US 3457563 A
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July 29, 1969 J. L. MARCHELLQ SAFETY .HEADGEAR CONSTRUCTION Filed Oct. 12, 1967 INVEN'I'OR.
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United States Patent 3,457,563 SAFETY HEADGEAR CONSTRUCTION John L. Marchello, New Hudson, Mich., assignor to Wolverine World Wide, Inc., Rockford, Mich., a corporation of Michigan Filed Oct. 12, 1967, Ser. No. 674,775 Int. Cl. A42b 1/08 US. Cl. 2-3 2 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A protective headgear item and an insert therefor, with characteristics to adapt to varying head shapes, including a relatively hard, rigid, oblong, head covering shell, an inner resilient, flexible, foam liner interfitted within the shell and having a special peripheral head-adaption foam skirt depending substantially beneath the shell peripheral edge to adapt the headgear item to variations in head shape, with an outer dress cover over the shell and skirt.
Background This invention relates to protective headgear, and more particularly to headgear items employing an outer rigid shell and an inner foam liner.
Increasingly, the need for protective headgear of the type which is not conspicuous is being recognized for ordinary activities. Such encompasses sport caps, work caps as for construction workers, dress hats, duty caps as for policemen, sport hats or caps, and others.
However, a substantial difliculty arises in attempts to manufacture such protective headgear on an economical production 'basis since the rigid shell prevents such caps and hats from suitably and comfortably fitting varying head shapes unless custom made. It will be realized that conventional caps and hats without a rigid liner conform need only be made in size variations since their flexibility causes them to conform nicely to the varying degrees of head oblongness and to the presence of skull protrusions of varying sizes, shapes, and locations in the peripheral head area just above the wearers ears. The manufacturer of protective headgear must be concerned not only with general head size ranges, but also with undefined and widely varying individual head shapes and peculiarities. It will be understood that the answer does not exist in simply supplying a multitude of variations in oblongness since, even if the item has the proper overall peripheral dimension of size and the proper degree of oblongness, the presence of one or more common skull protrusions in the important fit zone or area above the ears will create substantial discomfort that will readily discourage the potential user from wearing the hat or cap.
If the protective shell is made of substantially more flexible material to try to overcome this problem by lessening localized wearing pressures, its overall protection capacity is substantially lessened. Padding of the sweat band is not a fully satisfactory answer since unpleasant pressure is still exerted on localized skull protrusions, since the number of variations in oblongness would be large, and since the unit must necessarily be made disproportionately large and UHCOIIHEIY. Providing the sweat band with variable size adjustment is not fully satisfactory since the hat or cap appears and feels substantially too large and bulky for the head. Making the shell of separate interconnected segments to achieve greater fitting flexibility results in only limited flexibility and lessens the protective value of the unit.
Summary of the invention This invention effectuates a safety headgear item which can be economically manufactured on a production basis 3,457,563 Patented July 29, 1969 to avoid custom fitting expense, which has the capacity to fit head shapes of varying degrees of oblongness and varying size, number, and location of skull protrusions, without sacrificing the safety qualities of a unitary shell, yet with complete comfort qualities, and with excellent appearance qualities dictated by the conventional styling of the item.
The novel headgear item achieves these objects by employing in combination with an outer dress covering and the rigid shell, a foam liner that has a special peripheral skirt depending substantially beneath the shell a substantial amount to enable adaption to varying head shapes, the skirt preferably being tapered toward its peripheral edge.
The above noted objects and other objects of this invention will be clearly apparent upon studying the following specification in conjunction with the drawings.
Brief description of the drawings FIG. 1 is a side elevational, sectional view of one form of the novel assembly;
FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the shell of the assembly in FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the shell in FIG. 2.
Description of the preferred embodiment Referring now specifically to the drawings, the assembly 10 illustrates the novel assembly in the form of a service cap. It will be realized that the dress cover 12 could be of any selected type to conform the cap or hat to be suitable for any desired use, as for policemen, construction workers, taxi drivers, sport enthusiasts, or any other. Dress cover 12 extends over the hard outer shell 14 which is lined with a foam liner 16. In the cap illustrated, a front visor 18 is attached to the assembly by having an attaching flap extending upwardly between foam liner 16 and the lower terminal portion of dress cover 12 and secured by peripheral securing band 20. A suitable sweat band 22 extends inside the lower peripheral skirt portion of foam liner 16 for engagement with the persons head H.
