selective actuation of said winch means.
2. A self erecting air inflated tower comprising a base member, an elongate sleeve formed of llexible substantially airtight material Xed at its bottom end to said base member and having a closure member at its upper end sealing the latter, girth panel means encircling said sleeve member intermediately of its ends, tension cables extending separately from said closure member and from said girth panel, winch means selectively controlling release and tensioning of said cables, whereby said tower may be erected by ination and deflated by controlled escape ofair from the interior thereof coincident with selective 5 actuation of said winch means thereby stabilizing said tower laterally throughout the erection and deflation operations.
3. A self erecting air inflated'tower comprising an elongate sleeve formed of ilexible substantially airtight material adapted to be xed at its bottom end to a base, said sleeve having a reduced diameter closure member at its upper end sealing the latter, tension cable means extending from said closure member, winch means selectively controlling release and tensioning of said cable means, whereby said tower may be progressively inflated and deated by alternate input and release of air from the interior of said sleeve coincident with selective actuation of said winch means.
4. A self erecting air inflated tower comprising a base member, a cone-shaped sleeve formed of exible substantially airtight material xed at its bottom end to said base member and having a closure member at its upper end sealing the latter, girth panel means encircling said sleeve member intermediately of its ends, tension cables extending separately from said closure member and from said girth panel, lateral guying means extending from said sleeve, winch means selectively controlling release and tensioning of said cables, whereby said tower may be erected by inflation and deated by controlled escape of air from the interior thereof coincident with selective actuation of said winch means thereby stabilizing said tower laterally throughout the erection and deation operations.
5. A self erecting air inflated tower comprising a base member including an air chamber having an air outlet, an elongate sleeve formed of exible substantially airtight material iixed at its bottom end to said base member and having a reduced diameter closure member at its upper end sealing the latter, girth panellmeans encircling said sleeve member intermediately of its ends, tension cables extending separately from said closure member and from said girth panel interiorly of said sleeve, winch means selectively controlling release and tensioning of said cables, valve means carried by said girth panel and adapted upon descent of said panel to its downwardlyretracted position to close said air outlet, whereby said tower may be progressively inated and deated by alternate input and release of air from the interior of said sleeve coincident with selective actuation of said winch means.
No references cited.