US 2982968 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 9, 1961 J. K. GROOT 2,982,968
ADJUSTABLE LEG GUARD Filed May 1e, 1958 INV ENTOR.
l d. BY 35 35 AWWALWA United States Patent' O ADJUSTABLE DEG GUARD John K. Groot, Evanston, Ill., assignor to Wilson Athletic Goods Mfg. C0., Inc., River Grove, Ill., a corporation of Delaware Filed May 16, 1958, Ser. No. 135,881
1 Claim. (Cl. 2-22) This invention relates to leg guards such as are used by baseball catchers, and particularly to a leg guard which is adjustable as to length.
To provide the requisite protection for a baseball catcher the leg guards which he normally uses are actually constructed of three relatively rigid protecting sections connected together by a somewhat flexible joint. The principal rigid section is an elongated shield of hard material, the function of which is to protect the shin bone of the wearer. The other two sections are a kneecap guard disposed above the central or shin guard sec.- tion and an instep guard disposed below the said central section. The sections are connected together by padded flexible material which, though not aiording the same protection as the material of the aforesaid sections, are nevertheless adequate for the purpose intended.
Inasmuch as the knee section is usually provided with a strap by which it may be fastened over the players knee, and since the exible connection between the instep section and the shin bone section must necessarily be placed substantially at the ankle of the player, the length of the leg guard as a whole is thus determined by the length of the vleg of the player. It has been customary heretofore to construct the leg guard as a complete, inseparable unit having a xed length, and consequently, where a team has a number of relief catchers of various heights, it has been necessary to provide several sizes of leg guards for these catchers and, in eifect, lit them individually so that each might be adequately protected. This required that each team have a relatively large supply of leg guards, not only as equipment to be worn, but.
as spares, and that these leg guards be transported from place to place with the team. This, Vin turn, resulted in considerable expense for the team in equipping its catchers with leg guards and spares, and also in transporting this equipment with the team.
It is an object of this invention to provide a leg guard constructed in av manner to permit adjusting its length to at least a limited extent to reduce the number of such guards that a team is required to stock and still be in a position to provide adequate leg protection for all of its catchers.
As a more specific object, this invention has Within its purview the provision of a leg guard comprised of at least two rigid sections connected together by a flexible section, with means for adjusting the connection between the sections in a manner to produce a greater or lesser separation between them, thereby effecting a lengthening or shortening of the leg guard as a whole.
This invention has for another of its objects the provision of a separable connection between two relatively rigid sections of a leg guard, wherein said separable connection may be quickly disassembled, adjusted and reassembled to elfect a change in the length of the leg guard, said separable connection being unobtrusive in appearance and having no detrimental effect on the normal functioning of the guard.
These and other objects of this invention will become ICC apparent from the following detailed description when taken together with the accompanying drawings in which:
Fig. 1 is a front elevational View of a leg guard assembly incorporating the length-adjusting feature of this invention;
Fig. 2 is a corresponding rear elevational view of the leg guard assembly of Fig. l; and
Fig. 3 is an enlarged cross sectional view of a fragment of the leg guard assembly of Fig. l showing the adjusts able attaching means for two of the sections of the guard in detail.
It may be appreciated that leg guard assemblies vary in appearance and construction as between the various manufacturers thereof and that therefore the leg guard assembly shown in the accompanying drawings and described hereinafter is representative of but one embodiment of a leg guard to which this invention may be applied.
Referring now to the drawings for a detailed description of the invention, there is shown in Fig. l a leg guard assembly, comprised of a shin guard 10', a knee guard 11 and an instep guard 1,2, with flexible means 13 and 14 for connecting the knee guard and instep guard, respectively, to the shin guard 10. Said shin guard 10 is made of hard, relatively inflexible fibrous material held together by a resinous binder and having in general a curved, slightly tapered contour to `fit around the forward portion of a players leg substantially over the shin portion thereof. A plurality of elliptical bosses 15, substantially equidistantly and vertically spaced with respect to one another, are formed in shin guard 10 by a molding operabeing mounted on a relatively rigid backing conformed to the shape of the cover, said backing extending downwardly from the cover 17 to form the flexible connector 13 between the knee guard 11 and shin guard 10. Said exible connector 13 may comprise front and back layers 18 and 19 (Fig. 3) of soft leather covers between which is packed padding 20 to absorb to some extent the force of a ball striking the connector. y
Instep guard 12 is. comprised of a relatively hard cover 21 which has formed therein a substantially'oval-shaped boss, said cover being sewn to the connector 14. Said connector 14 is similar in construction to connector 13 and is made ofY two layers of'relatively soft leather between which is inserted padding (not shown) similar topadding 20, likewise giving protection against they force of a ball striking thereon.
Instep guard 12 and its connector 14 are secured to the lower edge region of shin guard 10 byaplurality of rivets 22 which pass through the connector and thel said lower edge regions of shin guard 10. The 'connection between'shin Iguard ,10 and .instep guard 12 therefore ,is permanent, though liexible to permit the instep guard to be swung about the lower region of shin guard 10 to follow the movements of the wearers foot.
