US 3021526 A
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Feb. 20, 1962 A. LASTNIK I EARPAD SUPPORT FOR PROTECTIVE HELMETS Filed June 4, 1958 INVENT OR ATTORNEY 3,021,526 EARPAD SUPPORT FOR PROTECTIVE HELMETS Abraham L. Lastnik, Framingharn, Mass. Filed June 4, 1958, Ser. No. 739,949 3 Claims. (Cl. 2-3) (Granted under Title 35, US. Code (1952), see. 266) The invention described herein, if patented, may be manufactured and used by or for the Government for governmental purposes without the payment to me of any royalty thereon. v V
This invention relates to earpad supports for protective helmets and more particularly to an improved resilient mounting means for earpads.
Protective helmets have long been used in various hazardous occupations, athletic contests and military activities. The tremendous increases in the speed of planes and vehicles have imposed more rigorous requirements for head protection particularly in miliary applications. Present concepts of protective helmets include a rigid shell of metal, plastic or composite material which encompasses practically the entire head of the wearer with the exception of the facial area. The shell is supported on the head, spaced therefrom, by a suspension system or harness generally comprising a plurality of straps or webs which snugly embrace the wearers head. The inherent resiliency of the suspension system provides a means of absorbing the shock of impact against the outer shell. The suspension system primarily embraces the crown of the wearers head depending upon a chin strap or the like to provide overall stability of the helmet.
It is frequently required that the wearer of a protective helmet also be provided with means of communication with other personnel. This requirement is essential in the case of pilots of aircraft and crew members of armored vehicles. conventionally this communication equipment includes earphones and a microphone, the latter being suspended from the outer shell of the protective helmet. The positioning of the earphones which must of necessity be located within the shell of the helmet has offered some problems. The use of a conventional earphone headset which extends over the wearers head causes much discomfort and inconvenience inasmuch as the helmet suspension system also encompasses the same area resulting in interference in donning and dofiing the two separate items and excessive weight and bulk surrounding the wearers head.
. It is obviously desirable that the earphones be mounted in the helmet shell itself in order to eliminate the requirement for any additional supporting structure around the wearers head. However, the conditions under which the helmet is used, particularly the ambient noise level, dictate that the earphones must be precisely located with respect to the ears of the individual wearer and the frequent requirement for extended use of this equipment demands that provision be made for the comfort of the wearer in order to assure sustained efficient performance. A further capability is required in that occasionally the wearer desires or needs to converse without the use of earphones or other communication equipment. This procedure requires the removal of the earpad from ear covering position to allow normal hearing.
An earpad comprising an elliptically annular pad which surrounds the wearers ear and contacts his head and having a web portion therein for supporting a conventional earphone spaced from the wearers head has been found satisfactory when properly supported within the helmet.
The present invention provides a means for resiliently supporting an earpad against the wearers head within a protective helmet. The supporting means comprises a plurality of rigid or semirigid telescoping concentric rings resiliently joined to each other. One end of the supporting means is mounted on the ear covering portion of the helmet shell and the earpad is mounted on the other or free end.
This supporting means maintains the earpad firmly against the wearers head with its annular portion surrounding the ear of the wearer. Thus the earpad effectively eliminates ambient noise from the hearing of the wearer and provides for effective use of the earphone mounted in the earpad. The supporting means also permits the wearer at his option to move the earpad laterally from its ear surrounding position to permit hearing of sounds other than through the earphone. Finally, the supporting means alfords a continuous stabilizing force on the helmet by means of the resilient connection formed hereby between the sides of the wearers head and the ear covering portions of the helmet.
Accordingly an important object of this invention is to provide a new and improved means for resiliently supporting an earpad within a protective helmet.
Another object of this invention is to provide a means for supporting an earpad which maintains the earpad in proper alignment against the head of the wearer.
Another object of this invention is to provide an earpad support which imparts additional stability to a protective helmet on the head of the wearer.
A further object of this invention is to provide an earpad support which allows for displacement of the earpad without disturbing helmet alignment to permit the wearer to hear without the use of communications equipment.
A still further object of this invention is to provide an earpad support which automatically compensates for variations in the shape and size of the heads of the potential users.
