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Publication numberUS3186005 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 1, 1965
Filing dateAug 2, 1962
Priority dateAug 2, 1962
Publication numberUS 3186005 A, US 3186005A, US-A-3186005, US3186005 A, US3186005A
InventorsRobert Gentile
Original AssigneeSea All Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Underwater face mask
US 3186005 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 1, 1965 v R. GENTILE 3,186,005

UNDERWATER FACE MASK Filed Aug. 2, 1962 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 United States Patent 3,186,005 UNDERWATER FAQE MASK Robert Gentile, Woburn, Mass, assignor to Sea-All, line, Eilierica, Mass, a corporation of Massachusetts Filed Aug. 2, 1962, Ser. No. 214,376 3 Claims. (til. 2--9) This invention relates to protective face masks and particularly to masks of the type which cover the eyes and nose of the wearer and are employed under water.

An object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved mask designed for use under water to protect the wearers eyes and nose and providing substantially unrestricted, distortion-free visibility.

Another object of the invention is to provide a face mask of the type described having a greatly simplified and less expensive construction comprising a minimum of easily assembled components.

Another object of the invention is to provide a face mask of the type described which is of a rugged, yet lightweight construction and is substantially unbreakable.

A further object of the invention is to provide a face mask as described which is more comfortable to wear, provides a better water-tight seal between the mask and the wearers face, is easily purged of water and facilitates equalization of the pressure on the wearers ear drums.

Other objects of the invention will in part be obvious and will in part appear hereinafter.

The invention accordingly comprises the product possessing the features, properties and the relation of components which are exemplified in the following detailed disclosure, and the scope of the application of which will be indicated in the claims.

For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a plan view of the lens unit of a face mask embodying the invention;

FIG. 2 is a front elevation view of the lens unit of FIGURE 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along the line 3-3 of FIGURE 1;

FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of a face mask embodying the invention shown in place on the wearers face;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view illustrating a detail of the construction of the face mask of FIG. 4; and

FIGURE 6 is a View of the face mask illustrating another embodiment of the invention.

Generally, face masks adapted for use under water are designed to cover the wearers eyes and nose and include a transparent lens or face plate through which the wearer can see, means providing a water-tight seal between the lens and the wearers face, and means for retaining the mask against the face. Heretofore, masks of this type have usually comprised a fairly rigid frame in which is mounted a face plate, usually fiat glass; means, such as a clamping ring, for retaining the face plate in the frame and forming a water-tight seal between the frame and face plate; a skirt extending rearwardly from the frame and in many instances, an integral part of the frame, for spacing the face plate and frame away from the face and providing a water-tight seal between the face and mask. Because the face plate is of limited area, is displaced from the eyes and the frame and skirt are both, as a rule, opaque, the wearers visibility is drastically restricted to a narrow field limited to the angle subtended by the face plate. The present invention contemplates an underwater face mask providing substantially unlimited vision without distortion and with greater comfort to the wearer, in a construction which is simpler and less expensive than any conceived heretofore.

Patented June 1, 1955 This construction, as will be seen in FIGS. 1 through 3, is achieved by providing a single lens unit 10 embodying both the face plate and the skirt which heretofore comprised separate elements. Lens unit 10 comprises a face plate 12 in the shape of a circle which is somewhat oblate at its lower side. In order to prevent distortion, face plate 12 is preferably substantially planar and of uniform thickness throughout; although a slight spherical curvature may be imparted to the face plate to provide additional resistance to compression and distortion of the face plate due to water pressure. The lower edge of face plate 12, designated 14, has a relatively large radius of curvature, being only slightly curved, while the remainder of the periphery of the face plate is approximately circular and constitutes approximately three quarters of the face plate periphery. As previously indicated, the mask includes a skirt which is integral with the face plate and formed of the same material, preferably an organic plastic material such as cellulose acetate butyrate, which is transparent [although it may be tinted] and is readily formed by molding techniques. The preferred method of fabrication, to which the present construction lends itself, is to mold the face plate and skirt as a single unit, although it is possible to form the face plate and skirt separately and then assemble them to form the lens unit.

