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Publication numberUS3181184 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 4, 1965
Filing dateApr 26, 1963
Priority dateApr 26, 1963
Publication numberUS 3181184 A, US 3181184A, US-A-3181184, US3181184 A, US3181184A
InventorsPotts Herbert J
Original AssigneeDan W Duffy
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Inflatable devices
US 3181184 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

y 4, 1965 r H. J. POTTS 3,181,184

INFLATABLE DEVICES Filed April 26, 1963 INVENTOR Herb art .1 Potts ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,181,184- HsTLATABLE DEVTCES Herbert J. Potts, ?ark View Village, Ohio, assignor of fifty percent to Dan W. Duffy, Cleveland, ()hio Filed Apr. 26, 1963, fies. No. 275,865 6 Claims. (Cl. 9-340) The present invention relates to an inflatable device for application to the arms and other portions of the body of a person to hold his head above water when wading or swimming, such as when he is in a pool which is normally of suflicient depth to extend above his respiratory organs. My improved device is also especially adapted to be applied to children or even to adults who are learning to swim. v

At the present time, a large number of pools are being erected in the yards of homes as well as in play grounds, resorts, and in the recreation grounds of apartments, hotels, and other buildings. It is of course well known that pools are frequently used by young children who do not know how to swim and because such pools usually have portions which are of sufiicient depth to extend above the respiratory organs of children or even adults, adequate supervision must be provided to prevent drowning. Such supervision, however, is frequently difficult to provide and particularly in homes when the hostess is engaged in entertaining other guests.

In accordance with my invention, an improved inflatable device is provided which when properly applied to a child not only minimizes the chance of drowning but is also an aid in teaching him how to swim. The device, however, is not limited to use by children but may be worn by adults in learning to swim or as a safety device during swimming or indulging in other water sports, such as boating or water skiing. It is also equally effective as a safety device in swimming or wading in the water along ocean beaches, or in rivers, lakes, or other bodies of water.

My invention will be better understood by reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a front view showing my improved device applied to the arms of a person and two pairs applied in tandem to the body, one pair of which is applied to the chest and to the portion of the back opposite to the chest and the other of which is applied to portions of the body slightly below the chest;

FlG. 2 is a side view of the child illustrated in FIG. 1, showing the device applied to his left arm and end views of the devices applied in tandem to the chest andto the back opposite to the chest and similar devices applied in tandem slightly below the chest;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of my improved device in its defiated state;

FIGS. 4 and 5 are cross sectional views taken on planes passing through the lines ib-4 and 5-5, respectively, of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a cross sectional view taken on a plane passing through the line 6% of FIG. 3, showing the valve parts in open positions;

FIG. 7 is a view similar to that shown in FIG. 6 with the valve parts in their closed positions; and

FlG. 8 is a schematic view showing my improved device applied to the arm of a person.

According to my invention, a device designated generally by the numeral 1 is provided including upper and lower layers 2 and 3 which are secured together at their edges to provide a central portion which is substantially circular in cross section when inflated, and oppositely disposed end portions which are in the form of flaps 4 and 5. The inflatable central portion of the device is sealed along its side edges as indicated by the numerals 6 and 7 and between its ends and flaps 4 and 5 as indicated transverse axes.

"ice

by the numerals 8 and 9, by suitable means, such as heat or electronic means applied under high voltage and when inflated has substantially straight longitudinal and The end portions 4 and 5 consist of upper and lower layers of the same material as the central portion and as shown are sealed together at their inner ends and outer and side edges to form comparatively strong flexible flaps.

As shown in the drawings, a flat strip has its ends Ill and 16:: secured to the upper and lower layers of flap 5 by heat or preferably by electronic means under corn paratively high voltage and its outer end is provided with a loop 11 which extends around the stationary cross piece 12 of a buckle having inner and outer ends 13 and 14, respectively. In a like manner, a flat strip 15 is secured to flap 4 by heat or preferably by electronic means under comparatively high voltage. The central inflatable portion of my improved device is formed of a light plastic material which is impervious to air and the flaps 4 and 5 may be formed of the same material. The flat strips it and lit and the flat strip 15 are formed of a thin flexible plastic material which is light in weight and which is slightly resilient. Any suitable plastic material that is light in'weight and is impervious to air and which dries quickly when exposed to the air may be'used, such as plastics having such properties that are disclosed in the book entitled The Chemistry of Commercial Plastics by Reginald L. Walreman published by the Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 330 West Forty-Second Street, New York city in 1947, and particularly the vinyl plastics disclosed in the foregoing publication and the vinyl plastics disclosed in the publication entitled Vinyl Resins by W. Mayo Smith, published by Reinhold Publishing Corporation, New York city, in 1958. i

