US 3535706 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Get. 21, 1910 J. A. MED 3,535,1 6
HEAD PROTECTOR Filed Dec. 19, 1968 INVENTOR. [4fl/(90/104 flaw BY 5% c. AL M ,4 7 Tom/EV United States Patent 3,535,706 HEAD PROTECTOR Jackson A. Aileo, Carbondale, Pa., assignor to Gentex Corporation, Carbondale, Pa., a corporation of Delaware Filed Dec. 19, 1968, Ser. No. 785,084 Int. Cl. A42b 3/00 US. Cl. 2-5 5 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A head-protecting structure for shielding the head and neck of a human wearer against fire, heat and impact, including a rigid helmet shell covering the crown of the head and a fireproof hood extending entirely over the helmet shell and having a portion depending therefrom to surround and shield the wearers face and neck. A frame bearing a partially light-transmissive slidable window is detachably secured to the front of the helmet shell and to the hood, in register with an opening in the hood positioned in front of the wearers eyes. The hood, made of a reflectively coated noninflammable textile fabric, has plural ventilation openings in register with ventilation openings in the shell.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to head protectors for shielding the wearer against injurious conditions encountered in fires.
Various forms of head-protecting devices have heretofore been designed for use by firemen and others whose work involves proximate exposure to conflagrations or similar conditions of flame, heat, sparks and the like. Typical of these devices are the more or less flexible asbestos hoods, which entirely enclose the-head, face and neck of the'wearer except for a slit or window for vision. Such hoods, used with or without a rigid shield extending over the face and frontal portion of the head,
provide protection against heat and flame, but do not shield the head (especially the crown and rear portions thereof) from flying or falling objects suchas are frequently encountered in fires and explosions. On the other hand, conventional firemens helmets do not shield the face or neck from flame and heat, although they protect the head against impacts.
Headgear affording protection against impacts and also against flame, sparks and heat would be desirable not only for use in fire-fighting, or under conditions presenting a danger of conflagration or explosion, but also in industrial occupations such as smelting and welding under circumstances which involve exposure to flame or sparks and heat together with a possibility of head impacts whether or not directly associated with the flame and heat-producing operation.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of the invention is to provide a head-protecting structure which shields the head, face and neck of the wearer against flame, sparks and heat, and at the same time protects his head (including the crown and rear portions thereof) from impacts, e.g. of flying or falling objects. Another object is to provide a structure of this type which is comfortable to wear and capable of ready assembly and disassembly, for example to enable cleaning. Still another object is to provide such a structure affording assured unimpeded vision of the wearer while protecting the eyes, and having an eye-protecting element easily displaceable into and away from the wearers line of sight so as to permit normal, unshielded vision when desired.
3,535,706 Patented Oct. 27, 1970 To these and other ends, the present inventionbroadly contemplates the combination, in a head-protecting structure, of a rigid helmet shell dimensioned to receive the head of a wearer and to extend over the crown of the head for protecting the crown of the head from impacts; and a flexible fireproof hood extending entirely over the helmet shell and having a portion depending therefrom for surrounding the wearers face and neck. In accordance with the invention, the depending hood portion may be of tubular form, sutficiently long to extend downwardly to the wearers shoulders. The hood, which has a horizontally extending opening for vision positioned in front of the wearers eyes, is fabricated of a noninflammable textile material having a heat-reflective surface coating. In this combination of elements, the shell serves to protect substantially the entire head of the wearer from flying or falling objects, while the hood shields his head, face and neck from flame, sparks and heat.
Further in accordance with the invention, there is provided an eye shield, secured to the forward portion of the helmet shell and to the hood in register with the aforementioned hood opening. This eye shield includes a frame, providing facing parallel grooves or tracks eX- tending (preferably horizontally) along opposite edges of the hood opening, and a partially light-transmissive member slidably mounted in the grooves of the frame so as to be movable between a position in which it extends across the hood opening, and a position in which it is to one side of the hood opening.
