US 3574861 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent lnventor Creighton J. Hale Williamsport, Pa. 744,426
July 12, 1968 Apr. 13, 1971 Little League Baseball Inc.
Appl. No. Filed Patented Assignee CHEST AND THROAT PROTECTOR 6 Claims, 3 Drawing Figs.
US. Cl 2/2 Int. Cl A4ld 13/00 Field of Search 2/2, 2 5,
l28/(No Search); 250/(No Search) References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Gamble 2/2 3,233,248 2/1966 Bushnell 2/2 2,540,952 2/l95l Kennedy 2/2 3,125,762 3/ l 964 Glahe 2/2 Primary Examiner-Richard J. Scanlan, .I r.
Assistant Examiner-George H. Krizmanich Attorney-Eyre, Mann and Lucas ABSTRACT: The chest protector is provided with a collar portion which is designed to conform to the outline of the wearers throat. Rising from the collar portion is a throat protector comprisinga padded segment designed to cover the throat of the wearer. A strap which is detachable at at least one end extends across the rearward open end of the collar portion so as to prevent the protector from sliding downward while in use and thus exposing the throat of the wearer.
CHEST AND THRGAT PROTECTOR The present invention relates to improved chest protectors having a throat protector comprising a shock-absorbent segment positioned to cover the throat of the wearer. These protectors are of the flexible padded type worn, for instance, by a baseball catcher.
The present invention incorporates several advantages not to be found in the chest protectors shown in the prior art. First, there is provided a shock-absorbent segment rising from the collar portion of the chest protector. This segment covers the throat area of the wearer and affords a substantial measure of protection for that portion of the anatomy against pitched balls or foul tips. The throat area of the catcher has usually been exposed and therefore vulnerable to these hazards. Damage to this area of the anatomy, including such serious trauma as a crushed windpipe, can be and often is fatal. In a young player whose body has not fully developed, for example, one of Little League age, the dangers of such trauma are more serious than in fully-grown players.
Second, there is provided a mounting strap connected in close proximity to the neck of the wearer, i.e., across the rearward opening of the collar portion. This feature provides the advantage of holding the protector securely in place, whereas in the prior art protectors, a longer strap connecting the shoulder portions at either side of the collar portion was employed, and frequently allowed the protector to slide downward while in use and thus exposed the portion of the wearers chest below the throat.
A better understanding of the present invention may be had by referring to the accompanying FIGS. of which:
FIG. 1 is a front elevation of an unfiexed (flat) protector constructed in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevation of a protector constructed in accordance with the present invention, with the left shoulder portion broken away to a plane centrally intersecting the protector, and the right shoulder portion curving rearwardly as when the protector is worn by a player; and
FIG. 3 is a rear elevation view of an untlexed (fiat) protector constructed in accordance with the present invention, showing the improved retaining strap spanning the open end of the collar portion as well as the conventional retaining strap at hip level.
Referring now specifically to FIG. 1, chest protector comprises a number of padded segments 12 sewn in such a manner as to provide flexibility. These padded segments 12 form right and left shoulder portions 11 and I3, respectively, a main body portion 15 and (optionally) a groin portion 17. The collar portion 14 is shaped so as to fit snugly around the throat of the wearer, i.e., in a substantially U-shaped configuration, and is defined by the inner edges of right shoulder portion II and left shoulder portion l3. Extending from the collar portion, that is, extending outwardly and upwardly from the plane of the drawing, is the throat protector 16, which is also substantially semicircular. Upper retaining strap I8 is fixedly connected at one end to one side of the rearward open end of the collar portion 14. This connection may be made by conventional means such as rivets 20, for example. The other end of upper retaining strap 18 is detachably connected at the opposite side of the collar portion at its rear extremity. This detachable connection may be effected by a number of means, such as a bolt 22 having an annular end which slidingly engages a slot in a keeper element 24 which is attached to the other end of upper retaining strap 18 as shown in the drawing.
Referring now specifically to FIG. 2, in which the left shoulder portion 13 is broken away and the right shoulder portion 11 (not visible) is curved rightwardly as it would be over the shoulder of a wearer and is shown in phantom in the same position as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3, it may readily be seen that throat protector 16 extends upwardly under these conditions. The decreasing height of the throat protector 16 above the collar portion 14 as it extends rearwardly (from left to right in FIG. 2) is also apparent. The upper surface of throat protector to is approximately horizontal when the protector 10 is worn due to this rearward tapering of the throat protector l Thus, when properly worn, the protector 10 Will automatically position the throat protector 16 so as to provide protection for the throat of the wearer. A lower retaining strap 26 is also provided in the vicinity of the hips of the wearer.
Referring now specifically to FIG. 3, a rear view of the protector is shown. Again, the throat protecting segment 16 may be seen projecting upwardly from the collar portion 14 and into the plane of the drawing.
In summary, the applicant has devised an improved protector which in addition to protecting the chest of the wearer also affords protection for the more vulnerable throat area. The applicant has also provided an improved means for securing the protector to the wearer and for retaining it in its proper position thereon. Numerous variations of the invention will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, the throat protector segment may be made integral with the chest protector or may be constructed as a detachable element. An anchor ring and snap fastener combination may be employed to detachably connect one end of the upper retaining strap to the protector. The throat protector may be made of any suitable, light, resilient, shock absorbent material such as foam rubber, which may be the same as or different from the materials employed in the chest protector itself. The upper retaining strap is preferably made of an inelastic material, but could be made of an elastic material and be fixedly attached to the protector at both ends.
The advantages of the present invention, as well as certain changes and modifications of the disclosed embodiment thereof, will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art. It is the applicants intention to cover all those changes and modifications which could be made to the embodiment of the invention herein chosen for the purposes of the disclosure without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
1. In a chest protector comprising a main body portion, left and right shoulder portions, a collar portion defined by the inner edges of said shoulder portions and open at one end, and at least one retaining strap, the improvement comprising a throat protector at least partially formed of shock-absorbent material and extending upwardly from said collar portion to cover at least a portion of the throat of the wearer.
2. The improvement according to claim 1 wherein said collar portion is substantially U-shaped.
3. The improvement according to claim 1 wherein said retaining strap is connected across the open end of said collar portion.
4. The improvement according to claim 1 wherein said throat protector decreases in height as it extends toward said open end of said collar portion.
5. The improvement according to claim 1 wherein said retaining strap is formed of substantially unstretchable material and is fixedly connected at one side of the open end of said collar portion and detachably connected to the other side of the open end of said ,collar portion.
6. The improvement according to claim 5 further comprising a bolt attached adjacent said other side of said open end of said collar portion, and a slotted keeper attached to said retaining strap for engagement with said bolt.