To inflate the central portion of the device, a valve formed of plastic material is provided having a lower plastic flange 16 secured to the lower face of the upper layer 2 of the central portion of the device, a concave inner face 17 provided with spaced openings, and a central base portion having an upwardly extending cylindrical tube 18 and the upper portion of the valve part consists of a flange 19 which is attached to the outer face of the upper layer of the central portion of the device and a concave portion 2% which is of a shape to engage the concave portion of the inner part of the valvewhen the concave portion 21) of the upper valve part is forced downwardly into engagement with the concave portion 17 of the lower valve part. The upper valve part is provided with a cylindrical shaped opening 21 having a tab 22 formed integral therewith by means of which the upper valve part may be pulled upwardly from engagement with the inner concave portion of the lower valve part to release the air within the inflated central portion of the device. When the upper part of the valve is pulled away from the lower portion, however, air may be blown through the cylindrical opening in the upper valve part and when the central portionof the device is inflated, the upwardly extending portion of the upper valve part may be pushed downwardly by the tongue to force the concave portion of the upper valve part into engagement with the concave portion of the lower valve part which closes the openings therein at which time the central portion of the lower valve part extends upwardly through and closes the opening in the central tube of the upper valve part to maintain the device in its inflated state. If desired, however, convenient means, such as a cylindrical tube 23 may be provided through which air may be blown through the cylindrical opening in the upper valve part to inflate the central portion of the device and when the central portion of the. device is inflated, the tube may be pressed downwardly to force the part 26 of S the upper valve part into engagement with the concave portion 17 of the lower valve part at which time the cylindrical portion 13 of the lower valve part extends through the opening in the central portion of the upper valve part to maintain the device in its inflated state.

My improved device may be fabricated in various sizes depending upon the size of the person to whom it is to be applied. The central inflatedportion of the device, however, should not be long enough to entirely-encircle the arm to which it is applied and the central inflated portions of a pair of devices should not be long enough to entirely encircle the body. A satisfactory device is provided when the length of the central portion between its end seams is approximately 8% inches and the width between the side seams is approximately 4 /21 inches. In such case when a device is placed upon each arm and inflated, the devices serve to keep the head of the person above water. The length of the device should be such that when one of the devices is placed lengthwise over the chest, the flap 4 and strip 15 may be connected to the buckle of another similar device indicated by the numeral 1a in FIG. 2 of the drawing. The strip 15 of the device 1a may then be similarly connected on the opposite side of the body with the buckle on device 1 to form a pair of devices intandem and when a device is applied to each of the arms and one of such pairs is applied around the chest and another pair is applied slightly below the chest and around the back portion of the body opposite thereto, the danger of drowning is substantially negligible and because the material of which the.

device, is fabricated is comparatively light in weight and dries quickly when exposed to the air, it will not be burdensome when the swimmer leaves the water.

The major longitudinal axis of thecentral portion of the device is substantially straight when inflated. The device will, however, be slightly curved when it engages the arm as shown in FIG. 8 and because the flaps are flexible and the flat strips are both flexible and slightly resilient, it is necessary to provide only a slight tension on the strips when they are connected in place and consequently the muscles of the arm and body are free to flex. As shown the valve for inflating the device is pref- 1 erably located adjacent one end of the central portion so that when the device is placed upon one arm, the fingers on the hand of the other: arm may be easily moved to engage the tab 22 extending fromthe upper valve part to pull it upwardly to deflate the device.

It will be noted that when thedevice is applied to each arm and sufiicient tension is placed upon the flat strips to cause an indentation in the lower portion of the central part of the device which bears against the arm, the other parts of the central inflated portion of the device do not extend around the arm. The flaps, however, which are flexible extend downwardly on opposite sides of the arm and are connected together by the flat strips extending from the flaps, one of which has a buckle connected thereto. The buckle may be of the usual type and includes a movable cross bar 24 and a space is provided between the other end of the buckle and the stationary cross bar so that one end of the flat strip 15 may be inserted between the end portion 14 and the cross bar 24 of the buckle and then threaded between the stationary cross bar 12 and the opposite end of the buckle.

