US 3035747 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 22, 1962 R. H. ULLRiCH, JR
BACK PACK Filed Aug. 20. 1959 United States Patent Ofifice 3,035,747 Patented May 22, 1962 3,035,747 BACK PACK Robert H. Ullrich, Jr., Melrose, Mass., assignor of onehalf to John G. McElwee, Winchester, Mass. Filed Aug. 20, 1959, Ser. No. 835,086 6 Claims. (Cl. 224-) The present invention relates to an improved back pack and more particularly to a back pack adapted for skin divers.
It is a principal object of the invention to provide a novel and improved back pack which is well adapted to support all of the equipment which the wearer, for example, a skin diver will need, as an efficient well balanced load and which is fitted to the body of the wearer in such a manner as to prevent any possibility of shifting or displacement of said load.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a back pack which is of simple construction, and which is particularly arranged to permit the back pack to be instantly secured in place and similarly to be freed and slipped off as a safety precaution in case of emergency as, for example, to avoid being trapped under water.
It is a still further object of the invention to provide a back pack which is held in place by a simple arrangement of tension braces extending over the shoulders and around the waist of the wearer, and which is fitted to the anatomical contours of the body in such a manner as to secure the back pack in position equally against downward and upward pulls, or against such pulls in any direction which may be encountered as, for example, by a skin diver who may move downwardly or upwardly or in a lateral direction through the water.
Other objects of the invention include the improved construction of the back pack to eliminate so far as possible all interference with the movements of the wearer, and to provide for complete mobility and elliciency of the wearer, for example, a skin diver when in the water.
With these and other objects in view, a feature of the invention consists in the provision of a back pack including a back plate shaped to the contour of the human back within the area extending vertically along the spinal column from a point just below the nape of the neck to the region of the lumbar vertebrae.
Another feature of the invention consists in the provision of an improved device for securing the back plate in position including two tension braces which hook over the shoulders and extend downwardly over the upper chest area to a point below the pectoral muscle, and in addition thereto two tension braces which extend from the lower sides of the plate, and which clasp around the waist of the wearer. The shoulder and waist tension braces are shaped to basic anatomical contours.
The shoulder tension braces serve primarily as weightbearing members when the wear is in a vertical or almost vertical position and also serve to keep the upper section of the basic frame or back board in comfortable and continuous contact with the back of the wearer. The waist tension brace serves to force the lower section of the contoured back board to adhere to the lower spinal column area regardless of body position or spinal column arc. The combined effect of these tension braces is to insure maximum compressive action on the back to front axis and thus eliminate independent movement in an upward or downward direction, or. whiplash relative to the wearers body of any equipment properly attached to the back pack.
The several features of the invention consist also in the devices, combinations and arrangement of parts hereinafter described and claimed, which together with the advantages to be obtained thereby will be readily understood by one skilled in the art from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a view in side elevation of my back pack as worn by a skin diver, being shown fitted with a single tank and its regulator fixed to a suitable centrally located bracket, and a number of weights attached to the lower mid-section encircling tension brackets;
FIG. 2 is a detail view in front elevation of the back board including the shoulder and waist tension brackets;
FIG. 3 is a detail view in rear elevation of the back board shown in FIG. 2 and illustrating particularly the cent-rally located tank bracket, and two inflatable floatation units mounted on the respective shoulder portions of said back board;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the back board shown in FIG. 2 looking from the front;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the back board as shown particularly in FIG. 3 looking from the rear;
FIG. 6 is a detailed view of a tank attached to the supporting bracket of the back plate, and
FIG. 7 is a view of the lower portion of the back plate showing a modified form of the invention in which a strap with a quick release buckle is shown in place of the waist tension braces.