Preferably, the eye shield frame and hood are detachably secured to each other by means of cooperating complementary pressure-actuable surface contact fastening elements (e.g. of the hook and loop type) respectively carried by facing surfaces of the frame and hood. The frame and shell are similarly detachably secured to each other by like fastening elements, and in addition, the hood and shell may be directly secured to each other (e.g. at a locality at the rear of the wearers head) by still another pair of such fastening elements. The eye shield, being only partially light-transmissive, serves to protect the wearers eyes against intense illumination as well as against flame and heat, and being slidable out of the line of sight, it permits the wearer to have undimmed, normal vision when desired. The securing of the hood, eye shield frame and shell ensures that the eye shield (and also the hood opening) will be maintainedin proper position in front of the wearers eyes, so that the wearers vision will not be impeded as might occur if the hood and/ or shield were accidentally displaced relative to the shell. The additional attachment of the hood to the shell contributes to this desired fixity of position of the eye shield and hood opening in relation to the wearers eyes. At the same time, use of the detachable surface contact fastening elements to provide such interconnection of the hood, eye shield and shell, facilitates disassembly of the hood-protecting structure-to enable cleaning or repair as may be necessary.
The structure of the invention may be embodied in a relatively light-weight and comfortable headgear, with the hood made of a noninflammable textile, the reflective coating thereon serving to augment its heat-shielding effect. For additional comfort of the wearer, provision may be made to ventilate the shell as by providing one or more openings of substantial dimension in the shell, in register with plural smaller openings in the hood.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1' is a perspective view of a head-protecting structure embodying the present invention in a particular form;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational sectional view of the structure of FIG. 1, showing the position of the helmet shell and eye shield frame within the hood;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary view of the inner front portion of the hood of the structure of FIG. 1, showing the fastening element carried by the hood for engagement with a cooperating fastening element carried by the eye shield frame;
FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of the helmet and eye shield of the structure of FIG. 1, showing the cooperating fastening elements respectively carried by the shell and the eye shield frame; and
FIG. 5 is a side elevational sectional view of the eye shield taken along line 55 of FIG. 4.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring to the drawing, the invention in its illustrated embodiment comprises a head-protecting structure adapted to be worn on a human head and to enclose the wearers head and neck. The structure 10 includes a helmet 12 and a hood 14 extending entirely over the exterior of the helmet and depending below the lower edge of the helmet to surround and protect the face and neck of the wearer. The hood, which is detachably secured to the helmet by means hereinafter described, has a horizontally elongated opening 15in its front portion, disposed to be positioned in front of the wearers eyes when the hood and helmet are in place on his head. A rigid eye shield frame 16 is secured to the front portions of the helment 12 and the hood 14, in register with the hood opening 15. Within the frame 16 is a partially lighttransmissive eye shield member 18 for protecting the eyes of the wearer while allowing him an effective view of his surroundings.
The helmet 12 includes a rigid shell 20 dimensioned to receive the head of a wearer and extending over the crown, rear and side portions of the head with a forward edge disposed above the wearers eyes so as not to hinder his vision. This shell may be fabricated of any suitable material (e.g. molded plastic-impregnated glass fiber cloth), having adequate strength to withstand substantial impacts and having a sufiiciently high softening temperature to retain its rigidity and structural integrity under the conditions of elevated temperature encountered in proximity to a fire.
Rigging (not shown) is mounted within the shell 20 for supporting the shell in spaced relation to the wearers head so that blows or impacts on the shell will not be transmitted to the head; such rigging may be of any appropriate type heretofore employed for the same purpose in rigid protective helmets. One example of a suitable form of rigging is disclosed in the copending application of applicant herein, Ser. No. 614,246, filed Feb. 6, 1967 for Safety Helmet with Improved Stabilizing and Size Adjusting Means, now US. Pat. No. 3,447,162. As thus arranged, the helmet serves to protect the head, including the crown and rear portions thereof, from flying or falling objects, the impact of these objects being in eifect cushioned by the rigging. In addition to the foregoing structures, the helmet may also include a pair of earcups 22, carried (in position to cover the wearers ears) by a cloth neck shield 23 which may be suspended (as by straps or the like, not shown) from the interior of the shell 20; and a suitable conventional chin-strap (also not shown) may be connected to the shield 23 for engagement with the wearers chin to hold the helmet securely in place on his head. If desired, the helmet structure may also be provided With elements (not shown) such as earphones mounted within the cups 22 and a microphone carried by the helmet and disposed forwardly of the wearers mouth but within the hood 14, for enabling two-way voice communication with the wearer.
