US 2898596 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 11, 1959 c. P. KEEN 2,898,596
WRESTLING HELMET Filed Feb. 27, 1958 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR CLIFFORD I? KEEN BYLW/vv, W1 4. (M8
ATTORNEYS Aug. 11, 1959 c. P. KEEN WRESTLING HELMET Filed Feb. 2'7, 1958 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR CLIFFORD I? KEEN ATTORNEYS United States Patent WRESTLING HELMET Clifford P. Keen, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Application February 27,1958, Serial No. 718,077
7 Claims. (Cl. 2-3) This invention relates to protective headgear for wear by athletes, and is particularly directed to an improved form of helmet for protecting wrestlers from the kind of injuries which give rise to the formation of cauliflower ears.
One of the principal objects of the present invention is to provide an ear-protecting head guard of novel construction which is both comfortable to the wearer and noninjurious to an opponent whose head, arms and other portions of the body may come into contact with the external parts of the guard while wrestling.
Another object is the provision of a wrestling headgear of improved design which is constlucted of light but durable materials, and is capable of adequately absorbing blows or shocks that might otherwise damage the wearers cars.
A further object of the invention is to provide an improved helmet of the character described which is readily adjustable so as to fit snugly wearers whose heads are of different sizes and shapes, and which may be put on and taken off quickly and easily.
These and other objects, including the provision of a protective athletic headgear of sanitary construction wherein all of the parts are made of moisture-proof materials, will appear more fully upon consideration of the detailed description of the embodiment of the invention which follows. In this connection, although only one specific form of helmet is described and illustrated in the accompanying drawings, it is to be expressly understood that these drawings are for purposes of illustration only and are not to be construed as defining the limits of the invention, for which latter purpose reference should be had to the appended claims.
In the drawings, wherein like reference characters indicate like parts throughout the several views:
Figs. 1 and 2 are perspective views of one form of earprotecting headgear embodying the present invention showing the device as it would appear when worn and viewed from the front and back, respectively;
Fig. 3 is a perspective view of the helmet of Figs. 1 and 2 as it would appear when worn and viewed from the side, the head of the wearer being omitted from this view;
Figs. 4 and 5 are side views of one of the jacketed ear guards of the helmet, including fragments of the head straps and the chin strap, as viewed from the outside and the inside, respectively;
Fig. 6 is a side view of one of the ear guard shells or liners with the jacket removed; and
Figs. 7 and 8 are sectional views on an enlarged scale taken substantially on the lines 7-7 and 8-8, respectively, in Fig. 4-.
The wrestling headgear shown in the drawings as exemplary of the invention comprises a pair of jacketed ear guards indicated generally at 11 and 12, so shaped as to conform roughly to the outline of a human ear, which are adapted to be held in place over the ears of the wearer by a suitable number of head straps 13, 14, 15 and 16 of adjustable length releasably connected to the ear guards ice and extending transversely across the head of the wearer, and a chin strap 17 also of adjustable length releasably connected to the ear guards and extending across and receiving the point of the wearers chin.
In the embodiment illustrated, head straps 13, 14, 15 and 16 extend across the forehead, the top and rear of the head and the base of the skull, respectively, and, if desired, may be assisted in retaining their proper positions by a crown strap 18 which extends longitudinally over the top of the head and is provided with a plurality of longitudinally spaced pairs of slits 19 or other suitable openings through which at least some of the head straps may be passed' In the case of top and rear head straps 14 and 15, the latter may be slit as indicated at 20 to receive the crown strap, instead of vice versa. As shown in Fig. 2, the rear end of crown strap 18 is preferably provided with a plurality of closely spaced pairs of slits 19 to enable proper positioning of head strap 16 with respect to the base of the skull. After head strap 16 has been passed through the selected pair of slits in the crown strap, whatever excess length of crown strap may remain, such as that indicated in broken lines in Fig. 2, may be cut off.
