Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.


  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3019459 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 6, 1962
Filing dateMay 1, 1958
Priority dateMay 1, 1958
Publication numberUS 3019459 A, US 3019459A, US-A-3019459, US3019459 A, US3019459A
InventorsRipley James H
Original AssigneeRipley James H
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Inflatable safety shirt
US 3019459 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb. 6, 1962 J. H. RIPLEY INFLATABLE SAFETY SHIRT Filed May 1, 1958 FIG.


ATTORNEYS 3,019,459 INFLATABLE SAFETY SHIRT James H. Ripley, 8t Cresta Vista Drive, San Francisco, Calif.

Filed May 1, 1958, Ser. No. 732,214 1 Claim. (Cl. 9-342) This invention relates to improvements in inflatable safety devices for the prevention of drowning, and more specifically to improvements in an inflatable safety shirt generally of the type disclosed in my United States Letters Patent No. 2,425,206 of August 5, 1947.

One of the objects of this invention is the provision of a safety shirt that is adapted to be worn like an ordinary shirt, and that is of substantially the same appearance and that has substantially the same comfort as a conventional shirt, but is constructed to be quickly inflatable when in the water and to thereafter be easily kept in buoyant, inflatable condition by the wearer.

Another object of the invention is the provision of an inflatable safety shirt provided with means for automatically inflating portions thereof that are positioned to most comfortably and efficiently support a person in the water in different positions, and the automatic inflation of which shirt occurs when the shirt is immersed in the water.

A still further object of the invention is the provision of a safety shirt of ordinary appearance provided with an invisible pocket and concealed chemical means adapted to inflate said pocket with gas together with additional means enabling the wearer to maintain said pocket inflated with air from the mouth of the wearer, and which shirt is of ordinary relatively closely woven shirt cloth that is porous when dry and resistant to the rapid passage of air therethrough when wet.

An additional object of the invention is the provision of an inflatable safety shirt of shirt cloth having an air pocket which shirt has an inflating tube terminating into said air pocket at the lower portion of the pocket instead of the top portion, whereby the air in the upper portion will not escape through the tube.

Other objects and advantages will appear in the description and in the drawings.

In the drawings,

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of one form of the invention.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged sectional view taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged sctional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a view of one form of inflating means adapted to be carried in a pocket in the garment in the position indicated in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a rear view of a modified form of the invention insofar as the air pocket is concerned, and the connection between the air hose and the pocket, the latter being only at therear side of the shirt.

In detail, the shirt illustrated in FIG. 1 is preferably made of ordinary, relatively closely woven shirt cloth, and is therefore porous to provide for ventilation, when dry.

The outward design of the shirt may be that of a conventional sport shirt, having the usual collar 1, sleeves 2, and tail 3. An inner layer 4 of the same material as that of the shirt extends completely around the Shirt from the shoulders to approximately the waist and is sewed to the outer layer of the shirt along its lower edge, as indicated by the broken line 5. Also said inner layer is sewed to the outer layer at the rear side only, along broken line 6 that extends horizontally across the back to lines of stitching 9 that extend to the upper sides of the shoulders, and from the upper sides of the shoulders stitching 8 flfiliiASli Fatented Feb. 6, lad-2 ice extends to the connection between the collar 1 and the shirt. Also lines of stitching 9 extend completely around the arm holes. The outer layer of the shirt is indicated at 10 and is the shirt itself.

' An outer pocket section 11 is secured along its lateral and bottom edges to the outer layer lll against the outside thereof, as indicated in FIG. 1, thereby providing a pocket 12 (FIG. 3) that is open at its upper end. This pocket is in the usual place where the ordinary shirt pocket is positioned, and a flexible hose 13, which may be of the same material as the shirt, is adapted to be folded flat or collapsed, to lie wholly within said pocket. The inner end of said hose 13 is Secured around its end edges to the outer layer 10 around an opening 14 formed in said outer layer at a point spaced below the upper edge of said outer section 11. The outer end of the hose may be provided with a mouthpiece 15 that, in turn, may enclose a conventional flapper valve (not shown) of rubber or any other suitable check valve to prevent escape of air or gas through the hose from within the shirt between the inner and outer layers.

The outer layer 10 that is covered by the pocket section 11 is provided with a horizontally extending opening adapted to be opened and closed by a zipper 16. This opening is preferably adjacent to, but below the opening 14 and an inner pocket section 17 is sewed along its lateral and bottom edges to the outer layer it of the shirt, in a position substantially within the area covered by the outer section 11 to provide an inside pocket 18 (FIG. 3) that is open at its upper end. The material of the inner section 17 may be the same as that of the shirt.