The hood 14 is frabricated of a noninflammable flexible textile material and may be generally tubular in form, closed at its upper end, with a transverse diameter sufficiently large to enable the helmet 12 to be received Within the hood. When the helmet is in the position shown in FIG. 2, at the upper end of the, hood, the lower tubular portion of the hood depends below the lower edge of the helmet for a distance sufficient to surround completely the wearers face and neck, extending downwardly to the wearers shoulders and preferably covering the upper portion of his body adjacent to his neck. The hood shields the wearers head, face and neck from flame, sparks and heat, and its entire exterior surface has a heat-reflective metallic (e.g. aluminum) coating, to enhance its efficacy as a heat shield. Stated generally, the fabric of which the hood is made may be any suitable heat-protective or heat-reflective flexible material, such as (for example) reflectively coated fabric of asbestos, glass fiber, rayon or cotton. One further specific example of a satisfactory hood material is a fabric woven from the type of nylon yarn commercially available under the trade name Nomex, bearing a reflective (e.g. aluminum) coating on its outer surface.
The eye shield frame 16 is fabricated of two layers of.
rigid material (e.g. a suitable heat-resistant plastic), of which the inner layer is designated 24 and the outer layer 25, curved about'a vertical axis to conform to the curve of the essentially horizontal front edge of the helmet shell 20. The central portions of both layers are cut out to define a parallel-sided and horizontally elongated opening 26 essentially coincident in dimensions with the opening 15 of the hood 14. As shown, the two layers 24 and are fixedly secured together by a plurality of rivets 27. k
Above the horizontal upper edge of the opening 26, the outer frame layer 25 is bent outwardly and then downwardly to form a flange 28 which cooperates with the inner frame layer 24 to define a downwardly opening groove 29 extending along the full length of the upper edge of the opening 26. Similarly, at the lower edge of the opening 26, the outer layer 25 is bent outwardly and upwardly to form a flange 30 which cooperates with the inner layer 24 to define an upwardly opening groove 31 (facing groove 29) extending along the entire length of the lower edge of opening 26. Along the vertical sides of the opening 26, further outwardly flanged portions of the outer frame layer 25 cooperate with the inner layer to define vertical grooves facing the opening, and on the left-hand side of the opening a vertical slot 33, communicating with the left-hand vertical groove in the frame 16, is formed in the outer layer 25.
The upper and lower grooves 29 and 31, and the corresponding side grooves, are dimensioned to accommodate theedges of the light-transmissive eye shield member 18. This member 18 is a rigid panel of transparent material such as glass, curved about a vertical axis to conform to the curvature of the frame 16 and dimensioned to be received within the frame, being held at its upper and lower edges in the grooves 29 and 31, and at its oposite side edges in the two vertical side grooves of the frame. The above-described grooves of the frame in effect together form a pocket for receiving the eye shield member 18, which is inserted into the pocket through the vertical slot 40. The member 18 is slidable laterally through the slot 33 into and out of the opening 26, as indicated in FIG. 4.
On its outer surface, the eye shield member 18 bears a coating for reducing its transmissivity to light and thereby protecting the eyes of the wearer against high intensity illumination as well as against heat while nevertheless enabling him to see through the shield 18. One suitable form of such coating is a vacuum-deposited layer 35 of gold elfective to reduce the light transmissivity of the member 18 to about 20 to 25% for light of visible wavelengths, and about 15 to 20% for infrared energy.
The slot 33 is sufliciently wide to accommodate with slight clearance the thickness of the member 18, so that as this member slides laterally through the slot into and out of its position in the frame 16, its outer surface does not scrape or rub against the edge of the slot. Further, since the member 18 is held by the frame only along its edges, during sliding movement of the member 18 there is no scraping or rubbing contact (such as might tend to damage the coating 35) between the frame 16 and the central portion of the member 18, i.e. that portion of member 18 through-which the wearer looks.
A pair of cooperating complementary pressure-actuable surface contact fastening elements 37 and 38 are respectively mounted on the outer surface-of the shell 20 along the frontedge thereof, and on the facing inner surface of the frame 16 immediately above the opening 26, in such position as to interengage and thereby to detachably secure the frame 16 to the shell, in a position such that when the shell is in place on the wearers head, the frame opening 26 is disposed forwardly of the wearers eyes, in his line of vision. These fastening elements may be strips of hook and loop fabric of the type commercially available under the trade name Velcro, one of them bearing a continuous plurality of small flexible loops and the other bearing a continuous plurality of small flexible hooks engageable with the loops; elements of this type are engaged in fastening relation by manually pressing them together, and may be detached by manually pulling them apart.
