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Publication numberUS3441964 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 6, 1969
Filing dateJan 23, 1967
Priority dateJan 21, 1966
Also published asDE1506322A1
Publication numberUS 3441964 A, US 3441964A, US-A-3441964, US3441964 A, US3441964A
InventorsBernhardt Jost, Birk Peter, Busch Hans-Jurgen, Heidemann Hans Heinrich, Koch Helmut
Original AssigneeBernhardt Apparatebau Gmbh Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Life jacket
US 3441964 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

H. KOCH ET AL May 6, 1969 LIFE JACKET 'Sheet bf2 Filed Jan. 23, 1967 INVENTORS:

LIFE JACKET Filed Jan. 23, 1967 Sheet of2 mI/ENToRs United States Patent O 3,441,964 LIFE JACKET Helmut Koch and Hans Heinrich Heidemann, Hamburg- Harbnrg, Peter Birk, Hamhurg-Eidelstedt, Hans-Jrgen Busch, Hamburg, and Jost Bernhardt, Hamburg-Hap burg, Germany, assignors to Bernhardt Apparatebau G.m.b.H. & Co., Hamburg, Germany Filed Jan. 23, 1967, Ser. No. 610,887

Claims priority, applicatiosngermany, Jan. 21, 1966,

Inf. Cl. Bssc 9/08 U.S. Cl. 9-338 8 Claims ABSTRACT F THE DISCLOSURE The present invention relates to a life jacket and has for its primary object to provide a life jacket which, while consisting of a minimum quantity of material, will have a sufficient supporting capability and can easily be carried on the body of a person.

It is also an object of this invention to provide a. life jacket as set forth in the preceding paragraph, which will not be bulky or impede the activity of the person wearing the same While being quickly and reliably effective in case of emergency.

These and other objects and advantages of the invention will appear more clearly from the following specification in connection With the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a life jacket according to the invention in non-inflated condition and w-ith lthe enveloping parts unfolded.

FIG. 2 shows the life jacket according to the invention in non-inflated condition with the enveloping parts folded upon each other.

FIG. 3 is a section along the line III- III of FIG. 1.

The present invention starts with a device having a one-piece inflatable floating body which comprises a collar-shaped lportion and two wing portions :the envelope of which are foldable together when the life jacket is not inflated.

According to the present invention, -a life jacket of the just described type is so designed that in its non-inflated condition the envelopes of the wing portions are folded from the inside toward the outside, and the envelope of the collar-shaped portion is folded from the outside toward the inside in such a Way that the marginal portions ofthe folded over parts can be firmly but detachably held together in their respective positions.

With the folded together envelopes of the floating body as well as with the inflated envelopes of the floating body, that wall of the envelopes which faces the body of the wearer forms the life jacket portion which rests on the body of the wearer so that a Special vest or stole-shaped supporting member with or Without covers will become superfluous. Moreover, the said body engaging Wall of the float-ing body may be formed of a material of sufllcient strength while being of sufllcient elasticity and offering the folded over walls of the envelopes an additional 3,441,964 Patented May 6, 1969 protection. In the folded together condition of the floating body, only four layers of material are superimposed upon each other which results in such a slight thickness that the lif-e jacket can be Worn under the clothing without bulging. Moreover, due to the fact that the folded over parts of the envelopes lie upon each other, the width of the life jacket is reduced by about 50%. Thus, a small structure is obtained which takes up little space and which in its entirety does not affect the movability of its wearer, not even over a longer period of time, and thus can be worn continuously. By intlating the floating body with an inflating medium furnished by a compressed gas bottle mounted on the upper wall of the life jacket or by air blown from the lungs of the wearer, the life jacket can by unfolding the floating body in a -minimum of time be brought into its effective condition. In this connection, the life jacket may be provided with snap fasteners which open up automatically when the life jacket is being inflated and which free the envelope portions held upon each other in non-inflated condition of the life jacket. The lines along which the inner portion of the envelopes of the chest wings can be folded over are advantageously so arranged that they lead into the rounding of the neck cutout. In the neck range of the envelope, the folding lines preferably extend at an incline inwardly at the sides and in a transverse direction at the neck so that at least three foldable neck portions of the envelope are obtained which when folded together parti-ally rest upon each other and partially upon the chest portions without the envelope bulging at these areas. The outer circumference of the neck portion can be adapted to the rounding of the neck cutout.

The wall portions of the floating body may be cut in such a way that the chest wings following the inflation will tend to move tow-ard each other and already in this way will tend to assume their intended position. However, if desired, the said chest wings may also by means of a strap or a portion of the straps forming a part of the life jacket anyhow, be located and held in their respective desired positions.

Referring now to the drawings in detail, the one-chamber inflatable floating body of the life jacket merges symmetrically with regard to the center line M'--M from a neck portion 1 into two chest wings 2. These wings 2 extend with one part 3 each toward the line M-M which latter simultaneously designates the longitudinal central plane of the body of the wearer. The floating body is formed by an envelope of superimposed wall portions of the same circumferential contour. Both wall portions consist of elastic material, as for instance rubber while for the body facing wall a strong material, such as rubber with textile fabric insert, may be selected. Both walls -are interconnected in a pressure-air-tight manner along a marginal strip 4, preferably by gluing or cementing or fusing.

The inwardly protruding part 3 of the wings 2 is folded outwardly about a line a in such a way that it will cover -the outer wing portion 5 (FIG. 2). Within the range of the neck of the life jacket, the p-arts 6 and 7 are folded inwardly about lines b and c respectively (FIG. 1) while resting -at d upon each other and at e upon the wing por- -tions 3 (FIG. 2).

As will be seen from FIG. l, the lines a extend into the inner edge or margin 8 of the neck opening, preferably tangentially, whereas the lines btaper upwardly toward lthe center line M-M so as to approximately continue the outer circumferential line of the floating body, line c forming with line M-M a substantially right angle.

When the life jacket is folded together as shown in FIG. 2, it is held in this condition by snap fasteners 9 adapted to snap open when inflating the life jacket to thereby permit the oating body to move into the position shown in FIG. 1. The snap fasteners 9 are anchored in the marginal strip 4 of the floating body. For purposes of inflating the life jacket, there is provided a compressed gas bottle 10 and/or a mouth portion 11 for a mouth hose. Both parts are in folded together condition of the floating body (FIG. 2) covered by the portions 3 and 6 thereof.

As will be evident from FIG. 2, the life jacket, when in folded together condition, has such a small width that it can without difficulty be worn below the outer clothing of the wearer of the life jacket.

For additionally holding the inflated wings 2 in the above described effective position, a strap member comprising two sections 12, 13 is connected to the windings 2. Of these sections, section 12 is passed through a loop 14 on the marginal strip 4. Behind said loop 14 it unites with the section 13 so that both sections form a loop the length of which determines the distance between the wings 2. The straps for holding the device on the body of the wearer may consist of an extension 15 of section .12 on both sides, or the straps may be connected to the marginal strip 4. Advantageously, the top side wall of the oating body may be colored in a color indicating sea distress while the body facing wall may be of any desired neutral color.

The marginal portion of the neck cutout 8 may be covered by a soft but tear resistant fabric strip 16 to protect the skin of the wearer from rubbing on the life jacket and also to prevent a tearing open of the material in view of the too strong pulling apart of the life jacket when the jacket is being put on or taken off by the wearer.

What is claimed is:

1. \A life jacket, which comprises: an inflatable body formed of a pair of thin flexible members sealed together along their marginal edges and adapted to lie at against each other when the body is uninated, said body being buoyant when inflated, said body including a collar section shaped to be worn around t-he neck of the wearer of said jacket and also including two wing sections shaped to rest upon the chest portion of the wearer of said jacket, the said marginal edges of said members forming a rim area around the body on both the inside and outside of said collar and wing portions, said rim area being provided with detachable connecting means for detachably interconnecting the rim areas on the inner and outer portions of said body when the body is in non-inflated condition, the said wing sections respectively being foldable over when the body is uninated to dispose the rim area along the insides thereof over the rim area along the outsides thereof for detachable interconnection of the rim areas by said connecting means, and the said collar section being foldable over when the body is uninilated to dispose the rim area along the outside thereof over the rim area along the inside thereof for detachable interconnection of the rim areas by said connecting means, said connecting means releasing in response to ination of said body and permitting said body to unfold.

2. A life jacket according to claim 1, in which said collar section on the inside has an arcuate cutout for the neck of the wearer of said jacket, and in which the fold line of each said wing sections is approximately tangential to said cutout.

3. A life jacket according to claim 2, in which the contour of said collar section is substantially parallel to said arcuate cutout on the inside of the collar section.

4. A life jacket according to claim 1, in which the said collar section is foldable about two first lines tapering inwardly from the outsides of said wing sections in the direction toward the outside of the collar section and also about a second line between the inside and outside of said collar section and substantially perpendicular to the plane of symmetry of said jacket.

5. A life jacket according to claim 4, in which said first lines are substantially in a line with the outside edges of the lower parts of said wing sections when the body is in non-inflated condition.

6. A life jacket according to claim 1, which includes strap means connected to said rim area near the free ends of said wing sections for limiting the movement of the wing sections away -from each other upon ination ofthe body.

7. A life jacket according to claim 1, in which the top wall of said oatable body is colored in a color indicating sea distress.

8. A life jacket according to claim 1, in which said inatable wing and collar sections together conne a single inatable chamber.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,774,979 12/ 1956 Moran 9-338 3,103,022 9/1963 Harding 9--338 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,027,849 4/ 1966 Great Britain.

1,127,740 4/1962 Germany.

MILTON BUCHLER, Primary Examiner.

T. W. BUCKMAN, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2774979 *Jul 7, 1954Dec 25, 1956Switlik Parachute Co IncLife jacket
US3103022 *May 10, 1961Sep 10, 1963Jonathan HardingInflatable assault life preservers
DE1127740B *May 25, 1960Apr 12, 1962Phoenix Gummiwerke AgAufblasbarer Schwimmkragen
GB1027849A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4097947 *Apr 15, 1977Jul 4, 1978Soniform IncorporatedInflatable wearable flotation device
US4108171 *Jun 9, 1976Aug 22, 1978Roland John NymanBreathing apparatus
US4960483 *Jun 26, 1989Oct 2, 1990Switlik Parachute Company, Inc.Heat pressing apparatus for making an inflatable life vest and method for use thereof
US5911612 *Sep 8, 1997Jun 15, 1999Ero Industries, Inc.Foldable, inflatable flotation device with improved retention means
US6659825 *Jun 4, 2001Dec 9, 2003Jonathan G. FossSelf-inflating child floatation device
EP0659638A1 *Dec 22, 1994Jun 28, 1995BERNHARDT APPARATEBAU GmbH u. Co.Inflatable lifejacket
WO2006013605A1 *Jul 25, 2005Feb 9, 2006Giovanni MainentiQuickly wearable floatation device
U.S. Classification441/118
International ClassificationB63C9/00, B63C9/125, B63C9/115
Cooperative ClassificationB63C9/1255, B63C9/115
European ClassificationB63C9/125A, B63C9/115