US 3619814 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 16, 1971 ;,AlLEO PROTECTIVE HELMET WITH ADJUSTABL E HEADBAND 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed DeC. ll, 1969 w@ mm www wma WM A M .0 w. m JY B Nov. 16, 1971 J. All Eo PROTECTIVE HELMET WITH ADJUSTABLE HEADBAND 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed DeC. ll, 1969 Nov. 16, 1971 J. AILEO PROTECTIVE HELMET WITH ADJUSTABLE HEADBAND 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Deo. ll, l969 J. All Eo 3,619,814
PROTECTIVE HELMET WITH ADJUSTABLE HEADEAND ll, 1969 4 Sheets-Sheet L Nov. 16, 1971 Filed Dec.
United States Patent 1 3,619,814 PROTECTIVE HELMET WITH ADJUSTABLE HEADBAND Jackson Anthony Aileo, Carbondale, Pa., assignor to Gentex Corporation, Carbondale, Pa. Filed Dec. 11, 1969, Ser. No. 884,237 Int. Cl. A42b 3/00 ILS. Cl. 2-3 A 3 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A rigid shell helmet having a pair of earcups mounted Within the shell and an internal rigging including an adjustable headband for supporting the shell in spaced relation to a wearers head. The headband structure comprises a front headband anchored at its ends to the shell and of fixed length shorter than the distance between its anchorage point as measured along the shell circumference; a rear headband loosely suspended within the shell; and a pair of side headbands respectively extending rearwardly from the front headband along opposite sides of the shell interior outwardly of the earcups. The side headbands are respectively secured to the rear headband by a pair of buckles which are carried by the rear headband on opposite sides of the helmet center line, and the extent of engagement of the side headbands with the buckles may be adjusted to vary the effective size of the headband structure.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to rigid shell helmets for protecting the head of a wearer, and specifically concerns improvements in internal riggings for such helmets.
A protective helmet having a rigid head-covering shell is frequently provided with a rigging of flexible bands and straps suspended from the interior of the shell for engaging the wearers head and supporting the shell in spaced relation thereto. The rigging serves to position the shell stably on the head and to cushion the head from blows or impacts impinging on the shell, i.e. to absorb the energy of such blows or impacts. In addition to the rigging, sound-attenuating earcups may be mounted within the shell for shielding the wearers ears from annoying or potentially damaging levels of ambient noise. Helmets of this type are widely used by persons engaged in occupations or activities involving a hazard of head injury and also involving exposure to high ambient noise levels.
Known forms of rigging employed in rigid shell helmets commonly include headband elements extending more or less horizontally across the interior of the shell to engage at least the front and rear of the wearers head, together with plural headstrips crossing above and bearing upon the crown of the head. The headband assembly may also include portions or elements engaging the sides of the head as well as the front and rear, again to enhance positional stability of the helmet, and to aid in absorbing energy of blows directed laterally against the helmet.
Proper fit of the rigging on the wearers head is important for both comfort and stability of the helmet and, owing to the diversity of individual head sizes, as a practical matter it is necessary for attainment of proper fit that the rigging be adjustable in size. At the same time, it is desirable to prevent any possibility of inadvertent maladjustment such as might permit contact of the front of the head with the shell. Accordingly, some known rigging constructions employ an inelastic front headband fixedly anchored at its ends to the helmet shell and having a fixed length between anchorage points shorter than 3,6l9,8l4 Patented Nov. 16, 1971 the corresponding distance as measured along the internal circumference of the shell, in combination with side and rear headband elements arranged for adjustment to vary the overall length or effective size of the headband structure.
Various types of size-adjusting means have heretofore been incorporated in headband structures. Examples of such means are buckles, and surface Contact fastening elements disposed on facing surfaces of overlapping tab portions of the headband structure. These means permit continuous variation in effective headband size over a range of dimensions.
IFor comfort and protection of the wearer, it is often preferred to form the rear as well as the front headband portion from a relatively thick, heavy pliable strip 0f leather or the like, and in such case headband size adjustment may be accomplished by Varying the spacing between the front and rear headbands, e.g. by adjusting the effective length of side portions of the headband, the headband-adjusting means being arranged to enable such adjustment. One difficulty heretofore encountered in the utilization of these structures in helmets having earcups is in avoiding interference of the earcups with convenient manual access to the adjusting means. Another difliculty is that the adjustment of the headband structure may produce unequal spacing between the front and rear headbands on opposite sides of the fore and aft center line of the helmet shell, and hence may tend to throw the helmet off center when the helmet is placed on the head.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of the invention is to provide a protective helmet having new and improved adjustable headband structure, especially adapted for use in combination with earcups positioned within the helmet. Another object is to provide such a headband structure incorporating sizeadjusting means arranged for `convenient manual access without interference by the earcups. A further object is to provide such a headband structure incorporating adjusting means arranged to facilitate size adjustment of the headband with maintained proper centering of the helmet on the head.
To these and other ends, the present invention broadly contemplates the provision, in a protective helmet having a rigid helmet shell adapted to receive the head of a wearer and a pair of earcups supported by the shell for receiving the wearers ears, of improvements in headband structure of the type including an inelastic front headband portion extending across the front of the interior of the shell and having opposite ends anchored to the interior of the shell at opposite sides thereof, this front headband portion having a fixed length between its anchored ends Shorter than the corresponding distance as measured along the interior circumference of the shell, to prevent any inadvertent maladjustment of the front headband portion such as might permit contact of the wearers head with the front of the shell. The contemplated headband structure also includes a pair of side headband portions connected to and extending rearwardly from the front headband portion along opposite sides of the interior of the shell, respectively, each of the side headband portions terminating rearwardly in a free end, and a read headband portion extending across the rear of the interior of the shell and loosely suspended therefrom so as to be movable toward and away from the rear of the shell.
In particular, the invention contemplates the provision (in the foregoing headband structure) of a pair of fastening elements secured to the rear headband portion rearwardly of the earcups on opposite sides of the fore and aft center line of the shell, respectively, these fastening elements being substantially equidistant from the center line of the shell and being respectively adapted to engage the free ends of the side headband portions for securing the side headband portions to the rear headband portion, the extent of engagement of the side headband portions with the fastening elements being adjustable to vary the effective size of the headband structure. These fastening elements may for example comprise a pair of buckles, mounted in adjacent opposed relation on the rearwardly facing surface of the rear headband portion; the side headband portions extend across this rear surface of the rear headband portion with their free ends respectively passed through the two buckles. At each end of the rear headband portion, a loop or strap may be mounted on the rearwardly facing surface thereof to receive the side headband portions and thereby further to stabilize the rear headband portion in relation to the side headband portions.
The described headband structure permits simple and convenient adjustment of headband size. The position of the buckles is such that they are readily accessible for adjustment without interference by the earcups, i.e. because they are positioned at the rear of the helmet, out of the way of the earcups. Provision of a pair of buckles, positioned adjacent to and equidistant from the fore and aft center line of the helmet for respectively receiving the two side headband portions, facilitates maintained proper centering of the helmet during adjustment of headband size. The adjustment, as will be understood, is effected by pulling the free ends of the side headband portions through the buckles. Such pulling can easily be controlled so that both ends extend by equal amounts through their respective buckles, and this assures that the spacing between front and rear headbands will be essentially the same on both sides of the helmet so that the helmet will center properly on the head.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a protective helmet in which the rigging of the present invention may be incorporated;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged side elevational sectional view, taken as along the line 2-2 of FIG. l, of a helmet structure embodying the present invention in a particular form;
FIG. 3 is a view of the interior of the helmet, partly in section, taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2',
FIG. 4 is a view of the front headband portion of the headband structure of the helmet, taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is another view of the front headband portion, showing the side thereof facing the helmet shell;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged view of the rear headband portion of the headband structure of the helmet of FIGS. 2-3 taken along the line 6 6 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 7 is another view of the rear headband portion and associated elements, showing the side thereof facing the helmet shell;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary detail sectional view taken along the line 8 8 of FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary detail sectional view taken along the line 9-9 of FIG. 6;
FIG. l0 is a view of the earcup-supporting neck shield structure of the helmet; and
FIG. 11 is an enlarged fragmentary view of the nape strap portion of the neck shield of FIG. l0.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring first to FIGS. 1-3, the helmet there shown includes a generally conventional rigid protective helmet shell 10, e.g. molded of glass ber-reinforced plastic or the like, adapted to receive the head of a wearer and having a crown portion 12 shaped to extend over the crown and rear of the wearers head, as well as two opposed inwardly concave side portions 14 which depend from the crown portion in position to extend over the wearers ears. As best seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, the inner sur- 4 face of the helmet shell may be lined with a layer 1S of resilient compressible energy-absorbing material.
