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Publication numberUS3309691 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 14, 1967
Filing dateMay 10, 1965
Priority dateMay 10, 1965
Publication numberUS 3309691 A, US 3309691A, US-A-3309691, US3309691 A, US3309691A
InventorsJoseph L Bonanno
Original AssigneeLuxe Reading Corp De
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Signaling device for helmets
US 3309691 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 14, 1967 .1. BONANNO 3,3095% SIGNALING DEVICE FOR HELMETS Filed May 10, 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIG.

INVENTOR: JOSE/ ,4 L. BO/VA/W O ATTORNEYS 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed May 10, 1965 INVENTOR JOJfPf/ L 50/V/I/V/V0 4 Mia ATTORNEYS March 14, 1967 J 1 BQNANNO 3,309fi91 SIGNALING DEVICE FOR HELMETS Filed May 10, 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 INVE NTOR 1/05 E'PH L 50AM A/A/O A TORNEYS March 14, 1967 J BONANNO 3,3U9fi9l SIGNALING DEVICE FOR HELMETS Filed May l0, 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 1 i 5 TTORNEY5 March 1967 J. 1.. BONANNO INVENTOR: JOSEPH Av BONA/VNO RNEYJ TTO United States Patent Office 3,39%,691 Patented Mar. 14-, 1967 3,309,691 SIGNALING DEVICE FQR HELMETS Joseph L. Bonanno, South Orange, N.J., assiguor to De Lune Reading Corporation, Elizabeth, N.J., a corporaticn of New Jersey Filed May 10, 1965, Ser. No. 454,505 8 Claims. (Cl. 340-321) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A helmet provided with a housing on top containing a signalling circuit, which may include a lamp and a buzzer, and power input terminals. The housing is adapted to removably receive a self-contained flashlight having a casing containing a lamp and a battery. Terminals exposed on the exterior of the flashlight casing, and electrically connected to the battery, are adapted to contact the input terminals of the signalling circuit to energize the latter when the flashlight is received in the housing.

This invention relates generally to helmets, and has particular reference to helmets provided with illumination devices.

While certain phases of the invention are not necessarily restricted to any particular kind of helmet, the invention primarily intended for embodiment in toy helmets, i.e., helmets to be worn and played with by children as they ride actual or fancied vehicles. In the preferred embodiment of the invention the helmet is made of light-weight and relatively inexpensive plastic, and it is configured and colored to simulate, to a remarkable degree, a helmet of the character that might under certain circumstances be worn by an adult.

A characterizing feature of the improved helmet is the provision of a hollow housing, an electric signal circuit Within the housing, and various signalling means adapted to be energized by one or more simple flashlight batteries. The signals include a headlamp whose beam of illumination is directed forwardly, a light (preferably of the flashing type) mounted at the top of the helmet, a pair of illumination devices mounted laterally and serving as directional signals, and a warning buzzer. The flasher lamp and the buzzer are each provided with individual switches. The switch controlling the flasher lamp is of unique character and is a feature of the invention.

It is thus a general object of the invention to provide a helmet of the character described, provided with various signalling means operable in a novel and interesting manner to produce a series of diflerent signalling effects.

A more specific object of the invention is to provide a helmet in which the headlamp is defined by a flashlight and casing of substantially conventional character, the flashlight being a unit complete in itself and being separably associated with the helmet in a special manner.

One of the features of the invention resides in the provision of means whereby the flashlight battery is automatically introduced into the electric signalling circuit when the flashlight unit is associated with the helmet, so that this battery serves as the common source of electrical power for all the devices to be activated.

Another feature of the invention lies in providing the flasher lamp with a switch of unique kind, mounted for selective movement from a neutral position to any of a plurality of active positions, the lamp being activated in each of the active positions and the switch being provided with means for sending a beam of light in different directions, depending upon the active position assumed by the switch. In this way, a single flashing bulb can furnish illumination for several different purposes.

