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Publication numberUS3283336 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 8, 1966
Filing dateMay 6, 1964
Priority dateMay 6, 1964
Publication numberUS 3283336 A, US 3283336A, US-A-3283336, US3283336 A, US3283336A
InventorsCritser Russell F
Original AssigneeCritser Russell F
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Safety device in combination with a football helmet
US 3283336 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 8, 66 R. F. CRITSER 3,283,336

SAFETY DEVICE IN COMBINATION WITH A FOOTBALL HELMET" Filed May 6, 1964 2 Sheiejzs-She'et 11 FIG 4 INVENTOR. RUSSELL E CRITSER BY gL/f w ATTORNEY Nov. 8, 1966 F CRITSER 3,283,336

SAFETY DEVICE IN COMBINATION WITH A FOOTBALL HELMET Filed May 6, 1964 v 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG 5 FIG 6 27 25 H4 38 I30 I23 I24 38 25 I32 FIG 7 56 FIG 8 INVENTOR. RUSSELL E CRITSER ATTORNEY United States Patent Ofifice 3,283,336 Patented Nov. 8, 1966 This invention relates to a safety helmet device and more particularly to a safety face guard for a football helmet.

One of the better football equipment improvements made during the last few years has been the addition of a face guard to the helmet worn by each player. Such a face guard is commonly mounted at opposite'sides of the helmet and extends across the frontal opening in the helmet to prevent objects from reaching the face of the wearer, as is well known in the art.

While the addition of the face guard to the helmet has proven to be of value in protecting the face of a wearer from injury, the conventional face guard has also provided a new means for causing other serious injuries to the wearer, primarily neck and back injuries, since the face guard must, of necessity, be positioned where an opponent can easily grasp the face guard in attempting to tackle or otherwise stop the helmet wearer. While this has been recognized and attempts have been made to discourage this practice, these attempts have fallen far short of complete success.

It is readily apparent that the injury problem thus brought on by use of the face guard can be eliminated only if the face guard itself is eliminated or a way is found to eliminate the hazards associated with the use of the face guard. Since the face guard does serve a needed function, elimination of the hazard is obviously the preferred solution and this invention is directed to that end.

Since the type of injury involved is most often caused by an opponent grasping the face guard, it has been found that the hazard can be eliminated, or at least substantially reduced, by providing a face guard that can be readily detached from the helmet when an opponent grasps the face guard and force is thereafter exerted in a direction tending to separate the face guard from the helmet. \Vhile some devices have been proposed for making the face guard detachable, these devices have either proven unsuccessful or have caused new problems that make the resulting structure unacceptable for its intended use. A detachable face guard of the latter type is shown, for example, in United States Patent Number 2,986,739, wherein exposed forwardly projecting spring clips are shown for releasably holding the face guard in position.

It is therefore an object of this invention to provide an improved safety device for a helmet that is dependable in preventing injury and is safe for general use.

It is another object of this invention to provide a safety device for a helmet having means that permits a face guard to be readily detached from the helmet whenever at least a predetermined force is exerted tending to separate the face guard from the helmet.

It is yet another object of this invention to provide a safety device that includes a face guard the ends of which are inserted into sockets in mounting brackets and are retained therein until at least a predetermined force is exerted on the face guard in a direction tending to pull the end portions out of said sockets.

It is still another object of this invention to provide a safety device that includes a detachable face guard mounted on a helmet by means of mounting brackets, said brackets having mounted therein adjustment means for controlling the amount of force necessary to detach said face guard.

With these and other objects in view which will become apparent to one skilled in the art as the description proceeds, this invention resides in the novel construction, combination and arrangement of parts substantially as hereinafter described and more particularly defined by the appended claims, it being understood that such changes in the precise embodiments of the herein disclosed invention may be included as come within the scope of the claims.