Means, such as a small flask or container 20 containing liquid CO or any other suitable chemical adapted to provide a source of gas may be held in pocket 18. The container 20 of CO is a standard article that is cylindrical, and is vertically elongated as seen in FIG. 4. It may be yieldably held in a vertical elevated position between a lever arm 31 that is pivoted at 22 at one side of the upper end of the flask to a holder 23 for down- Ward movement of the container against a penetrating pin 24 that is adapted to form an opening in the lower end of the container upon swinging the lever in a direction to force the container 2t downwardly. The holder 23 has an angular extending lower end portion 25 that is formed with an opening through which the lower end of the container is adapted to extend, and a return bend 26 on said lower end portion 25 extends below the latter to hold pin 24 and to support a spring 27 that is in engagement with the container 20 to yieldably hold the latter elevated and away from pin 24 until the lever arm 21 is manually actuated. The arm 21 has ad ownward extension 21' that extends generally alongside the container 20 and that is yieldably held in a position spaced from the container by virtue of spring 27 until the said extension is manually pressed toward the container. Upon manually pressing the lever 21 toward the container, the pin 24 will penetrate the lower end of the container releasing the CO as soon as the lever is released, which will form CO gas to fill the compartment that is formed by the inner and outer layers of the shirt.

Where an automatic production of gas in the compartment formed by the inner and outer layers is desired, a relatively flat packet 30 of chemicals may be secured inside the inflatable compartment. Such packet may be placed in pocket 18 instead of the container 20, and the actuating mechanism of the latter, or it may be supported at the other side of the shirt as seen in FIG. 1, or at any suitable place Within the inflatable compartment. One manner of positioning the packet 30 is to provide a zipper closed opening 31 in the inner layer at any suitable place through which opening the packet may be inserted, and the packet may be releasably held against the shirt front adjacent to said opening 31 by any suitable means, one of which would be hooks 32 on the upper end of the packet adapted to extend through eyes in tabs 33 secured to the front of the shirt.

The packet 30 itself may be secured together along spaced, intersecting lines 30 to form a plurality of smaller compartments each containing the gas making chemical. Thus the latter, which normally may be in the form of crystals, granules or powder will not slump to the bottom of the packet, but will be uniformly supported over the area of the packet. The latter itself may have an outer cover in the form of a waterproof polyvinyl plastic and a liner of soft absorbent paper or the like, with the side of the polyvinyl sheet against the outer layer perforated as seen in FIG. 2. Thus moisture from the body of the wearer cannot cause the chemical, by reaction with body moisture, to form gas. The active ingredients of the chemical mixture are preferably approximately two parts, by weight, of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and one part, by weight, of citric acid, tartaric acid, or the equivalent. These chemicals are harmless and when the mixture comes in contact with Water, a reaction occurs in which carbon dioxide gas is released to inflate the inflatable compartment.

In the shirt of FIG. 1 it will be seen that the inflatable pocket or compartment, the Walls of which are defined by the inner and outer layers, extends to the shoulders at the front of the garment and over shoulders, and around the waist to between layers at the back of the shirt. However, the upper end of the inflatable compartment or pocket at the rear side of the shirt terminates along the line of stitching 6. The lines of stitching 9 around the armholes define the boundaries of the inflatable pocket at the armholes.

The fact that the upper limit of the inflatable pocket at the rear side of the shirt is along stitching 6 prevents the upper end portion 7 of the inflated pocket from tending to force the head forward.

In operation, immediately upon the water reaching the contents of packet 3% CO gas will be formed to inflate the inflatable pocket the walls of which are defined by the inner and outer layers, and the wet fabric of the two layers will retain the gas for a substantial length of time. As has already been stated, the packet 3t may be secured to the shirt inside the inflatable pocket at any desired point, or it may be in the pocket 18. Where the mechanical r lease of CO gas is employed, such as by release of CO from the flask or container 29, as described, the wearer of the shirt need merely press lever 21 to effect such release, and as the pocket 13 opens into the inflatable pocket, the gas will inflate said pocket.

Inasmuch as there is a gradual escape of gas through the walls of the inflatable pocket, the buoyancy of the shirt can be restored by the wearer merely blowing into the tube 13.

Opening 35 formed in the inner layer 4 of the shirt along the lower edge of said inner layer below the openings 14 or 38, at the front side of the shirt, provides for the ready discharge of water from Within the inflatable pocket upon the wearer blowing into the tube 13. Said tube, of course, is sufiiciently long so that the mouthpiece thereof is readily accessible to the wearer.

The gas or air will not all escape through opening 35 for the following reasons. The pressure below the surface of the water increases in direct proportion to the depth. The gas pressure in a bubble below the surface of the Water (which is, in effect, what the air chamber is) is the same as the water pressure at the depth corresponding to the bottom of the bubble. When the shirt is in the water and part of the air chamber is above the surface, the pressure of the air in the air chamber is the same as the pressure of the Water at the bottom of the air chamber. Consequently, when air fills the chambers to the depth of opening 35, the pressure of the water outside equals the pressure of the air inside and no air will pass through the 4 opening 35. By the same token, if the air chamber is partially filled with seepage water, that water may be expelled by applying a pressure through the tube 13 slightly in excess of the water pressure at the bottom of the air chamber or at opening 35.

If tube 13 or 36 were to open into the top of the air chamber instead of the bottom, the pressure inside the air chamber would be greater than the pressure of the water at the tube entrance and consequently the air would flow out through the tube.