Mounted on the outer surfaces of the upper and lower flanges 28 and 30, and on the outer surfaces of the corresponding side flanges of the outer frame layer 25, are strips of fastening material together constituting a fastening element 40 in the form of a continuous border surrounding the opening 26 on the outer surface of the frame 16. A cooperating, complementary fastening element 41 conforming in configuration to the element 40 and again constituted of strips of fastening material, is mounted on the inner surface of the hood 14 in surrounding relation to the opening 15. The fastening elements 40 and 41, like the elements 37 and 38 described above, are of the pressure-actuable surface contact type, e.g. fabricated of Velcro material, one comprising a continuous plurality of flexible loops and the other comprising a continuous plurality of flexible hooks engageable therewith.
A further pair of cooperating complementary pressureactuable surface contact fastening elements, respectively designated 44 and 45, are respectively mounted in facing relationon the rearouter surface of 'the helmet shell 20 and on the rear inner surface of the hood 18, for interengagement. These last-mentioned elements may also conveniently be of the hook and loop type, e.g. fabricated of Velcro material. Each the fasteners 37, 38, 40, 41, 44 and 45 is glued or otherwise fixedly adhered to the surface on which it is mounted.
For the comfort of the wearer, a felt pad 48 may be mounted on the inner surface of the frame 16, ata central locality adjacent to the lower edge of the frame, to cushion the wearers nose against contact with the frame. Also for comfort, one or more relatively large ventilation openings 50 may be provided in the shell 20, and a cooperating array of plural small ventilation holes 51 may be provided on the hood 14 in position for register with each of the shell ventilation openings 50. This arrangement of ventilation openings enables the interior of the helmet shell to be ventilated, with holes in the hood sufficiently small to prevent excessive exposure of the wearers head to fire or heat, yet (owing to the relatively large dimension of the shell opening) with ease of register between the shell and hood vents.
In assembling the head-protecting structure of the invention, the eye shield frame 16 (carrying. the eye shield member 18) is pressed against the front of the helmet .shell 20 in such position that the fastening elements 37 and 38 interengage to secure the eye shield frame to the shell. The hood 14 is then placed over the shell, with the hood opening 15 in register with the opening 26 of the eye shield frame, and the fastening elements 40 and 41 are pressed together so as to interengage and thereby to secure 7 6 fastening elements 44 and 45 are pressed together at the rear of the helmet to secure the hood to the shell. In this way, the eye shield is secured in fixed position relative to the shell, and the hood is secured in fixed position relative to the eye shield and shell, assuring maintained register of the hood and eye shield openings as well as maintained register of the hood and shell ventilation openings; i.e. the fastening elements prevent accidental displacement of the hood in use, such as might interfere with the wearers vision (by displacement of the opening 15 from his line of vision) or impede proper ventilation of the interior of the shell. At the same time, the cooperating complementary pairs of fastening elements may be readily pulled apart by hand to facilitate disassembly of the head-protecting structure as for cleaning or repair, and the structure may he reassembled by pressing the pairs of fastening elements together manually, as before.
In use, the assembled head-protecting structure is placed on the wearers head, with the eye shield in front of his eyes. The hood, depending from the helmet shell, rests loosely and comfortably on his shoulders. With the eye shield member 18 in closed position, ie extending across the aperture 26,.the entiretly of the wearers head, face, eyes and neck are fully protected. In the absence of hazardous heat, flame and light, the eye shield member 18 may he slid manually to one side to permit unshielded vision. As the member 18 moves out of its shielding position, it projects through the slot 40 within the hood 14 and its curved shape facilitates lateral sliding of the eye shield member 18 out of the wearers line of vision and around toward the side of the helmet.
The lower end of the hood 14 may be shaped, as shown, to conform generally to the wearers shoulders, with front and rear portions extending below the shoulders to shield the, upper part of the wearers body. The hood lower edge is bound with a noninflammable hem 55 stitched to the hood fabric, and preferably having a heat-reflective metallic coating. A continuous loop of resilient wire 56, such as piano wire, of length equal to the length of the hood lower edge, is secured within the hem 55 so as completely to surround the opening at the lower extremity of the'hood. This wire, which is more or less spring-like, serves to hold the depending portion of the hood against the wearers body, preventing the depending hood portion from turning upwardly and also minimizing wrinkles in the hood that might form passages for admitting gas, smoke and fumes Within the hood.