Referring now more particularly to Figs. 4-8, each of ear guards 11 and 12 consists of two separately formed elements, a substantially rigid, non-deformable inner shell or liner 21 having an outwardly protuberant central portion 22 adapted to cover one of the wearers ears and a substantially planar peripheral flange 23, and a removable jacket 24 of flexible, shock-absorbing material having a body portion 25 adapted to cover the outer surface of shell 21 and an inwardly extending, circumferentially continuous lip 26 adapted to engage and cover the inner surface of shell flange 23 If desired, the central portion 22 of shell 21 and the overlying portion of jacket 24 may be provided with registering openings 27 and 28, respectively, for ventilation and hearing purposes. Although the flange 23 of shell 21 may be so formed as to lie entirely in a single plane, it is preferable from the standpoint of comfort to dish the flange slightly in an outward direction at that part of its periphery which overlies the cheek bone of the wearer when the headgear is donned. As shown best in Fig. 8, the lip 26 and the peripheral portion of jacket body 25 to which the lip is connected form a substantially channel-shaped frictional gripping structure which encompasses the shell flange 23 and holds the jacket in place on the inner shell without the use of fastener elements.
Novel means are provided for connecting head straps 13, 14, 15 and 16 to ear guards 11 and 12 without the use of metallic fasteners or other exposed parts that might be injurious to an opponent, and in such a manner that the straps are adjustable in length so that the helmet may be snugly fitted to wearers of different head sizes. To this end, the flange 23 of each ear guard shell 21 is provided with a plurality of pairs of slots 29 through whichthe ends of the head straps are adapted to be adjustably threaded. As shown, the slots of each pair are parallel to one another with a spacing therebetween on the order of A", and extend in a substantially tangentialdirection relative to the adjacent portion of the periphery of flange 23.
In connecting the straps to the ear pieces, each end of the strap is passed through the inner one of the selected pair of slots 29 from the outside surface of flange 23, threaded through the outer slot of the pair from the inside surface of the flange, and then frictionally secured to the standing part of the strap by passage through a loop 30 which may be slipped along the strap toward the ear guard to a position closely adjacent the periphery of shell flange 23. The loops 30 are preferably madeof the same flexible material as the head straps hereinafter d6:
scribed, and fit the straps relatively tightly so as to hold the strap ends against the standing parts thereof after adjustment, while threading of the straps through the closely spaced slots 29 provides sufficient resistance to slippage to maintain the adjustment. As indicated in the drawings, the free ends of the straps lie between the standing parts thereof and the head of the wearer, and thus do not project outwardly into positions where they might be objectionable to an opponent. On the other hand, lips 26 of jackets 24 are circumferentially continuous so as to shield the wearer against contact with those portions of the straps which are threaded through the flange openings 29.
Although both ends of chin strap 17 also may be connected to ear guards 11 and 12 by slidably adjustable, frictional connections of the character above described, it is preferable that one end of said strap be provided with a suitable quickly detachable connection to the flange of one of the ear guard shells. In the illustrated embodiment of the invention, the portion of shell flange 23 of ear guard 11 closest to the chin of the wearer has riveted or otherwise secured thereto the button or male portion 31 of a snap fastener, the socket or female portion 32 of which is carried by a buckle-like member 33 having a pair of parallel slots located on opposite sides of socket 32 through which the free or fastener end of chin strap 17 is adjustably threaded.
As shown best in Figs. 3, 4 and 7, the peripheral portion of the body 25 of each ear guard jacket 24 which covers the outer surface of shell flange 23 is provided with suitably shaped openings 34 overlying each pair of slots 29 in order to permit adjustable threading of the ends of the head and chin straps through said slots. The jacket of ear guard 11 is also provided with a similar opening 35 through which the socket 32 may be fastened to button 31 of the snap fastener, but in this instance the jacket includes a movable flap 36 which is adapted to normally close opening 35 so as to prevent contact of buckle-like member 33 of the snap fastener with the body of a wrestling opponent.
In order that the headgear of the present invention may be both comfortable and adequately protective to the wearer and at the same time non-injurious to an opponent, it is important that the various elements of the device he made of certain materials which are particularly well suited for the purposes of the invention.