A still further object or" this invention is to provide an earpad support having the capabilities described herein which is simple and economical to manufacture and achieves its adjustability without the need for additional tools or parts which may become lost or otherwise unavailable.
Other objects, capabilities and advantages of this invention will become apparent in the course of the following description wherein reference is made to the accorn panying drawing forming a part of this application in which like numerals are used to designate like parts throughout the same and in which:
FIGURE 1 is a side elevation of a protective helmet embodying the present invention,
FIGURE la is a front elevation of the helmet shown in FIGURE 1,
FIGURE 2 is a side elevation view of the earpad support of the present invention,
FIGURE 3 is a central vertical section taken along line 33 of FIGURE 2,
FIGURE 4 is a view similar to FIGURE 3 showing an earpad displaced from ear covering position in accordance with the present invention,
FIGURE 5 is a side elevation of a modification of the present invention,
FIGURE 6 is a central vertical section taken along line 66 of FIGURE 5,
FIGURE 7 is another modification of the present invention, and
FIGURE 8 is a central vertical section taken along line 8-8 of FIGURE 7.
Referring more particularly to the drawings wherein for the purpose of illustration, a preferred embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGURES 1 through 4. The numeral 10 designates generally a protective helmet. This helmet includes a shell 11 which is preferably formed from a unitary piece of metal or molded of plastic or composite plastic and fabric material. The shell 11 is supported in spaced relation from the wearers head by a suspension system 11a which may be of any conventional design; The helmet is stabilized on the wearers head by a conventional chin strap or the like (not shown). Inasmuch as the suspension system and chin strap form no part of the present invention and may be of any one of a number of established designs, the details thereof have been omitted from the drawing for purposes of clarity. The earpad support means of the present invention, designated generally by the numeral 12, is mounted by appropriate means such as cementing on the inner surface of the ear covering portions 13 of the helmet shell 11. The support means 12 projects inwardly of the helmet shell toward the wearers head and is provided at its free end with a conventional earpad 14. The earpad 14 comprises an elliptically annular pad '15 having a circular cross section. The pad 15 is preferably formed of a soft yielding material and covered with a soft fabric to provide maximum comfort when contacting the wearers head. The earpad 14 also includes a semirigid web 16 of hard rubber or the like extending within the recess defined by the pad 15 at a point remote from the surfaces there-- of which contact the wearers head. The web 16 includes conventional means for supporting an earphone 17 therein.
The pad support 12 of the present invention comprises a series of rigid or semirigid circular rings 18 of varying diameter arranged concentrically in generally telescoping relation. The rings '18 may be of plastic, metal or other suitable material and are preferably rectangular in cross section. Each successive ring in the series is joined to the adjacent rings by resilient annular diaphragms 19. The diaphragms 19 are attached to the inner edge of each ring 18 in the series by cement or other means and are similarly attached to the outer edge of the next adjacent ring in the series. The free edge of the innermost ring of the series is joined to the web 16 of an earpad 14 by cementing or other means.
The resilient diaphragms 19 provide for the telescoping of the rings 18 when a force is applied to the earpad 4 while continuously biasing the rings toward their free or fully extended condition. The clearance between the outside diameter of one ring of the series and the inside diameter of the next succeeding ring allows for the canting of the earpad 14 to conform to the wearers head configuration and further allows for lateral displacement of the earpad 14 to enable the wearer to expose his ear 7 for normal hearing purposes as best shown in FIGURE 4.
FIGURES 5 and 6 of the drawing disclose another embodiment of the present invention wherein helical springs 20 are employed to resiliently join the various rings 18 of the series in lieu of the resilient diaphragms 19 previously described.
FIGURES 7 and 8 disclose still another modification of the present invention wherein the rings 21 are formed of semirigid material such as rubber with inwardly projecting annular rings 22 cemented to the inner edges thereof. The inner edges of annular rings 22 are provided with an integral bead 23. The rings are further provided With circumferential slots 24 in their exterior surfaces for receiving the beaded portion 23 of the annular ring 22 of the adjacent ring. The rings 21 are thus joined to form a resilient support capable of functioning as described above wherein the annular ring 22 provides the desired flexibility.
