US 3171133 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 2, 1965 J. H. STEFFEN PROTECTIVE HELMET Filed March 11, 1963 FIG-2 FIG.I
INVENTOR. JANET H. STEFFEN '1.m.&@ (12mm FIG.-
FIG-3 FIG-5 v ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,171,133 PROTECTIVE HELMET Janet H. Steifen, 666 Carleton Ave., Claremont, Calif. Filed Mar. 11, 1963, Ser. No. 264,151 6 Claims. (Cl. 2-3) This invention relates to an improved protective helmet for the skull, and has for its principal object the provision of a novel structure which will protect the skull of the wearer from lacerations of soft tissues, fractures of the face and skull bones, and brain concussion resulting from impact of the skull with an object or surface.
In recent years, the trend in the development of protective helmets has been focused on the use of plastics which provide a high degree of resistance to impact forces. To meet the problem of impact resistance in the past, helmets have been fabricated of resilient material designed to distribute the impact force and provide protection against penetration of the helmet by sharp objects. However investigations indicate that brain injury can also result from acceleration of the head. It is equally important therefore, not only to provide maximum energy to attenuate blows, but to also limit the acceleration of the head.
The greatest disadvantage of resilient material for the job of energy absorption to deflect blows is that during deflection, it stores rather than dissipates energy. As it is deflected, an increased restoring force is created which reaches the maximum at the point of maximum deflection and the energy is returned to the form of rebound of the helmet from the object or surface. On the other hand, if a perfectly non-resilient material is used, the energy is dissipated and there is no rebound. The most satisfactory non-resilient, energy absorbing type of materials commonly accepted is the general class of foam or cellular plastic products. When subjected to compressive loads such materials deflect only slightly until the load reaches a value at which destruction of the cellular structure begins.
It is also known that damage to the delicate tissues of the brain may result from buifeting of the skull. Seemingly minor blows received by fighters while boxing have 'been shown to cause permanent destruction of nerve tissues, which has resulted ultimately, in certain cases, in loss of mental powers or bodily control.
It is therefore desirable to provide a protective helmet for the skull which has high resistance to impact forces, minimizes acceleration of the skull within the helmet, and attenuates bufleting of the skull upon impact with an object or surface. Such helmet is provided in the helmet of the present invention which utilizes the best of plastics technology yet provides a structure which may be fabricated from inexpensive, readily available materials by semi-skilled persons, rather than the highly trained and skilled operatives and expensive materials required in the helmets of the prior art which achieved the above-mentioned objects and goals. The present invention generally comprises a protective helmet utilizing a dished, pad-like posterior member covering the occipital bone including the external occipital protuberance and the most posterior portions of the parietal bones, and a unitary pad-like frontal member covering the anterior portion of the parietal bones, anterior portion of the frontal bones, and the anterior portions of the temporal bones including the zygomatic arch, joined together by special elastic means which allow normal auditory and circulatory functions, all of which are in combination with a unique submandibular strap means which allows normal speech, mastication, and swallowing functions while providing firm anchorage of the helmet on the skull of the wearer. In its preferred embodiment, the helmet is fabricated with a poly-foam plastic core over which is arranged a denim-like material, all portions of which are cut on the bias. The hehnet to cover the inion which is "Ice portions are held together by materials having elastic properties, and the submandibular strap means is specially cut from denim-like material cut on the bias.
The above and other objects, aspects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent by reading the following more detailed description and appended claims together with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the helmet of the present invention shown in place on the skull of a wearer;
FIG. 2 is a front elevation of the present invention in place;
FIG. 3 is a rear elevation of the helmet described and claimed herein, particularly showing the coverage of the rmon;
FIG. 4 is a top view of the helmet in place on the skull of a wearer; and,
FIG. 5 is a sectional view along line 55 of FIG. 3 showing the structure of the pad-like members of the helmet.
Reference is made to FIGS. 1-4 which shows the helmet 10 of the present invention in situ on the skull of a wearer. While this helmet 11 is useful for athletes and sportsmen, it has a particularly unique application for epileptics and persons with other neurologic disorders. Because of its properties, as will hereinafter be described, it is especially useful for children with aforementioned medical problems who are prone to head trauma.
The helmet It comprises a unitary pad-like frontal member 12 which includes left and right temple protective members 14, 16 which cover the zygomatic arch, that is, the bony arch running along the side of the wearers cheek, almost to the ear. Thus the central portion of the frontal member 12 covers the major portion of the temporal crest, that is the narrow, bony ridge running along the side of the head, curving up from the upper lateral margin of the eye socket, above and past the ear, and downward ending behind the ear, this area serving as the area of attachment for the temporal muscles, and together with the side portions 14, 16, virtually complete protection is provided for that part of the skull lying along the bitragionminimum frontal arc, that is, the are between the right and left tragion as measured above the brow ridge.