The accompanying drawings illustrate three complete examples of the embodiments of the invention constructed according to the best modes so far devised for the.

practical application of the principles thereof, and in which:

FIGURE 1 is the perspective view showing one embodiment of the safety device of this invention mounted on a conventional football helmet;

FIGURE 2 is a front sectional view showing one of the mounting brackets of the safety device of this invention as shown in FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a side sectional view of the mounting bracket of the safety device of this invention as shown in FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 4 is a top view of the face guard of the safety device as shown in FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 5 is a side view showing a second and preferred embodiment of the safety device of this invention mounted on a conventional football helmet;

FIGURE 6 is a top sectional View of the mounting bracket of the safety device of this invention as shown in FIGURE 5;

FIGURE 7 is a side sectional view of the mounting bracket of the safety device of this invention as shown in FIGURE 5;

FIGURE 8 is a perspective view of the-face guard of the safety device as shown in FIGURE 5; and

FIGURE 9 is a side sectional view of a third embodiment of the safety device of this invention.

Referring now to the drawings in which like numerals have been used for like characters throughout, safety device 11 is shown in FIGURE I mounted to a conventional football helmet 12. Safety device 11 includes a face guard 13 and a pair of mounting brackets 14 only one of which can be seen in the drawings. Brackets 14 may be identical in structure and hence only one is described in detail herein.

Face guard 13 may, as shown best in FIGURE 4, be made of round bar stock bent in a substantially U-shape, the central portion 15 of which protects the face when mounted on a football helmet in the manner'shown in FIGURE 1 with the end portions 16 and 17 inserted into brackets 14. End portions 16 and 17 have a pair of annular grooves 18 and 19 spaced slightly from the rounded ends for purposes to be brought out more fully hereinafter.

While the face guard shown in the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGURES 14 is made of round bar stock the invention is not meant to be limited thereto. The face guard could, for example, be made of stock of rectangular cross section, as is a portion of face guard 113 shown in FIGURES 58. As shown best in FIGURE 8, face guard 113 has end portions 116 and 117 of rectangular cross section, and a central portion 115 composed of a pair of spaced bars 29 and 21 joined at the middle of each by a vertical supporting rod 22. As also shown in FIGURE 8, end portions 116 and 117 may be of slightly reduced cross sectional area near the ends, and have notches 118 and 119 out in the bottom thereof. If desired, the ends may be upwardly rounded, as also shown in FIGURE 8.

As illustrated in the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGURE 9, notches 218 and 219 (only 219 being shown) can be cut 3 ment.

3 equally well in the top of the end portions of face guard 213 without departing from the intended scope of the invention.

is readily detached from the helmetupon the application of force to the face guard in a direction forwardly and f away from the helmet. 13, as shown in FIGURE 1, is releasably fastened to I the football helmet by means of mounting Each mounting bracet has a body portion 23 with mounting flanges 24 extending therefrom, said body portion 3 being of reduced area at the rear, as shown best in FIG- URE 3, for purposes to be brought out more fully here- I inafter. lbracket is fastened to the helmet by means of screw Q25 (passing through the hole in the flange) and lock l nut 26, as shown best in FIGURE 2. A third screw 27 and nut 28, the former passing through 'a hole in the To accomplish this, face guard rackets 14.

Each flange 24 has a hole therein and each reduced rear section of the mounting bracket (as shown in FIGURE 3) completes the bracket fastening arrange- Screw 27 is upwardly curved as shown in FIG- LURE 3 to receive a conventional football helmet chin 1 strap.

Body portion 23 of each bracket 14 has a forwardly opening socket 30 therein, which socket may be circular 1 in cross section, as shown in FIGURE 2, to receive a face guard of round bar stock, as shown in FIGURE 4,

.j the area of the cross section of the socket being slightly larger than that of the cross sectional area of the end portions 16 and 17 of face guard 13 so that end portions Hand 17 may. be received in said sockets. As shown l in FIGURE 1, mounting bracket 14 is mounted on the jfootball helmet so that socket 30 in each bracket 14 is T substantially horizontally positioned and opens forwardly so that, when-the end portions of the face guard are ,inserted into the brackets, the central portion 15 of the 1 face guard 13 protects the face of the wearer.