The lens unit is formed of an organic polymeric material which when molded possesses substantial resistance to water, salt and the like, as well as substantial strength, rigidity and transparency. Among the polymeric materials which may be utilized to form the lens unit, mention may be made of, for example, acrylics such as polymethylmethacrylate, cellulosics such as cellulose acetate butyrate, cellulose propionate, etc., polyalkylenes such as polyethylene and polypropylene, polyesters, and vinyls such as polyvinyl chloride and the like. As noted previously, one preferred polymeric material which may be used to form the lens unit comprises cellulose acetate butyrate. It may also be desirable to provide at least the outer surface of the face plate with a coating of a material, known in the art, which is highly resistant to scratching and abrasion.

The polymeric material comprising the lens unit, while characterized by appreciable strength and rigidity, is none-the-less, quite flexible as compared with glass heretofore employed for face plates in underwater masks and considerably less likely to be broken if struck accidentally. The lens unit may be required to withstand some, although not extreme, compressive pressure due to a difference between the inside and outside pressures without distorting to the extent that it cracks or otherwise fails, allows water to leak into the mask, distorts the Wearers vision or becomes uncomfortable to wear. This requisite relatively rigid or semi-rigid construction is achieved despite the relative thinness, e.g., on the order of to inch thick, of the material employed by a particular combination of structure and form described hereinafter.

The skirt is joined to the face plate at the edges thereof and extends rearwardly while flaring outwardly slightly. The transparent skirt is shown as comprising a lower section 16 in the form of a portion of a cone joined to face plate 12 at lower edge 14 thereof; and an upper section joined to the remainder of the face plate preiphery, also in the form of a cone, and including lateral or side portions designated 18 and an upper portion desginated 2%. The skirt is preferably of uniform thickness throughout, which thickness is the same as that of the face plate, and merges smoothly with the face plate at the edges or periphery thereof without interruption or sharp or abrupt corners, and without any appreciable variation in thickness. In this manner, distortion throughout the face plate and skirt is substantially eliminated, while distortion at (.J the edges of the face plate is reduced to a minimum, both in area and severity, such as to be barely discernible.

The upper and lower sections of the skirt, being sections of cones, rather than spherical, for example, provide a firm, stable and distortion (optically) free support for the face plate; and additionally facilitate manufacture by molding processes. Lower section 16 of the skirt merges with side or lateral portions 18 of the skirt at two well defined curved corners designated 22 extending rearwardly and outwardly and contributing to the structural strength and rigidity of the lens unit.

The skirt, particularly the continuous rear edges thereof, is shaped to conform substantially to the facial structure or contour of the wearer and this, it should be noted, is facilitated by the inherent flexibility of the plastic material. Upper portion 20 includes a rear edge 24 shaped to conform to the forehead, while lower section 16 includes a rear edge 26 shaped to conform to the cheeks and upper lip. The lower section of the skirt is deeper (or longer) than the upper portion of the skirt to accommodate the nose and support the face plate so that it is inclined rearwardly toward the forehead when worn. Lateral portions 18 are substantially deeper or longer than the remainder of the skirt and are shaped to engage and conform to the cheeks (forward of the ears) and the temples of the wearer. The entire skirt is of suflicient depth to locate the face plate forward of the nose while extending rearwardly beyond the vertical and lateral limits of the wearers peripheral vision as shown in FIG. 4, to insure unrestricted vision.

The lens unit comprising the face plate and skirt preferably has a thickness on the order of about one-eighth of an inch. As shown, the lens unit preferably consists of a single layer of transparent polymeric material, e.g., cellulose acetate butyrate, of the desired thickness. The lens unit may also have a sandwich structure. For instance, the lens unit may comprise two thin layers (e.g., each about A inch thick) of transparent polymeric material secured together in superposed relation with, for example, a suitable transparent adhesive.

