US 3068494 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 18, 1962 J. M. PINKWATER AIR PUMP FOR INFLATABLE STRUCTURES Filed Jan. 16, 1961 96 1N VEN TOR.'
AT T ORNE YS.
United States Patent O Am PUMP FOR INFLATABLE STRUCTURES Joseph M. Pinkwater, Lncolnwood, lll., assignor to Monroe Fabricators, Inc.
Filed Jian. 16, 1961, Ser. No. 83,022 2 Claims. (Cl. 5-348) This invention relates to an air pump for structures such as inflatable air mattresses, bags, rafts, wading pools, and other structures having air compartments for inflating them, which are constructed of impermeable elastomers', plastics, fabrics, and other materials. The invention is particularly directed to an air pump for inflatable structures of the type wherein the pump is contained in the structure, in or adjacent to an air compartment.
An important object of the invention is to provide a strong, durable, and water-resistant air pump for inflatable structures.
A particular object is to provide an air pump which may be operated manually, especially by foot pressure, and which stands up under repeated use without fracture or failure due to fatigue.
Another object is to provide an air pump construction containing a minimum number of parts, which preferably are made of elastomeric or plastic materials, and which do not include springs, panels and other parts as previously employed made of metal, cardboard and other materials which may be damaged in use.
An additional object is to provide an air pump which is resistant to chemical and physical attack, especially to moisture and oxidation.
A further object is to provide a self-contained inflatable structure which includes an air pump having the foregoing characteristics.
These and other objects, advantages and functions of the invention will be apparent upon reference to the specification and to the attached drawings illustrating a preferred embodiment of the invention, in which like reference characters represent like parts in each of the views, and in which:
FIGURE l is a top perspective view illustrating a selfcontained air mattress constructed according to the invention;
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged longitudinal vertical section through the air pump contained in the air mattress of FIGURE l, illustrating the pump in the process of expanding to inflate the pump body;
FIGURE 3 is a view like FIGURE 2 illustrating the pump body being compressed to deflate the body and to exhaust air therefrom to inflate the mattress;
FIGURE 4 is a further enlarged vertical cross-sectional view taken on line y4 4 of FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 5 is a similarly enlarged top plan view of theair intake check valve mounted on the air pump, illustrating its mounting on the outer surface of the mattress; and
FIGURE 6 is a partly sectional view similar to FIG- URE 4 of the intake valve with its closure in place.
The invention provides an air pump for inflatable structures which includes a hollow body constructedof flexible synthetic thermoplastic resinous material, a top wall in the body which is adapted for receiving pressure thereon, a plurality of resilient folds in a side wall in the body which support the body in an expanded state, the folds being compressible to deflate the body and expansible upon release of pressure to inflate the body, air exhaust opening means in the body, and air intake opening means in the body. Y
A self-contained inflatable structure is provided which preferably includes an aircompartment and the air pump therein. The air pump and the inflatable structure are characterized by their construction of parts and materials "ice which are very serviceable and long lasting, not subject to attack by moisture, fatigue, and disarrangement of parts, as had been encountered in prior structures.
In the drawings, a preferred embodiment of a selfcontained air mattress is generally indicated by the numeral 10. It includes a compartmentalized inflatable bag` structure 12 having a transverse end pillow compartment 14 and a plurality of longitudinal tubular body-supportingcompartments 16, and an air pump 18 for the most part contained within a marginal body compartment 16a.
The inflatable structure 12 is constructed in the conventional manner, of plastic, elastomeric, coated fabric or other suitable materials. The several compartments 14 and 16 communicate with each other through openings therebetween, as illustrated in FIGURES 2 and 3 by the openings 20 between adjacent tubular compartments 16. The structure is inflated by means of the pump 18, -and deflated by a suitable exhaust valve, not shown, in the ystructure 12. I
The air pump 18 includes an elongated hollow molded body 22 which includes a top wall 24 adapted for receiving foot pressure thereon to operate the pump. The body is arranged adjacent the foot of the inflatable structure 12, and it extends longitudinally in the marginal tubular air compartment 16a. The pump body 22 is confined in the air compartment by an upper compartment wall or portion 26 which overlies the top wall 24 of the body, a lower, compartment Wall 28, and outer and inner compartment side walls 30 and 32, respectively. As illustrated in FIG- URE 4, the pump body 22 substantially fills the cross section of the air compartment 16a, and the dimensions of the compartment are suilicient to accommodate the expansion of the body without excessive strain on the junction of `the body to the compartment and on the compartment walls.
