US 2906366 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 29, 1959 D. MAPES BODY CATCHER Filed Dec. 20, 1957 INVENTOR Daniel Ma oes BY WM W ATTORNEY iihm.
United States Patent 2,906,366 BODY CYA'ITCHER Daniel Mapes, West Caldwell, N.J., assignor to Specialties Development Corporation, West Caldwell, NJ., a corporation of New Jersey Application December 20,1957, Serial No. 704,029
2 Claims. (Cl..182-'-139) The present invention relates to fire escapes of the type known as body catchers, and, more particularly, to improvements in such body catchers utilizing inflatable bags.
Heretofore, it has been proposed to provide a landing platform generally comprising an inflatable bag formed in the shape of a circular, relatively thick mat. The difficulty with such a platform is that it 'does not gradually absorb the force of the body of theperson falling thereon wherebythe person may be injured. Also, the mat has considerable rebound which throws the body into the air again, without any assurance of again landing on the mat. 'Since such a platform does not catch or confine the body falling thereon, the platform must be surrounded by a large number of members of therescue personnel who are thereby endangered in attempting to confine the rebounding body.
Accordingly,'an object of the present invention is to provide a body catcher which is not subject to the foregoing difficulties and objections.
Another object is to provide such a body catcher which confines the body falling'thereon.
Another object'is to provide sucha body catcherwhich need not be'attended by a large number of rescuers;
Another object is to provide such a body catcher which absorbs the impact 'of the fallen body gradually and minimizes rebound.
A further object is to accomplish the foregoing in a I,
simple,practical and economical manner.
Other and further objects of the invention will be obvious upon an understanding of the illustrative embodiment about to be described, or will be indicated in the appended claims, and various advantages not referred to herein will occur to one skilled in the art uponemployment of the invention in practice.
In acordance with the present invention, the foregoing objects are accomplished by providing a body catcher which comprises a plurality of generally ring-shaped in flatable bags arranged in stacked relation to provide a central body receiving opening and with adjacent bags secured to each other, and flexible sheets each having its edges secured between two adjacent bags and being positioned in the opening, at least certain of adjacent sheets being perforated with the area of the perforations increasing in the order the sheets are removed from the uppermost bag.
In the drawing:
Fig. 1 is a side view, partly in elevation and partly in section, of a body catcher in accordance with the invention.
Fig. 2 is a plan view with portions broken away at different levels.
Referring to the drawing in detail, a body catcher 10 is shown which comprises a plurality of generally ringshaped inflatable bags, for example'five of such bags arranged in stacked relation to provide a central body receiving opening and identified by reference numerals 11,
12, 13, 14 and 15 in ascending order, means for securing adjacent bags together in the manner as described hereinafter, and a flexible sheet 16 on which the body is adapted to land positioned in the opening between the uppermost and the lowermost bags.
'Preferably, the sheet 16 is secured between the uppermost bag 15 and the bag 14 below it, whereby the bag 15 serves as a body retaining wall. Alternatively, the sheet could be secured between the bag 14 and the bag 13, whereby the bags 14 and 15 serve as the retaining wall.
, However, in order to maintain the bags in stacked relation and to prevent sidewise collapse of the ring-shaped wall structure provided by the bags when a body lands on the sheet 16, similar sheets 17, 18 and 19 are secured between the bags 11 and 12,12 and 13, and 13 and-14, respectively. Such securement-may be effected by suitable adhesive and/ or stitching or the like which is applied along a continuous annular zone of the contacting bag and, shut surfaces. Further securement of adjacent bags and the sheet therebetween may be effected by grommet-like elements 20 positioned registering apertures of the adjacent bags and sheets at spaced points along the annular zone and, having a pair. of flanges 21 between which the portions of the bags and sheets defining the aperture are firmly secured.
These grommet-like elements 20 have a central opening 22 which provides for fluid flow communication between adjacent bags, whereby an external manifold for introducing a gaseous medium under pressure into each of the bags is eliminated and better equalization of pressure withinthe bags is attained by reason of several of such openings 22 being located at spaced points out the bags. Thus, a single pressure medium inlet fitting 24, including a check valve 25, may be connected to one of the bags, for example the uppermost bag 15. One or move vent or pressure relief valves 26 may be connected to the lowermost bag 11 to prevent excessive pressures from being established in the bags.
In order to protect the lowermost bag from excessive wear, a pair of rings 27 are secured to the underside of thisjbag adjacent the inner and outer edges thereof. These rings may be solid or tubular and may be formed of rubber or any other suitable wear resistant'material which is light in weight and flexible.
If desired, the middle bag 13, for example, may be provided with diametrically opposite carrying handles 28.