" The helmet 10 also includes a posterior member 18 which had a dished portion 20, the rear member 18 serving the small bony bump often found at the rearmost part of the head, and the member 18 generally covers the occipital region at the rear of the head, including the occipital bone, and the most pos- V terior portions of the parietal bones.
The posterior pad member 18 thus provides complete protection over the bitragion-posterior arc, that is the arc between tragion as measured over the lowest point of the skull, and the bitragion-inion arc, the are between the tragion as measured over the inion.
Further discussion of the anatomy of the human skull and nervous system can be found in Anatomy of the Human Body, by Henry Gray, FRS, 26th edition, edited by Chas. Mayo Goss, M.D., 1954 edition, reprinted July 1956, Lea and Febiger, Philadelphia, Pa., U.S.A. Another interesting discussion of anatomical relationships is found in A Head Circumference Sizing System for Helmet Design, Including Three-Dimensional Presentations of Anthropometric Data, Wright Air Development Center, Ziegen et al., Report No. WADD TR 60- 631. Further reference is made to Atlas of Human Anatomy Simplified, F. Gaynor Evans, copyright 1957, published 1961, by Littlefield, Adams & Co., Paterson, New Jersey.
The frontal member 12 and the posterior member 18 are joined together on the wearers right by a pair of elastic straps 22, 24 and on the left by another pair 26, 28, the straps being placed in spaced-apart position above the ears to avoid impairment of the auditory function and allow adequate air circulation. The straps 22, 24, 26, 28 are tight enough to keep the helmet snugly on the head, yet not impair blood circulation, due to their elastic nature. A strap of the prior art, made of some non-resilient material such as leather would not have this property of non-impairment coupled with certainty of retention.
A tab or loop 30 extends downwardly from the right side portion 14, a similar loop 32 being located on the left temple-protecting side portion 16 of the frontal pad 12.. A loop or tab 34 distends downwardly on the left bottom portion of the posterior pad 13 and a similar pad 36 distends downwardly from the right rear bottom portion of the pad 18. The tabs 30, 32, 34, 3e are preferably made from an elastic material. Threaded through the'loops or tabs in a continuous path is a strap means 38, the ends of which are arranged at the rear of the skull base of the wearer. This strapmeans 38 is arranged in its path by the tabs 32, 34, 36, 38 to be contiguous to the submandibuiar, that is under the mandible or lower jaw of the wearer. The strap means 38 is preferably cut from denim-like material, cut on the bias. if out in this manner, the cloth flexes with the movement of neck muscles so the wearer can talk or eat, yet the helmet cannot be pulled olf. This is because of the unique limited elastic-like qualities of denim cut on the bias which provides adequate elasticity for the performance of the above-mentioned functions, but which keeps the helmet seated in place. This is particularly important where the wearer is a small child who will try to remove the helmet if his functions of talking and eating are impaired, and where it is critical that the childs head receive continued protection.
At the top of the frontal member 12 are found a pair of spaced-apart tabs 40, 42 and a similar pair of spacedapart tabs or loops 44, 46 distend outwardly from the top edge of the posterior member 18. pads 12, 18 securely in place a strap member 48 is threaded through the loops 4t), 42, 44, 46 and tied on the top of the head of the wearer.
FIG. 5 shows the construction of the pads 12, 18 and it is seen to comprise a foam core 59, surrounded by a denim-like covering 52. 'A high-density poly-foam material is preferred for the core because, as previously discussed, it has the characteristic of distributing the force of blows. It also has sufiicient non-resiliency so that it tends to absorb and dissipate the energy of blows so that there is no rebound. The outer covering 52 is preferably of denim which is a high tensile strength, pliable, easily washable, and inexpensive cloth which is easy to work.
To build a typical helmet 1! according to the present invention which will generally fit all head sizes, the following materials are needed:
(a) /3 of a yard of Hercatex or similar strong denimlike fabric, in 36 inch widths;
(b) 1 pair of 27 inch Shoelaces;
(c) A 24" length of soft elastic, 12" wide;
(:1) Strong thread for stitching, Taslon recommended;
and, (e) A square of high density foam or cellular plastic material, commonly known as poly-foam.
The following cutting instructions are applicable:
(1) All pieces of cloth must be cut on the bias. This is particularly important to prevent wrinkling and to provide sufficient stretching when the pads 12, 18 are stuffed. This is also a critical factor with the submandibular strap means 38.
(2) The front and back portions of the frontal mem- To keep the ber 12 and the posterior member 18 should be cut according to pattern.