A bore 32 is cut in body portion 23 of each bracket 3 14 substantially normal to socket 30 and communicat- Iing therewith, bore 32 being of smaller diameter, how- -l ever, than socket 30, as shown best in FIGURE 2. Bow 1 32 has a reduced diameter opening, or lip, 33 at the end opening into socket 30 to retain a ball bearing 34 (of slightly smaller diameter than bore 32 but larger than the restricted opening 33) within the bore but permitting a portion of the ball bearing to project into socket 30, I as shown in FIGURES 2 and 3. While a bore receiving a ball bearing is shown and described herein, this invention is not meant to be limited thereto. A bar of any convenient across section comparable to that of the passage opening into the socket may be utilized, for example, the end projecting into the socket being rounded or tapered or the like, of course, so that the bar can be cammed inwardly as the face guard is inserted into the sockets.

Ball bearing 34 is constantly urged toward socket 30 by means of a spring 35 located in bore 32 behind ball bearing 34. The tension on spring 35 is adjusted by means of a set screw 36 threadably received in the free end of the bore and in contact with the'spring at the end opposite that of ball bearing 34, as shown best in FIGURES 2 and 3 (as shown, a hole is cut into helmet 12 for access to set screw 36) As shown best in FIGURE 3, ball bearing 34 snaps into the annular grooves 18 and 19 of face guard 13 when the end portions are inserted into socket 30. As brought out more fully hereinafter, the face guard is thus retained'in position until a force is exerted on the face guard in a direction pulling the face guard from the sockets with suflicient force to overcome the spring tension on the ball bearings. When this occurs, the face guard is detached from the helmet. The spring force exerted on ball bearing 34 by spring 35 may be adjustably controlled by set screw 36 so that the force necessary to detach the face guard from the helmet may be adjusted as desired.

If the face guard has a different cross sectionthan that of the face guard of round stock, the sockets in the mounting brackets must be altered accordingly. If

the face guard has end portions of rectangular cross sec-.

tion, as shown in FIGURES 58, then socket ofv the mounting brackets must likewise be of rectangular 1 flange itself to the helmet in the embodiment of the I invention. As shown in FIGURE 7, mounting brackets 114 have slots 38 therein through which screws 25 pass, thus permitting the face guard to be adjusted in a vertical plane.

Bore 132 is cut into body portion 123 of brackets 114 so as to be normal to socket 130 and communicate there-- with in the same manner as does the bore in mounting bracket 14. Bore 132 is cut into the bottom of the mounting bracket, however, as shown in FIGURE 7, so

that ball bearing 34 protrudes. upwardly into the socket. under the urge of spring 35 tensionedby set screw 36.

If desired, the bore can be cut downwardly from the top of each bracket, rather than upwardly .from the bottom, as shown in FIGURE 9, so that ball bearing 34 will then protrude downwardly into socket 230 of brackets 214 under tension of spring 35 adjusted by set screw 36..

This type of socket can be used, however, only if notches 218 and 219 are cut into the top of the end portions of the face guard rather than at the bottom as shown for face guard 113 (FIGURE 8).

As is. evident from the foregoing, a pair of brackets are utilized for each face guard to receive the opposite ends of the face guard and thus position the central portion across the frontal opening of the helmet. Brackets 14 may be identical since annular grooves are cut in the.

end portions of the face guard and the ball bearing. protrudes outwardly from the helmet into the forwardly opening socket in each bracket. cally shown, it is to be understood thatthe pair of brackets 114 are reversed with respect to each other so that when mounted on the helmet, each bracket has a fors wardly opening socketin which the ball bearing is located In like manner, brackets 214, when mounted on a football helmet, have forwardly opening sockets in which the ball bearing is located at:

at the bottom of the socket.

the top of the socket. It is to be noted that brackets 114 and 214 have the added advantage of being externally adjustable quickly and without need for helmet removal.

In operation, the face guard is inserted into the sockets,

by a rearwardly motion toward the front of the helmet so that the end portions are received in the sockets of the mounting brackets. stantially fully inserted into the sockets (with the .ends contiguous to the back edge of the brackets), as shown in FIGURES 3, 7, and9, ball bearings 34 (which have been forced back into the bore as the end portions pass into.

the socket) snap into the. annular groove (embodiment shown in FIGURES l-4) or notch (embodiments shown. in FIGURES 5-9) in each end portion to thereafter hold the face guard in place.