Because of its construction, device 1 may be applied across the breast without substantial bending and the flat resilientstrips 10, 10a which are connected at their inner 7 ends to the upper and lower layers of flap 5 of device 1 merge at their outer ends in a loop which is connected to a buckle and a flat resilient strip 15 having its inner end secured to the flap 4 of a similar device 1a extending across the back of the body in opposed relation to device 1 has its outer end threaded through and maintained in place by the buckle. In a like manner, the flap 5 of device 1a has a flat strip 10, 10a connected through a loop at its outer end to a second buckle through which the outer end of the flat resilient strip 15 extending from the flap 4 of device 1 is threaded. It will be noted that the resilient flat strip 19, 10a of device 1 is connected through one buckle to the flat resilient strip extending from the flap of device In and that device 1a has abuckle at its opposite end to which flat resilient strip 15 of device 1 is connected. As shown, the flat strips for connecting the devices together are arranged at the sides of the person to whom the devices are applied and because they are resilient, the muscles of the body may be freely flexed.

The device may be applied to each arm in an inflated state in which case it is necessary to apply sufficient tension to the flat strips, 19, 10a and 15' to cause a slight bend in the central inflated portion of the device where it rests upon the arm. If desired, however, the device after being placed upon the arm may be inflated by the wearer by bending his head to a position to force air into the central portion of the device through the openings in the valve in which case when suflicient tension is placed on the flat strips 10, 10a and 15, a bend is formed in the inflated central portion of the device. When it is desired to remove the device from the arm, it is only'necess'ary for the wearer to pull the tab 22 outwardly to Cause deflation of the device at which time the device may be easily removed from the arm. When the device is applied to. the chest with one of the devices extending substantially horizontally across the chest and the other horizontally across the back, the tab 22 on the device 1 which extends across or slightly below the chest may be first pulled outwardly to defiate the central portion of device 1 at which time the device may be pulled around the body to a position in which the first device may be re- I moved from the buckle on the second device.

My improved device is also instrumental in teaching people how to swim. For this purpose when the student starts his lessons, one of the devices may be applied to each arm between the elbow and the shoulders and a pair of devices may be arranged in tandem around the chest and back and another pair in tandem may be applied around the body slightly below the breast and if desired a single device may be applied around the neck. After the student learns the fundamentals of swimming, such as the proper motion of the arms and legs, the device placed around the neck may be first removed. This may be effected by simply pulling out the tab 21 and removing the flat strip 15 from the buckle. As the student advances in the art of swimming, the lower pair of devices in tandem may be removed from the body. This may be eflected by pulling outwardly on the tab 22 of one of the devices and then moving the devices around the body to a position in which the flat strip 15 on one device may be removed from the buckle on the other device. The pair engaging the chest and the back opposite thereto may be removed in a similar manner and as soon as the student learns to keep his head above the water by the proper propulsion of the. arms and legs, the device applied to each of the arms may be removed. In removing the device from the right arm, the fingers on the left arm may of course be moved to a position to grasp and pull the tab 22 on the device on the right arm outwardly and in a like manner, when it is desired to remove the device from the left arm, the fingers on the right arm may be moved to a position to grasp and pull outwardly the tab on the device on the left arm. The devices applied to the arms may then be removed without releasing the strip 15 from the buckle.

My improved device is preferably constructed of a vinyl plastic in which the inflatable portion of the device andthe flaps are flexible and are impervious to water but are substantially nonresilient. The strips10, 10a and 15 are also preferably formed of a vinyl plastic material that is flexible and is also slightly resilient. The central inflatable part or unit when wet clings to the arm or to the body and consequently the amount of tension placed upon the flexible resilient strips to maintain the device in place may be small. The muscles of the arms and body are therefore free to flex. The plastic material utilized in forming the device is light in Weight and dries quickly when exposed to the air and consequently it is not burdensome to the wearer in running or jumping. This is important because when the device is worn by children, they frequently like to leave the water, especially on a clear day when the weather is warm.

