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Publication numberUS2908911 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 20, 1959
Filing dateOct 18, 1956
Priority dateOct 18, 1956
Publication numberUS 2908911 A, US 2908911A, US-A-2908911, US2908911 A, US2908911A
InventorsSowle Theo J
Original AssigneeSowle Theo J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Adjustable face guard
US 2908911 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Filed Oct. 18, 1956 R. m m m United States Patent ADJUSTABLE FACE GUARD Theo J. Sowle, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Application October 18, 1956, Serial No. 616,877

7 Claims. (Cl. 2-9) 'I'his invention relates to athletic face guards and, in particular, to helmet-attached adjustable face guards.

One object of this invention is to provide a helmetattached face guard which is quickly and easily adjustable to fit the widely differing facial dimensions of different wearers, so that a single face guard is adaptable to a number of different wearers.

Another object is to provide a helmet-attached face guard of the foregoing character which eliminates the necessity for the football coach to drill holes at different locations in different football helmets to adapt the same face guard'to players of different facial dimensions, as well as to provide a fine adjustment enabling the face guard to be more accurately fitted to the individual wearer after it has been mounted in its approximately correct position upon the helmet, thereby saving much time on the part of the coach yet providing a much better fitted face guard for the player.

Another object is to provide a helmet-attached face guard of the foregoing character which is adapted to be mounted on the helmet at the factory, and yet is adjustable by the football coach to the proper position for the individual player at the gymnasium or on the playing field.

Another object is to provide a helmet-attached face guard which makes it possible for the same helmet and face guard to be quickly and easily refitted to the head and face of another player of widely differing facial characteristics, thereby making it possible to fit properly each athlete on a squad with the helmets and face yguards owned by the institution sponsoring the team without making it necessary for an individual head gear and face guard to be purchased for each new player.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent during the course of the following description of the accompanying drawings, wherein:

Figure l is a side elevation of an adjustable face guard, according to one form of the invention, mounted on a football helmet and held in position against the front of the wearers chin by a chin strap attached to the helmet;

Figure 2` is a front elevation of the adjustable face guard and helmet shown in Figure l;

Figure 3 is a fragmentary enlarged vertical section taken along the line 3 3 in Figure l, showing details of the adjusting device of the face guard;

Figure 4 is an enlarged vertical section upon a line similar to the line 3-3 in Figure l, but showing a modied adjusting device; and

Figure 5 is an enlarged vertical section upon a line similar to the line 3-3 in Figure l, but showing a still further modified adjusting device.

H itherto, face guards have been provided for attachment to helmets for use in various sports, such as foott ball and automobile racing, to protect the nose, teeth, lips, jaw, cheek-bones, eyes and other portions of the face from injury. One such successful face guard is shown, for example, in the Sowle application Serial No. 393,841

liled November 23, 1953 for Face Guard, which was ice issued as Patent No. 2,790,175 on April 30, 1957. Such prior face guards, however, have been subject to the limitation of being comparatively inflexible as regards fitting the heads and faces of wearers of widely differing facial dimensions, although the face guard shown in the above-identified Sowle patent is superior to prior face guards in adaptability to varying facial dimensions. Under such circumstances, it has been necessary for the coach or the player himself to drill holes in the helmet in order to mount the face guard, and to drill additional holes in the helmet when it was tted to a different player.

` The present invention provides a face guard having an adjustment between it and the helmet whereby the coach or player can quickly and easily adjust the face guard to the particular facial dimensions of the player with a fine adjustment which insures an accurate fit and prevents the injuries which result from loosely or poorly fitting face guards. One form of adjusting device for this purpose is shown in Figure 3, using interltting multiple ridges, another form in Figure 4 using a screw and nut adjustment and still another form in Figure 5 using a multiple hole and screw adjustment.