During normal usage, the face guard is thusretained in place and the face of the wearer is protected. If a force should be applied rearwardly, the face guard will be firmlyheld in position by the mounting brackets and the face of the helmet wearer will thus be protected from injury. If, however, an opponent should grasp the central portion of theface guard and pull forwardly away As shown Although not specifi- When the end portions are subfrom the front of the helmet (or if the wearer should try to pull away), the face guard will be readily detached from the mounting brackets and helmet and thus prevent injury to the helmet wearer.

The force necessary to detach the face guard depends upon the amount of spring tension on the ball bearin It is a feature of this invention that this spring tension is made adjustable by means of set screw 36 so that the amount of force necessary to detach the face guard may be controlled as needed for each particular circumstance.

In view of the foregoing it should be evident to those skilled in the art that the device of this invention provides a heretofore unavailable safety means for protecting a helmet wearer from injury by eliminating a prime source of danger.

What is claimed as my invention is:

1. A safety device in combination with a helmet having opposite depending side portions and a frontal opening exposing the face of the wearer, said safety device comprising: a face protection member having a pair of end portions; a pair of mounting members each of which is attached to a different one of said depending side portions of said helmet, each said mounting member having a forwardly opening hollow portion forming a socket therein the cross section of which is of substantially the same configuration but slightly larger than that of the end portions of said face protection member so that said end portions may be received in said sockets; and means releasably retaining said end portions in said sockets but permitting said face protection member to be readily detached from said mounting members whenever at least a predetermined force is exerted on said face protection member in a substantially forwardly direction, said means including projection means mounted in one of said memers and an indentation in the other of said members,

said projecting means registering with said indentation at a point within said sockets when said end portions are substantially fully inserted into said sockets.

2. The safety device of claim 1 wherein said projecting means includes a spring loaded ballbearing.

3. The safety device of claim 1 wherein said projecting means is mounted in each said mounting member so as to project into said sockets, and wherein said end portions inserted into said sockets have said indentations thereon.

4. A safety device in combination with a helmet having opposite depending side portions and a frontal opening exposing the face of a wearer, said safety device comprising: a substantially U-shaped face protection member the end portions of which have an indentation therein; a pair of mounting members each of which is attached to a different one of said depending side portions of said helmet, each said mounting member having a forwardly opening socket therein the cross section of which is of substantially the same configuration but slightly larger than that of the end portions of said face protection member so that said portions may be received in said socket; a pair of springs each of which is mounted in a different one of said mounting members; and a pair of ball bearings each of said ball bearings being mounted in a different one of said mounting members adjacent to one of said springs so that said springs bias said ball bearings toward and partially into said sockets so that said ball bearings engage the end portions of said face protection member inserted into said sockets, said ball bearings registering with said indentations in said end portions to thereby releasably retain said end portions in said sockets but permitting said face protection member to be readily detached from said mounting members whenever a force is exerted on said face protection member in a substantially forwardly direction sufficient to overcome the spring force exerted on said ball bearings.

5. The safety device of claim 4 further characterized by adjustment means engaging each said spring for ad- 6 justing the force exerted by said springs on said ball bearings to thereby adjustably control the amount of force necessary to detachsaid face protection member fromsaid mounting members.

6. The safety device of claim 4 wherein said socket in said end portions are of circular cross section and wherein said end portions have an annular groove therein.

7. The safety device of claim 4 wherein said socket in said end portions are of rectangular cross section, wherein said end portions have a notch cut into the bottom thereof, and wherein said ball bearings are biased upwardly and project into the bottom of each said socket.

8. The safety device of claim 4 wherein said socket in said end portions are of rectangular cross section, wherein said end portions have a notch cut into the top thereof, and wherein said ball bearings are biased downwardly and project into the top of each said socket.

