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Publication numberUS3196458 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 27, 1965
Filing dateAug 14, 1963
Priority dateAug 14, 1963
Publication numberUS 3196458 A, US 3196458A, US-A-3196458, US3196458 A, US3196458A
InventorsKeith Larry F
Original AssigneeKeith Larry F
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Protective mask
US 3196458 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

L. F. KEITH PROTECTIVE MASK July- 27, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Aug. 14, 1963 LARRY F. KEITH A TTORNE Y5 L. F. KEITH PROTECTIVE MASK July 27, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Aug. 14, 1965 INVHVTOR. LARRY F. KEH'H BY azdam AMAW A TTOE VEKS United States Patent C) 3,1%,458 PROTEtZTIVE MASK Larry F. Keith, 721 Cooper Drive, Charlotte, N.C. Fiied Aug. 14, 1963, Ser. No. 302,185 12 Claims. (til. 2-9) This invention relates to protective masks for athletes and, more particularly, to an improved protective mask especially, although not exclusively, adapted for use by athletes engaging in the sport of baseball.

This application is a continuation-in-part of applicants co-pending application Serial No. 106,302, filed April 28, 1961, now Patent No. 3,132,345 and entitled Protective Mask Assembly. As is pointed out in said co-pending application, while the usefulness of protective masks in preventing painful and frequently disabling injuries to athletes has been recognized for some time, the general usage of such masks has not been accepted in many sports, of which baseball is illustrative. This reluctance to accept the benefits afforded by protective masks is deemed largely attributable to the means for maintaining such masks in position upon the head of a wearer heretofore frequently having been of an unusual and cumbersome appearance and nature. As a consequence, wearers of such masks have frequently possessed unconventional, if not grotesque, appearances, and the procedures for donning and dofiing such masks have been awkward and time consuming. Consequently, the use of protective masks and the benefits which might be afforded thereby have all too frequently been foregone.

A primary object of this invention, as with the invention of applicants aforesaid co-pending application, is the provision of a protective mask free from the foregoing disadvantages and deficiencies in that it does not distract from the appearance or comfort of the wearer and may be donned and dotfed with speed and facility, and which I of a protective mask of the type described which requires no supporting straps or similar head-encircling members of any kind to maintain the same securely in place upon the head of a wearer. There being no such straps or similar members to fasten and unfasten or to distract from either the appearance or comfort of the wearer, the

mask is capable of being quickly and easily donned and doffed and, when worn, is lighter, less noticeable and more comfortable than masks heretofore employed.

Another related and more specific object is the provision of a mask of the type described in which the means maintaining the same in place upon the head of a wearer is largely self-adjusting, such that a single mask is capable of being quickly donned and worn by any one of a number of wearers with widely varying head sizes. This feature is deemed especially desirable in relation to the sport of baseball since it obviates the necessity for each player to keep track of a particular mask during those times when his team is in the dugout and the masks are not being worn. It is also highly desirable in the case of amateur or little-league baseball, since it permits the interchange of a limited number of masks between the players of the opposing teams without causing any delay in the progress of the game.

' Another object is the provision of a mask of the type 3,196,458 Patented July 27, 1965 described which is capable of being quickly and easily modified in accordance with the wishes of a particular wearer so as to afford or not afford protection for his eyes and throat, as well as for that area of his face lying therebetween. The mask of the instant invention provides simple yet highly effective protection for the eyes and throat, as well as for that area of the face lying therebetween, for those wearers who desire to avail themselves of such additional protection. On the other hand, the structure affording this additional protection is so constructed and arranged as to be capable of quick disconnection and removal from the remainder of the mask by those wearers who do not desire the additional protection, but who wish to still avail themselves of the basic facial protection afforded by the mask.

Still other objects and advantages will be in part evident and in part pointed out hereinafter in the following description of an illustrative embodiment of the invention, which should be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGURES 1 and 2 are, respectively, side and front views of a protective mask embodying the invention in place upon the head of a wearer;

FIGURES 3 and 4 are, respectively, perspective and rear views of the mask, but with the additional eye and throat protecting members disconnected and not shown; and

FIGURE 5 is an enlarged, partially exploded, perspective, fragmentary view of one side of the mask, illustrating certain details of construction.