Referring to the drawings in detail, Figure l shows a face guard, generally designated 10, according to one form of the invention as attached to a headgear, generally designated 12, such as a football helmet having a chin strap 14 passing in front of and beneath the chin of the wearer. The headgear 12 is of any suitable type and may also consist of the helmet used by a race driver for the protection of his skull and forehead, and has a top portion 16 extending down over the forehead to a front or forward portion 17 having a lower front edge 18 at approximately the level of the eyebrows with a rearwardly and downwardly extending edge portion 20 and 22 respectively following the approximate location of the cheek bones to leave vision from the eyes unobstructed. The lower portion 22 of the edge, generally designated 24, has a rounded corner 26 which it joins the lower edge 28 of the head gear or helmet 12. Ear guards or protectors 30 are optionally provided and the chin strap 14 has an anchorage portion 32 secured as by a snap fastener 31 to the lower portion of the helmet forwardly of the ear guards 3l). The chin strap 14 is secured to the side portions 33 of the helmet 12 in any suitable manner, such as by the buckle 34 shown in Figure 1 or by a quick-detachable snap fastening or any other suitable form of fastener. The forward portion 36 of the chin strap is cupped, having an upper part 38 passing in front of the chin of the wearer and a lower part 40 passing beneath it. The face guard 10 is made of any suitable material, such as synthetic plastic, preferably transparent synthetic plastic.

The face guard 10 has an approximately U-shaped main portion 42 having, at its upper end portions 44 adjustment devices, generally designated 45, described in detail below and pivotally secured by any suitable fastenings 46 to the side portions 33 of the headgear 12. The main portion 42 has side portions 48 of arcuate shape extending downwardly and forwardly around the front of the Wearers chin, the front portion being designated with the reference numeral 50. A mouth opening 52 of horizontally-elongated outline is provided between the front portion 50 and a bridge portion 54 which extends upwardly and forwardly at an inclined position, having its opposite end portions 56 joining the side portions 48 of the main portion 42 just below the nose level. The bridge portion 54 has a front portion 58 which extends over the lower front portion of the nose and which has an inner surface 60 spaced away from the nose to keep it out of contact with the nose. The upper edge 62 of the bridge portion 54 extends forwardly and upwardly 3 from its junction 64 with the forward edges 66 of the side portions 48. The lower edge 68 of the bridge portion 54 extends upwardly and forwardly at approximately the level of the bottom of the noseto provide protection for the nose and mouth.

The upper edge 7e of the front portion 56 lies approximately at the level of the lower lip and joins the lower edge '68 of the bridge portion 54 at the corners 72 of the mouth opening 52 corresponding to the corners of the wearers mouth. The upper part 38 of the forward portion 36 of the chin strap 14 is optionally secured by any suitable fastener or fasteners 74 to the front portion 50 of the main portion 42, and a small pad 76 is optionally secured, as by cementing, to the inner surface 78 of the forward portion 50 and engages the front 'of the chin of the wearer below the level of the teeth. The pad or cushion i6 is preferably of elastic deformable material, such as natural or synthetic rubber or sponge rubber, or a resilient synthetic plastic. The side portions 48 and bridge portion 54 of the face guard 10 elsewhere than at the front portion 50 are preferably out of contact with the face of the wearer, thereby providing a space through which cooling air can pass, Ventilating the guard and rendering it comfortable on the face. Moreover, this same space prevents dust from irritating the wearer by coming between the guard and the face, as in prior types of mask or face guard having large areas of padding directly engaging the face. j

Each of the adjustment devices 45 includes an upper connection member 80 (Figure 3) with a thickened end or hub 82 from which a shank 84 extends downward and is provided on its rearward side with corrugations 86. The latter mesh with similar corrugations 88 on the upper end portion 44 of the U-shaped main portion 42 -of the face guard 10. Each upper end portion 84 `is also provided with an elongated slot 90 through which the threaded shank 94 of a fastener 92 extends. The fastener 92 is in the form of a screw with a flanged tubular nut 96 threaded onto the opposite end thereof against the rearward surface of each upper end portieri 44 with its tubular threaded portion seated in a hole 97 on the upper end portion 44 ofthe main portion 42.

The fastening 46 of each adjustment device 45 also consists of a headed threaded fastener 98, such as a screw threaded into a flanged tubular nut 100 which passes through a `washer 102 and a hole 104 in the helmet side portion 33 and also through a hole 106 in the thickened portion or hub 82 of the upper connection member 80, the outer end of the hole `106 being counterbored to receive a lock washer 108 and also the head of the screw 98.