An important feature of the present invention is that the sheets 17, 18 and 19 can be utilized to gradually absorb the impact of the body landing on the sheet 16 and to prevent rebound. This is accomplished by providing the sheets 17, 18 and 19 within venting means such as a plurality of perforations or openings 29 or constructing the sheets of a mesh fabric. Preferably, the effective area of these openings in both cases increases in descending order in relation to the position of these sheets.
In this manner, when the body lands on the sheet 16, the air between the sheets 16 and 19 is compressed, but such compression is slowly relieved by the openings leading to the space between the sheets 19 and 18. This causes the air in the last mentioned space to be compressed to a lesser extent, but again such compression is relieved more rapidly by the somewhat larger openings leading to the space between the sheets 18 and 17. This again causes the air in the last mentioned space to be compressed to an even lesser extent, but such compression is relieved even more rapidly by the still larger openings leading to the space beneath the sheet 17 which is in fluid flow communication with the atmosphere. This all takes place in such a short interval of time, which is suflicient to enable the sheet 16 to absorb the impact of the fallen body to provide for a soft, well cushioned landing and to enable compression in the space below the sheet 16 to decay at a rate to eliminate rebound of the body.
It has been found that, if the'sheets 16, 17, 18 and 19 have an area of about 75 square feet and adjacent sheets are about eighteen inches apart, the spaces between the sheets 16 and 19, 19 and 18 and 18 and 18 and 17 each having a volume of about 112.5 cubic feet. Decompression of these spaces can then be effected in the foregoing manner by providing the sheets 17, 18 and 19 with openings having a total effective area of about 24, 30 and 36 square inches, respectively.
The term generally ring-shaped is intended to include circular, oval, elliptical and polygonal bags. Likewise, while the bags are shown as having a generally rectangular cross-section, the cross section could be circular, oval or elliptical. However, a shape is preferred which has a wide flat surface facing a similar surface of an adjacent bag to provide for an annular zone of sufficient width, whereby effective securement of adjacent bags and the sheets therebetween is achieved. Also, while the bags are illustrated as being identical, it is contemplated that the lower bags could be greater in crosssectional area than the upper bags to provide for greater stability of the body catcher.
In testing a body catcher constructed substantially as shown and described therein, the bags were inflated with a mixture of air and nitrogen in about 30 seconds by an aspirating device such as disclosed in United States Patent 2,859,908 to provide a pressure of about one-half pound per square inch gauge within the bags. A dummy, simulating a body weighing 200 pounds, was dropped onto the body catcher from a height of 55 feet, and landed on the sheet 16 with an impact force of 6,432 pounds. The sheet sagged about 2.5 feet at its center as this force was absorbed, but the dummy did not rebound. Many tests were conducted in this manner and in each instance the uppermost bag confined the dummy and prevented it from rolling off the sheet 16.
In view of the foregoing description, it will be seen that the present invention provides a simple, practical and reliable body catcher which can be stored in a minimum amount of space when deflated and which can be quickly inflated to place the same in condition for service. The body catcher is sturdy in construction, will not topple over and can withstand such rough usage to which it may be subjected.
As various changes may be made in the form, construction and arrangement of the parts herein, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention and without sacrificing any of its advantages, it is to be understood that all matter herein is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in any limiting sense.
1. A body catcher comprising a plurality of at least four generally ring-shaped inflatable bags arranged in stacked relation to provide a central body receiving opening and with adjacent bags secured to each other, a flexible sheet on which a body is adapted to land positioned in said opening and having its edges secured between the uppermost bag and the bag below it, a perforated flexible sheet positioned in said opening and having its edges secured between two adjacent bags below said flexible sheet, and a second perforated flexible sheet positioned in said opening and having its edges secured between two adjacent bags below said first mentioned perforated flexible sheet, the perforate area of said second perforated flexible sheet being greater than that of said first mentioned perforated flexible sheet.
2. A body catcher comprising a plurality of at least four generally ring-shaped inflatable bags arranged in stacked relation to provide a central body receiving opening and with adjacent bags secured to each other, and flexible sheets each having its edges secured between two adjacent bags and being positioned in said opening, at least certain of adjacent sheets being perforated with the area of the perforations increasing in the order said sheets are removed from the uppermost bag.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,166,811 Bowers Jan. 4, 1916 2,612,645 Boland Oct. 7, 1952 2,713,466 Flecher et al. July 19, 1955 2,749,560 Craft June 12, 1956 2,784,425 Bicknell Mar. 12, 1957 FOREIGN PATENTS 515,599 Belgium Dec. 15, 1952 542,335 Great Britain Jan. 5, 1942