Shell 14 is preformed to have the general configuration of a persons head, being oblong and generally ovular in cross-sectional configuration, and being slightly larger than the head size to be accommodated. It may be formed by molding or by pressure differential forming. Preferably, the shell is configurated with a low profile but with a definite space provision between the liner and the top of the head for head shape variation and ventilation. The shell can be readily formed in different sizes of a simple size variation range due to the unique head fitting characteristics of the overall assembly. It need not be custom made. The shell is formed of a generally rigid, slightly resilient impact resistant plastic material typically employed for helmets, e.g. ABS, polyvinyl, polypropylene, among others.
Liner 16 is of a soft foam material such as a polyvinyl foam or a vinyl-butadiene-acrylonitrile materials as in US. Patent No. 2,757,147. The liner purposely is extended downwardly beyond the tenminal periphery of the shell to form a substantial depending skirt portion 16 which preferably is at least about an inch in length. The foam liner normally has a thickness of a substantial fraction of an inch, e.g., about one-half inch or so over most of its area, depending on the type of headgear and its intended use. The liner tapers convergently toward its lower peripheral edge portion. This effects increased skirt flexibility for optimum conformity with head configurations. Since it projects below the terminal edge of shell 14, and since the resulting skirt forms the major head engaging portions of the cap, variously configurated heads can be readily fitted with resulting comfortable wearing characteristics. Personal skull protrusions do not cause high pressure points with resulting discomfort.
Tests conducted on this type of headgear have shown that, in addition to its readily adaptable characteristics to accommodate to various head configurations, it also meets safety regulations for such headgear. Hence, the novel structure achieves the multiple function of meeting safety regulations, and efiectuating optimum comfort characteristics without requiring custom making. Further, the headgear unit is not unsightly or peculiarly diiferent from conventional headgear. As a result of its excellent comfort characteristics and acceptable appearance, there is no hesitancy in wearing it constantly by those who need it. Its excellent adaptability to various head configurations enables relatively low cost mass production in uniform size variations.
Another significant feature of the novel headgear is the mode of retention of liner 16 in shell 14. Specifically, the lower tapered peripheral edge of liner 16 is held up in the shell by upturned sweat band 22, there being a receiving pocket formed between sweat band 22 and the periphery of dress cover 12. Liner 16 can be readily removed when desired by merely folding the sweat band to project outside the assembly to drop out the liner. This enables the liner to be cleaned or replaced with a clean liner after a period of use. Replacement is achieved by inserting the liner and folding the sweat hand up inside again.
If desired, an inner liner cover of cloth, plastic, or the like (illustrated at 17 in phantom) may be used to protect the liner from soiling. If used, it is formed to match the configuration of the liner inner surface. Its peripheral edge extends down within the sweat band to be retained thereby. It can be removed for cleaning or replacement by unfolding the sweat band.
Once the novel structure is understood in relation to the depending foam skirt, the improvement will seem rather simple in relation to the multiple benefits achieved. Indeed, this very simplicity and its beneficial results constitutes one of the major attributes of the inventive headgear.
1. A protective headgear item comprising: a relatively rigid shell having a generally oblong, head-covering configuration; a resilient flexible foam liner interfitting within said shell, having an oblong, generally head-fitting configuration with said shell and liner being configmrated to define a ventilation space over a head in said headgear item; said liner having a flexible, peripheral, tapered, head-fitting adaptor skirt integral with the remainder of the liner and protruding a substantial amount beneath the peripheral edge portions of said shell to engage and conform to the peripheral head area generally above the ears; 2. dress covering extending over the exterior of said shell and said skirt, and attached to said shell; and a sweat band attached to said dress covering and folded to extend below the peripheral edge of said skirt and upwardly inside said skirt.
2. The protective headgear item in claim 1 wherein said sweat band retains said liner with skirt in said shell, and is foldable out of said skirt to allow said liner to be removed from said headgear item.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,103,015 9/ 1963 Plastino 2-3 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,430,229 l/ 1966 France.
JAMES R. BOLER, Primary Examiner