The shirt may be open down the front, from the neck opening, as seen at 36 in FIG. 1 and a button and eye provided for releasably securing the opening closed, the same as in a conventional sport shirt, therefore the inflatable air pocket will be divided below the chin so as not to interfere with free movement of the head. The fact that the inflatable air pocket ends at the arm holes, which holes are sufliciently large to permit free movement of the arms When the inflatable air pocket is inflated, enables the wearer to freely swim without difliculty. Seams connect the inner and outer layers around said neck opening.

In the form of the invention as seen in FIG. 5, the double layer is only at the rear side of the shirt, and the air tube 36 extends to the shirt, in the same manner as the tube 13 in FIG. 1, but a continuation 37 of said tube will pass below the armhole adjacent thereto to an opening in the inner layer 38 of the shirt at the rear side of the latter, when said extension is secured around the hole in said inner layer. This inner layer at the rear side of the shirt is secured at its upper edge to the outer layer of the shirt by stitching 39 that is at the same level as stitching 6 in FIG. 1. However, the stitching 39 extends to the lines of stitching 40 around the armholes and then down the sides as at 41 to meet with the lower line of stitching 42.

The front pocket 44 is the same as the pocket 12, except that there is no smaller pocket 13 associated therewith, and the sole function of pocket 44 is to hold the tube 36.

Upon blowing into the tube 36 through the mouthpiece, the air will pass through the continuation 37 of tube 36 into the lower portion of the rear inflatable pocket, the Walls of which are defined by the inner and outer layers of the shirt at the rear side of the latter. An opening 45 in the inner layer at the lower portion of the inflatable pocket provides for expelling the water in the inflatable pocket upon the wearer blowing into tube 36.

It is to be understood that various modifications may be made in the shirt, since the detailed description and drawings are merely illustrativeof a preferred form of the shirt. The appended claim is intended to cover such modifications as may come within the scope of the language used therein.

I claim:

An inflatable safety shirt comprising: two layers of porous shirt cloth forming an upper portion of the shirt above but adjacent to the waist line and secured together to define the walls of an inflatable compartment extending fully across said shirt from adjacent to said waistline to the shoulders of the shirt, a tube opening at one end thereof into said compartment at a point spaced 2 substantial distance below the upp r portion of said compartment and carried by said shirt and extending a sufficient distance upwardly from said point for reaching the mouth of the wearer when such shirt is worn by the latter for inflating said compartment by breath from the mouth of the wearer, at least one horizontally extending opening free from a valve or any obstruction to the free flow of water therethrough formed in one of the Walls of said compartment adjacent to the lower end of the latter and spaced below said point through which water entering said compartment by seepage thereof through the walls of said compartment'is adapted to be expelled upon inflating said compartment at said point.

(References on following page) References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Kostiw May 21, 1918 6 Rekersdres Ian. 26, 1943 Ripley Aug. 5, 1947 Sturtevant May 16, 1950 FOREIGN PATENTS Canada Jan. 29, 1952

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US164818 *Jun 22, 1875 Improvement in life-preserving apparatus
US1084106 *Mar 17, 1913Jan 13, 1914William Wright PeltonGarment for bathing.
US1137056 *Jan 22, 1915Apr 27, 1915Ernest H GagnonCombined life-preserver and body-protector.
US1267086 *Nov 3, 1917May 21, 1918Harry KudlakLife-saving suit.
US2309256 *Jun 26, 1939Jan 26, 1943Henry RekersdresMarine life belt
US2425206 *Oct 14, 1944Aug 5, 1947Ripley James HInflatable safety shirt
US2508303 *Nov 20, 1944May 16, 1950Wingfoot CorpPneumatic structure
CA480574A *Jan 29, 1952Edgar Alexander PaskInflatable articles of clothing
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3128481 *Jun 27, 1961Apr 14, 1964Dacor CorpSafety float
US3591877 *Jul 14, 1969Jul 13, 1971Amf IncCombination oral and cartridge inflator for life preserver vest
US3638258 *Jan 12, 1970Feb 1, 1972Remington Arms Co IncRescue light for a life support system
US3871518 *Jul 26, 1973Mar 18, 1975Gardiner Frances RHygienic douche system
US4397636 *Feb 10, 1981Aug 9, 1983Ganshaw Samuel HBody surfing shirt
US5603646 *Mar 19, 1996Feb 18, 1997Tobias; Charles S.Expedition jacket
US7150668 *Mar 12, 2003Dec 19, 2006Aquasafe Australasia Pty Ltd.Buoyancy garment
US8505114 *Feb 16, 2010Aug 13, 2013Austin EarleyGarment attachable retention system
US8911273Aug 29, 2012Dec 16, 2014Patagonia, Inc.Watersports inflation vest
US20050101203 *Mar 12, 2003May 12, 2005Kemp Brian E.Buoyancy garment
EP1494554A1 *Mar 12, 2003Jan 12, 2005Aquasafe Australasia PTY LtdBuoyancy garment
WO2009143537A2 *May 19, 2009Nov 26, 2009Johannes Gerhardus BartelinkSafety device
U.S. Classification441/107
International ClassificationB63C9/19, B63C9/105, B63C9/00
Cooperative ClassificationB63C9/1055
European ClassificationB63C9/105A