Because my improved devices are formed of a comparatively light plastic material, they do not adversely affect the normal use of the body when out of the water and because they dry quickly, they do not produce a cold or clarnmy feeling about portions of the body to which they are applied and consequently children are not encouraged to remove them when they leave the water. When two devices are applied in tandem around or slightly below the chest and the portion of the back opposite thereto, the devices are connected together by the resilient stri s and the buckle at the sides of the person upon whom the devices are applied and consequently no bulges are formed at the sides of the body to hold the arms away from their normal position when Walking or running. This is also true when the devices are applied to the arms. In such case, the devices are applied to the outer sides of the arms and there are no bulges between the arms and the sides of the body which prevent the normal movement of the arms when walking or running.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for application to the am of a body including a central portion consisting of two similarlyshaped mating layers of a flexible plastic material having both their side edges and their end edges sealed together and which lie flat upon each other when the device is deflated, means whereby air may be forced through the upper layer into the central portion of said device to inflate it to provide a substantially cylindrical portion and said device also consisting of a flap extending from each end of the central portion, each of which flaps is provided with upper and lower layers of a plastic material having mating sides and ends which are sealed together and each of said flaps being flexible but substantially nonresilient, first and second flat strips, each of which is slightly resilient, a buckle having inner and outer ends, a stationary cross piece spaced from the inner end thereof and a movable cross piece spaced from the outer end, and said first flat strip having upper and lower inner ends secured to one of said flaps and an outer loop portion arranged around the stationary cross piece of the buckle and the flat strip extending from the other fiap being adapted when the inflated central portion is applied to the outer portion of the arm to be threaded between the movable cross bar and the outer end of the buckle and then'over the stationary cross piece and below the opposite end of the buckle so that when the inflated center portion of the device is placed over the outer portion of the arm, the flat strip secured to the second flap of the device may be pulled in place to provide sufiicient tension on said strips to hold the inflatable portion of the central part of the device on the outer portion of the arm and to provide a substantially irregular inner surface having parts engaging the arm which tension is insufiicient to restrain the free movement of the muscles of the arm.

2. A device comprising an inflatable central portion consisting of upper and lower similarly-shaped flexible layers of a plastic material of substantial uniform width sealed together at their sides and ends and which lie flat upon each other when the device is deflated, means Whereby air may be forced between said layers to inflate the central portion of said device to form a substantially cylindrical portion, a pair of flexible flaps integral with and formed of the same material as the central portion of said device and extending in opposite directions there, from, each of which flaps is substantially nonresilient consists of upper and lower layers which lie flat upon each other and are sealed at their sides and ends against 6 the entrance of air, first'and second flat strips formed of a plastic material, eachof which is slightly resilient and the inner end portion of the first of which is secured to one of said flaps and the other of which has its inner end portion secured to the other flap, said central portion being applicable to round portions of a human body with one of the flaps and the resilient strip secured thereto extending along one side of the body portions and the other flap and the resilient strip secured thereto being arranged along the other side of the body portions and means associated with the strips for connecting them together and maintaining them under tension when the device is secured to parts of a body.

'3. A device having a central inflatable portion composed of upper and lower similarly-shaped flexible layers of a plastic material which is impervious to air and which la ers lie flat upon each other when the device is deflated, each layer having similarly-shaped mating side and end edges which are sealed together, means whereby air may be forced between the upper and lower layers of the central portion of said device to inflate it and to provide a substantially cylindrical portion and said device having a flexible flap composed of a plastic material which is substantially nonresilient extending from each end portion of the central portion of the device, first and second flat strips which are slightly resilient, the first of which has its inner portion secured to one of said flaps and the second having its inner end portion secured to the other flap, said central portion being applicable to the outer portion of the arm of a person with said flaps extending on opposite sides of said arm and means associated with said strips for connecting them together and applying sufficient tension on the strips to bend the central portion of said device into engagement With the outer portion of the arm at which time said strips engage the muscles on the inner portion of the arm and are sufiiciently resilient to permit free flexing of the muscles of the arm. 7

4. A device as defined in claim 3 in which the means for inflating the central portion of the device includes a valve consisting of upper and lower valve parts secured to the inner and outer faces of the upper layer of the central portion which parts are in mating engagement with each other when the central portion of the device is in its inflated state, said upper valve part having a tab extending therefrom which may be pulled outwardly to permit deflation of the device and to release the tension on the strips and said valve means being arranged in proximity to the portion of the arm which is closer to the body than the outer portion of the arm so that when the device is applied to the left arm, the tab on the upper valve part may be readily engaged by the fingers on the hand of the right arm.

5. Apparatus including first and second devices, each of which includes an inflatable central portion composed of similarly-shaped upper and lower layers of a plastic material having side and end portions which layers are sealed together at their side and end edges and lie fiat upon each other when the central portion of the device is deflated, valve means arranged in one of the layers of the central portion of each device through which air may be introduced between the layers to inflate the central portion of the device to provide a substantially cylindrical portion, and each of said devices having first and second flaps which are substantially nonresilient, the first of which is connected to and extends from one end of the central portion and the second of which is con-' nected to and extends from the second end of the central portion of each device, a first flat strip which is sli htly resilient having its inner end secured to the first flap of each device and a second flat strip which is slightly resilient having its inner end secured to the second flap of each device, said apparatus being applicable to a person with the central inflated cylindrical portion of the first device extending across or slightly below the chest of the person to whom the apparatus is applied and the central inflated cylindrical portion of the second device extending across his back in opposed relation to the first device, means associated with the first flat strip of the first device and the second flat strip of the second device and arranged along one side of the person to whom the device is applied for connecting the first resilient strip of the first device to the second resilient strip of the second device and maintaining them under tension and means associated with the second flat strip of the first device and the first flat strip of the second device and arranged on the opposite side of the person to whom the apparatus is applied for connecting the second resilient strip of the first device'and the first resilient strip of the second device together and maintaining them under tension;

