US 3004269 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 17, 1961 J. A. DILLIER LIFESAVING DEVICES Filed Jan. 25, 1958 v 4 3 J. ME W 4 m/ K mwmm m fix 7D 1m N J m m M N M NY B A United States Patent 3,004,269 LIFESAVING DEVICES Johann Anton Dillier, Horw, Switzerland, assignor to A.
Bernauer & (10., Nidwaiden, Switzerland, a corporation of Switzerland Filed Jan. 23, 1958, Ser. No. 710,646 Claims priority, application witzerland Feb. 19, 1957 2 Claims. (Cl. 9-621) This invention relates to self-inflatinglifesaving devices and more particularlyto devices of this character which may be built into items of ordinary wearing apparel, such as shirts and the like.
Presently known self-inflating lifesaving devices, such as life jackets, life belts and life rings, are generally char acterized by common disadvantages, namely, they are either unsightly, bulky or made of air impermeable material so that they are not suitable from a personal comfort and appearance standpoint for constant wear by the user. For example, the vest-type, self-inflating jacket currently in popular widespread use is made of heavy material, which, being necessarily water impermeable, is also air impermeable, so that any extended wear thereof causes the user to persp-ire heavily and suffer resulting discomfort. For this reason, such lifesaving devices are generally not donned by the disaster victim until the actual moment of danger. Experience has shown, however, that oftentimes danger arises so suddenly that such lifesaving devices prove to be inadequate from a practical standpoint in that the same cannot be promptly grasped, donned and actuated due to either psychological or technical reasons.
The instant invention overcomes these and other disadvantages of the prior art by providing a self-inflating lifesaving device which may be built right into any one of the common items of wearing apparel, such as for example, shirts, trousers, jackets, blouses, underwear, or the like, without in any way detracting from the appearance thereof when in the pre-infiated condition. Moreover, the invention utilizes conventional air-permeable fabrics, such as presently employed in common wearing apparel items as mentioned above, the advantage being that such fabrics do not induce perspiration in the user. In essence the present invention provides a lifesaving device which, prior to inflation, presents the appearance of conventional wearing apparel, in no way detracts from the wearers personal comfort and may be Worn at all times.
According to the present invention, there is provided a protective device against the danger of drowning in the form of an item of wearing apparel with at least one baglike hollow space or pocket, having walls formed of normally water and air-permeable material andv containing a composition comprising a gas-generating substance in combination with a sizing agent, which composition when contacted by water entering through said Walls develops a foaming gaseous mass, thereby inflating the bag-like pocket and covering the interior walls thereof with the sizing agent, thereby rendering same Watertight and gastight and converting the item of wearing apparel into a floating body. Thus, items of wearing apparel, such as shirts, jackets, etc., may be constructed of two layers of conventional water-permeable material with a hollow pocket or pockets formed therebetween having suitable inlet apertures for the entry of the gas-generating substance, such apertures of course to be provided with watertight closure means such as flaps or the like.
The invention also contemplates a composition comprising a gas-generating substance in combination with a sizing agent for use in such lifesaving devices. This mixture may be sold in sealed plastic bags to prevent premature contact with water or moisture and may be 3,004,269 Patented Oct. 17, 1961 introduced into the bag-like hollow pockets of the lifesaving device prior to the start of a journey over water; such mixture, for example, to be in either powder or cartridge form which may be introduced into the pockets through suitable entry apertures, the latter being zipfastened and protected by a closure flap 'for gas tightness when inflated.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view, partially broken away, of a shirt containing a lifesaving device according to the invention, the same being in the pre-inflated condition;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary, sectional side view showing the device after inflation;
FIG. 3 is a perspective viewshowing a separate hollow pocket unit according to the invention adapted to be in stalled in an item of wearing apparel, with .one layer of the pocket folded back at one corner to show the interior of the inlet aperture; and
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary perspective View showing the separate pocket unit of FIG. 3 secured to a shirt in accordance with the invention.
Referring now in more detail to the drawings and particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2 thereof, the lifesaving device of the invention may comprise a conventional item of wearing apparel such as a shirt 10, formed of two layers of water and air permeable material 11 and 12, which layers have been suitably stitched or otherwise secured together in such manner as to form a pair of pockets 13 and 14. Each pocket is provided with a zipper closed entry aperture 15 having an underlying closure flap 16. In practical operation, the user of the device, prior to departure on a voyageover water, inserts a predetermined quantity of the novel mixture 17 of gas-generating substance and sizing agent through entry aperture '15, pushing aside flap 16, then suitably arranges flap 16 so as to completely underlie the zipper and then closes the latter. This underlying flap serves the purpose of preventing escape of gasthrough the zip fastener.