(3) The strap means 38 should be cut approximately 26" x 2" in size.
(4) The interior portions of the frontal pad 12 including temple-protective members 14,16 should be cut from poly-foam material 5t! according to pattern, and a foam core should be similarly cut for the posterior pad 18. When sewing the helmet a one-half inch seam allowance should be made.
What has been described is a protective helmet which is easy to clean, provides overall comfort, and which protects the wearer against skull fracture by reduction, attentuation and distribution of impact forces and which prevents brain concussion through control of deceleration of the skull within the helmet. By the snug-fitting nature of the helmet, butieting and attendant brain injury is prevented. The helmet described is simple to make and inexpensive, both as to labor and materials. It is comfortable and does not impair the auditory, speech, or eating functions of the wearer, and is of universal size, all of which are particularly important when the helmet is to be used to prevent brain or skull damage to children suffering from epilepsy or some other nervous disorder. Wearing of a helmet is a nuisance to a child, and the helmet must possess all of the characteristics named above, as does the helmet of the present invention, lest the child will attempt to remove it which is undesirable for several reasons including the highly nervous state the child develops in his frustration at being covered with an uncomfortable helmet, and the vulnerability to head injury if the child is successful in removal. With the present invention, the tendency to seek removal is eliminated. it is to be understood that the form of the invention herewith shown and de scribed is to be taken as a preferred example of the same and that various changes in the shape, size and arrangements of the parts may be resorted to without departing from the spirit of the invention and scope of the subjoined claims.
. 1. A protective helmet for the skull comprising: a first pad member having a dished portion centrally arranged thereon and having a pair of spaced-apart loop members on the top surface thereof and a pair of spacedapart loop members on the bottom surface thereof, a second pad member having a central portion to which are connected a pair of downwardly distending portions adapted to cover the temples of the wearer, a pair of spaced-apart loop members being arranged on the top surface of said second pad member, and another pair of loop members, one each of which is arranged at the lower edge of each of said temple-protecting portions of said second pad member; strap means extending through said loop members arranged on the top surfaces of said first and second pad members in a continuous loop and adapted to have the loose ends thereof tied; a pair of spaced-apart elastic members joining said first and second pads on one side thereof, and another pair of spacedapart elastic members joining said first and second pads on the opposite side thereof; and strap means extending through the loop members on the lower edge of said first pad member and said loop members on the lower edges of said temple-protecting portions in a continuous loop, the ends of which are adapted to be tied at the rear base of the skull of the wearer.
2. A helmet as described in claim 1 wherein said lower p strap means comprises a strap made of denim-like material cut on the bias.
3. A helmet as described in claim 1 wherein said firs and second pad members comprise a core of non-resilient, energy-absorbing material covered by a denim-like material.
4. A helmet as described in claim 3 wherein said core material is selected from the group consisting of foam and cellular plastic.
5. A protective helmet for the skull comprising: a first pad member having a dished portion centrally arranged therein, said pad member adapted to extend over the occipital bone including the external occipital protuberance and the most posterior portions of the parietal bones and thereby providing substantially complete cover over the rear of the skull of the wearer as measured along the bitragion-posterior and bitragion-inion arcs, said pad member having loop means on the top surface thereof, and said loop means on the bottom surface thereof; a unitary pad-like frontal member the central portion of which is adapted to extend over the major portion of the temporal crest and which has a pair of spaced-apart downwardly distending portions adapted to cover the zygomatic arch of the wearer, the entire frontal member thereby providing substantially complete protection over that part of the skull of the wearer as measured along the bitragion-minimum frontal arc, loop means being provided along the upper surface of said frontal member, and loop means being provided on the lower extremities of said downwardly distending portions; elastic means joining said first pad member to said frontal pad member; strap means extending through said loop means arranged on the top surfaces of said pad members in a continuous loop and adapted to have the loop means adjusted and fastened on the same plane as said loop means; and strap means extending through said loop means on the first pad bottom surfaces, and said loop means on the lower extremities of said downwardly distending portions, said loop means being adapted to extend in a submandibular position on the wearer in a continuous loop, the ends of which are adapted to be tied at the rear of the base of the skull of the wearer.
6. A device as described in claim 5 wherein said submandibular strap means comprises a piece of denim-like material out along the bias.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,177,822 4/ 16 Shaw 2-200 2,276,612 3/42 Ellis 29 2,458,025 1/49 Portal 2-3 2,717,384 9/55 Frothingham 23 2,768,380 10/56 Golomb 23 2,969,547 1/61 Dye 2-3 3,087,166 4/63 Howard 23 JORDAN FRANKLIN, Primary Examiner.
DAVID J. WILLIAMOWSKY, Examiner.