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Publication numberUS3610470 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 5, 1971
Filing dateMar 4, 1970
Priority dateMar 4, 1970
Publication numberUS 3610470 A, US 3610470A, US-A-3610470, US3610470 A, US3610470A
InventorsWaters Wilbur W
Original AssigneeLifegard Mfg Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic operating attachment for manually operable inflating device
US 3610470 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 3,524,569 8/1970 Waters ABSTRACT: A head for a compressed gas container has a projecting plunger which, when depressed, releases gas for inflating a raft. spaced plates are bolted to either side of the head and a plurality of spacer shafts secure the plate in parallel to the head. An operating lever of the second class is fulcrumed on a spacer shaft and its free end is biased by a spring toward the plunger, the spring being anchored to another spacer shaft. A fixed post projects from another shaft and a detent lever of the first class fulcrumed on another shaft has a swinging post at one end normally in parallel with the fixed post. The other end of the detent lever is normally engaged with the end of the operating lever to prevent it from engagement with the plunger. A paper ring, rupturable when wet, passes around the posts keeping the detent lever in normal position. A cord attached to the operating lever has a loop around the ring for rupturing the paper and for pulling down the operating lever as a fail-safe.

PATENTEUUET Sum 3,610 470 sum 2 or 2 1g. PRIOR ART We. I'Ib 7 l7h WILBUR W. WATERS AUTOMATIC OPERATING ATTACHMENT FOR MANUALLY OPERABLE INFLATING DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to aquatic life saving equipment and more particularly to an attachment for a manually operable device for releasing gas from a container, the attachment automatically operating the gas releasing device when it comes in contact with the water.

Inflatable life rafts, which may be stored folded, have long been provided with a steel container of compressed gas stored in a pocket for inflating the raft. The container has a head in sealed relation therewith, the head having a valve, operable by a plunger, which normally seals the gas in the container. A handle is pivotally attached to the head for depressing the plunger when manually operated.

This manually operable device is very reliable and accounts for only a small proportion of the cost of the raft. In many cases, such as in air rescues or where there is insufficient time for manual operation, however, a life raft is required which has a flotation member automatically inflated upon reaching the water. Automatically operating devices are also known, but due to the large supplies of the manually operated devices on hand there has long been a need for an economically manufactured attachment which can be easily secured to the manual devices in the field so that they will be automatically operated.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention contemplates an attachment which is factory assembled except for a single nut and bolt and which may be easily installed in the field. Two plates, secured together in spaced parallel relation by a plurality of spacer shafts, have therebetween an operating lever pivotally secured at one end to one of the spacer shafts. A spring secured to the free end of the operating lever and anchored to another spacer shaft is used to bias the operating lever. A fixed post projects radially from one of the spacer shafts and a detent lever is pivotally secured to another spacer shaft.

The handle used for manually depressing the projecting operating plunger of the head is removed and the same screws securing the handle to the head are used for bolting the two plates on either side of the head. The extra nut and bolt is secured in place and, with one of the spacer shafts, forms a pair of spacer shafts straddling or embracing the head.

At the factory the operating lever is turned so one of its ends is engaged against the detent lever. The other end of the detent lever forms a swinging post which is then parallel to the fixed post and a ring of paper is placed around both posts to hold the detent lever in place. The paper ring is strong enough when dry to hold the spring biased lever in place but, when it becomes wet, the paper is ruptured and the operating lever is moved by the spring, and engages and depresses the plunger projecting from the head.

A manual override, or fail-safe, is provided by a cord having one end tied to the free end of the operating lever, passing down through the spring and then having a bight passed through the ring. The free end of the cord is then passed through the bight forming a slip knot which can rupture the paper ring when the free end of the cord is pulled. After rupturing the ring the cord may continue to be pulled to manually swing the operating lever against the plunger if the spring does not do this.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a side elevutional view of the attachment according to the invention installed on a container head and ready for use, a portion being broken away for clarity;

FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1 showing the attachment after it has been operated;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary view of a conventional folded life raft, container, and head with handle for mechanical operation, with which the attachment is adapted to be used;

FIG. 4 is a plan view of the attachment shown in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the paper ring of FIG. I showing the looping of the cord therearound.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In FIG. 1 the attachment 10 is shown secured to a head 11 which is secured to a metal bottle or container 12. A nut 13 attached to head II is adapted to secure a tubular conduit, not shown, leading from head 1 1 to a life raft or flotation member thereof and a plunger 14 whose end projects from the head, is adapted, when depressed, to release compressed gas from container to fill the flotation member.

The attachment 10 comprises two similar plates 15 and 16, best seen in FIG. 4, which are secured in parallel spaced relation by a plurality of spacer shafts 17. These spacer shafts may be of a two part construction, as shown at l7ab in FIG. 1, where a tubular spacer 17a has a longer shaft or pin 17b therethrough whose ends project through appropriate holes in plates 15 and I6 and are peened over as a rivet. Alternatively, the spacer shafts may be of a one piece construction, as shown at 17c in FIG. 1, where the stud has reduced ends which pass through appropriate holes in the plates and are peened over.

A screw 18 through a hole in each plate and threaded into head 11 secures the plates to either side of the head. Spacer shafts 17d and I7e straddle or embrace a portion of the head to prevent rotation of the plates with respect to the head. Spacer shaft 172 is preferably of a three piece construction comprising a tubular spacer with a screw 19 therethrough, a nut 20 being provided at the back of the attachment 10 as shown in FIG. I to facilitate field assembly of the attachment to the head.

An operating lever 21 has one end pivotally supported on a spacer shaft 17f, washers 22 (FIG. 4) on either side of the lever maintaining it centered between the plates. A spring 23 has one end hooked through appropriate holes 24 adjacent the free end 25 of the lever, the other end of the spring being hooked around spacer shaft 170. Spring 23 biases the middle portion of lever 21 toward plunger 14, the lever being a lever of the second class.

The free end 25 of the operating lever is normally engaged by one end 26 of a detent lever 27 which is pivotally supported near its center by the spacer shaft I7g. Tubular spacer members 17h on the shaft 17g (FIG. 4) center the detent lever 27 between the plates.

The other end 28 of the detent lever forms a movable post and is held in position by a ring of paper 30 which is looped around the post 28 and a fixed post 31. The fixed post is welded or otherwise secured to a spacer shaft l7i so as to project radially therefrom parallel to the movable post 28 when it is in normal position. The ends of spacer shaft l7i are shaped as elongated tongues fitting into conforming slots in the plates 15 and 16 for preventing rotation of the spacer shaft l7i, as indicated in FIG. I.

The paper ring 30, best seen in FIG. 5, is a strip of paper whose ends are clipped or otherwise secured together to form a continuous ring. The paper strip is of a special paper having a comparatively high dry strength and a comparatively low wet strength so that the ring 30 is ruptured by the force of spring 30 when the ring is immersed in water but normally holds the lever 21 out of contact with plunger 14.

A manual override and fail-safe is provided in the form of a cord 33 having a tab 34 secured to one end. The other end of cord 33 is looped through the holes 24 of the operating lever 21 and tied, as shown at 35. From the knot at 35 the cord is led down through spring 23 and passes over spacer shaft I70. A bight of the remainder of the cord is then passed through the ring 30 at 36 and the free end of the cord passed through the bight loop to form a ring rupturing noose best seen in FIG. 5. After the ring is ruptured cord 33 remains secured to the lever 21 for pulling the lever against plunger I4 if the spring 23 does not do so.

It will now be apparent that when the ring 30 is ruptured, either by pulling cord 33 or by being immersed in water, the

movable post 28 swings free and the end 26 of detent lever 27 releases the operating lever 21 to depress plunger 14 and release gas from the container 12.

Referring now to FIG. 3, a conventional container 12 and head 11 having a manually operable handle 39 are shown in conjunction with a folded raft 40, shown fragmentally. The container 12, which may be as large as 16 or 18 inches in length is stored in a pocket 41 of the life raft and has a threaded neck engaged in the head 11 and sealed therein at 42. A valve 43 carried on the plunger 14 normally closes communication from the interior of the container with a passage 44 leading to the el or other conduit 45 to the flotation portion of the raft. The nut 13 secures the el 45 to head 11. An adapter is usually provided for attachment to head 11 by the nut 13 for filling the container 12, as by a pump.

Handle 39 has ears 47 pivotally secured to the head by screws 18 which thread into the head at either side. The bandle has a cam portion 46 adapted to depress plunger 14 to release gas from container 12 to inflate the flotation portion of the raft when the handle is pulled away from head 11.

It will now be apparent that the attachment may be factory assembled except for being attached to head 11. To convert the manually operable head 11 of FIG. 3 for automatic operation, the handle 39 is disassembled by removing screws 18 and is then discarded. The attachment 10, which is completely assembled except for the shaft or screw 19, its tubular spacer, and nut 20, is then slid into position with plates 15 and 16 on either side of the head. Screws 18 are then inserted through suitable holes provided in the plates 15 and 16 and rescrewed into their threaded holes in the head 11. Screw 19 is then assembled and nut 20 tightened and the attachment is thus secured in position ready for operation.


1. An attachment for a manually actuatable device for inflating a flotation member, the manual device comprising: a head and a container of gas under pressure in threaded and sealed engagement therewith, the head having a pair of axially aligned threaded holes on opposite sides thereof, a partially projecting plunger operable to release gas from the container, and conduit means for conducting gas from the container to the flotation member when the plunger is depressed; the attachment comprising a pair of plates, screws in the head threaded holes securing the plates to either side of the head, a plurality of spacer shafts securing the plates in parallel, two of the spacer shafts embracing the head for preventing turning of the plates with respect to the head, a lever of the second class having one end fulcrumed on a third spacer shaft, a coilspring having one end secured to a fourth spacer shaft and its other end secured to the lever free end for biasing the lever against the plunger, a first post fixed normal to a nonrotatable fifth spacer shaft, a second post secured oscillatably to a sixth spacer shaft and forming therewith as a fulcrum'a lever of the first class, the second post having one end normally engaged with the free end of the lever of the second class for preventing its oscillation toward the plunger, and a rupturable ring around the first post and the other end of the second post for securing the second post parallel with the first post, the ring having at least a segmental portion of paper having a dry strength sufficient to hold the lever of thesecorid class from oscillation and a wet strength sufficiently low to allow the ring to be ruptured by the spring biased second post when the paper becomes wet, whereby the device and attachment is automatically actuated when immersed in water.

2. The device and attachment defined in claim 1 having a manual pull-tab, the pull-tab being secured by a cord to the lever of the second class at the point where the spring is secured, the cord passing through the center of the coil-spring and being looped around the paper of the rupturable ring,

whereby the paper of the ring is severed when the tab is pulled and the lever of the second class is manually pulled against the plunger if the spring does not function.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4482333 *Apr 30, 1982Nov 13, 1984Geri Engineering, Inc.Automatic inflation system
US4861298 *Jun 24, 1988Aug 29, 1989The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavyActuation system for an encapsulating life raft
US5042134 *May 14, 1990Aug 27, 1991Mackal Glenn HMethod for securing a lanyard to an inflator lever arm
US5333656 *May 26, 1993Aug 2, 1994Mackal Glenn HAuto inflator having dissolvable element under low pressure
US5333756 *Aug 10, 1993Aug 2, 1994Bernhardt Apparatebau Gmbh U. Co.Device for the inflation of, more particularly, a container or a floating body of an item of lifesaving equipment
US5852986 *Feb 5, 1996Dec 29, 1998Mackal; Glenn H.Automatic inflator with status indicators
US8336733 *Mar 22, 2007Dec 25, 2012Shield Medicare LimitedSpray dispenser with compressed gas container
US20090101680 *Mar 22, 2007Apr 23, 2009Shield Medicare LimitedSpray dispenser with compressed gas container
U.S. Classification222/5, 441/41
International ClassificationB67B7/00
Cooperative ClassificationB63C9/24
European ClassificationB63C9/24