Alternatively, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, if desired, a separate hollow pocket unit 20 may be formed of water and air-permeable walls 21, .22, entry aperture 23' and closure flap 24, the same being adapted to be suitably secured to an item of wearing apparel 25 such as a shirt, jacket, coat, trouser or the like, in which case the wearing apparel item may, if desired, comprise only one layer of normally water and air-permeable material. In identical manner the desired quantity of a mixture containing a gas-generating substance and sizing agent 26 is inserted in said pocket.
In operation, when a disaster occurs and the wearer of a life saving device according to the invention enters the water, that water will immediately penetrate through the permeable layers of the hollow pockets of the item of wearing apparel. Instantly, upon contact with the water, the gas-generating substance will be activated, thereby forming with the sizing agent a foaming mass 19. During this activation period the generated gas distributes the sizing agent over the inner walls of the pockets as shown at 18, including the interior of the closure flap 16, thereby rendering the pockets watertight and practically gastight. Ordinary fine mesh materials are capable of holding the gases only for a period of about three hours. However, if a sizing agent is admixed with the gas-generating substance in a predetermined ratio, then the quickly foaming gaseous substance will distribute the sizing agent over the interior walls of the hollow pockets, which latter then become not only water impermeable but also capable of holding therewithin the generated gas for extended periods of time. The sizing agent, which may for example be tragacanth, Wheaten flour or rice flour or the like, forms an adhesively viscous coating as shown at 18 on the inside of the hollow pockets, which coating is capable of sealingoif even thesmallest gaps or voids in the formerly permeable layers 11 and 12 or 21 and 22.
The mixture of gas generating substance and sizing .agent may, according to t he .inventio n, comprisethe following ingredients in the following approximate ranges:
A preferred mixture is as follows;
l5 Gas-generating substance:
About 5% soappowder. About 45% sodium bicarbonate. About 40% tartaric acid.
' 2 About 10% pulverized or powdered tragacanth. 0
Since the lifesaving devices of the invention comprising items of wearing apparel containing the aforesaid hollow pocket(s) with the novel mixture therein are as flat, pliable, pleasing to the eye and as comfortable as ordinary wearing apparel, all ship, boat and aircraft passengers will readily comply with orders to wear same at all times that any latent danger of falling into water exists. Should a disaster occur, then the composition contained in the pocket(s) would automatically trigger the formation of an inflated body, capable of floating the wearer on the water surface, even though that wearer may be unconscious or incapacitated.
It should be of course understood that other known gas-generating substances and sizing agents may be utilized in the lifesaving devices hereof without departing from the scope of the invention. Furthermore, it should of course be understood that the exact construction of the pocket or pockets, as well as their location in the wearing apparel item, or manner of securing therein, may quite obviously be varied without departing from the scope of the invention hereof. Moreover, it should be understood that the size and number of the hollow pockets may be varied depending on the item of. wearing apparel involved and the degree of flotation efiect desired.
Although certain particular embodiments of the invention are herein disclosed for purposes of explanation, various further modifications thereof after study of this specification will be apparent to those skilled in the art to which this invention pertains. Reference should accordingly be had to the appended claims to determine the scope of the invention. 7
What is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
1. A self-inflating lifesaving device, which comprises an item of wearing apparel with at least one pocket therein, at least a portion of said pocket being constructed of normally water and air-permeable material, a composition in the form of a self-contained readily removable cartridge in said pocket comprising an intimate mixture of a gas-generating substance and a sizing agent, said composition upon contact with water entering said pocket through said water and air-permeable portion generating gas suflicient to inflate said pocket and producing a moist foamy mass of sizing agent which coats the interior of said water and air-permeable portion limiting further inflow of water and escape of gas, and means forming an inlet aperture in said pocket for the introduction of said composition.
2. A device as set forth in claim 1 wherein the composition comprises about 1 to 5% soap powder, about 45 to 52% sodium bicarbonate, about 40 to 46% tartaric acid and about 1 to 10% of a sizing agent selected from the group consisting of tragacanth, Wheaten flour and rice flour.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS