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Publication numberUS3505695 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 14, 1970
Filing dateOct 5, 1967
Priority dateOct 5, 1967
Publication numberUS 3505695 A, US 3505695A, US-A-3505695, US3505695 A, US3505695A
InventorsBishaf Morris, Messineo Leonard E
Original AssigneeStebco Ind Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Strain separable inflation gauge for inflatable articles
US 3505695 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 1970 M. BISHAF ETAL. 3,505,695

STRAIN SEPARABLE INFLATION GAUGE FOR INFLATABLE ARTICLES Filed Oct. 5, 1967 INVENTOAS Z0 Maze/5 5/244 1 EON/1E0 5 MASS/A450 United States Patent Office 3,505,695 Patented Apr. 14, 1970 3,505,695 STRAIN SEPARABLE INFLATION GAUGE FOR INFLATABLE ARTICLES Morris Bishaf, Skokie, and Leonard E. Messineo, Glenview, 111., assignors to Stebco Industries, Inc., Chicago,

111., a corporation of Illinois Filed Get. 5, 1967, Ser. No. 673,211 Int. Cl. A47c 27/08 US. Cl. 348 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Confronting walls which normally move apart during inflation of an inflatable structure, such as an air mattress, have thereon respective strain separable portions of an inflation gauge. In the collapsed condition of the inflatable structure such portions of the gauge are connected. During inflation when about the ideal pressure has been reached the portions of the gauge separate and afford a sensible signal of that fact.

This invention relates to the protection of inflatable articles against over-inflation. More specifically, the invention concerns the provision of sensible signaling when an inflatable article has attained about the ideal inflation pressure.

Heretofore, the common manner of guarding against over-inflation has been to provide the article with some sort of safety valve, either a pop-off valve separate from the inflating device, or a valve means in the inflating device which is activated by a predetermined back pressure to prevent further inflation of the article. Such valves are highly subject to damage, deterioration, clogging, air leakage, and the like, and often they are expensive bulky devices, so that their use has been limited and often resisted. On the other hand, over-inflation of articles such as air mattresses is quite common and is responsible for much premature deterioration and unnecessary damage to such articles.

An important object of the present invention is to provide for a new and improved gauging of inflation pressure of inflatable articles, which will overcome the defects and deficiencies of prior methods and devices for this purpose and which will accomplish the purpose in a simple, low cost, positive and highly eflicient manner.

Another object of the invention is to provide novel automatic indication when substantially the ideal inflation pressure has been reached in an inflatable article.

A further object of the invention is to provide novel strain separable inflation gauge means for inflatable articles.

Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be readily apparent from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment thereof taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing in which:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of an inflatable article embodying features of the invention;

FIG. 2. is a substantially enlarged fragmentary sectional detail view taken substantially on the line IIII of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 but showing the article in process of inflation; and

FIG. 4 is a similar view showing the article after substantially the ideal inflation pressure has been reached.

As representative of the type of inflatable structures with which the present invention is especially useful, an article 5, generally representative of air cushions, pillows, mattresses, life belts, life rafts, and the like has been selected for illustration. Such an article at least in a significant portion thereof comprises confronting walls 7 and 8 generally, though not necessarily, of a flexible type and defining therebetween an air chamber 9. Any suitable air impervious material may be utilized in the walls 7 and 8, and in the representative article 5 the material is of a nature which permits of fusion sealed connection 10 of the margins of the panels defining the walls 7 and 8, although any other preferred mode of impervious securing of the wall elements may be employed if preferred. In any event, in the non-inflated condition of the article 5 the walls 7 and 8 are collapsed toward one another which enables the article to be compactly folded, rolled or otherwise packed where the walls 7 and 8 are of a pliable nature. Inflation of the article 5 may be effected in any suitable manner such as by means of compressed air, expanded CO from a compressed gas source, and the like, but in this instance it is illustrated as provided with an air valve 11 adapted for mouth blowing inflation of the article. Within the chamber 9 form-retaining partition strips or tufting devices 12 are secured to and between the walls 7 and 8 at suitable intervals to maintain the preferred inflated form of the article.

According to the present invention, safety means are provided for avoiding over-inflation of the article by giving the person inflating the article a sensible indication automatically when substantially the ideal pressure has been attained within the chamber 9. The sensible gauging provided by the present invention has all of the attributes of sound, sight and touch in signaling of attainment of the proper or ideal inflation pressure, so that it is adapted to serve for any person endowed with any one or more of the senses of hearing, sight and touch. More particularly, strain separable inflation gauge means 13 are provided on and between the walls 7 and 8 having an operative connection in the collapsed and partially inflated conditions of the article 5 and separated by pull-apart force resulting from separating inflationary pressure on the walls 7 and 8 upon the attainment of about the ideal pressure in the chamber 9.

