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Publication numberUS3475774 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 4, 1969
Filing dateFeb 14, 1968
Priority dateFeb 14, 1968
Publication numberUS 3475774 A, US 3475774A, US-A-3475774, US3475774 A, US3475774A
InventorsHawkins James Mitchell
Original AssigneeFrankenstein Group Ltd
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Inflatable body-attachments for marine lifesaving
US 3475774 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)


J. M. HAWKINS Nov. 4, 1969 INFLATABLE BODY-ATTACHMENTS FOR MARINE LIFESAVING Filed Feb. 14. 1968 .2 Sheets-Sheet 2 W T N E V W S H IN W A" H M s e m T v I BY Y M r/ United States Patent 3,475,774 INFLATABLE BODY-ATTACHMENTS FOR MARINE LIFESAVING James Mitchell Hawkins, Ashton-under-Lyne, England,

assignor to Frankenstein Group Limited, a British company Filed Feb. 14, 1968, Ser. No. 705,555 Int. Cl. B63c 9/16; B64d 17/32 US. Cl. 9-341 2 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An inflatable likejacket for marine lifesaving having a buoyancy chamber designed to be worn in the form of a stole and located upon the wearers body by a structure such as a waistcoat, in combination with personal parachute harness detachably mounted upon the inner side of said attachment structure and sharing therewith a common fastening means which also provides for adjustment of said harness. When the buoyancy chamber is associated with a waistcoat, the common fastening means may comprise metal plates connected to opposite edges of a medial front opening thereof and provided with self-locking slides for adjacent adjustment straps of said harness, the free edges of the two plates having rows of mutuallycomplementary formations adapted for engagement by a combined interdigitating and endwise sliding movement.

This invention relates to inflatable body-attachments, with particular (but not exclusive) reference to that type of appliance which comprises two elongated inflatable portions adapted to be secured together side-by-side for disposal in front of the wearers chest, a third inflatable portion permanently connecting adjacent ends of the two first-mentioned and adapted to extend around the sides and back of the wearers neck, and means for locating the jacket upon the body of the wearer.

Lifejackets of the split-stole type referred to, and either provided with attachment harness or built into a garment (such as a waistcoat) have become standard equipment for service personnel and other individuals who require, or may require, to make parachute descents from aircraft.

It is known practice to provide the attachment structure of a lifejacket with a stowage pouch or flaps within or under which the inflatable portions of the appliance can be compactly accommodated in rolled or folded condition, so that they will not interfere with the subsequent donning of personal parachute harness or be prevented by the latter from full deployment in the event of their self-inflation being initiated whilst the wearer is still airborne.

When seat harness also has to be worn, it is usual for the lifejacket to be put on over the parachute harness,

whose fastening and adjustment to the body must be completed before the jacket can be secured, an operation which is considerably complicated when the harness is worn over a parital-pressure suit provided at the chest region with a bulky regulator for the oxygen supply thereto.

The present invention is based upon an appreciation of the foregoing, and has for its object to facilitate and expedite the putting-on of a lifejacket of the type aforesaid and associated parachute harness.

According to this invention, a lifejacket of the type referred to, and having a personal parachute harness detachably mounted upon the inner surface of its attachment structure, is characterized in that said lifejacket and harness share a common fastening means which also provides for adjustment of the harness.

Conveniently such fastening means comprises two metal plates which are connected to opposite front edges of the jacket attachment structure and harness webbing, each such plate having spaced marginal formations adapted to be engaged with similarly-spaced complementary formations on the other plate by a combined interdigitating and endwise sliding movement.

In the accompanying drawings,

FIG. 1 is a front view of a lifejacket embodying the present invention, and shown with the fastening means secured;

FIG. 2 is a similar view showing the lifejacket in open condition;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view to an enlarged scale, showing the attachment to the jacket of one of the fastener members and the latters manner of engagement with the parachute harness;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary front elevation of the fastener members in separate condition; and

FIG. 5 is an enlarged section on the line 55 of FIG. 4.

In the example illustrated, the invention is applied to a lifejacket constructed as described in the specification of our prior British Patent No. 1,046,696, where attachment structure consists of a waistcoat 10 with a medial front opening 11.

Press-studded flaps 12, 13, 14 inside the front and back of this waistcoat 10 detachably secure thereto the adjacent parts of a parachute harness 15 of known form.

The main webbing of such harness is in two parts 16, 17 joined at their ends by quick-release buckles 18 and is disposed in figure-of-8 form, its smaller loop and cross-over being produced from the part 16 and located inside the back of the waistcoat 10 by five flaps 12 whilst its larger loop, produced from the part 17, is led around the arm holes 19 and under flaps 13 inside the front of the waistcoat so as to pass behind the wearers thighs.

Two adjusting webs 20 are brought forwardly between the wearers leg from the mid-point of the webbing part 17 through lower and upper slots 21, 22 in each half of the latter and are adjustably attached respectively to coacting fastener members 23, 24 for the waistcoat opening 11. Between their respective intersections with the webbing part 17 these webs 20 pass beneath pairs of flaps 14 inside the waistcoat 10 and through intermediate slotted metal slides 25 on the harness part 16.

It will be noted that the ends of the webbing parts 16, 17 are brought respectively through slits 26, 27 in front of the armholes 19, which facilitates separation of the harness 15 from the waistcoat 10 during wear of the latter since the connecting buckles 18 are external thereto.