The modified adjustment device, generally designated 110, shown in Figure 4 has a pivotal fastening 46 similar to that described above in connection with Figure 3 and similarly mounted in the hub or thickened portion 112 of the modiiied upper connection member 114, a hole 116 therein receiving the tubular nut 100 as before. The shank 118 of the upper connection member 114 has a threaded portion 120 which is threaded into a correspondingly-threaded socket 122 in a thickened upper end 124 of each upper end portion 44.

The further modified adjustment device, generally designated 130, shown in Figure also has a pivotal fastening 46 similar to that described above in connectiony with Figures 3 and 4, and similarly mounted in the hub or thickened portion 132 of the modified upper connection member 134, aI hole 136y therein receiving the tubular nut as before. The shank 133 of the upper connection member 134 slidably and adjustably enters a correspondingly-shaped socket 140 in the thickened upper end 142 of each upper end portion 44 and has verticallyspaced indentations 144 therein, one of which is selectively engaged by the conical tip of a set screw 146- threaded into a hole 148l in the outer side wall 150 of the thickened portion 142.

In the use of the adjustable face guard of Figures 1 to 3 inclusive, the coach, or other person places the helmet 12 upon the head of the player and then places the face guard 10 in position with the pad 76 resting against the players chin and adjusts the chin strap 14 to hold the lower part of the face guard 10 partly against the chin. With the bridge portion 5S properly spaced away from the players nose, the coach or other person scribes or otherwise marks the proper positions of the upper end portions 44 of the face guard side portions 4S on the sides 33 of the helmet 12. The helmet 12 and face guard 10 are then removed from the players head, the fastenings 46 are removed (Figure 3) by withdrawing the screws 98 from their tubular nuts 100, and the holes 104 drilled in the helmet side walls 33 while the face guard upper end portions 44 are held in alignment with the scribe marks. The tubular nuts are then inserted through the holes 104 from the inside of the helmet, and through the holes 106 in the connection members 30 of the adjustment devices 45, whereupon the screws 98 of the fastenings 46 are rethreaded into their respective tubular nuts 100, thereby pivotally vattaching the connection members 80 to the helmet sides 33.

Toadjust the face guard side portions 48 upward or downward, to liit the face guard 10 to the players face, the coach or other person loosens the screws 92 suiciently to enable disengagement of the corrugations 86 on the yconnection member 8u from the corrugations 88 on the upper end portion 44 of the face guard side portions 8S, then moves the side portions 48 and the remainder of the face guard 10 upward or downward relatively to the connection portion 80 as permitted by the slots 90 until the proper position is reached, whereupon the coach or other person tightens the screws 92, thereby re-engaging the corrugations 86 and 88 and rendering the adjustment permanent until readjustrnent is again required for another player.

The adjustment of the modied adjustment device shown in Figure 4 is accomplished by removing the screws 98 from the fastenings 46 and slipping the hub 112 off the tubular flanged nuts 100. The coach or other person then turns the connection member 114 in a' clockwise or counterclockwise direction, depending upon whether it is desired to shorten or lengthen the face guard .side portions 48 until the desired adjustment has been achieved. The coach or other person then replaces the hubs 112 of the connection members 114 upon the tubular nuts 100, replaces the screws 98 and the' adjustment is complete.

The adjustment of further modified adjustment device of Figure 5 is accomplished by loosening the set screws -146 by means of a screw driver until their pointed or conical tips recede from the indentations 144. The upper end portions 44 are then moved upward or down ward to achieve the desired adjustment, to the desired location, whereupon the set screws 146 are re-threaded through their holes 148 into the nearest indentation 144. This renders the adjustment permanent until such time as a. readjustment is desired for iitting the helmet 12 and face guard 10 to a different player.