The back pack which forms the subject matter of the present invention comprises a back plate 10 which has a curved surface which is shaped to the contour of the human back within an area extending vertically, that is, lengthwise of the spinal column from a point just below the nape of the neck to the region of the lumbar vertebrae. As shown in front and rear elevation, the back plate is of relatively narrow width at the lower end and widens out at the upper end to provide support for two shoulder tension braces 12 and 14. Each of these shoulder tension braces hooks over the shoulder and extends downwardly over the upper chest area to a point below the pectoral muscle. At the lower base end of the back plate 10 there are provided two laterally projecting wraparound spring tension braces 16, 18 which are arranged to clasp tightly around the waist of the wearer. Both shoulder and waist tension braces are shaped to basic anatomical contours of the body.
The shoulder tension braces 12, 14, above referred to, serve primarily as weight bearing members when the wearer is in a vertical or almost vertical position and also serve to keep the upper section of the back plate 10 in comfortable and continuous contact with the back of the wearer. The waist tension braces 16, 18 serve to force the lower section of the back plate to adhere to the lower spinal column area regardless of body position or of spinal column arc. The combined efiect of these tension braces is to insure maximum compressive action on the back to front axis and thus to eliminate independent movement of the back pack including all of its component support and load elements in an upward or downward direction, or of whiplash relative to the wearers body. It will be noted particularly that the inwardly curved or shaped lower portion of the back board which fits snugly into the small of the back acts in combination with the shoulder and waist tension braces above described to prevent any upward displacement of the back pack relative to the body in response to upward stresses upon the back pack which may result, for exarnple, from the energizing of the infration equipment attached thereto.
FIG. 7 of the drawing discloses a modified form of my invention in which a flexible strap 17 with a quick release buckle 19 is attached to the lower end of the back plate It) in place of the waist tension braces 36, 13. It will be understood that the curvature of the back plate is sufficient so that a tightening of the belt will cause the back plate to be forced against the back along the full length of the spine and thus to maintain the back plate firmly in position against the back of the wearer.
The back plate above described is well adapted for the securing thereto of all of the necessary basic equipment which the skin diver may need except facial devices, thus entirely eliminating the multiple harnesses, buckles, belts and other fastening devices normally used to attach the tank assembb weight belt, floatation gear and other equipment to the wearers body. In the illustration the back plate is shown as provided with a centrally located bracket 20 to which may be secured a tank 22 with its regulator mechanism 24, the tank being held in place by means of conventional straps 26 which pass through slots in the bracket 2 It will be understood that the tank bracket 29 may be constructed and arranged for the support of two identical tanks in parallel relation when so desired, being held against the concave side surfaces shown by a suitable arrangement of said straps 26. As best shown in FIGS. 3 and 5, two floatation devices 27, 28 are provided secured to the upper or shoulder portions of the back plate 16. These inflation mechanisms may consist of a valve and a self-contained pressure bottle or cartridge 30 of generally cylindrical shape assembly with a detachable and replaceable bladder or membrane which fills with gas or air from the pressure bottle when the pressure bottle or cartridge is activated. These floatation units are so placed on the back pack as to accomplish the lifting of the wearer to the surface and to insure a floatation position wherein the head is kept above the average level of the surrounding water surface. The pressure bottle or cartridge and valve assembly is rendered operative by a pull cord 32 confined by a guide 34 on the shoulder tension brace. The cylindrical base portion Stl of the inflation mechanism comprising the cartridge and valve assembly are preferably screw threaded into a ring type holder 36 fast on the respective shoulder tension brace. The loose end of the bladder associated with the cartridge and valve assembly 363 is attached to the shoulder tension brace at 38. Inasmuch as these units may be of conventional design, no further description thereof is believed necessary.
As best shown in FIG. 1, the laterally extending waist tension brace-s may also serve as supports to which lead weights 29 (see FIG. 1) may be simply and conveniently attached and if necessary, released for the assistance of the skin diver during extended underwater swimming.
It will be understood that the back plate may be made as a one piece unit from spring steel or may be, if it be preferred, constructed with individually adjustable and detachable shoulder tension braces and waist tension braces which may be more accurately fitted to the individual wearer.