Referring more particularly to the drawings, the protective mask there shown consists generally of a frontal portion 10, side portions 12, 12', optional ear hooks 14, 14, and optional eye and throat protecting members 16, 18, respectively. Frontal portion 10 and side portions 12, 12 of the mask are formed of stiff, non-shattering material capable of withstanding and dissipating shocks and blows to which it might be subjected as, for example, when struck by a baseball. The material should also be relatively light in weight, and capable of being readily formed to a desired shape. One preferred material possessing these desired characteristics is the plastic commonly known as Plexiglas, but others might also be employed.

Frontal portion 10 of the protective mask is adapted to overlie and shield a substantial area of the face of the wearer, and is thus shaped and dimensioned so as to generally possess and comfortably conform to an average facial contour. Side edges 20, 20' of frontal portion 10 extend substantially vertically in overlying, adjacent relationship to the cheeks of the wearer of the mask. Lower edge 22 of frontal portion 10 lies slightly below and generally follows the jaw line of the wearer. Upper edge 24 of the frontal portion of the mask is sinuously curved, extending symmetrically downwardly from a central point in spaced, adjacent relationship to the bridge of the nose of the wearer to lowermost points beneath the eyes of the wearer, and then upwardly again at its opposite ends to merge with side edges 20, 20. In order to deflect blows or objects, such as baseballs, striking thereagainst away from the eyes of a wearer of the mask, upper edge 24 is also curved or flared outwardly away from the face of the wearer along at least the medial section of its length, for example and as shown, between the lowermost points of its heretofore described sinuous contour. Intermediate its side edges 20, 20, frontal portion 10 is generally convexedly curved, and is provided with a plurality of apertures 26 which provide ventilation and also serve to reduce the weight of the mask. Resilient padding 27 such as foam rubber is adhesively secured to the entire inner surface of frontal portion and serves to render the mask more com-' fortable to the wearer, while also serving to absorb and dissipate shocks and blows imparted to the mask. 7 It will be apparent that when the protective mask is in place upon the head of a wearer, frontal portion 10 thereof overlies and shields that substantial areaof the face f extending from approximately the bridge of the nose to the chin andfrom cheek to cheek. Additionaloption pro tection for the eyes and, throat of the wearer-of the mask,

are provided by eye and throat protecting members 16, 18, respectively. Referring no'w to FIGURES 1, 2 and 5,

eye protecting member lfi-con-sists of a substantiallyrigid rod having an elongate, curved central section 28 terminat-' ing at its opposite ends in integral downwardly and righttion--identified in the case-of'leg 30 by the numeral 32 thereon, are adapted to be closely received within sleeves 34, 34' permanently sunk within bores provided in'upper' edge 24 of frontal portion 10 adjacent opposite ends there- .of. When the lowermost end. portions of legs 30, 30' are 4 adhesively secured to their inner surfaces. The length or height of side portions 12, 12' is preferably approximately thesame as the length of side edges 20, 26' of frontal portion 10. The width of side portions 12, 12 is preferably such that they terminateshort or the ears of the wearer of the-mask, H V The pivotal or hinged connection between side portion 12 and frontal portion '10 of the mask is best shown in FIGURE 5, to which reference is now made, it being understood that side portion 12' is similarly connected to the opposite side of the frontal portion; As shown, forwardmostedgedo of side portion 12 and side edge of frontalportionlfl are .each provided-with a plurality of integrallyformed hinged knuckles 48 which, when interdigitated, receive and are permanently connected together ;by an elongate pivot or hinge pin 50. Pin 5i) also passes through biasing means inthe form of coil springs 52,54 disposed between' adjacent knuckles 58 of side portion 12 and frontal portionfltl, and the opposite en-dsof which bear against the outer surfaces of side portion 12 and frontal portion 1%) (see FIGURE 1). V

thus 'receivedwithin sleeyes34, 314', central section 28 of eye protecting member 16 extends horizontally-in spaced, substantial vertical alinement with upper edge 24- 'of frontal portion 10. The length of legs 3%, is su ch th atcen tral section 28 is dis-posed sufliciently far above the eyes-of the wearer of the mask as to not obstruct or interfere with his vision, yet sufficiently close to upper edge 24 as to cooperate therewith in preventing a baseball orany object of comparable size from striking the eyes of the wearer. The

friction or -jam fit between sleeves34, 34' and the legs 30, v T

30' received therein is sufficiently snug by reason of the crimps or projections upon the latter asto'prohibit aeci dental disengagement of eye protecting member 16 from frontal portion 10 of the mask. 1 Should a'particular wearer of the mask not desire'the additional protection afforded".