What I claim is:

1. An adjustable face guard adapted to be attached to the opposite sides of an athletic helmet, said face guard comprising a mask structure of approximately arcuate cross-section configured to at least partially cover the wearers face and having a transversely-extending chin-protecting member disposed near the bottom thereof and arm members extending upwardly from said chinprotect'ing member on the opposite sides thereof and a transversely-disposed nose-protecting member -spaced vertically above said chin-protecting member and extending between -said arm members, connection members movably engaging said arm members and adjustable longitudinally relatively thereto, pivot elements secured to said connection members and adapted to pivotally connect said connection members to the opposite sides of the helmet, and means for xedly yet releasably securing said connection members to said arm members in their adjusted positions against relative longitudinal motion therebetween.

2. An adjustable face guard adapted to be attached to the opposite sides of an athletic helmet, said face guard comprising a mask structure of approximately arcuate cross-section conligured to at least partially cover the wearers face and having a transversely-extending chin-protecting member disposed near the bottom thereof and arm members extending upwardly from said chinprotecting member on the opposite sides thereof and a transversely-disposed nose-protecting member spaced vertically above said chin-protecting member and extending between said arm members, connection members movably engaging said arm members and adjustable longitudinally relatively thereto, pivot elements secured to said connection members and adapted to pivotally connect said connection members to the opposite sides of the helmet, and means for xedly yet releasably securing said connection members to said arm members in their adjusted positions against relative longitudinal motion therebetween, said connection members slidably engaging said arm members in the released condition of said securing means. Y

3. -An adjustable face guard 4adapted to be attached to the opposite sides of an athletic helmet, said face guard comprising a mask structure of `approximately arcuate cross-section configured to at least partially cover the wearersl face and having a transversely-extending chin-protecting member `disposed near the bottom thereof and arm members extending upwardly from said chinprotecting member on the opposite sides thereof and a transversely-disposed nose-protecting member spaced vertically above said chin-protecting member and extending between said arm members, connection members movably engaging said arm members and adjustable longitudinally relatively thereto, pivot elements secured to Said connection members and adapted to pivotally connect said connection members to the opposite sides of the helmet, and means for Iixedly yet releasably securing said connection members to said arm members in their adjusted positions :against relative longitudinal motion therebetween, said connection members and said arm members having interengaging projections land depressions thereon preventing relative longitudinal motion therebetween in the interengaged positions thereof.

4. An adjustable face guard adapted to be attached to the opposite sides of an athletic helmet, said face guard comprising Ia mask structure of approximately arcuate cross-section configured to at least partially cover the wearers face and having a transversely-extending chinprotecting member disposed near the bottom thereof and arm members extending upwardly from said chin-protecting member on the `opposite sides thereof and a transversely-disposed nose-protecting member spaced vertically above said chin-protecting member and extending between said arm members, connection members movably engaging said arm members and adjustable longitudinally relatively thereto, pivot elements secured to said connection members and adapted to pivotally connect said connection members to the opposite sides of the helmet, and means for xedly yet releasably securing said connection members to said arm members in their adjusted positions against relative longitudinal motion therebetween, said connection members and said arms having interengaging corrugations disposed laterally thereof preventing relative longitudinal motion therebetween in the interengaged positions thereof.

5. An adjustable face guard adapted to be attached to the `opposite sides of an athletic helmet, said face guard Acomprising a mask structure of approximately arcuate cross-section congured to at least partially cover the wearers face and having a transversely-extending chin-protecting member disposed near the bottom thereof and arm members extending upwardly from said chinprotecting member on the opposite sides thereof and a transversely-disposed nose-protecting member spaced vertically above said chin-protecting member and extending between said arm members, connection members movably engaging said arm members and `adjustable longitudinally relatively thereto, pivot elements secured to said connection members and adapted to pivotally connect said connection members to the opposite sides of the helmet, and means for securing said connection members to said arm members in their adjusted positions, one of said members `on each Side of said mask structure having a threaded bore therein and the other member on each side having a threaded stem thereon threadedly engaging said bore.

6. An adjustable face guard adapted to be attached to the opposite sides of an athletic helmet, said face guard comprising a mask structure of approximately arcuate cross-section congured to at least partially cover the wearers face and having a transversely-extending chin-protecting member disposed near the bottom thereof and arm members extending upwardly from said chinprotecting member Von the opposite sides thereof and a transversely-disposed nose-protecting member spaced vertically above said chin-protecting member and extending between said arm members, connection members movably engaging said arm members and adjustable longitudinally relatively thereto, pivot elements secured to said connection members and `adapted to pivotally connect said connection members to the opposite sides of the helmet, and means for securing said connection members to said arm members in their adjusted positions, one of said members on each side of said mask structure having a multiplicity of depressions spaced longitudinally therealong and the other member on each side having a projection thereon selectively engageable with one of said depress'ions.