For example, the inner shells 21 of the ear guards, which must be of relatively light but rigid construction, may be made of molded plastic, aluminum, spun glass or any other relatively lightweight material having sufiicient strength to resist both the deforming stresses normally encountered in wrestling and the forces applied to the slotted portions of the flanges by the head and chin straps. A molded shell of Royalite plastic having a thickness of approximately has been found to possess the desired characteristics. On the other hand, the removable jackets 24 should be of relatively soft, flexible, shockabsorbing construction, and may be formed of an expanded or cellular foam plastic, foam rubber or similar materials. A molded thickness of .an expanded plastic material such as Pecsolite or Ensolite has been found suitable for both the body 25 and the lip 26 of the jacket. Each jacket is also preferably provided with a relatively thin, continuous coating 37 (see Figs. 7 and 8) of rnoisture-proof material, such as a synthetic resin or rubber base paint which remains flexible after drying, so that the jacket will not absorb perspiration or other moisture and can be readily sanitized by washing. If desired, the jacket coatings may 'be made in difierent colors so that wrestling opponents may be readily identified as to their school or other afiiliation by the colors of their ear guard jackets.
The head straps 13, 14, 15 and 16, crown strap 18 and chin strap 17, must, of course, be flexible, but it is preferred that they be substantially non-elastic so that, after they have been adjusted to provide a snug fit, they will not tend to contract and thereby apply such pressure to the head of the wearer as may cause a headache. The material of the straps must be strong enough to withstand the forces exerted during tightening and adjustment thereof, and is also preferably moisture-proof. Straps of molded vinyl plastic meet these requirements and are advantageous in that the chin-receiving pocket of the chin strap may be molded integrally with the rest of the strap. However, fabric straps made of glass fibers, nylon or other substantially non-stretchable material and coated with vinyl plastic or rubber are less likely to slip after adjustment and may therefore be preferred.
In use, the inner shells 21 of the ear guards are first inserted in the jackets 24 by flexing the jacket lips 26 outwardly to receive the shell flanges 23, whereupon both ends of each head strap and one end of the chin strap may be threaded through the slots 29 in flanges 23 and passed through the retaining loops 30 in the manner previously described. If the crown strap 18 is used, the head straps 13 and 16 are passed through the slits 19 in the crown strap, and the crown strap is passed through the slits 20 in head straps 14 and 15, before the ends of the head straps are connected to the ear guards. The helmet may then be placed on the head of the wearer and the head straps adjusted until the ear guards are properly positioned over the ears and all straps fit snugly to the head of the wearer. If the head strap 16 is not properly positioned with respect to the base of the skull, one end thereof may be disconnected from one of the ear guards and passed through whichever pair of slits 19 at the rear end of crown strap 18 properly locates the head strap, and then reconnected to the ear guard, after which any excess length of the crown strap may be cut off. Finally, the chin strap 17 is adjusted so that the chin of the wearer is properly centered in the molded pocket of the strap when the button 31 of the snap fastener is in engagement with the socket 32 thereof. Any excess length of the chin strap at the end to which the snap fastener is connected may be doubled back and passed through one or both of the slots of the buckle-like member 33', as indicated in Fi 7.
%)nce the helmet has been properly adjusted, it will remain in place during a wrestling match, and will adequately protect the ears of the wearer from injury through the cooperative action of the shock-absorbing jackets and the non-deformable inner shells of the ear guards. At the same time, there is no danger of injury to an opponent from contact with external or outwardly protruding parts. To remove the helmet, it is only necessary to release the snap fastener of the chin strap and lift or slide the head straps off the head, carrying the ear guards with them.