by member 16, however, the latter can be readily discon ..nected and removed from frontal portion 1'0 merely'by pulling upwardly on legs 30, 30' ,and thereby removing the same from the sleeves 34, 34'. The subsequent re-insertion of legs 30, 39 within sleeves 34, 34', so as to re-connect eye protecting member 16' to frontal portion 10, can obviously be accomplished with equal speed and facility.-

Throat protecting member 18 is constructed and mounted in substantially the same manner as eye protecting member 16.. Thus, member 18 isal-so-of substantially rigid, rod-like construction and includes a central section The eifect of the above'described connection between side portion 12 and frontal portionli) is that while side portion 12 is pivotable about the substantially vertical axis of pin 56 toward and awayfrom side portion 12' of the ,mask and the face of the wearerdi-sposed therebetween when the mask is being;worn,"jsprings 52, 54 resiliently urge or bias side portion 12 with considerable force inwardly toward side portion 127 ofthe mask and the face of the wearer. Similarly, the'identically' mounted side portion712' of the mask is'resiliently urged 0r biased inwardly with considerable force. toward side-portion 12 and the other side-of the faceof'the wearer of the mask. The clamping engagementthus realized between side portions 12, 1 2 and that area of thetem-ples and cheeks of the wearer which they ove'rlieand shield is, in most instances, adequate by itself to securely maintain the mask in position uponth-e head ofa wearer without the additional .assi'stance 'of any straps or; other supporting members whatsoeven; Thus, in the usual case it is contemplated that a person wishing to don the mask need only pivot side portions12, 12' outwardly awayfrorneach other 7 against thebias of springs .52, 54, 52', 54'while positioning frontal portion 10 in'the overlying'relations'hip to his ;face shown in' FIGURES 1 and 2. When frontal portion 'then maintained-by thisclamping engagement securely in case of leg 38 -by the-numeral, and areadapted who i received and maintained by a jam or friction fit within.

sleeves 42, 42' permanently sunk within bores in lower edge 22 of-frontal portion mot the mask. When legs 38,

from lower edge 22 of frontal portion 10 and cooperates therewith,inpreventinga baseball or other object of cornparable size from striking the throat of a wearer of the.

mask. -As with eye protecting member 16,'throat protecting member 18 can obviously be quickly and easilyconnected to or disconnected from frontal portion 10 'of-the pivotally or hingedly connectedto side edges 20, 20' of frontal/portion 10 and; are adapted to extend generally 7 .rearwardly therefrom toward the ears of the wearerof the 38' of member 18 are thus received within sleeves 42, 42, central section 36 of member 18 depends downwardly mask, overlying andshielding areas of the cheeks andtemples. Side portions lZ, 12f are eachof substantially flat, V rhomboidal shape, and arepref'erably-in keeping with frontal portion 10 pr-ovided with ventilating and weight reducing apertures '44, 44'andwith resilient padding 27 position upon the head of the wearer until such time as its removal isdesired, which removal or dofiing is effected withfequal facility merely by again pivoting side portions 12, 12' outwardly while moving the entiremask'bodily in a forwarddirection awayfromthe face.

' EWhile it is contemplated that side portions 12, 12.of

- the mask will usually constitutethe only means for maintaming the same in place upon the'head of a wearer,

additional optional means is provided for this purpose forthe benefit'of those 'wearerswho. might desire to avail themselvesof it. Such additional optional means in- 'cludes the ear hooks 14, 14* hereinbefore noted." Since rod 56. The forward-most end portion of rod-'56 is'received within a mating, internally "threaded sleeve 58'per manentlyi'mounted within a bore extending through rear- 1 mostedge60 of 'sidepo'rtion12 adjacent itsupperend.

Adjustmentof the distancebet ween .ear hook 14 and side portlon llfor thepurpose of accurately positioning the hook n comfortable engagement with the ear of a particular wearer of the mask is readily accomplished merely by rotating hook 14 and its fixedly connected rod 56 about the axis of the latter, thus causing the forward-most end portion of rod 56 to be received to a greater or lesser-depending upon the direction of rotation-extent within threaded sleeve 58. Similarly, by merely continuing such rotative movement in the appropriate direction until the forward-most end portion of rod 56 is completely disengaged from sleeve 58, ear book 14 and rod 56 may be completely disconnected from the remainder of the mask.