6. Apparatus including first and second devices, each of said devices including an inflatable central portion composed of similarly-shaped upper and lower layers of a plastic material having side and end portions which are secured together and lie flat upon each other when the central portion of the device is deflated, valve means arranged in one of the layers of the central portion of each device through which air may be introduced between the layers to inflate the central portion of the device to provide a substantially cylindrical portion which valve means has a tab which may be pulled upwardly to deflate the device, each of said devices having first and second flaps which are substantially nonresilient, the first of which extends from one end of the central portion and the second of which extends from the other end-portion of the central portion of each device, a first flat strip which is slightly resilient having its inner end secured to the first flap of each device and its opposite end secured to a buckle and a second flatstrip which is slightly resilient secured to the second flap of each device, said apparatus being applicable to a person with'the central inflated portion of the first device extending across or slightly below his chest and the central inflated portion of the second device extending across his back in opposed relation to the first device with the buckle connected to the outer end of the first flat strip of the first device being arranged along one side of the person to whom the apparatus is applied and the outer end of the second flat strip of the second device being threaded therethrough to a sufficient extent to apply tension to the first flat strip of the first device and the second flat strip of the second device and the buckle on the first strip of the second device being arranged on the opposite side of the person to whom the apparatus is applied and the second flat strip of the first device being threaded therethrough to a sufiicient extent to apply tension to the second flat strip extending from the second flap on the first device and the first flat strip of the second device, and the tension on said flat strips being partly released when the tab on the valve means of the first device is pulled upwardly so that the apparatus may be moved around the body of the person to whom it is applied to a position in which the tab on the valve means of the second device is in a position to be pulled upwardly by such person.

References (Iited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,253,122 1/18 Baron 9340 X 1,488,049 3/24 Lawless 9-344 X 1,493,664 5/24 Blum 9340 1,538,627 5/25 Di Lauro 9-339 1,756,383 4/30 Petz 9.-338 1,805,803 5/31 Bulgarini 9338 X 2,068,061 1/37 May 9--340 X 2,292,150 8/42 Murray 9340 X 2,871,491 2/59 Van Vorst 9344 3,086,737 4/63 Hyman 244l53 3,134,995 6/64 Kirchner 9336 FOREIGN PATENTS 33,170 4/24 Denmark. 219,922 2/ 59 Australia.

FERGUS S. MIDDLETON, Primary Examiner.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3296636 *Nov 18, 1964Jan 10, 1967Bernhard MarkwitzBuoyancy ring
US3528083 *Mar 7, 1968Sep 8, 1970Parker Hugh MPressure warning apparatus for pneumatic tire
US4496328 *Mar 19, 1984Jan 29, 1985Asher William PCombined swimming aid and lifesaving device
US5393230 *May 17, 1993Feb 28, 1995Franci KeberFloating element to assist the teaching of swimming
US5413485 *Dec 21, 1993May 9, 1995Adee; KeithMethod for teaching a person to swim
US5480332 *Apr 25, 1994Jan 2, 1996Cynamon; SamMultiple victim rescue device
US6106348 *Nov 17, 1998Aug 22, 2000Loisel; JeanInflatable personal flotation device
US6859939 *Oct 21, 2002Mar 1, 2005Ralph J Osburn, Sr.Inflatable restraint device
DE3239929A1 *Oct 28, 1982May 3, 1984Boerje WessmanSchwimm- und badehilfe
DE3539528A1 *Nov 7, 1985Mar 19, 1987Josefine KiernerDevice for learning how to swim
EP0571801A1 *May 10, 1993Dec 1, 1993Franci KeberFloating element to assist the teaching of swimming
WO2000015492A1Sep 10, 1998Mar 23, 2000Loisel JeanInflatable personal flotation device with gas inlet nozzle
Classifications
U.S. Classification441/108, 441/115
International ClassificationB63C9/00, B63C9/125
Cooperative ClassificationB63C9/155
European ClassificationB63C9/15A