1. In a head-protecting structure, in combination,
(a) a rigid helmet shell dimensioned to receive the head of a wearer and to extend over the crown of the head for protecting the crown of the head from impacts;
(b) a flexible fireproof hood extending entirely over said helmet shell and having a portion depending therefrom for surrounding the wearers face and neck, said hood having an opening positioned to be disposed forwardly of the wearers eyes when said shell and hood are in position onthe wearers head;
(c) an eye shield secured to said hood in register with said hood opening, said eye shield comprising:
(i) a frame surrounding said hood opening and secured to the inner surface of said hood, said frame having facing parallel grooves extending horizontally along opposite edges of said hood opening, and
(ii) a partially light-transmissive member having opposite edges respectively slidably received in said grooves so as to enable lateral sliding movement of said member into and away from a position in which said member extends across said opening; and
(d) a pair of cooperating complementary pressureactuable surface contact fastening elements respectively mounted on facing surfaces of said frame and forming relation to the wearers body.
said hood in interengaging relation for detachably securing said frame to said hood, one of said fastening elements comprising a surface having a continuous plurality of hooks and the other of said fastening elements comprising a surface having a continuous plurality of loops engageable by said hooks.
2. Structure as defined in claim 1, including a second pair of cooperating complementary pressure-actuable surface contact fastening elements respectively mounted on facing surfaces of said frame and said shell in interengaging relation for detachably securing said frame to said shell, one of said second pair of fastening elements comprising a surface having a continuous plurality of hooks and the other of said second pair of fastening elements comprising a surface having a continuous plurality of loops engageable by said hooks.
3. Structure as defined in claim 1, wherein said hood I is fabricated of a noninfiammable textile material having a heat-reflective surface coating; wherein said depending hood portion is of tubular form and of suificient length to extend downwardly to the wearers shoulders; and further including a loop of resilient wire extending entirely around the lower periphery of the hood and secured to the hood for holding the lower hood periphery in con- 4. In a head-protecting structure, in combination,
(a) a rigid helmet shell dimensioned to receive the head of a wearer and to extend over the crown of the head for protecting the crown of the head from impacts;
(b) rigging means, mounted Within said shell, for supporting said shell on and in spaced relation to the wearers head;
(c) a flexible fireproof hood extending entirely over said helmet shell and having a portion depending therefrom for surrounding the wearers face and neck;
(d) means for detachably securing said hood to said shell in fixed position relative to said shell;
(e) said shell having at least one ventilating opening;
(f) said hood having a plurality of ventilating apertures individually substantially smaller than said one shell opening, said plurality of hood apertures being disposed in register with said one shell opening.
5. In a head-protecting structure, in combination,
(a) a rigid helmet shell dimensioned to receive the head of a wearer and to extend over the crown of the 8 head for protecting the crown of the head fro impacts;
(b) a flexible fireproof hood extending entirely over said helmet shell and'having a portion depending therefrom for surrounding the wearers face and neck, said hood having an opening positioned to be disposed forwardly of the wearers eyes when said shell and hood are in position on the wearers head;
(c) an eye shield secured to said hood in register with said hood opening, said eye shield comprising:
(i) a frame surrounding said hood opening and secured to the inner surface of said hood, said rame having facing parallel grooves extending horizontally along opposite edges of said hood opening, and
(ii) a partially light-transmissive member having opposite edges respectively slidably received in said grooves so as to enable lateral sliding move ment of said member into and away from a position in which said member extends across said opening;
(d) said grooves and said partially light-transmissive member being curved about a common vertical axis with the concave side of said member facing the wearer; and
(e) said frame having a'vertical slot in one side opening within said hood for permitting lateral sliding .movement of said member as aforesaid along a curved horizontal path extending through said slot and around the adjacent side of the wearers head within said hood when said member is moved away from said position extending across said opening.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 518,822 4/1894 Moran.
622,677 4/1899 Gallagher et al. 2,390,352 12/1945 Bouchard 2-8 2,726,395 12/1955 Anderson 2.8 2,759,187 8/1956 Woodard 28 3,013,273 12/1961 Kamperin 25 3,112,490 12/1963 Malcom 2-8 3,205,508 9/1965 Cox 2172 X FOREIGN PATENTS 1,063,779 12/ 1953 France.
ALFRED R. GUEST, Primary Examiner