9. A safety device in combination with a helmet having opposite depending side portions and a frontal opening exposing the face of a wearer, said safety device comprising: a substantially U-shaped face protection member the end portions of which have an indentation therein; a pair of mounting members each of which is attached to a different one of said depending side portions of said helmet, each said mounting member having a forwardly opening socket therein the cross section of which is of substantially the same configuration but slightly larger than that of the end portions of said face protection member so that said end portions may be received in said sockets, and each said mounting member also having a bore therein substantially normal to and opening into said socket, each said bore having a portion adjacent to said socket of smaller diameter than the remainder of said bore; a pair of springs each of which is in a different one of said bores in said mounting members; a pair of ball bearings each of which is confined in a different one of the said bores between said spring and said portion adjacent to said socket, each of said ball bearings being biased by said spring toward and slightly into said socket so that said ball bearings register with said indentations in said end portions of said face protection member to normally retain said face protection member in place while permitting ready detachment whenever said face protection member is subjected to a substantially forwardly directed force sufficient to overcome that exerted by said springs on said ball bearings; and a pair of adjustment screws in said mounting means each of which engages a different one of said springs to adjustably control the force each said spring exerts on said ball bearing whereby the force necessary to detach said face protection member from said mounting members may be varied as needed.

10. A safety device in combination with a helmet having opposite depending side portions and a frontal opening exposing the face of a wearer, the combination with said helmet of a mounting bracket comprising: a body portion having a forwardly opening socket therein and a bore communicating with said socket; a ball bearing in said bore; and a spring biasing said ball bearing toward said socket.

11. A safety device in combination with a helmet having opposite depending side portions and a frontal opening exposing the face of a wearer, the combinanation with said helmet of a mounting bracket comprising: a body portion having a forwardly opening socket therein and a bore communicating with said socket; a ball bearing in said bore; a spring for biasing said ball bearing toward said socket; and a set screw in said bore at the side of said spring opposite that of said ball bearing, the position of said set screw determining the spring force on said ball bearing.

12. A safety device in combination with a helmet having opposite depending side portions and a frontal opening exposing the face of awearer, the combination with said helmet of a mounting bracket for receiving,

'the notched end portions of a face guard, said mounting bracket comprising: a body portion havinga forwardly registers with the notch in the .end portion of a face guard inserted into said socket; a set screw for adjusting the force said spring exerts on said ball bearing; and means fastening said mounting bracket to said helmet so that a face guard normally protects the; face of 1 a helmet wearer from injury.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,127,574 2/1915 Anderson 24- -211 X 1 1,854,215 4/1932 Mueller. 2,280,162 4/ 1942 Rue 2421 1 2,533,763 12/1950 Cacciotti 24--21 1 1 2,943,373 7/1960 Rapata' 24--216 2,986,739 6/1961 Rozzi 29 3,106,716 10/1963 Beebe 29 3,139,624 7/ 1964 Humphrey 29 15 JORDAN FRANKLIN, Primary Examiner.

J. R. BOLER, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3815152 *Oct 30, 1972Jun 11, 1974D BednarczukSafety football helmet
US3889296 *Feb 13, 1974Jun 17, 1975Martin Edwin MTear-away face mask subassembly for football helmets
US3897598 *Nov 4, 1974Aug 5, 1975Bednarczuk DanielProtective helmet
US4685351 *Jun 11, 1985Aug 11, 1987Pegg Ronlee HCycle pedal shoe
US4689835 *Nov 2, 1981Sep 1, 1987Draft Howard JFace guard design
US4947490 *May 15, 1989Aug 14, 1990Hayden James TFootball helmet with breakaway face mask
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US5671516 *Jun 28, 1996Sep 30, 1997Sartori; Robert C.Easy connect and release seat belt buckle
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US9289024May 2, 2011Mar 22, 2016Riddell, Inc.Protective sports helmet
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US20150135413 *Oct 3, 2014May 21, 2015Myron Dave MayerovitchFootball safety helmet
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Classifications
U.S. Classification2/9, D29/111, 24/652
International ClassificationA42B3/20, A42B3/18
Cooperative ClassificationA42B3/20
European ClassificationA42B3/20