It is a general object of the invention to incorporate these and other attractive features into a device which is relatively simple from a structural and manufacturing standpoint, relatively low in cost, and versatile and intere-sting from the standpoint of its play value.

The preferred way of achieving these objects and benefits, and such other objectives as may hereinafter be pointed out, is illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a helmet embodying the features of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view substantially 22 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a horizontal cross-sectional view substantially along the line 13- 3 of FIG. 2;

FIGS. 4-8 are enlarged cross-sectional views taken, respectively, along the correspondingly designated lines shown on FIG. 2;

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view in the direction of FIG. 2, showing some of the parts on a substantially enlarged scale;

FIG. 10 is an exploded view of certain parts of the supporting frame;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of one of the switch operators;

FIG. 12 is a fragmentary view taken from the right of FIG. 8; and

FIG. 13 is a wiring diagram.

The helmet 20 comprises a rigid part that fits snugly on the skull of the wearer, suitable spacers being preferably provided on the interior in accordance with con ventional helmet design. The body of the helmet is preferably provided with a forwardly directed visor 21. Straps 22 extend downwardly from opposite sides of the body, and are provided with appropriate means for connecting them beneath the wearers chin. These straps may be provided with ear pieces simulating telephonic receivers. To enhance the attractive nature of the device a pair of goggles 23 may be mounted on a strap 24 extend ing rearwardly around the helmet, as shown in dot-dash lines in FIG. 1.

The helmet body 20 is provided on the top with a hollow housing secured in position by bolts 25 extending into threaded posts 26 secured to the top wall of the housing. The entire housing, including the posts 26, is preferably a single body of molded plastic. The top wall 27 of the housing is provided at its center with an opening in which a transparent, preferably colored, dome 28 is mounted. Behind the dome the top wall 27 is provided with an opening 2% through which a depressable switch button 39 extends. Behind the opening 29 there is a rearwardly directed opening 31 through which a switch control handle 32 extends. In the front wall 33 of the housing there is a large opening adapted to receive a flashlight casing 34, rear end in, so that the beam of the flashlight is directed forwardly through the front lens 35.

The flashlight is an independent unit, and except for a structural innovation presently to be described, it is of substantially conventional character. Thus, a shiftable button on the side, 36, is effective to press a springy contact strip 37 inward to move it against a fixed contact 38 secured to the conductive lamp socket 39. The center terminal on the base of the socket 39 establishes contact in usual fashion with the central terminal on a flashlight battery 49 mounted within the casing 34. The rear terminal of the battery presses against a spring 41 which is in constant electrical contact with the rear end of the contact strip 37. When the button 36 is moved in one direction it establishes a circuit through the battery 40 and through a lamp mounted in the socket 39; when it is moved in the other direction the circuit is broken and the lamp goes out.

The flashlight unit differs from the conventional item in the circumstance that there are terminals on the exterior of the casing 34 in electrical communication with the battery terminals. One of the exterior terminals is designated 42. It is centrally located on the rear end of the casing 34 and is in electrical contact with the rear end of the element 37. This is achieved by means of a rivet or equivalent device for securing the terminal 42 to the rear wall of the casing. The other exterior terminal is formed -by the rear end 43 of a conductive strip 44 lying along an inside wall of the casing 34 and in permanent electrical contact at its front end with a conductive element 45 secured to the central terminal of the lamp socket 39 The rear end 43 extends outwardly through an opening in the casing 34. The terminals 42 and 43 are retained in insulated relationship by virtue of the fact that the casing 34 is composed of non-conductive material. This is not essential, however, since any appropriate insulating means may be provided to achieve the same objective.

When the flashlight unit is inserted rearward into the housing through the front wall 33 it can be separably engaged to hold it physically in place. At the same time, the external contacts 42 and 43 are automatically brought into electrical communication, respectively, with a pair of input terminals located within the housing and forming part of the electric signalling circuit within the housing. One of the input terminals is defined by the front wall .6 of a metallic bracket rigidly secured within the confines of the housing. As best indicated in FIG. 10, the wall 46 is provided with a circular opening 47 through which the terminal 42 is adapted to extend, and with a lower substantially rectangular opening 48 through which the other input terminal 49 extends (see FIGS. 2 and 9). When the flashlight unit is inserted into the housing, the terminal 42 establishes electrical contact with the metallic bracket of which the wall 46 forms a part, and the external terminal 43 establishes contact with the terminal 49. This interposes the flashlight battery 40 into the circuit within which the input terminals 46 and 49 are electrically arranged.

To retain the flashlight in position, a laterally extending lever 50 is pivoted to the wall 46 at 51 and is provided with a hook-shaped inner part 52 adapted to come into a latched or locking relation to the terminal 42. With this objective in view, the terminal 42 is provided with an annular recess into which the part 52 may enter when the lever 50 is manipulated from the dot-dash position of FIG. to the full-line position. The lever 50 is manipulated from the exterior of the housing, there being a lateral opening 53 in the housing wall to allow the outer end of the lever 50 to project. The lever is held in the full-line disposition of FIG. 5, thereby locking the flashlight casing in position, by a small raised part 54 on the inside surface of the wall 46, and a rounded projection 55 which rides over the bump S4 and is frictionally held in the position shown in full lines in FIG. 5.

The signalling devices, and the circuit elements relating to them, are secured within the housing by the bracket elements shown in FIGS. 2, 9 and 10. The front wall 46 of the bracket merges at the top with a horizontal part 56 provided with holes 57 through which screws pass upwardly into supporting posts 58 formed on the underside of the top wall 27 of the housing. Similar screws pass upwardly through openings 59 at the upper end of bracket parts 60. Between the parts 69 there is a substantial opening. Extending from the parts 60 to the front wall 46 is a horizontal plate 61 provided with a central opening 62 and a pair of smaller holes 63 alongside of it. The plate has an extending rearwardly between the upstanding parts 60, this extension being provided with an aperture 64. Secured to the extension, in insulated relation to it, is the front end of a bracket 65 provided with an opening 66. The openings 64 and 65 are in alignment, and a contact button 67 extends through them.

The bracket 65 is also provided with an opening 68 adapted to support the coil or winding 69 of a buzzer device. The buzzer consists of a fixed plate 79 secured to the rear depressed part 71 of the bracket in insulated relation thereto, and a movable plate 72 connected to the bracket part 71 by means of a leaf spring 73. Makeand-break contacts are carried by the parts 72 and 7t), and the plate 72 is positioned within the magnetic influence of the winding 69.

The elements 6573 shown at the left of FIG. 10 are supported on a post 74 extending downwardly from the roof of the housing.

Secured on the bracket part 61 is a lamp socket 75 adapted to support a lamp bulb 76, preferably of the flashing variety. The socket is held in position by means of a conductive rivet 77 whose upper end is insulated from the shell of the socket and thus defines the center terminal of the socket, Lying in superposed relation upon the part 61 are an insulator 78, a contact strip 79 whose forward end defines the input terminal 49 and whose rear- :ard end is formed into an upstanding pair of contacts 80 and 81, another insulator 82, and a metallic strip 83 doubled upon itself to define a movable contact 84 in cooper-able proximity to the contact 80.

The lamp bulb 76 is energized whenever the contact 84 is pressed against the contact 8%, assuming the flash light unit to be in operative disposition within the housing as shown in FIG. 2.

The buzzer is activated whenever the contact 81 is pressed down against the contact 67. To complete this circuit a connecting conductor 85 extends from one end of the winding 69 to the main supporting bracket, as indicated in FIG. 9; and a similar conductor 86 extends from the other end of the winding 69 to the plate 79.

The activation of the contact 81 to press it against the contact button 67 is controlled by the projecting part 39. As shown in FIG. 7, this part is mounted at the upper end of a yoke 87 provided at the bottom with a part 88 that straddles the contact 81 and has downwardly projecting ends 89 that fit into corresponding notches along the side edges of the part 81. The inherent springiness of the part 81 urges it upwardly, and when pressure is exerted downwardly upon the external button 30 the contact 81 is pressed against the contact button 67.

