US 2862531 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 2, 1958 f F;S WALKER 2,862,531
BALLOON DISTRESS SIGNAL 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Sept. 10, 1956 a INVENTOR.
' FRANK S. WALKER l '9 I ATTmNEYs Dec. 2, 1958 s, WALKER 2,862,531
BALLOON DISTRESS SIGNAL Filed Sept. 10, 1956 I 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 A T TORNE YS United States Patent 2,862,531 BALLOON DISTRESS SlGNAL Frank S. Walker, Framingham, Mass. Application September 10, 1956, Serial No. 608,884 13 Claims. (Cl. 141-317) This invention relates to a locator device and apparatus by which .a downed airman or a sportsman lost in the woods may visibly identify his position to a search and rescue party and more particularly to a simplified pocket kit and apparatus by which a small lighter-than air balloon may be inflated and sent aloft on a tether line.
The greatly increasing participation in hunting and fishing and other Woodcraft results in a corresponding increase each year in the number of people lost in the woods. During the hunting and fishing seasons the newspapers repeatedly carry stories of such incidents,
sometimes disastrous, and the incidence of unreported ocv currences is much higher. Therefore it behooves participants in these activities to be furnished with a safety device by which the chances of rescue .are greatly increased.
A Woodsman is no longer lost if he can mark his position so that it can be visibly located by a search party in spite of tall trees and rough terrain.
Aircraft crash survivors, both on land and at sea, have a far greater chance of rescue if they can show a washer which is plainly seen both from aloft and on the surface.
Accordingly it is the object of my invention to provide a safety apparatus by which a person may visibly mark his position and which is light and compact enough so that it can be conveniently carried on the person. I
Generally speaking my device and apparatus comprises a small inflatable lighter-than-air balloon which can be sent aloft on a'tether line, together with small, lightweight, easily operated means for inflating the balloon for use, all capable of compact assembly in a pocket size kit.
In the drawings:
Fig. 1 is a partial elevation partly in section.
Fig. 2 is an enlarged partial elevation partly in section, showing the plug unseated.
Fig. 3 is a plan view of one of the parts.
Fig. 4 is an elevation of another one of the parts in closed condition.
Fig. 5 is an elevation of the part shown in Fig. 4 in open condition.
Fig. 6 is an part. j p
Fig. 7 is an enlarged partial elevation partly in section, showing parts seen in Figs. 1 and 2, with the plug seated.
Fig. 8 is a partial elevation partly in section of a modification showing the plug unseated.
Fig. 9 is a view similar to Fig. 8 showing the plug seated.
Fig. 10 is a view similar to Fig. 9 showing the cap screwed up and squeezed together to seal the plug.
Fig. 11 shows the complete apparatus in its carrying package.
Fig. 12 shows the locator balloon in use.
The locator apparatus packaged together (but not operatively assembled) ready to be carried in the pocket -or knapsack is indicated at 1 as shown Fig. 11, conelevation partly in section of still another I 2,862,531 Patented Dec. 2, 1958 tained in a suitable plastic zipper operated bag 2. It includes a resiliently expandable inflatable balloon 5, generally of the size and material of the common toy balloon and preferably of a bright easily visible color such as orange, and having a tubular neck 6 and mouth 7 as seen in Figs. 2 and 7. One or more gas cartridges 10 containing .a highly compressed lighter-than-air gas are carried in the kit. Each has an externally threaded neck portion 11 best seen in Fig. 1 terminating in a sealed orifice 12 which may be pierced to expel the contained gas.
The kit also contains means 13 to connect the cartridge 10 to the balloon 5 to inflate the balloon with the gas contained in the cartridge and which comprises a cartridge-receiving member 14 having at its lower end an internally threaded mouth portion 15 adapted to receive the neck portion 11 of the cartridge 10 and a valve member 16 the lower externally threaded end 17 of which is received in the upper internally threaded end 18 of the member 14. The member 14 has a central longitudinal tube 19 which connects with a passage 20 in the valve rnernber 16. The tube 19 has a sharpened cutting end 21 protruding downwardly into the mouth 15 and which is capable of piercing the sealed orifice 12 upon engagement of the cartridge neck portion -11 and the mouth 15 as the neck 11 is being screwed into the mouth 15. The member 16 has a valve 22 in the passage 20 and an internally threaded enlargement 23 of the passage 20 at its upper end. The valve 22 is held normally closed tothe left by a spring 24, and. a movement of the valve 22 to the right causes a reduced portion 25 in the valve stem 26 to register with the passage 20 to open the passage 20.