Although only one specific construction of protective headgear has been described and illustrated in the accompanying drawings, it will be obvious that the invention is not limited to the exact device shown, but is capable of embodiment in various structural forms and in materials other than those above disclosed. For example, instead of molding each jacket 24 in one piece, it is evident that the lip 26 may be formed separately and then attached to the remainder of the jacket by cementing, sewing or any other suitable method. It is also contemplated that, instead of being removable, the jackets 24 may be permanently secured to inner shells 21 by adesive or in any other suitable manner, in which ease it will be understood that those portions of the jacket lips 26 which cover the inner surfaces of shell flanges 23 at the locations of slots 29 are left free of adherence to the shells so as to enable threading of the straps through said slots. Another obvious modification would be the substitution of a hook or other suitable means for detachably connecting one end of the chin strap to its associated ear guard for the snap fastener illustrated.
Various other changes, which will now suggest them selves to those skilled in the art, may be made in the structural details of the helmet, and in the specific character of the materials used therein, without departing from the inventive concept. Reference is therefore to be had to the appended claims for a definition of the limits of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. An ear-protecting headgear of the character de scribed comprising a pair of ear guards each including a substantially rigid inner shell having an outwardly protuberant central portion adapted to cover one o f the wearers ears and a substantially planar peripheral flange and a jacket of shock-absorbing material covering the entire outer surface of the protuberant portion of said shell and both the inner and outer surfaces of said flange, a plurality of substantially non-elastic head straps connected to, the flanges of said ear guard shells and adapted to extend transversely across the head of the wearer, means enabling individual adjustment of the length of each of said head straps, and a substantially non-elastic chin strap of adjustable length adapted to be connected to the flanges of said ear guard shells and to extend across 'and to receive the point of the chin of the wearer, said jackets having openings therein through which said head and chin straps may pass freely for connection with said flanges, and the portions of said jackets covering the inner surfaces of said flanges being circumferentially continuous so as to shield the wearer against contact with said flanges and those portions of the straps which are connected thereto.
2. An ear-protecting headgear as defined in claim 1 wherein said jackets are removable from said inner shells.
3. An ear-protecting headgear as defined in claim 1 including means forming a quickly detachable connection between one end of said chin strap and the flange of one of said ear guard shells, the jacket of said lastnamed shell including a movable flap overlying that portion of the shell flange to which said end of the chin strap is detachably connected.
4. An ear-protecting headgear as defined in claim 1 wherein the flange of each of said ear guard shells is provided with a plurality of circumferentially spaced pairs of openings therein for receiving said straps, the length of each of said straps being independently adjustable 6 by threading at least one end thereof through a pair of said flange openings from and back to the outer surface of the flange, and which includes means for frictionally securing the end of each strap to the standing part thereof.
5. An ear guard for a wrestling helmet comprising a substantially non-deformable inner shell having an outwardly protuberant central portion adapted to cover one of the wearers ears and a substantially planar peripheral flange, and a jacket of shock-absorbing material carried by said shell having a body portion for covering substantially the entire outer surface of said shell and an inwardly extending lip connected to the periphery of said body portion for covering the inner surface of the flange of said shell, the flange of said shell being provided with a plurality of circumierentially spaced pairs of elongated slots therein, the slots of each pair being parallel to one another and relatively closely spaced, and extending in a tangential direction with respect to the adjacent portion of the periphery of the flange, the portion of said jacket covering the outer surface of said shell flange having openings therein overlying the slots in said flange, and the lip of said jacket covering the inner surface of said shell flange tbeing circumferentially continuous.
6. An ear guard as defined in claim 5 wherein frictional engagement of the lip of said jacket with the shell flange normally holds the jacket in place on said shell and enables removal of the jacket from the shell when desired.
7. An ear guard as defined in claim 5 including a fastener element carried by said shell flange, and wherein said jacket includes a movable flap overlying that portion of the shell flange to which said fastener element is connected.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,365,425 Shewhart Jan. 11, 1921 1,683,657 Dieterle Sept. 11, 1928 2,001,508 Tobin May 14, 1935 2,277,994 Roberts Mar. 31, 1942 2,297,874 Clark Oct. 6, 1942 2,782,423 Simon et a1 Feb. 26, 1957 2,867,811 Jones Jan. 13, 1959