US 3166761 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 26, 1965 E. STROHM CHIN STRAP CONSTRUCTION FOR FOOTBALL HELMETS 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Sept. 2'7. 1961 Jan. 26, 1965 E. STROHM 1 3,166,761
CHIN STRAP CONSTRUCTION FOR FOOTBALL HELMETS Filed Sept. 2'7, 1961 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 nrngeueys.
United States Patent 3,166,761 (IHiN STRAP CUNSTRUCTIGN FUR FDUTBALL HELMETS Elwood Strohni, Southgate, Ky., assiguor, by mesue assignruents, to Brunswick Corporation, Chicago, 111., a corporation of Delaware Filed Sept. 2'7, 1961, Ser. No. 141,643 2 Claims. (El. 2-3) The present invention relates to protective head gear and is particularly directed to a novel chin strap construction for use in connection with football helmets and the like.
In recent years substantial improvements have been made in the design and construction of football helmets to improve the protection afforded a player against injuries to his head and face. In general, these improvements have involved the provision of improved interior padding and improved crown suspensions for cradling the players head within the helmet. Additional protection has also been afforded by the provision of adjustable face masks, or guards, which are secured to the helmet and extend outwardly to protect the players nose and mouth.
However, while these helmets represent a substantial improvement over older style models, the helmets still fail to provide adequate protection against blows directed to the front or rear of the helmet. Specifically, a blow directed at the front of the helmet causes the helmet to pivot about the wearers head so that the lowermost rear edge of the helmet strikes the rear of the players neck. Similarly, a blow directed at the rear of the helmet causes the helmet to pivot, or rock, forwardly so that the front edge of the helmet strikes the players forehead or the bridge of his nose. Many painful cuts and bruises have occurred because of this rocking movement of the helmet. While special padding has been provided at the front and rear of the helmet in an effort to minimize these injuries, this padding has not proven effective to fully protect a player when the helmet is subjected to a substantial blow.
The principal object of the present invention is to provide a helmet which is not only effective to protect a player from blows directed to the top and side of his head, but is also effective to prevent injuries to a player when the helmet is struck a blow from either the front or rear.
More particularly, the present invention is predicated upon the concept of providing a novel chin strap for football helmets, which chin strap is effective to lock the helmet on the players head so that the helmet does not tilt toward the front or rear, even when subjected to severe blows.
Specifically, I have empirically determined that conventional football helments pivot when subjected to blows from the front or rear about the points of attachment of the chin strap to the helment. A conventional chin strap includes a single web which is secured to each ear protector of the helment and extends across, in front of, or beneath the wearers chin. When the helment is struck a frontal blow, the chin strap prevents the helment from being shifted bodily to the rear. However, the snap fastenings at the ends of the chin strap provide fulcrum points about which the helmet pivots, causing the rear edge of the helmet to be forced against the players neck. In a similar manner, the chin strap does not prevent the helmet from pivoting forwardly when the helmet is struck from the rear, with the result that the front edge of the helmet cuts into the players nose.
I have determined, however, that if a chin strap assembly is provided in which the chin strap is bifurcated, and is joined at two spaced points to each side of the helmet, the chin strap assembly rigidly locks the helmet "ice in place upon the wearers head so that the helmet does not tilt backwardly when struck from the front or tilt forwardly when struck fiom the rear. Thus, the present strap assembly is eifective to completely protect a player from injuries to his nose or neck because of any rocking action of the helmet.
One preferred form of chin strap construction includes a first web which is attached to the helmet at the lower rear portion of each of the ear protectors. This first strap extends around the front of the wearers head and engagesthe front portion of his chin. The strap assembly also includes a second strap which is attached to the helmet at the front forward portion of the ear protectors adjacent to the crown of the helmet. This second strap crosses the first strap in two places and extends beneath the wearers chin. The first and second straps are perm-anently stitched together at the places where they intersect and a third, short chin engaging web is joined to the two center sections of the crossed straps to form a chin cup or cradle.
When a helmet provided with the present chin strap assembly is placed upon a wearers head, the chin strap assembly holds the helmet rigidly in place. If the helmet is struck from the rear, the first strap binds against the front of the wearers chin and prevents the helmet from pivoting forwardly so that the front edge of the helmet does not strike the wearers forehead or nose. Similarly, when the helmet is struck from the front, the second strap catches under the wearers chin and thus prevents the helmet from pivoting rearwardly.
The principal advantage of the present chin strap is that it is effective to lock the helmet in place to prevent any forward or rearward locking movement of the helmet. Thus, the wearer is for the first time fully protected against front and rear blows as well as sideways blows.
Another advantage of the present chin strap construction, however, is that this novel and highly efficaciouslocking action is obtained without causing any discomfort to the player. Thus, the present chin strap is as comfortable to wear as a conventional chin strap which does not afford the additional protection provided by the present strap.
Another advantage of the present chin strap assembly is that it is of simple construction and does not appreciably add to the cost of producing a helmet.
These and other objects and advantages of the present chin strap will be more readily apparent from a further consideration of the following detailed description of the drawings showing a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
In the drawings: FIGURE 1 is a front elevational view of a helmet provided with a chin strap of the present invention.
FIGURE 2 is a side elevational view of the helmet shown in FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 3 is a cross sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIGURE 2.
. FIGURE 4 is a bottom view of the helmet and chin strap.
FIGURE 1 shows a helmet 10 provided with a chin strap assembly embodying the present invention. Helmet 1% can be of any suitable construction and includes a rigid shell 12 preferably formed of plastic or leather. Shell 12 includes a crown 13 which may be covered with an external resilient pad 14 if desired. Two ear protectors 15 and 16 extend downwardly at opposite sides of the helmet. The front portion of shell 12 includes a front edge, or rim portion, 17 positioned to extend across the players forehead. This rim may be covered with suitable padding, such as padding 18, if desired. The rear of the helmet likewise includes a rear edge, or rim portion, 20 which also may be provided with suitable front edge 17 of the'helmet.
suitable water impervious plastic.