While lens unit 10 may constitute a substantially complete face mask per se, it is desirable to provide a more comfortable and watertight seat between the plastic skirt and the face. This seat or seal is in the form of a continuous lip 36 comprising a strip of a pliant, elastomeric material such as rubber. Lip 30 is secured to the rear edge of portions of the skirt and is adapted to extend rearwardly into engagement with the face providing a comfortable, watertight seal. The face-engaging sealing lip, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, comprises for the most part, a relatively narrow and thin strip of an elastomer, having a channel or groove 32 in its forward edge section. The edges of the skirt are tightly engaged in groove 32, with a waterand air-tight seal being formed between the skirt and lip. The upper portion of lip 30, shown in section in FIG. 5, and designed to press against the forehead, is made substantially thicker intermediate its edges in order to provide a more comfortable cushion against the face. The construction of the lip and skirt are such that the skirt tends to remain secure in the groove, particularly when the mask is being worn, without the aid of other means. However, in a preferred form, it is desirable to provide a suitable adhesive, such as an epoxy resin or cement, for securing the skirt edge within groove 32. At or closely adjacent the rear edge of portions of the skirt, there may he provided an integrally formed ridge or bead 33 to assist in retaining the skirt edge in groove 32. For instance, a ridge may be provided which extends around the outer surface of the skirt; said ridge being located at or closely adjacent the rear edge of the skirt so as to be secured within groove 32.

The width of lip 30 varies considerably from a very narrow portion at the lower section of the skirt adapted to engage the upper lip of the wearer, to a wide, rearwardly extending section at the temples to a narrower.

upper section adapted to engage the forehead. The primary function of the lip, as previously noted, is to provide a comfortable watertight seat for the skirt rather than positioning the face plate with respect to the face and eyes of the wearer; and accordingly, can be both narrow, thin and quite flexible.

As a means for retaining the mask against the face, there is provided a conventional elastic head strap 34 secured to the skirt and adapted to extend around and behind the head. Strap 34, which may be provided with well known means for suitably adjusting the length thereof, is secured to lateral portions 18 of the skirt by attachment to U-shaped members 36, shown as formed integrally with the side or lateral portions. The U-shapetl :strap holders formed of the same material as the lens unit are preferably located near or adjacent the rear edge of lateral portions 13 so as not to interfere with the side vision of the wearer. In other words, the U- shaped member carried by each of the lateral portions .18 is positioned so as to be rearwardly beyond the lateral limits of the wearers peripheral vision. Moreover, the pair of U-shaped members 36 is preferably secured to lateral portions 18 in such a manner that strap 34 attached thereto will normally extend around the upper rear portions of the head. It is important that the strap be attached to lens unit 12 since it is the lens unit, rather than the skirt, which comprises the basic component of the mask; and sealing between the skirt and lip is promoted by pressing the lip between the skirt and wearers face.

It is not unusual for water to enter the mask while the wearer is submerged and, accordingly, provision is made for clearing or purging the mask of water while submerged. The usual practice with conventional masks is exhale through the nose while holding an upper portion of the mask skirt against the face, thereby causing the water to escape downward between a lower portion of the skirt and the face. This is effective when the mask has the usual flexible skirt, but may prove difiicult with the present mask due to the relative inflexibility of the skirt. Accordingly, other provision is made for water purging in the form of sector shaped openings 40 in lower section 16 of the skirt together with a one-way valve 42 closing openings 40 against the admission of water while permitting the escape of water from the mask when the pressure within the mask is increased [by exhaling into the mask] above the outside pressure. A cover 44 is provided over valve 42 to protect the latter and prevent interference with its operation.

