US 3009462 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 21, 1961 C, H HAWLEY 3,009,462
BREATHING AND VIEWING APPARATUS Filed Nov. 1, 1957 INVENTOR. CHARLES /A wary l at@ t 3,009,462 Patented Nov.` 21', 1961 ice 3,009,462 BREATHING AND VIEWING APPARATUS Charles Hubbel Hawley, R.D. 1, Jamesville, N.Y. Filed Nov. 1, 1957, Ser. N-o. 693,892 2 Claims. (Cl. 128-141) This invention relates broadly to breathing equipment, and has particular reference to a novel breathing and viewing apparatus for use by a person immersed in the water or surrounded by a non-breathable fluid.
In general, the apparatus contemplated by the invention comprises means forming a breathi-ng enclosure for the user wherein the enclosure structure itself functions as a demand regulator to admit air into the enclosure as needed. More specifically, the enclosure structure includes a movably mounted viewing lens which operates to control the admission of air from an independent source into the enclosure when the pressure exerted on the lens from within the enclosure varies with respect to the pressure exerted on the lens from the outside enclosure. The invention thus eliminates the necessity for a separate demand regulator as in conventional equipment and provides in a single, relatively simple unit a means for maintaining substantially normal breathing and viewing by a user surrounded by a non-breathable fluid.
Accordingly, with the foregoing and other considerations in view, it may be stated that the primary object of the present invention is to provide a unitary breathing and viewing apparatus which also operates as a demand regulator.
Another important object of the invention is to provide a breathing and viewing apparatus of the above type which is extremely dependable in operation.
A further important object of the invention is to provide a breathing and viewing apparatus of the above type which is simple in construction and economical to manufacture.
A still further object of the invention is to provide a breathing and viewing apparatus which is strong and durable, with a minimum of components which might require attention and repair.
A more specific object of the invention is to provide a breathing and viewing apparatus wherein the viewing lens thereof is supported for movement relative to the remainder of the apparatus so that it in effect serves as a demand regulator diaphragm responsive to pressure differentials on the opposite sides of the lens. With such an arrangement, the movement of the lens can be utilized to actuate any suitable type of valve means to control `the admission of compressed air into the breathing enclosure.
Other objects and advantages of lthe invention will become apparent from the following detailed description thereof read in conjunction with the accompanying draw- `ings which illustrate a representative embodiment of the invention for the purpose of disclosure.
In the drawings: FIGURE 1 is a perspective View of a breathing and viewing apparatus embodying the invention showing the Y of the apparatus ytaken along line 3 3 of FIGUREE 2;
FIGURE 4 is a horizontal section through a portion of the apparatus taken along line 3 3 of FIGURE 2; Before describing the embodiment of the invention shown in the drawings, it should be pointed out that while the apparatus disclosed is particularly well adapted for underwater activities such as skin diving, its application need not be so confined since it can also be advantageously employed by aircraft pilots flying in a raried atmosphere or by anyone who may be surrounded by a nonabreathable liuid such as a poisonous gas.
In the drawings, wherein like reference numbers designate the same parts in each of the views, the apparatus shown is of .the type that is adapted to rit over or enclose the nose and eyes of the wearer and is essentially comprised of a head engaging member or mask body indicated generally at lil and a viewing plate or lens 11 which is movably secured to the mask body in a manner to be described, The mask body 10 is preferably a molded rubber structure which is thick enough to resist a change in shape whereby it may be considered herein as being of a semi-rigid nature. The open, inner side of the mask, however, tapers down to a narrowed lip or edge 12 which is molded so that it substantially conforms to the face of the user and makes sealing contact therewith when the mask is secured in position by a releasable head strap 14 as shown in FIGURE l.
The outer side of the mask body 10 is also open to provide a sighting aperture for the wearer, and the marginal edge of the mask adjacent this aperture or sight opening is thickened or beaded las at 15. A continuous channel 17 is formed in the inside surface of the thickened portion 15, and a heavy wire or rod 18 is positioned in this channel yto impart greater rigidity to the outer portion of the mask. On the exterior of the mask, a metal strap 20 encircles the thickened portion 15 and rod 1S, the terminal ends of the strap being bent outwardly and secured together as by a screw 21 to permit the tension on the strap to be adjusted.
The viewing lens 11 comprises a substantially rigid plate 22 of glass or optically clear plastic which is encircled by a strap 24 similiar to .the strap 20, the terminals of strap 24 being adjustably secured together as by a screw 25. The strap 24 is pivotally secured as at 27 to the outer end of an arm 28 which projects from the mask body, and the inner end of this arm is fixed to the mask strap 20 and rod 18 by means of a pin 30 which passes through the arm, strap 20, and thickened edge 15 of the mask where its lower end is secured as by welding to the rod. With this arrangement, the lens 11 lis normally supported in spaced relation to the sight opening but the pivotal connection 27 permits the lower portion thereof to move towards or away from the opening fora purpose to be presently described.
Since the mask body 10 and viewing lens 11 must form with the head of the wearer a sealed breathing enclosure or chamber, the lens is connected in sealed relation to the mask lby means of a flexible membrane or bellows member 32 which is preferably formed of relatively thin rubber. This membrane is provided with thickened or beaded inner and outer edges 34, 35 which are respectively received in peripheral grooves 37, 38 in the mask body and lens, the beaded membrane edges being securely held in the grooves by the straps 20, 24 which overlie the membrane edges as best shown in FIGURES 2 and 3. The viewing lens and membrane thus form a closure for the sight opening with the membrane coacting with the pivotal connection 27 to permit relative movement between Ithe lens Iand mask body as above described.
With the mask body and viewing lens forming a sealed chamber enclosing the nose and eyes of the user, and assuming that in employing the particular apparatus disclosed the user inhales through his nose and exhales through his mouth, it will be apparent that air must be supplied to the interior of the chamber to replace the air consumed by breathing and further that it must' be supplied at a rate commensurate with the needs of the user. To this end, the mask is provided with an air intake and also with valve means to control the admission of the air, the latter being actuated by the movement of the lens relative to the mask in a manner to be described below.
The air intake comprises a tube 46 which passes through the strap 24 and beaded edges '34, 15 of the flexible membrane and mask body respectively at the lower part of the assembly. The tube is rigidly secured in the assembly as by being welded to the rod 18, the ends of which terminate on opposite sides of the tube. At its lower end, tube 40 is adapted to be attached to a exible conduit 41 which connects it with a suitable source of compressed air (not shown), as for example, a tank strapped on the back of the user. However, since it is well known to those familiar with the art that pure oxygen can be used in lieu of compressed air, it is intended that the terms air and compressed air as employed herein be understood to include this equivalent.
The valve means above referred to is located within the breathing and viewing apparatus and includes a cap or inverted cup 42 positioned loosely over the upper end of the tube 40, the cap having a `guide stem 44 which extends downwardly into the bore of the tube as shown in FIGURE 1. A bracket 45 is fixed on the tube just below the cap 42, and this bracket supports one end of a leaf spring 47 which overlies the top of the cap and normally holds it down against the top of the tube so that no air can enter the breathing chamber. The end of the leaf spring supported by the bracket passes with a loose fit through a slot `formed in an extension 48 of the bracket, and an adjustable screw 50 in this extension engages the outwardly turned end 51 of the spring to enable the spring pressure on the cap to be regulated.
The free end of the leaf spring overlies one end of a rocker arm 52 which can either be fulcrumed or pivotally secured to the bracket 45 as at 54. The rocker arm extends outwardly and downwardly from the bracket and at its other end abuts against the inner surface of the viewing lens 11. With this arrangement, the valve means is operably connected to the lens, and movement of the latter towards the mask body will rotate the rocker arm 52 in the counter-clockwise direction and lift the leaf spring away from the cap 42 which is not fixed to the spring but is simply provided with a top projection 55 that is loosely received in an aperture 57 in the spring. When the spring is moved out of engagement with the cap, air under pressure in the intake tube forces the cap upwardly permitting the air to enter the chamber. Conversely, when the lens moves away from the mask body, the leaf spring rocks the arm 52 in the opposite direction and moves the cap 42 back into its tube closing position.
In describing the operation of the apparatus, it will be assumed that it is to be used for skin diving and that, at the outset, the pressure within the breathing chamber is approximately equal to the water pressure. Under these conditions, the lens will ordinarily be substantially parallel to the sight opening as shown in FIGURE 1 and the valve means will be closed. However, when the user inhales through his nose, the pressure within the breathing chamber is reduced and the greater pressure of the water acting on the exterior of the apparatus and particularly on the outside of the viewing lens will force the lens inwardly causing the valve means to admit more air into the chamber as described just above. When the air under pressure is admitted into the chamber, the pressure therein is built up until it again equals or slightly exceeds the water pressure at which time the internal pressure and leaf spring combine to force the lens outwardly by direct pressure on the lens and by causing the rocker arm 52 to move in the clockwise direction. This causes the cap 42 to close off the intake tube 40 as above described until the cycle is repeated, the frequency of the cycle being regulated by the breathing demands of the user.
It should be noted in connection with the description of the operation that while the water exerts an equal pressure on all parts of the apparatus and upon the head and `body of the user himself, only the viewing lens is responsive to this pressure to produce the desired relative movement because it offers the least resistance due to its pivotal connection 27 and thin connecting membrane 32. In this connection, it should be noted also that any lateral movement of the lens relative to the remainder of the apparatus is prevented by means of an inwardly projecting guide member 60 which is secured to the bottom of the lens and is formed with an elongated aperture 61, FIGURE 4, through which the intake tube passes, the latter being provided with a sleeve or collar 62 at this point which has a slidable t in the aperture.
From the foregoing description, it will be apparent that the invention provides a novel and highly practical breathing and viewing apparatus which is relatively simple in construction and operation and yet can be advantageously employed `for a number of different purposes. The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The embodiment disclosed is therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative rather than restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
l. In a breathing apparatus of the character described: a demand mask for use in a nose inhaling and mouth exhaling breathing system comprising a semi-rigid mask body engageable on one side with the face of the wearer to form a completely sealed breathing chamber, said mask body being shaped and dimensioned so that only the wearers eyes and nose are enclosed thereby, the lower face engaging edge of said mask body contacting the wearer between the nose and mouth so that the latter is not covered by the mask, said mask body flaring outwardly from the face of the wearer and being formed With an enlarged sight opening; a closure for said sight opening in the form of a substantially rigid viewing lens; means normally supporting said lens in spaced relation to said sight opening including a single arm member projecting outwardly from said mask body and pivotally connected at its outer end to said lens, a flexible bellows member connecting said lens in sealed relation to said mask body, said supporting means and bellows member permitting movement of the entire lens relative to the mask body when the pressure in the interior of the chamber varies with respect to the pressure on the exterior of the chamber due to the inhalation of air within the chamber by the wearer; an air admitting connection on said mask body at a point substantially diametrically opposite said single arm member; and valve means for said air admitting connection actuated by the movement of said lens to control the admission of air into said chamber.
2. In a breathing apparatus of the character described: a demand mask for use ina nose inhaling and mouth exhaling breathing system comprising a semi-rigid mask body engageable on one side with the face of the wearer to form a completely sealed breathing chamber, said mask body being shaped and dimensioned so that only the wearers eyes and nose are enclosed thereby, the lower face engaging edge of said mask body contacting the wearer between the nose and mouth so that the latter is not covered by the mask, said mask body aring outwardly from the face of the wearer and being formed with an enlarged sight opening opposite the eyes, nose and mouth of the wearer; a closure for said sight opening comprising a substantially rigid unobstructed viewing lens; aneans connecting said lens and mask body and normally holding the former in spaced, parallel relation to the plane of said sight opening, said last-named means including a pliable bellows member, a first and a second clamping strap securing said bellows member in sealed relation to said mask body and lens respectively and a single rigid supporting arm projecting outwardly from the uppermost point on said first clamping strap and 5 6 pivotally connected adjacent its outer end to the uppermitting connection actuated by the movement of said most point on the periphery of said second clamping lens to control the admission of air into said chamber. str said pivotalt cofnntlctiont.and1 bellows nember PeT' References Cited in the le of this patent nu g movemen o e en 1re ens owar s or away from the lower portion of said mask body when the pres- 5 UNH-ED STATES PATEN [s sure acting on the inside of the lens within the mask 2:882897 McLean APY- 21 1959 Varies with respect to the pressure acting on the outside FOREIGN PATENTS of the llens; an air admitting connection on said mask 922,872 France Feb 10I 1947 body at a point substantially diametrical-ly opposite said 1,038,345 France May 6, 1953 lens supporting arm; and valve means for said air ad- 10 1,078,875 France May 12, 1954