Although the strain separable device 13 may take various forms such as respective but opposed magnets secured to the walls 7 and 8, opposed pressure sensitive adhesive areas, opposed respective plastic pop-bead sections, etc., the device as illustrated comprises a button-type snap fastener of a kind that can be obtained commercially at low cost. In this instance, it comprises a generally cupshape female element or receptacle 14 mounted at the inside of one of the walls, herein wall 7, and a complementary male or plug element 15 which is mounted on the inside of the opposite wall 8. The elements 14 and 15 are adapted to be snapped together and to be separated by pulling apart by about the same amount of force, the element 14 carrying about its mouth a snap ring 17 which engages behind a complementary annular bead 18 on the inner end of the element 15.

Attachment of gauging device elements 14 and 15 to the respective articles walls may be effected in any preferred manner, but leak-proof manner. This is accomplished herein by the provision of respective securing patches 19 of a suitable material such as a fabric coated with a plastic fusible as by electronic welding or heat sealing to the respective inner surfaces of the walls 7 and 8. For this purpose each of the attaching patches 19 is thoroughly secured to or at least thoroughly engages a respective base button 20 on its associated portion of the gauging device 13, with a marginal flange 21 of the attaching patch extending radially about the base button and permanently secured as by means of electric fusion or other suitable bonding to the inner face of the associated article wall. This is an advantageous mode of attachment because the flange 20 is readily movable with the attached wall because of the flexible nature of the 3 material of the patch, and the attaching connection between the flange and the wall surface efficiently resists any shear strains, which are the major strains to which it may be subjected in service.

Inasmuch as the gauging device 13 is mounted interiorly of the article, it is desirable to provide means exteriorly of the article to call attention to the location of, and even to permit finding such location by sense of touch, if necessary. In one desirable form such location or spotting device comprises a ring-shaped member 22 secured to what would normally be the upper side of the article 5 about the area to which the gauge 13 is secured, herein to the outer face of the wall 7, concentric with the upper sectional portion of the device and preferably defining by an inner edge 23 an area within which a manual pressure is to be applied when it is desired to snap the fastener elements 14 and of the gauging device together.

Assuming the article 5 to be in its collapsed state or condition, as shown in FIG. 2, the inflation gauge 13 is connected. As inflation proceeds, as depicted in FIG. 3, so that the walls 7 and 8 are separated by the gaseous inflating medium, the snap-connected portions 14 and 15 of the gauge 13 will maintain their connected relation until about the ideal inflation pressure has been attained. Thereupon separating strain or pull, indicated by the directional arrows in FIG. 3, applied to the portions or sec tions of the gauge through the connecting means patches 19, causes the gauge to snap open to the condition shown in FIG. 4. Inasmuch as the attachment flanges 21 of the connecting patches 19 are desirably of uniform substantial width about the base buttons 20 and are uniformly attached to the respective article walls, there is substantially uniform axial pull exerted on the two portions of the gauge. Further, by virtue of the flexible character of the material of the walls 7 and 8 and of the flanges 21, there is a continuous eflicient shear resistance to separation of the flanges from the attached article wall panels which avoids undue stress on the flange attachment. As the portions of the gauge 13 snap apart there may be an audible popping or snapping sound. There is, of course, visual indication that the gauge has opened because the article wall areas to which the gauge portions are attached substantially smooth out to the normal inflated contour of the walls from the drawn or dimpled in relationship apparent while the article is being inflated to the ideal inflated state. Further, a sightless and deaf person or someone operating in the dark can test by sense of touch whether the gauge has opened.

After full inflation of the article, the gauge 13 is useful to test whether the inflation pressure is being or has been maintained. For example, if it is suspected that the article has a leak, or after a period of inflation, or after a change of temperature as from hot to cold it may seem that the article is softer than full inflation, it is simple to test as to the true condition by manually pushing the inflation gauge 13 closed. If the gauge remains closed, it will be evident that the artcle is under less than optimum inflation. If the gauge promptly snaps apart, that is evidence that the inflation pressure is still optimum or at least adequate.

Although the inflation gauge 13 may be selectively constructed to separate responsive to different inflation pressures for different articles or conditions, control upon the inflation pressure which will separate the portions of the gauge is also practical by selecting the placement of the gauge with respect to the adjacent margin of the article. Thus, the closer the gauge is located to the margin of the article, the less inflation pressure required to separate the gauge because there is less yielding area of the respective article walls to accommodate pull-in during the inflation, at least at the side of the gauge nearest the margin.