In a preferred form of the invention, the back plate may be constructed of narrowwidth' spring steel or firm spring steel wire which is covered with a suitable plastic or rubber coating to provide and to permit the anatomical shaping of the various areas or sections of the back pack. The rubber or plastic employed provides an exterior surface which is comfortable for the wearer.
The unit may be manufactured alternatively from a suitable plastic without the use of any spring steel or simiback pack to the body contours.
lar reinforcing mat rial, said plastic being molded or otherwise worked to produce the proper anatomical contour shape. It will be understood that the plastic chosen must have a suilicient spring tension characteristic to permit expansion of the waist tension brace for the wearer to put the back pack on and off, and at the same time to insure a sufiiciently firm clasp of the waist to make the back frame adhere to the lower back region. Such a material, of which spring steel and a suitable plastic have been given as examples, may be described as self-supporting, and at the same time resilient in the sense that it will conform comfortably to the body contours of the wearer.
The use of a plastic or rubber contact surface for the back plate including the shoulder and waist tension braces has the advantage that moisture on the areas touching the wearers body or suit tends to induce lubrication between these surfaces and thus eliminate abrasion. The use of a plastic in me back pack construction has the further advantage that body heat tends to induce a partial softening of the surface material thus increasing adherence of the The plastic is thereafter held rigidly in the desired molded position by the firming effect of the relatively cooler water in the course of underwater swimming.
The invention having been described what is claimed is:
l. A back pack which comprises, in combination, a back engaging member of a self-supporting resilient material having a curved surface shaped to the contour of the human back within the area extending lengthwise of the spine from below the nape of the neck to the region of the lumbar vertebra including a portion bowed against the small of the back, two tension braces of a self-supporting resilient material attached to and forming an integral unit with said back engaging member which book over the shoulders and extend downwardly a sufficient distance to press against the front chest area to tension the back engaging member against the body, said tension braces forming a continuation of the curved surface of the back member, and a releasable wrap-around tension device secured to a lower portion of the back engaging member arranged to clasp around the waist of the wearer, the fore and back pressure provided by said tension braces and tension device acting to tension the back engaging member including said bowed portion against the back thereby to secure said back engaging member against displacement toward the head of the wearer.
2. A back pack according to claim 1 in which the tension braces extend downwardly over and engage the upper chest area to a point below the pectoral muscle.
3. A back pack according to claim 1 in which the wrap around tension device takes the form of two wrap around spring tension braces which extend in opposite directions from the lower end portion of the back engaging member and clasp around the waist of the wearer.
4. A back pack according to claim 1 in which the wrap around tension device takes the form of a releasable strap and buckle attached to the lower end of the back engaging member to clasp around the waist of the wearer and thereby to tension the back engaging member including the bowed portion against the small of the back to support the back engaging member vertically in position against the back of the wearer.
' 5. A back pack adapted to be worn by skin divers according to claim 1 in which the back plate and tension braces are faced with a material adapted to be lubricated by water contact and thereby to avoid abrasive contact with the wearer.
6. A back pack adapted to be worn by skin divers which comprises, in combination, a back plate of a selfsupporting resilient material shaped to the contour of the human back along the spine within the area extending vertically along the spinal column from a point just below the nape of the neck to the region of the lumbar vertebrae, two tension braces of a like material mounted integrally with said back plate which hook over the shoulders and engage the front chest area to tension the upper portion of the back plate against the body, two wraparound spring tension braces which extend in opposite directions from the lower end portion of the plate and clasp around the waist of the wearer and thereby tension the back plate against the 'back, and a tank bracket mounted on the back plate located centrally and extending longitudinally of said back plate.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Dawson Jan. 9, 1900 Gra Mar. 8, 1904 Moore K Mar. 22, 1932 Massack Oct. 24, 1933 Hale Apr. 1, 1958 Kissenberger Dec. 16, 1958