Each of the fastener members aforesaid comprises an elongated stainless-steel or other metal plate which in the case of the member 23 has a row of mutually-spaced keyhole-section lugs 28 along its free edge, the corresponding edge of the member 24 exhibiting complementary beads 29 which are somewhat shorter than the gaps between the lugs 28.

It will be appreciated that relative endwise movement of the members 23, 24, after interdigitation of their respective marginal formations, provides a secure fastening, the endmost lug 28 being preferably rendered blind by an obstruction such as 30 so that interengagement of the fastener members can be effected in one endwise direction only and suitable means, such as a spring-loaded sliding catch 31, being provided on the member 23 intermediate two of the lugs 28 to prevent accidental disengagement of the beads 29 from the latter.

As an alternative to the marginal formations described, both members 23, 24 may be provided with rows of hooked lugs, one set of lugs being reversed with reference to the other set and made slightly narrower to allow the requisite interdigitation.

Each of the members 23, 24 is broadened at one end and formed with a longitudinal slot 32 having a round bar 33 slidable across the width thereof and the adjacent adjusting web 20 of the parachute harness 15 is passed around this :bar as shown in FIG, 3 before being taken to the outside of the waistcoat 10 through a slit 34.

Fabric tongues 35 at opposite edges of the waistcoat opening 11 are passed through further longitudinal slots 36 in the members 23, 24 and sewn down, so that the single act of securing the waistcoat 10 around the body will also fasten the parachute harness 15, which can then be adjusted by pulling outwardly on the exposed free ends of the two webs 20.

When the integrated lifejacket and parachute harness (which latter may carry a quick-release device 37 for engagement with seat harness and parachute attachments) are worn over a partial-pressure suit or jerkin, a regulator (not shown) for the oxygen supply to the inflatable parts of the latter may be mounted upon one of the fastener members (for example, by releasably engaging it with keyhole slots 38 in the member 23, which is made relatively wide for the purpose) its presence at this position in no way hampering the engagement or disengagement of the members 23, 24.

The lower corner of each fastener plate may be cut away, if necessary, to clear the connection of the oxygen supply to the partial-pressure garment.

What I claim is:

1. A lifejacket comprising two elongated inflatable portions for disposal in front of the wearers chest, a third 4 inflatable portion permanently connecting adjacent ends of the two first-mentioned and adapted to extend around the sides and :back of the wearers neck, a flexible carrier structure for said inflatable portions adapted to embrace the wearers torso, and two metal plates connected to opposed parts of said carrier structure for fastening such parts together in front of the wearers body, each of said plates having spaced marginal formations engageable with similarly spaced complementary formations on the other plate by a combined interdigitating and endwise sliding movement, in combination with a personal parachute harness also having opposed front parts thereof con nected respectively to said plate in a manner permitting adjustment of said harness about the wearers body.

2. The combination as claimed in claim 1, wherein the two plates forming a common fastening means for said lifejacket and harness are mutually engageable by endwise sliding movement in one direction only, and a catch on one such plate prevents accidental disengagement of said plates.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,887,286 5/1959 Moran 244-151 X 3,248,746 5/1966 Bernhardt et al 9342 3,266,070 8/1966 OLink 9342 MILTON BUCHLER, Primary Examiner T. W. BUCKMAN, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 244-151

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2887286 *Jun 13, 1955May 19, 1959Switlik Parachute Co IncParachute harness and garments incorporating same
US3248746 *Jul 2, 1964May 3, 1966Bernhardt Appbau G M B H & CoLife jacket, especially for flying personnel
US3266070 *Dec 24, 1964Aug 16, 1966Stearns Mfg CompanyInflatable garment structure
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4512437 *Jun 13, 1983Apr 23, 1985Institut De Recherche En Sante Et En Securite Du Travail Du QuebecSafety vest
US4578042 *Mar 4, 1983Mar 25, 1986Stearns Manufacturing CompanySafety harness personal flotation device
US4623316 *Jul 7, 1983Nov 18, 1986Ratliff John CFlotation vest
US4913589 *Aug 17, 1988Apr 3, 1990U.S. Divers Company, Inc.Diver's buoyancy compensator and backpack with independent suspension
US5057046 *Mar 30, 1990Oct 15, 1991Scannell Jr Robert FFlotation device peripheral system
US6824106 *Mar 26, 2002Nov 30, 2004Simula, Inc.Integrated parachute harness system
EP1021332A1 *Oct 9, 1998Jul 26, 2000Simula, Inc.Low profile survival vest
EP1404574A2 *May 24, 2002Apr 7, 2004Simula, Inc.Integrated parachute harness system
EP2727815A2Oct 8, 2013May 7, 2014Thf Innovation Pty LtdA personal protection system including a garment with body armour and a personal flotation device
WO2002102661A2May 24, 2002Dec 27, 2002Simula IncIntegrated parachute harness system
WO2009135874A2 *May 6, 2009Nov 12, 2009Manufatture Rit-Mo KftBuoyancy compensator jacket
U.S. Classification441/118, 244/151.00R
International ClassificationB63C9/00, B63C9/125
Cooperative ClassificationB63C9/1255
European ClassificationB63C9/125A