As seen in Figs. 1 and 7, the valve member 16 has a circular groove 27 surrounding it near its upper end, and a diagonal passage 28 leads from the enlargement 23 of .the tube 20 to an external orifice 30 in the groove 27. A
of a light-weight plastic material is arranged to be received in the neck 6 and mouth 7 of the balloon 5 as shown in Figs. 2 and 7. The cap 35 has an internal tapered tube portion 36 terminating in a lower protruding externally threaded end 37 and arranged to provide a seat for a correspondingly shaped rubber-like plug 38 to an ;eye 39 in the bottom of which is attached a string, 40
passing downwardly through the tapered tube 36 and by which the plug 38 may be drawn downwardly relative to the cap 35 to plug off the tube 36.
A snap-on ring 45 shown in detail in Fig. 6 is arranged to cooperate with the cap 35 as shown in Fig. 7 more securely to connect the cap 35 to the neck 6 of the balloon 5. As seen in Fig. 2 the neck 6 of the'balloon 5 is first drawn down over the dome-shaped portion 35a of the cap 35 with the extreme end or mouth 7 of the neck 6 drawn under and below the lower edge 35b of the dome-shaped portion 35a. Thereafter, the snap-on ring 45 is inserted upwardly and against the lower edge 35b seen in Fig. 7 thus causing the mouth 7 of the balloon neck 6 to be bent upwardly and closely around the lower 3 retained therein by temporarily pursing together the lip 48"as"seen' in 'Fig. '4. M
To operate the apparatus of Figs. 1 to 7, the balloon is-first prepared as seen in Fig 2 by insertingthe plug 3 and cap 35 within its neck 6 with the string 40; extending t through the t b 36 of the cap as. The ring 45 trapped over the neck 6 of the balloon and the cap 35. This maybe done'in making up the kit-1 to prepare the ball for inflation by the apparatus. Th'e c-art ridgere iving member, and the valve member 16 'are preferab y'a 'ttached together also in advance, these parts being made'in two pieces for convenience and economy in manufacture. The balloon 5 is now connected to the valve member 16 by screwing the threaded extension 37 of the cap 35into the internally threaded enlargement 23 of the passage 20 in the top of the valve member 16, after first threading the string 40 down through the enlargement Z3 and thepassage 28, leaving the plug 38 in the unseated position shown in Fig. 2. The rubber compressing ring 29 is now rolled down into the groove 27 thus substantially closing the orifice 30 of the passage 28 substantially preventing leakage of gas therethrough.
A cartridge is screwed into the threaded mouth of the cartridge-receiving member 14 causing the cutting end 21 of the tube19 to pierce the sealed orifice 12 on the top of the cartridge 10. The gas from the cartridge 10 is now admitted into the tube 20, and the opening of thefvalve 22 by thumb-pressure exerted by the operator causes the gas to pass upwardly through the tapered tube 36"and the'cap 35 and into the balloon 5. Two or three of the cartridges 10 may be expended to fully inflate the balloon 5, an expended cartridge 10 being unscrewed from thethr'eadedmouth 15 and replaced by a succeeding cartr'idge.
' When the balloon has been sufiiciently inflated the operator pulls down on the part of thestring 40 protruding from the orifice 30 causing the plug 38 to be drawn downwardly into the tapered seat formed by the tube 36 in the cap 35 as shown in Fig. 7. The outward pressure of the gas in the inflated balloon 5 tends to drive the plug down against its seat. The compressive pressure exerted "against the plug 38 as it is drawn downwardly into the tube 36 causes the pursed lips 48 to be opened and the compressive pressure on the top of the plug forces the liquid-sealing agent out of the hollowed-out space 47 and overthe lip 48 down between the plug 38 and the tube 36 further increasing the efiectiveness of the gas-tight seal between the plug 38 and the tube 36. When the plug 33 has been thus thoroughly seated, the cap 35 may be unscrewed from the valve member 16 and'the inflated balloon 5 including the cap 35, the ring and the plug 38, with the string 40 attached and which is now withdrawn from the cartridge 28, is ready to be sent aloft.
A modified form of the device is illustrated in Figs. 8, 9 and 10 in which the cartridge-receiving member 14:: and the valve member 1611 containing a valve 22a are --integrally. formed in one piece. The valve member 16a has an upwardly. extending tubular portion 50 surrounded by a groove 51 into and out of which may be moved a rubber like compression ring 52, an externally threaded upper end 53 and a passage 54 extending from the central passage 55 inside the. extension 50 to an orifice 56 in the groove. Arranged to be screwed onto the threaded top 53 of the extension 50v isa collar 60 preferably formed of a light plastic.;and having an internal passage 61 leading from its lower internally'threaded end 62 to an upper internally threaded enlargement 63 having a tapered bottom portion 64 and arrangedto receive the externally threaded tubularbottorn .65 of a plastic. cap 66 having a dome-shaped portion 67 similar to the cap 35. The tubular bottom of the cap 66 is longer than the bottom 37 of the cap 35 and. is longitudinally split near its bottom end at spaced erv al s. A plug 70 has an elongated lower tapered portion 71 to the lower end 72 of which is attached a string 73 which may be led down into the extension 50 of the valvemember 16a and out through the side passage 54 and the orifice 56 in the groove 51 when the collar 60 is screwed down onto the extension 50 of the valve member 16a.