When connected to the remainder of the mask, it will 'be apparent that car hooks 14, 14 assist the side poremployed.

It will thus be seen that there has been provided a pro- .tective mask realizing the objects and possessing the benefits hereinbefore noted, together with many practical advantages. The mask hereinbefore shown and described as a preferred embodiment of the invention is lightweight,

comfortable, non-distracting to a wearer, and of economical manufacture. It does not cause a wearer to possess a grotesque or highly unconventional appearance. It affords individual wearers wide freedom of choice in selecting the particular protection deemed necessary or desirable. Most importantly, it is capable of being donned and doffed with marked speed and facility, particularly when side portions 12, 12 constitute the only means then employed for maintaining the mask in place upon the head of the wearer, but also when optional ear hooks 14, 14' are additionally utilized. When side portions 12, 12 constitute the only supporting means employed, the mask is self-adjusting so as to automatically properly fit any one of a number of wearers with widely varying head sizes, since the side portions will be automatically pivoted inwardly to a greater extent to fit narrower heads and to a lesser extent to fit wider heads. Even when ear hooks 14, 14' are additionally employed, the mask is largely self-adjusting since the hooks are carried by and movable with side portions 12, 12. Moreover, if in the latter case additional adjustment of ear hooks 14, 14' should be desirable, this can be quickly and easily accomplished by reason of their heretofore described connection with side portions 12, 12'.

While a specific protective mask has been hereinbefore shown and described, this was for purposes of illustration only, and not for purposes of limitation, since numerous modifications and different embodiments within the scope of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, only one of the side portions might be movable toward and away from the other, rather than both being movable. The scope of the invention should therefore be construed only in accordance with the following claims.

That which is claimed is:

1. A protective mask adapted to be worn on the head of a wearer and comprising a frontal portion formed of stiff non-shattering material adapted to overlie and shield a substantial area of the face of the wearer, means connected to and extending rearwardly from said frontal portion generally toward and terminating short of the ears of the wearer for clamping the mask to the head of the wearer, said clamping means including a pair of side portions formed of stiff non-shattering material, said side portions being pivotally connected to and extending rearwardly from said frontal portion generally towafd and terminating short of the ears of the wearer, and spring means biasing said side portions toward each other and into clamping engagement with the head of the wearer.

2. A protective mask adapted to be worn on the head of a wearer and comprising a frontal portion formed of stiff non-shattering material adapted to overlie and shield a substantial area of the face of the wearer, an eye pro tecting member and a throat protecting member detachably connected to and carried by said frontal portion, and means connected to and extending rearwardly from said frontal portion generally toward and terminating short of the ears of the wearer for clamping the mask to the head of the wearer.

3. A protective mask as in claim 2, wherein said clamping means includes a pair of side portions formed of stiff non-shattering material connected to and extending rearwardly from said frontal portion toward and terminating short of the ears of the wearer, at least one of said side portions being movable relative to said frontal portion toward and away from the other of said side portions, and said one side portion being biased toward said other side portion and into clamping engagement with the head of the wearer.

4. A protective mask as in claim 2, and further including hook members connected to and disposed rearwardly of said clamping means, said hook members being adapted to fit about the ears of the wearer and thereby assist in securing the mask to the head of the wearer.

5. A protective mask adapted to be worn on the head of a wearer and comprising a frontal portion formed of stiff non-shattering material adapted to overlie and shield a substantial area of the face of the wearer, a pair of side portions formed of stiff non-shattering material connected to and extending rearwardly from said frontal portion along opposite sides of the head of the wearer, at least one of said side portions being movable relative to said frontal portion toward and away from the other of said side portions, and resilient means biasing said one side portion toward said other side portion and into clamping engagement with the head of the wearer therebetween for clamping the mask to the head of the wearer, said resilient means comprising at least one spring engaging said one side portion and said frontal portion.

6. A protective mask adapted to be worn on the head of a wearer and comprising a frontal portion formed of stiff non-shattering material adapted to overlie and shield a substantial area of the face of the wearer, an eye pro tecting member and a throat protecting member detachably connected to and carried by said frontal portion, a pair of side portions connected to and extending rear- Wardly from said frontal portion along opposite sides of the head of the wearer, at least one of said side portions being movable relative to said frontal portion toward and away from the other of said side portions, and resilient means biasing said one side portion toward said other side portion and into clamping engagement with the head of the wearer therebetween for clamping the mask to the head of the wearer.