7. An adjustable face guard adapted to be attached to the opposite sides of an athletic helmet, said face guard comprising a mask structure of approximately arcuate cross-section conigured to at least partially cover the wearers face and having a transversely-extending chin-protecting member disposed near the bottom thereof and arm members extending upwardly from said chinprotecting member on the opposite sides thereof and a transversely-disposed nose-protecting member spaced vertically above said chin-protecting member and extending between said `arm members, connection members movably engaging said arm members land adjustable longitudinally relatively thereto, pivot elements secured to said connection members and adapted to pivotally connect said connection members to the 'opposite sides of the helmet, and means for securing said connection members to said arm members in their adjusted positions, one of said members on each side of said mask structure having a multiplicity of depressions spaced longitudinally therealong and the other member on each side having a threaded element threaded therethrough with a projection thereon selectively engageable with one of said depressions.

References Cited in the le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 456,877 Bingman July 28, 1891 996,003 Confrey June 20, 1911 2,353,043 'Kraski et al. `uly 4, 1944 2,763,006 Amundsen Sept. 18, 1956 2,780,814 Radnofsky Feb. 12, 1957 2,780,815 Newland Feb. 12, 1957 2,790,175 .Sowle Apr, 30, 1957

Patent Citations
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US2353043 *Apr 21, 1943Jul 4, 1944 Welding goggles
US2763006 *Oct 12, 1953Sep 18, 1956Fendall CoFace shield
US2780814 *Jul 29, 1954Feb 12, 1957Matthew I RadnofskyVisor and actuating assembly for a helmet
US2780815 *Dec 20, 1954Feb 12, 1957Hutchinson Brothers Leather CoFootball helmets provided with face guards
US2790175 *Nov 23, 1953Apr 30, 1957Sowle Theo JFace guard
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2983923 *Jan 20, 1959May 16, 1961Leonard P FriederRigging for protective helmet
US3113318 *May 10, 1962Dec 10, 1963Marietta Michael TFace mask for athletic helmets
US3787895 *Jul 21, 1972Jan 29, 1974Belvedere PProtective face mask and padding material therefor
US4024587 *Mar 1, 1976May 24, 1977Griffin Products IncorporatedHelmet conversion kit safety helmet
US4774729 *Jun 15, 1987Oct 4, 1988Coates Thomas BAthletic helmet face mask attachment
US5343569 *Jul 26, 1993Sep 6, 1994Asare Michael KProtective helmet containing dye capsules
US6047400 *Jul 7, 1998Apr 11, 2000Spencer; James E.Pivotable, detachable face mask
US6862750 *Feb 23, 2004Mar 8, 2005Don RasberrySoft strap helmet stabilizer
US8739599Mar 2, 2011Jun 3, 2014Bio-Applications, LLCIntra-extra oral shock-sensing and indicating systems and other shock-sensing and indicating systems
EP0259269A1 *Jan 9, 1987Mar 9, 1988NOLAN S.p.A.A full-face crash helmet with an improved chin-covering member
EP0707449A1 *Jul 8, 1994Apr 24, 1996Bell Sports, Inc.Sizing and stabilizing apparatus for bicycle helmets
WO1995020886A1 *Jan 27, 1995Aug 10, 1995Leader Ind IncA protective sports headgear
WO2005115188A1 *Apr 28, 2005Dec 8, 2005Louis GuayImprovement to safety helmet
WO2013070590A1 *Nov 6, 2012May 16, 2013Gorsen Medical Systems, Inc.Helmet with chin guard
Classifications
U.S. Classification2/9, D29/108, 2/424
International ClassificationA42B3/20, A42B3/18, A42B3/08, A42B3/04
Cooperative ClassificationA42B3/20, A42B3/08
European ClassificationA42B3/20, A42B3/08