The activation of the lamp bulb 76 is brought about by manipulations of a special switch device of the character shown in FIG. 11.

This device consists essentially of a rotatable shaft 99 carrying an operator or radial handle 32 at its rear end and a cam disc 91 at its front end. The shaft is journaled in a pair of aligned openings 92 (see FIG. 10) formed in a bracket part 93 centrally disposed slightly above and between the upstanding bracket parts 69. A flange 94 on the shaft 90 bears against the rear face of the part 93, thereby limiting the forward axial movement of the shaft 90. When it is pulled axially in a rearward direction, the cam disc 91 presses rearwardly upon the upturned springy contact 84 (see FIG. 2), this pressure serving to cam the contact 84 downward against the con tact 80, as indicated in dot dash lines in FIG. 2.

The rear face of the cam disc 91 is so contoured that rearward pressure upon the contact 84 is also achieved by rotating the shaft 90 through approximately ninety degrees in either direction. The nature of this contour is best shown in FIGS. 2, 6, and 11. The semicircular area 95 on one side of a diametric line 96 is truly perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the shaft 90. The semicircular area 97 on the other side of the line 96 is slightly inclined to the shaft axis, i.e., it slants forwardly in a downward direction from the line 96 when this line is in the horizontal disposition shown in FIG. 11.

The shaft 96 is in a neutral position when the operator 32 extends radially upward and the line 96 is horizontal. Under these circumstances, when the shaft 90 is drawn axially in a rearward direction, as hereinbefore described, the lower part of the cam disc 91 presses rearwardly, hence downwardly, upon the contact 84. This same result is achieved by rotating the shaft 90, because of the slanting nature of the area 97. This is indicated in FIG. 12, which is a view of the switch from the right of FIG. 6 when the handle 32 has been swung into the left-hand position of FIG. 8.

It will thus be seen that the switch operator is mounted for selective movement from a neutral position to any of three active positions. The purpose of this arrangement is to provide for corresponding shifting movements of a lamp shield 98 projecting forwardly from the upper margin of the cam disc 91 When the latter is in its neutral position as shown in FIG. 11. The inner surface of the shield 98 is preferably provided with a reflector 99 (FIG. 12). Thus, when the switch handle 32 has been swung leftward, as viewed in FIG. 8, the shield 98 is brought to a position alongside of the lamp 76, directing the beam of illumination in the opposite direction, i.e., toward the right as viewed in FIG. 8. Similarly, when the handle 32 is swung toward the right, as viewed in FIG. 8, the

shield 98 is brought to a lateral disposition on the other side of the lamp 76, thus directing its beam of illumination toward the left, as viewed in FIG. 8. These different beams of illumination can thus serve as direction signals, and to achieve this result the housing is provided with openings 100 in its opposite side walls (see FIG. 3) there being a translucent element 101 mounted in each of these openings. Each element 101 is preferably colored, and is so contoured that the transmission of a lateral beam of light through it will illuminate it in such a Way that it will be visible from the rear.

If the handle 32 and the shaft 90 upon which it is mounted, are left in their neutral disposition, the lamp 76 remains unactivated. If the user of the helmet wishes to illuminate both elements 101, the handle 32 is pulled rearwardly. Optionally, the handle may be rotated through ninety degrees in either one direction or the other, whereby one or the other of the elements 101 becomes illuminated. Whenever the lamp is activated, a certain amount of illumination extends upwardly around the shield 98 and becomes apparent through the dome 28. If the lamp is of the flashing type, these illumination effects are quite distinctive.

To limit the rotative movements of the handle 32, the housing is preferably provided with a pair of upstanding lugs 102 as best indicated in FIG. 8.

The reference numerals applied to the wiring diagram of FIG. 13 correspond to those applied to corresponding parts in the other figures.