The pump body 22 preferably is a one-piece molded plastic structure which includes a flat normally horizontal top wall 24, a parallel flat bottom wall 34, corrugated side walls 36 and 38, and corrugated outer and inner end Walls 40 and 42, respectively. The side and end walls are constructed of outwardly extending rounded parallel folds or corrugations 44, 46 and 48, and inwardly extending V-shaped bends or troughs 50 and 52 which alternate therewith. Each fold and each bend extends completely around the pump body 22. The folds and bends are compressible and resilient, so that the pump body functions a bellows in the manner illustrated in FIGURES 2 and 3.' The compressibility of the body preferably is greater in its central areas than in its end portions in which air valves' are mounted.` j
It is preferred to construct the pump body 22 by mold ing a synthetic thermoplastic resinous material, which is further preferably a synthetic polyolefln, such as the polymers of ethylene and propylene. It is necessary that the polymer be capable of forming flexible resilient relatively thin-walled structures which are yet sufficiently rigid or stiff to be `self-supporting. Polyethylene is admirably suited for the purpose, and it may be blow-molded into the configuration of the hollow air pump body 22. The wall thickness may be, for example, about 1A; inch. The pump body illustrated is about 13 inches in length and about 21/2` inches in height. In providing the necessary structural strength and resiliency, it is preferred to employ three or four folds 44, 46 and 48 in the sideand end walls. In this manner, a unitary pump body 22 is provided which requires no springs or other structure', and includes no parts or materials of construction which are prone to damage bywater, oxidation, or physical contacts while in use. l
The pump body 22 defines an' air chamber 54 having the shape of the body, a circular air intake opening 56 in the top wall 24, and a circular air exhaust opening 58 in 3 the inner end wall 42. A tubular air exhaust nozzle 60 is integrally molded on the body at the exhaust opening S8. The nozzle includes a central circular orifice 62 of reduced diameter. Thenozzle includes an annular groove 64 on its outer surface and intermediate its ends, 4for accommodating a valve device. In the preferred embodiment, a normally closed apper valve 66 is secured to the nozzle 64, to provide an air exhaust check valve. .ItV preferably .is constructed of plastic .or elastomeric material. The valve opens .to admit air from the pump body 22 into the'air compartment 16a .of the inilatable structure 12 when the pump body is compressed and deated, inthe manner illustrated inFIGI-JREB. When the body expands upon release of pressure, .the exhaust valve closes asillustrated in .FIGURE 2.
An intake check valve .68 Yis mounted in the air intake opening 56 in the vtop wall 24 ofthe pump body at vthe opposite end of the pump -body from the exhaust valve 66. Theintake valve is constructed of elastomeric, .plastic or other suitable material. It includes an upstanding tubular body 70 Vand an outer annular groove 72 thereon intermediate lits ends for reception of the surrounding portions of the .top wall 24 of the pump body, to secure the valve and body together.
The intake valve includes an integral annular valve Vseat 74 extending inwardly at its inner or bottom end. The edge of the valve seat is bevelled on its outer surface, as indicated at 75. A movable valve disc member V76 is mounted on the valve seat for back and forth movement therein, being supported thereon by four vertical outwardly turned vhangers V78 which engage the seat. The valve member is arranged to closey the opening 77 in the body when the air pump is deflated in the manner i1lus- Y trated in FIGURE 3. The valve member is forced upwardly by the resulting air pressure, and a bevelled rim 79 thereon seats on the valve seat bevel 75. When the pressure is released from the pump body, it 'expands and air is drawn through the intake valve body 70 and around the valve member 76, vto admit air into the pump chamber 54. f
An outwardly extending annular attachment member 80 is integrally formed on the outer surface of the intake valve body 70, and it forms one side of the groove 72 receiving the top wall 24 of the pump body. The top wall 26 of the air compartment 16a is provided with a circular opening 82 which registers with the top opening 56 in the pump body, for .reception of the intake valve 68 therein. Both the top wall 24 of the pump and the top wall 26 of the air compartment are Vreceived in the intake valve outer groove 72, and Vthey may be secured together by an adhesive or other suitable means if desired. The valve attachment member 80 is secured on the outer surface of the air compartment top wall 26 in a suitable manner, .such as by an adhesive or by heat welding. i
The intake valve is closed vby a plug 84 attached to the outer surface of the valve attachment member S0 by a pair of flexible straps 86. One end of each strap is integral with the plug, and vthe other end is .integral with the attachment member. The plug is inserted in the opening or passage 77 in the valve body, and it is removedby lifting Va tab i integral with the top of the plug. An annular peripheral bead 92 is formed on the inner end of the plug, and an annular bead 94 is vformed around the inner wall of the intake valvebody 70. The mouth of the valve body is bevelled inwardly at 9 6, and a rim 98 on the plug seats on the bevel. In this manner, the plug seals the valve opening and prevents foreign matter from entering the air pump 18.