Knee guard 11 is secured over the knee of the wearer by a strap 23 and a buckle 42 which are secured to the rigid portion of the knee guard, the strap passing around the back of the wearers knee. Shin guard 10 is fastened over the wearers shin by straps 24 and 25 secured to the guard and adapted to be passed around the wearers leg and made secure therearound. Straps 24 and 25 are preferably of the same type las strap 23. As is customary in leg guard constructions, the shin guard l0 is preferably held in spaced relation to the wearers shin by strong leather braces 26, 27 riveted at their sides as at 28, 29 and 30 and 31 in a manner to hold the central regions of the braces 26, 27 spaced from the forward central regions 32 of the shin guard 10.
It may be apparent from the description thus far given that with the knee guard 17 strapped to the wearers knee `and the instep guard 12 properly overlying the wearers instep, the length of the leg guard assembly is a function of the length of the wearers leg, and that therefore to supply wearers having different leg lengths with proper leg guards would require a relatively large assortmeut of such leg guards. In the present invention, however, this situation is to a large extent obviated by the provision of adjustable means'for securingY connector 13 to shin guard 10. Thus, instead of applying permanent rivets such as are used at 22 to secure connector 14 to shin guard 10, the present invention utilizes a screw post type of fastener shown enlarged in section at 33 in Fig. 3. Said fastener is comprised of a machine screw 34 which is inserted into openings 35 provided therefor in the upper regions of the shin guard 10, and into an internally threaded, relatively short post 35 having a ilat disc-shaped head 36 which does not project inwardly of the connector an appreciable extent and which is provided with a screw driver slot 37 by which it may be held while machine screw 34 is tightened thereinto. Post 35 is received in an eyelet 38 preferably made of metal or similar rigid material passing through the connector and having edges crimped over the adjacent areas of the front and back leather surfaces of the connector. In the embodiment shown in Figs. l, 2 and 3, three such screw posts 33 are shown, said screw posts being disposed near the lower edge 39 of the connector 13. Obviously, the number of screw posts may be varied to snit specific constructions of shinV guards and connectors.
To shorten the leg guard assembly, additional sets of eyelets 40 and 41 are provided in connector 13, said eyelets being located on the connector in such manner that they may be aligned with the corresponding openings 35 in the shin guard 10. Thus, to make the leg guard assembly shorter, eyelets 40 may be aligned with the openings 35 in the shin guard 10 and screw posts 33 are then passed therethrough and fastened together to secure the lower end of the connector 13 to the shin guard. Alternatively, eyelets 41 may be brought into alignment with openings 35 and the connector thus similarly fastened to the shin guard by the screw posts 33. Thus, each row of eyelets above the eyelets 38 makes possible'a shortening of the spacing between' the knee guard 17 and shin guard and thereby makes possible a shortening of the leg gulard assembly to adapt it to wearers having legs of different lengths. Where the difference in leg length is greater than that which may be adjusted for by the available eyelet rows of a given connector, a second and possibly a third size of leg protector assembly will be required, but in any event the number of different sizes of leg protectors will be reduced by two-thirds, that is, one leg protector constructed -in accordance with the teachings of this invention will sulice for three previously furnished sizes.
The adjustment from one size to another may be quickly effected by the use of two ordinary Screwdrivers and can be done in just a few minutes so that the use of leg guard assemblies made in accordance with this invention will not occasion an undue loss of time in preparing for a game. The fasteners 33 do not protrude into the leg guards suflciently to transmit the force of a blow striking shin guard 10 directly to the wearers leg. It may be recalled further that brace 26 holds the shin guard 10 away from the wearers leg and that therefore, at least insofar as the central screw post is concerned, there is no direct transmission of force from the shin guard 10 to the wearers leg. As for the screw posts on either side of the central post, a blow struck by a ball will be transmitted in a direction parallel with the leg rather than into the leg, and hence again, although said end fasteners may be closer to the wearers leg than the central fastener and may at times contact it, nevertheless no serious injury or pain will be caused by these fasteners.
Although the invention has been described with reference to the use of separable fasteners for securing connector 13. -to shin guard 1t), it is obvious that similar fasteners may be used in place of the rivets 22 and with a choice of openings in connector 14 to vary the spacing between shin guard 10fand instep guard 12. Furthermore, such adjustability may be provided either in addition to separable fasteners and the above described adjustability between connector 13 and shin guard 10, or in lieu thereof. The number of separable fasteners 33 used may also be varied without departing from the spirit of this invention. It is further understood therefore that the scope of this invention is not to be limited to the foregoing illustrative embodiment of the invention, but is to be determined by the appended claim.
A leg guard assembly comprising a rigid shin guard element having an upper edge region disposed substantially transversely of the said shin guard element for passing around the front and side regions of a leg, said shin guard element having horizontally spaced openings in said upper edge region, a rigid knee guard element disposed in longitudinal spaced relation to said upper edge region of the shin guard element, a exible padded intermediate leg cover and connector transversely corrugated by stitching through the padding, said connector being of equal width with said upper edge region to extend thereacross and around the front and side regions of a leg, said connector having a plurality of parallel rows of reenforced openings disposed adjacent the transverse corrugations and disposed in depressions adapted to be selectively aligned with the openings in said upper edge region of the shin guard element, to vary the overall length of the leg guard assembly, and separable fasteners extending through aligned openings in the shin guard element and -in said connector for securing the shin guard element to the connector.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,624,129 Barrett Apr. 12, 1927 1,777,088 Horath Sept. 30, 1930 2,447,106 Wegener Aug. 17, 1948 2,545,039 Mitchel Mar. 13, 1951 2,565,762 Ferguson Aug. 28, 1951