It will be obvious, of course, that many of the details herein described and illustrated may be modified by those skilled in the art without necessarily departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. In a helmet-supported illumination device, signalling means, a housing, an electric circuit for the signalling means including a pair of input terminals exposed within said housing, a flashlight unit including a casing complete in itself and containing a lamp and a battery, and being provided with exposed exterior terminal means electrically connected to said battery, and means for separably securing said flashlight unit within the housing, rear end in said means being effective to es tablish electrical connection between said battery and said input terminals by engagement of said input terminals with said exterior terminals to energize said signalling circuit.

2. The combination of elements defined in claim 1, in which said signalling means includes a flasher lamp and an independently operable switch therefor.

3. The combination of elements defined in claim 2, in which said signalling means also includes a buzzer and an independently operable switch therefor.

4. In combination with a helmet, a housing on the helmet, an electric signal circuit within said housing and provided with a pair of input terminals, a self-contained flashlight unit independent of said housing and including a casing containing a battery and a lamp within it, a pair of terminals on the exterior of the casing in electrical communication with the battery terminals, and means for separably attaching said flashlight unit to said housing, rear end in, with the flashlight terminals in contact with said circuit input terminals whereby the flashlight battery can supply power to said signal circuit.

5. The combination defined in claim 4, including a lug projecting from said casing, and a latch within said housing for releasably engaging said lug to lock said flashlight to said housing.

6. The combination defined in claim 5, wherein said lug is one of the terminals on the exterior of said casing.

7. The combination defined in claim 6, including a metal bracket within said housing, said latch being mounted on said bracket and adapted to hold said lugterminal in electrical contact with said ibracket, said signal circuit including said bracket, and an electrical signal and a switch mounted on said bracket and elect-rically connected between said bracket and the other terminal on the exterior of said casing.

8. The combination defined in claim 7, including an operator Within said housing for actuating said switch, a portion of said operator extending outward through the wall of said housing for manipulation to close and open said signal circuit.

No references cited.

NEIL C. READ, Primary Examiner.


Non-Patent Citations
1 *None
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3435556 *Oct 11, 1965Apr 1, 1969Marx & Co LouisCombination headgear and signaling device
US3793517 *Sep 20, 1971Feb 19, 1974A CarliniLighting device for a helmet or the like
US4090185 *Nov 10, 1975May 16, 1978Patty Richard LEmergency position-fixing device
US4195328 *Jun 19, 1978Mar 25, 1980Harris William R JrOpen vehicle lighting system utilizing detachable vehicle operator helmet mounted light
US4263588 *Jul 25, 1979Apr 21, 1981Oldham France S.A.Helmet-carried apparatus for detecting and signalling the presence of a dangerous gas in an atmosphere
US4303244 *Feb 9, 1981Dec 1, 1981Uppvall Charles PMethod for detecting golfer's head movement when putting
US4319308 *Nov 7, 1979Mar 9, 1982Augusto IppolitiHelmet for providing a sensory effect to an observer
US4400591 *Jul 17, 1981Aug 23, 1983Jennings Daniel ESimulated space helmet
US4559586 *Dec 26, 1984Dec 17, 1985Michael SlarveSafety helmet
US4631645 *Jun 24, 1985Dec 23, 1986Stanley LenartHeadlamp assembly
US4969069 *Jan 5, 1990Nov 6, 1990Eichost Edwin JCombination ear covering and lighting apparatus
US5370278 *Aug 3, 1993Dec 6, 1994Raynie; ArtPortable liquid dispensing toy
U.S. Classification340/321, 446/484, 273/DIG.170, 362/106
International ClassificationG08B5/00, A42B3/04, F21V33/00, G08B7/00
Cooperative ClassificationA42B3/0433, G08B7/00, Y10S273/17, F21V33/00, F21L7/00
European ClassificationF21L7/00, F21V33/00, G08B7/00, A42B3/04B6