The pyramidal arrangement of the series of telescoping rings 18 shown in the drawings represents a preferred arrangement. It is clear, however, that the present invention would be equally effective if the supporting means were reversed by placing the smallest diameter ring against the helmet shell. In addition, any number of combinations of rigid or semirigid rings resiliently joined in accordance with the present invention may be arranged to provide the telescoping action required. It would, for example, be possible to rearrange the order of rings as shown in FIGURE 3 by placing the smallest diameter ring in the center of the series. Similarly, while circular rings have been used in the preferred embodiment, it can be seen that these elements may be of other shapes so long as they are capable of telescoping to provide the desired displacement of the earpad. Thus, for example, elliptical or even oblong shaped elements could be used.
A protective helmet including earpads mounted therein in accordance with the present invention is donned by displacing the earpads 14 toward the ear covering portions 13 of the outer shell as by placing the wearers thumbs thereon while pulling the helmet over the head. Upon release of the force on the earpads they will be pressed firmly against the head by the resilient supporting means 12 of the present invention. The earpads may be adjusted laterally until they comfortably encompass the ears within the space defined by the annular pad thereon. The earpads are thus positioned over the wearers ears and will remain in such position despite jarring of the helmet or movement of the wearers head within the helmet.
In the event that the wearer desires to hear other than through the use of the earphones, one or both of the earpads 14 may be manually depressed toward the ear covering portions 13 of the helmet shell and then moved laterally a distance sutficient to leave a portion of the wearers ear exposed for audition. The earpad is then allowed to return to its position against the wearers head under the influence of the continuous biasing force of the resilient supporting means 12.
The earpad may, of course, be returned to its normal position surrounding the wearers ear in the same manner as when donning the helmet and the removal of the helmet is accomplished by depressing the earpads toward the helmet shell and dofiing the helmet.
It will be seen, therefore, that the present invention comprises a resilient supporting means for earpads within a protective helmet which automatically provides for comfortable positioning of the earpad and associated communications equipment over the ear of the wearer regardless of the size or shape of the wearers head. The present invention accomplishes this result without the requirement for any additional parts or special tools which may easily be lost thereby rendering the helmet ineffectual.
It is to be understood that the form of the invention herewith shown and described is to be taken as a preferred example of the same, and that various changes in the shape, size and arrangement of the parts may be re sorted to without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the subjoined claims.
1. In a helmet provided with car coverings, means mounted thereon for supporting an earpad on each covering, each said means including a series of concentrically arranged substantially rigid telescoping rings of rectangullar cross section and of progressively decreasing diameter, each succeeding ring of said series being sized for substantial lateral movement thereof relative to the next adjacent larger ring when said first mentioned ring is fully telescoped within said larger ring, resilient diaphragms connecting successive rings in said series, said diaphragms being attached to the inner edge of one ring and the outer edge of the next adjacent ring, and means for securing an earpad to the innermost ring of each series.
2. In a helmet provided with ear coverings, means mounted thereon for supporting an earpad on each covering, each said means including a series of concentrically arranged substantially rigid rings of rectangular cross section and of progressively varied diameter, the outside di- Der ameter of each successive ring being smaller than the inside diameter of the next adjacent outer ring by an amount equal to at least the diiference between the outside and inside diameter of said outer ring, resilient annular diaphragms connecting successive rings in said series, said diaphragms having their respective edges attached to the inner edge of one ring and the outer edge of the next adjacent ring, and means for securing an earpad to the innermost ring of each series.
3. In a helmet provided with ear covering extensions, means mounted on each extension for resiliently supporting an ear pad, said means including a series of concentrically arranged substantially rigid rings, each member of said series being sized for telescoping with respect to each other member of said series and for substantial lateral movement with respect to the other members of said series when fully telescoped therewith, resilient con- References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,181,802 Rogge May 2, 1916 2,336,669 Brown et a1. Dec. 14, 1943 2,805,419 Finken Sept. 10, 1957 FOREIGN PATENTS 48,452 Germany Sept. 6, 1889 709,171 Germany July 3, 1941