Another problem encountered during diving is that of equalizing the pressure on the ear drums, i.e., equalizing the pressure in the middle and outer ears. The outer ear is, of course, subject to the ambient (water) pressure, while the middle ear communicates with the throat, sinuses and nose via the Eustachian tubes. It is the usual practice for the diver [wearing a mask] to help equalize the pressure on his ear drums by pinching or otherwise blocking his nostrils against the outward flow of air and attempting to exhale through his nose in order to force air through his Eustachian tubes. The present mask includes means for facilitating the blockage of the nostrils and in the form shown, these means comprise a raised pad 46 secured to the inner surface of lower section 16 in position to close the nostril openings when the lower section of the lip is pressed upward against the nostril openings. Pad 46 may be formed as an integral portion of the lip as shown in FIGURE 6 or it may comprise a more pliant material such as an elastomeric sponge or foam element secured to the lower lip section. Both openings 40 and pad 46 are located substantially midway between the sides of the lower section since this is where the nostril is located and is substantially the lowest portion of the mask when the wearer is in a normal diving attitude, i.e., face forward and/or downward.

The present face mask adapted for use underwater possesses many advantages. For example, it provides substantially distortion-free visibility in all directions. Moreover, the present mask is of a simple, rugged, low cost construction. Additionally, the face mask is light weight, easy to handle and to use, and highly resistant to breakage. Furthermore, the present mask which provides substantially unrestricted visibility is more comfortable to wear and provides a better watertight seal between the mask and the wearers face.

Since certain changes may be made in the above product Without departing from the scope of the invention herein involved, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

What is claimed is:

1. A face mask to be worn underwater to provide substantially unrestricted vision, said mask, having an upper and lower portion, comprising, in combination; a lens unit formed of a transparent polymeric material;

said lens unit including a substantially planar face plate and an integral skirt joining said face plate at the edges thereof and terminating in a continuous rear edge shaped to conform to the facial structure of the wearer in surrounding relation to the eyes and nose;

said skirt including an upper section and a lower section, said upper section including an upper portion having a rear edge curved to conform to the forehead of the wearer and side portions extending rearwardly to conform to the temples of the wearer, said lower section having a rear edge shaped to conform to the facial structure of the wearer between his nose and upper lip, said lower section being substantially deeper than said upper portion causing said face plate to be inclined with respect to the face of the wearer;

a continuous lip of a pliant, elastomeric material attached to said skirt at the rear edge thereof to provide a water tight seal between said skirt and the face of the wearer;

a medial pad provided on the lower portion of said mask for engaging and closing the nostrils of the wearer; and means secured to said skirt at the sides thereof for retaining said mask against the face of the wearer.

2. A face mask adapted to be worn underwater to provide substantially unrestricted vision, said mask, having an upper and lower portion, comprising, in combination; a lens unit formed of a transparent polymeric material;

said lens unit including a substantially planar face plate and an integral skirt joining said face plate at the edges thereof and terminating in a continuous rear edge shaped to conform to the facial structure of the wearer in surrounding relation to the eyes and nose;

said skirt including an upper section and a lower section, said upper section including an upper portion having a rear edge curved to conform to the forehead of the wearer and side portions extending rearwardly to conform to the temples of the wearer, said lower section having a rear edge shaped to conform to the facial structure of the wearer between his nose and and upper lip, said lower section being substantially deeper than said upper portion causing said face plate to be inclined with respect to the face of the wearer;

a continuous lip of a pliant, elastomeric material attached to said skirt at the rear edge thereof to provide a water tight seal between said skirt and the face of the wearer;

the lower portion of said mask being provided with a medial pad for engaging and closing the nostrils of the wearer and a medial opening and a one-way exhaust valve associated with said opening to close the latter while permitting said mask to be purged of water; and

means secured to said skirt at the sides thereof for retaining said mask against the face of the wearer.