The air mattress 10 is in deflated condition prior to use in the manner of a conventional article of its type. The mattress is readied for use by removing the intake valve plug 84 and' alternately compressing and expanding the pump body 2 2, to k.alternately deate the pump body and exhaust air through the pump exhaust valve 66 into the compartment 16a of the inatable structure, and inflate the pump body with air drawn into the pump chamber 54 through the intake valve 68. Air is conveyed through the openings 20 between adjacent air compartments 'to inflate the entire structure. The pump is very conveniently operated by foot pressure on the top wall 24, exerted in the direction of the arrow in FIGURE 3, or it may be operated by hand pressure if desired. The construction is especially adapted to accommodate foot pressure and to stand up under long repeated use in this manner. The air pump 18 may be employed in a similar manner with other inflatable structures.
It will be apparent that various changes and modifications may be made in the constructionV and arrangement of the parts within the spirit and scope of the invention. It is intended that such changes and modications be included within the scope of the appended claims.
What I claim as new, and desire to secure -by Letters Patent of the United States, is:
l. An air pump for inflatable structures which comprises an elongated hollow integrally molded unitary body constructed of flexible polyethylene, a top wall in said -body having a substantially flat surface of a size sutlicient for receiving foot pressure thereon, a plurality of resilient folds in opposed elongated side walls in said body and supporting the l-bocly in an expanded state, said lfolds being compressible by ypressure exerted on said sub stantially flat surface of said top wall to deilate said body, said folds expanding upon release of said pressure to iniate said body, an air Vexhaust nozzle Vin an end Wall in said body, an air exhaust check Vvalve connected to said nozzle, air intake opening means in said top wall, an air intake check valve mountedV at said intake opening and connectable to an inflatable structure at a ywall opening therein, and plug means for closing said air intake opening means and providing a water tight seal thereat.
2. A self-contained air mattress comprising an air compartment having a substantially flat surface portion, an elongated hollow integrally molded unitary Ybody therein constructed'of flexible polyethylene, a topY wall in Said body having a substantially flat surface of a size sutl'icient for receiving foot pressure thereon, said substantially at surface of said top wall being positioned directly below the substantially flat surface portion of said air compartment so that the foot may be placed upon the latter for applying foot pressure to the former, a plurality of resilient folds in opposed elongated side walls in said body and supporting the body in an expanded state, said folds being compressible by pressure exerted on said top wall to deflatersaid body, said folds expanding upon release of said pressure to inflate said body, an air exhaust nozzle in an end wall in said body, an air exhaust flapper check valve connected to said nozzle for inilating said compart- .ment upon detiating said body, air intake opening means in said top Wall, an air intake check valve mounted at said intake opening and connected to said compartment at an opening in an external wall thereof, and plug means positioned external to said air compartment for closing said air intake opening means and providing a water tight seal thereat for preventing Water from entering into said body and said air compartment.
References Cited in the le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,021,156 Smith Nov. 19, 1935 '2,068,134 Houghton Jan. 19, 1937 2,680,477 Schira June 8, 1954 2,686,006 Hasselquist Aug. 10, 1954 2,754,931 Riker July 17, 1956 2,785,852 Bramming Mar. 19, 1957 2,947,470 Ruben et al Aug. 2, 1962