'7. A protective mask as in claim 5, and further including a pair of hook members connected to and disposed rearwardly of said side portions, said hook members being adapted to fit about the ears of the wearer and thereby assist in securing the mask to the head of the wearer.

8. A protective mask adapted to be worn on the head of a wearer and comprising a frontal portion formed of stiff non-shattering material adapted to overlie and shield that area of the face of the wearer extending from approximately the bridge of the nose to the chin and from cheek to cheek, a pair of side portions extending generally rearwardly from said frontal portion and being pivotally connected thereto for pivotal movement toward and away from each other, said side portions being formed of stiff non-shattering material and being adapted to overlie and shield parts of the cheeks and temples of the wearer, and resilient means biasing said side portions toward each other and into clamping engagement with said parts "of the cheeks and temples of the wearer for clamping the,

mask to the head of the wearer.-

9. A protective mask as in claim 8, wherein saijdside portions are of substantially flat rhomboidal .shape,',and

further including resilient padding material adhesively secured to the surfaceslof said side and frontalportions adjacent the'head of the wearer.

10. A protective mask as in claim 8, andfurtherineluding a pair of hook members, and means adjustably and detachably connecting said hook members to said side portions, said hook'members'when connected vto said shield a substantial area of the face of the user, said frontal portion having a pair'of side edges and an upper edge and ,a lower edge, said side edges 'of said tfrontal portion being adapted to extend substantially'vertieally adjacent thecheeks of the wearer and saidfrontal portion said side edges thereof from a central point adjacent the bridge of thenose of the wearer downwardly to lowera i side edgesand an uppermost edge and a lowermost edge, ,a plurality of hinge jknuckles formed integral with said side edges of said frontal portion vand said forwardmost side edges of said side portions, a pair of hinge pin mem-v bers eXtending'through said hinge knuckles and tpivotally connecting said side portions'to, said frontal portion for a pivotal movement of said sideportions-toward and away side portions being adapted to fit about the ears of the Y within said' bores, a pair of ear-hook members,'a pair from each other-and said parts of the cheeks and temples of the wearer, coil spring means disposed about said hinge pin members and biasing said side portions toward each other. and into clamping engagement with said parts of the cheeks .and temples of the ,wearer for clamping the mask tofthe head'of the wearer, said rearmost side edges of said side portions each having a bore extending there through, internally threaded sleeve members "mounted of elongate threaded rod members securedv to said hook 'members and adapted to vbe received within said sleeve on the head i members for adjustably and detachably connecting said hook members to said side portions, said ear-hook'members when, connected to said side portions' 'bei'ng adapted to fitabout the, ears ofithe wearer and thereby assist in securing the mask to the head of' the wearer, a substan- *-tially ri'gid rod likeeyefprotecting member detachably connected' to 'and extending generally above said upper edge 'of said frontal portion, and'a substantiallyrigid being convexedly curved .,therebe tween,'said upper edge of ,7 said frontal portion being symmetrically curved between mostpoints beneath the eyes of the wearer and the medial length of said upper edge being flared outwardly'away' from the'face of the wearer, said lower edge of said frontal portion extending between said side edges thereof adjacent the jaw of the wearer, apair of side portions formed of stiff, non-shattering plastic material adapted to overlie and shield parts of the cheeks and temples of the wearer, said side portions each being of substantially fiat rhomboidal shape and having forwardmost and rearmost rod-likej throat, protecting member ,detachably connected 7 to and extending generally below said lower edge of rental portion; V s

x mamas Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS ,5/37 Titus. 3,103,667 9/63 Rogowski.=

FOREIGN PATENTS l 85 1902 Great Britain.

' 40 JORDAN FRANKLIN, Primary Examiner; f

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2081779 *Jul 16, 1936May 25, 1937Robert S TitusFace mask
US3103667 *May 12, 1961Sep 17, 1963Rogowski Frank JSafety face shield and mask
GB190200085A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4933993 *Jan 30, 1989Jun 19, 1990Mcclelland J BProtective mask
US5717993 *Jan 2, 1997Feb 17, 1998Roberts Rena BPost-surgery lip and chin protector
Classifications
U.S. Classification2/9, D29/108
International ClassificationA63B71/08, A63B71/10
Cooperative ClassificationA63B71/10
European ClassificationA63B71/10