3. A face mask adapted to be worn underwater to provide substantially unrestricted vision, said mask comprising, in combination; a lens unit formed of a transparent polymeric material;

said lens unit including a substantially planar face plate and an integral skirt joining said face plate at the edges thereof and terminating in a continuous rear edge shaped to conform to the facial structure of the wearer in surrounding relation to the eyes and nose; said skirt including an upper section and a lower section, said upper section including an upper portion having a rear edge curved to conform to the forehead of the wearer and side portions extending rearwardly to conform to the temples of the wearer, said lower section having a rear edge shaped to conform to the facial structure of the wearer between his nose and upper lip, said lower section being substantially deeper than said upper portion causing said face plate to be inclined with respect to the face of the wearer;

a continuous lip of a pliant, elastomeric material attached to said skirt at the rear edge thereof to provide a watertight seal between said skirt and the face i of the wearer; and means secured to said skirt at the sides thereof for retaining said mask against the face of the wearer.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,333,336 11/43 Powell 214.2 X 2,435,653 2/48 Maurer 2--14.1 X 2,581,007 1/52 Douglas et al 2-14.20 X 2,589,439 3/52 Seidel 214.20 2,909,959 10/59 Girden 214.2 X 2,918,918 12/59 Rebikoif 128-142 2,928,097 3/ 60 Neufeld 2-14.1 3,015,105 1/62 Rogowski 29 3,056,140 10/62 Lindbloom 214.8 3,060,445 10/62 Brockman 2-9 FOREIGN PATENTS 893,643 2/ 44 France. 1,189,800 3/59 France. 1,190,915 4/59 France.

JORDAN FRANKLIN, Primary Examiner.

THOMAS J. HICKEY, DAVID J. WILLIAMOWSKY,

Examiners.

Patent Citations
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US2333336 *Dec 22, 1939Nov 2, 1943Powell Robert AFace guard
US2435653 *Aug 31, 1945Feb 10, 1948H L Bouton CompanyGoggle
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US2909959 *Nov 26, 1958Oct 27, 1959Barney B GirdenSwimming face mask with periscope
US2918918 *May 11, 1956Dec 29, 1959Cinefot Internat CorpUnderwater swimming apparatus
US2928097 *Oct 15, 1956Mar 15, 1960Lester N NeufeldUnderwater goggles
US3015105 *Jul 19, 1960Jan 2, 1962Rogowski Frank JSafety face mask
US3056140 *Apr 21, 1961Oct 2, 1962Welsh Mfg CoGoggle with removable lens cover
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FR893643A * Title not available
FR1189800A * Title not available
FR1190915A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3302213 *Apr 16, 1964Feb 7, 1967Dacor CorpFace mask for swimmers
US3336599 *Dec 10, 1964Aug 22, 1967De Barbieri EttoreDiving masks
US3345984 *Mar 19, 1965Oct 10, 1967Katehis GeorgeDiving mask with snorkel
US4038979 *Aug 27, 1975Aug 2, 1977Mccosker Doris CSanitary face mask
US4850058 *Mar 28, 1988Jul 25, 1989Chensan ChengPair of goggles and the manufacturing method thereof
US5553331 *Nov 2, 1993Sep 10, 1996Gentile; RobertUniversal fit face mask
US7900280May 15, 2007Mar 8, 2011Speedo International LimitedGoggles
US8769728 *Aug 22, 2011Jul 8, 2014Qbas Co., Ltd.Goggle mask, check valve device thereof and method for manufacturing a check valve device thereof
US20080184466 *Feb 2, 2007Aug 7, 2008Qds Injection Molding, L.L.C.Swimming and dive mask
US20120047638 *Aug 22, 2011Mar 1, 2012Qbas Co., Ltd.Goggle Mask, Check Valve Device Thereof and Method for Manufacturing a Check Valve Device Thereof
USRE37816Apr 23, 1999Aug 13, 2002Jon KranhouseDiving mask with lenses and method of fabricating the same
EP0602148A1 *Aug 28, 1992Jun 22, 1994KRANHOUSE, JonDiving mask with lenses and method of fabricating the same
EP0860184A1 *Feb 24, 1997Aug 26, 1998Holding Financière M.K.Diving mask with extended field of vision
EP1319592A2 *Dec 5, 2002Jun 18, 2003Fortunato, AldoDiving mask
Classifications
U.S. Classification2/9, 128/207.13, 2/427
International ClassificationB63C11/02, B63C11/12
Cooperative ClassificationB63C11/12
European ClassificationB63C11/12