. padding or binding if desired. The interior of the helmet is further provided with suitable rim pads 21 and a suitable cradle assembly 22 for supporting the helmet upon the wearers head. It is to be understood that the in terior padding and rim Construction of the helmet constitute no part'of the present invention. One suitable form of interior construction is shown in Strohm Patent No. 2,785,404;
If desired, the helmet can be provided with a face guard 23. Such a guard is preferably formed of plastic, or the like, and is of generally U-shape. The ends of the guard are secured in any suitable manner, such as by bolts 24, to the opposite ear protectors 15 and 16. It is to be understood that the nose guard 23 constitutes no part of the present invention and that the chin strap assembly 11 can also be used advantageously with helmets not including a face guard.
Helmet it) is held upon the wearers face by means of chin strap assembly 11. In the embodiment shown, this chin strap assembly includes a first strap, or web, 25 and a second strap, or web, 26. Each end of straps 2S and 26 is threaded through a buckle-type snap member 27. Thesesnap members 27 in turn are snapped over male snap members 28 joined to the shell 12. The details of these'snap fasteners are shownin FIGURE 3, it being understood that all of the snap fasteners are identical with the one shown.
The snap members 27 secured to the ends of strap 25 are disposed in engagement with rear snap elements mounted at the lower rear portions of the ear protector sections 15 and 16. Consequently, strap 25 is adapted to extend in a generally horizontal plane around the front of the helmet where it is disposed for engagement with the front of a players chin as is best shown in FIGURE 2; The ends of strap 26 carry snap members 27 which engage male snap members 28 positioned at the upper forward portion of the ear protectors close to Strap 26' thus is disposed to extend'in a generally vertical plane in a loop below the helmet where it engages the undersurface of the wearers chin.
As is best shown in FIGURE 4, straps 25 and 26 cross each other twice at points 3% and 31. The straps are permanently secured together at these cross overs in any suitable manner as by means of stitching or the like. The looped portions 32 and 33 of the straps intermediate the crossover points form a chin cradle. Preferably a short pieceof webbing 34 is stitched to sections 32 and 33 to complete the cradle.
In onepref-erred embodiment, each of the straps 25 and 26 is formed of canvas webbing which is coated with a Loops 32 and 33 of the straps and web 34 are covered on their inner surface by strips of resilient foam material, the strips of foam being secured to the webbing by means of any suitable adhesive. Preferably, these foam strips are also coated with a plasticmaterial.
In use, the wearer places the helmet on his head and secures each of the snap elements 2? at the ends of straps 25' and 26 to its associated snap member 28. The lengths of the straps are adjusted by pulling the straps through buckle members ZTuntil the chin cradle portion of the strap assembly between cross over points 30 and 31 is pulled firmly against the players chin. Thereafter, the helmet is locked firmly in place. If the helmet should be subjected to a frontal blow, this blow would normally tend to cause the rear edge 26 of the helmet to pivot downwardly. However, this pivotal, or rocking, movement is positively prevented by the engagement of strap as with the under surface of the wearers chin. Also, if the helmet should be subjected to a rearward blow, which would normally tend to pivot the front edge 1'7 downwardly, this pivotal movement is prevented by the en agement of strap 25 with the forward portion of the wearers chin. Consequently, the helmet is rigidly locked in its proper position and is held in this position against blows from any direction.
From the above disclosure of the principles of the present invention and the preceding description of a preferred embodiment, those skilled in the art will readily comprehend various modifications to which the invention is susceptible.
Having described my invention, I claim:
1. A football helmet comprising a rigid sheil having a crown, depending ear protectors at each side thereof, a chin strap assembly for holding said helmet upon a Wearers head, said chin strap assembly comprising a first strap and a second strap. each of said straps being formed of relatively inelastic material, means securing the ends of said first strap to said helmet adjacent to the front edge of said ear protectors adjacent to the crown, and means securing the ends of said second strap to the exterior of said rigid shell adjacent to the lower rear edge of said ear protectors, said first strap and said second strap crossing each other at two spaced points, means securing said first and second straps together at their points of crossing, a portion of said second strap extending forwardly beyond said points of crossing, and a portion of said first strap extending below said points of crossing to for r loops positioned to engage the front portion and undersnrface of the wearers chin.
2. In a football helmet comprising a rigid shell having a substantially horizontal top portion and depending ear protectors at each side thereof, the improvement which comprises a chin strap assembly for holding said helmet upon a wearers head, said chin strap assembly including a first strap and a second strap, said straps being formed of relatively inelastic material, the ends of said first strap being secured to the lower rear edge of said ear protectors to position said first strap in a substantially horizontal plane, the ends of said second strap being secured to the exterior of said helmet at points spaced from the points of attachment of said first strap to position said second strap along the upper forward edge of said ear protectors in a substantially vertical plane, said first strap and said second strap crossing each other at two spaced points, means securing said first and second straps together at their points of crossing, a portion of said first strap extending forwardly beyond said points of crossing, and a portion of said second strap extending below said points of crossing to form loops positioned to engage the front portion and undersurface of the wearer's chin.
References Qited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,353,643 Bulbulian July 18, 1944 2,846,683 Dye et al. Aug. 12, 1958 2,858,740 Adams Sept. 9, 1958 2,886,818 Roberts May 19, 1959 2,985,883 Marietta May 30, 196i FOREIGN PATENTS 1,096,079 France Dec 29, 1954