In operation, after inflation of the balloon the string 73 is pulled downwardly by the operator to seat the plug 70 with its lower end 72 as low as possible. During this operation the cap 66 has been partially screwed into the threaded enlargement 63 of the collar 60. After the plug 75 is fully seated, the cap 66 is screwed further down into the member 60 at which time the tapered portion 64 of the enlargement 63 compresses the ends of the tubular portion 65 of the cap 66 together to exert a compressing action against the lower part 71 of the plug 7 0.
To send the balloon aloft the cap 66 is left screwed into the collar 60 and the collar 60 is unscrewed from the threaded top53 of the upper extension 50 of the valve member 16a and is sent aloft with the balloon so that the bottom 65 of the cap 66 remains compressed against the lower end 72 of the plug 70 thus helping to keep the gases sealed in.
The top of the plug 70 may have a hollowed-out portion 75 to receive liquid cement.
' I claim:
1. A d evice =for inflating a resilient balloon having a neck, and in combination, a cap including means to form a seal with the neck of the balloon, said cap having a circular bottom edge, a tube through said cap forming a passage, a plug having an external shape conforming to at least part of the interior of said tube and adapted to be moved into said tube from the inside of said neck to plu g said passage, and a snap-on ring shaped so as to be engaged with said cap and having a portion which makes contact with said bottom edge and another portion which presses against the surface of said cap when the ring is so engaged.
2. In apparatus for inflating a resilient balloon from a gas cartridge, and in combination, means to connect the gas cartridge to the balloon including a mouth engageable with the cartridge, a conduit having a balloon engaging portion at the end opposite the mouth, and a side passage leading from the interior of said conduit to an orifice on the externalsurface 10f said'means, said side passage being arranged to accommodate a control string leading from the interior of a balloon connected to said balloon engaging portion of the tube.
3. In the combination as set forth in claim 2, a valve in said conduit. i i
4. In the combination as set forth in claim 2, said means being surrounded by a circular groove, said orifice of said side passage being located in 'said g groove. i
5. In the combination as set forth in claim 4, said means having a rseilient compressionfring surrounding its external surface, said compression ring being movable selectively in and outof said groove.
6. In apparatus for inflating a resilient balloon from a gas cartridge havinga sealed orifice, said ball-oon'having a neck, a cap including means to form a seal with the neck of the balloon, a tube through said cap forming a gas passage, said tube being threaded on its lower and, means to connect the gas cartridge'to the cap including a mouth engageable with the cartridge, a conduit extending from the mouth and having a threaded portion engageable with said threaded lowerend'of'the tube in the cap, and a side passage leading from the'interior of said conduit to an orifice on the external surface of said means, said side passage being arranged to accommodate a control string leading from the inside of the neck of a balloon connected to the cap when the cap is engaged to the conduit.
7. In the combination as set forth in claim 6, a plug having an external shape conforming to at least part of the interior of said tube and adapted tobe moved into said tube from the inside of said neckto plug said passage, said plug having means on its bottom by which a line may be attached thereto and passed into said tube and out through said side passage and orifice.
8. In the combination as set forth in claim 7, a line attached to said plug and passing into said tube and out through said side passage and orifice.
9. In the combination as set forth in claim 7, a valve in said conduit.
10. In the combination as set forth in claim 7, said means being surrounded by a circular groove, said orifice of said side passage being located in said groove.
11. In the combination as set forth in claim 7, said means having a resilient compression ring surrounding its external surface, said compression ring being movable selectively in and out of said groove.
12. A device for inflating a resilient balloon having a neck comprising a cap including means to form a seal with the neck of the balloon, clamp means engageable with a peripheral portion of said cap and 1OV61' a part of the neck of the balloon thereby to press the neck of the balloon against the cap, a tube through said cap forming a gas passage, and a plug having an external shape conforming to at least part of the interior of said tube and adapted to be moved into said tube from the inside of said neck to plug said passage, said tube having thread means on its lower end by which said gas passage may be connected to a gas supply means, and said plug having means by which a draw line may be attached to said plug and passed through said tube.
13. A device for inflating a resilient balloon having a neck comprising a cap including means to form a seal with the neck of the balloon, a tube through said cap forming a gas passage, said tube protruding below said cap and being externally threaded, and a plug having an external shape conforming to at least part of the interior of said tube and adapted to be moved into said tube from the inside of said neck to plug said passage, said tube having thread means on its lower end by which said gas passage may be connected to a gas supply means, and said plug having means by which a draw line may be attached to said plug and passed through said tube.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,070,422 Creque Aug. 19, 1913 1,136,932 Brucker Apr. 27, 1915 2,646,019 Chetlan July 21, 1953