It will be understood that variations and modifications may be eifected without departing from the spirit and scope of the novel concepts of this invention.

We claim as our invention:

1. In an inflatable article having confronting walls defining an inflation chamber and means for inflating the article from a collapsed condition of the walls:

a strain separable inflation gauge comprising respective strain-separable portions located in confronting relation with one portion fixed to one of said walls and the other portion fixed to the other of said walls;

said portions having respective complementary means cooperable to maintain a closed condition of the gauge with areas of the walls to which said portions are fixed being held by the closed gauge against full separation in the inflated condition of the article;

and said complementary means releasing responsive to desired wall-separating inflation pressure exerted between said walls, whereby said areas are released to move apart.

2. An article as defined in claim 1 in which said walls are of a flexible material, said gauge portions having means securing the same to the walls comprising flexible flanges respectively attached to said walls.

3. An article as defined in claim 1 in which said portions of the gauge comprise respectively male and female snap fastener elements.

4. An article as defined in claim 3 in which said elements have respective base buttons, and means securing said buttons to the inner sides of the respective walls.

5. An article as defined in claim 4 in which said securing means comprise respective flexible patches engaging said buttons and having lateral flexible flanges fixedly secured to the respective walls.

6. An article as defined in claim 1, said gauge being normally concealed from the outside of said walls, and orientation means on the outer surface of one of said walls defining the location of said gauge.

7. An article as defined in claim 6, in which said orientation means comprises a ring-shaped member attached to said one wall about the area thereof to which the gauge portion is attached such as to denote where pressure is to be applied for effecting connection of said complementary means of said portions of the gauge.

8. An article as defined in claim 1, in which said gauge opens complementary means open with an audible reaction when separated by pressurization of the article.

9. An article as defined in claim 1, in which the walls of the article are pulled in by said gauge portions during inflation and until the desired inflation pressure has been attained to open the gauge by separation of said portions, so that visible evidence is afforded as to whether the gauge has separated during inflation of the article.

10. An article as defined in claim 1, including means in said areas affording evidence by sense of touch whether the gauge has opened during inflation of the article.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 10/1900 Sawtell 5-3S0 1/1906 Keil 5-350 US Cl. X.R. 911.1

Patent No. 3,505,695 Dated April 14, 1970 Inventor(s) M- Bishaf et a1 It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column 4, lines 47 and 48, delete "gauge opens".

SIGNED AND SEALED 45 AM I M l mm 2." W, m. mommcolnissioner of Patents FORM F'O-1050 (10-69) USCOMM-DC 6O376-P59 U45 GOVIINMINT VIIHTI'IG OFFICE IIII O-QQC-SN

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US660466 *Dec 7, 1899Oct 23, 1900Pneumatic Goods CompanyAir mattress or cushion.
US811406 *May 15, 1905Jan 30, 1906Henry Francis KeilAir goods.
Referenced by
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US7588425Mar 18, 2005Sep 15, 2009Aero Products International, Inc.Reversible inflation system
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US8413278Mar 13, 2009Apr 9, 2013Robert B. ChaffeeMethod and apparatus for monitoring and controlling pressure in an inflatable device
US8413674Jan 8, 2010Apr 9, 2013Robert B. ChaffeeValve with electromechanical device for actuating the valve
US8434177May 7, 2013Robert B. ChaffeeConfigurable inflatable support devices
US8776293Aug 8, 2011Jul 15, 2014Robert B. ChaffeePump with axial conduit
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US9279430Jul 15, 2014Mar 8, 2016Robert B. ChaffeePump with axial conduit
US9279510Apr 9, 2013Mar 8, 2016Robert B. ChaffeeValve with electromechanical device for actuating the valve
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US20090049617 *Dec 12, 2007Feb 26, 2009Chaffee Robert BConfigurable inflatable support devices
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US20100108157 *Jan 8, 2010May 6, 2010Chaffee Robert BValve with electromechanical device for actuating the valve
US20110167564 *Jul 14, 2011Chaffee Robert BInflatable device with recessed fluid controller and modified adjustment device
US20140026972 *Feb 3, 2012Jan 30, 2014Jason StevensValve system
USD749875 *Aug 8, 2014Feb 23, 2016Kirk SullivanPillow supplement
Classifications
U.S. Classification137/228, D06/604, 5/655.3
International ClassificationA47C27/08
Cooperative ClassificationA47C27/081
European ClassificationA47C27/08A