Within the concave side portions 14 are disposed a pair of sound-attenuating earcups 16, eg. of conventional character, each comprising an outwardly domed earcup shell having an elliptically annular flange defining a recess for receiving and enclosing an ear of a wearer, with an internal lining of sound-absorbent material and a resiliently compressible annular seal mounted on the rim for engaging the wearers head in surrounding relation to his ear. The general construction of such earcups is well known in the art and accordingly need not be described in detail.
In the structure shown, the earcups 16 are mounted in opposed end portions 1S of a exible shield 19 (c g. fabricated of a suitable textile material), which also inclu-des a nape portion 20 connecting the two end portions 18 and extending around the nape of the Wearers neck. The shield 19 is suspended within the interior of the helmet shell 10 as by means of straps 21 secured to the shell, with the earcups respectively disposed in the concave side portions 14 of the shell, as stated, in position to receive the wearers ears. The front edges of the shield end portions 18 may bear a plurality of snap fastener or like elements 22 for mounting a chinstrap` (not shown) to engage the wearers chin and thereby to aid in holding the helmet fixed in position on his head.
The foregoing arrangement of the earcups 16 and shield 19 is described and shown, for example, in applicants copending application Ser. No. 686,500 filed Nov. 29, 1967 for Safety Helmet with Sound Attenuating Earcups. As also disclosed in that application, each of the shell side portions 14 may have mounted therein one or more exible straps 24, extending across the concavity of the side portion, for engaging the outer domed surface of the earcup therein disposed, to urge the earcup against the wearers head.
As shown in FIGS. 1() and 11, a strap 26 is stitched at one end to the rearwardly facing surface of the shield nape portion 20, which also bears a buckle 27 spaced horizontally from the stitched end of the strap and adapted to grip the strap free end, the strap being adjustable in the -buckle to vary the effective length of the nape portion 20 (Le. between the localities of attachment of the strap and buckle) to conform to the wearers head. The nape portion 20 itself comprises two separable, overlapping pieces 20a and 201; respectively bearing on their facing surfaces a pair of cooperating complementary pressure-actuable surface contact fastening elements 28 and 29, e.g. elements of the hook and loop type commercially available under the trade name Velcrof These elements detachably secure piece 20a to piece 20b in overlapping relation and permit adjustment of the amount of overlap so as to keep the nape portion from bunching when its effective length is reduced yby adjustment of the strap and buckle.
Also disposed within the helmet shell 10 is a rigging for supporting the shell on the wearers head in spaced relation thereto. This rigging includes three headstraps 30, 31 and 32, extending across the interior of the helmet shell 10, generally from front to rear and in spaced relation to the shell, in such position as to be disposed above the wearers head. These three straps cross each other at a central locality in the interior of the helmet, above the crown of the wearers head, and each of them is anchored at its opposite ends to the helmet shell, as hereinafter further described. Headstrap 31 extends generally along the fore and aft center line of the helmet shell, while straps 30 and 32 extend diagonally of the shell center line. Each of these headstraps is fabricated of an inelastic (eg. woven textile) material.
The forward end of strap 31 is secured to the front of the helmet shell interior by means of a slotted anchoring plate 34, which is itself fastened to the shell by a screw 35. As shown in FIG. 2, the strap forward end is passed through the slot of plate 34 and stitched to the strap to form a loop 36. At the rear of the helmet, a second slotted anchoring plate 37, fastened to the shell interior by a screw 38, bears an inelastic flexible loop 39 on which is mounted an adjustable buckle 40. The rearward end of strap 31 is inserted through and gripped by the buckle, to secure the strap adjustably to the rear of the helmet. Straps 30 and 32 are anchored to the shell interior in similar manner; i.e. their forward ends are secured to slotted anchoring plates respectively designated 41 and 42, while their rearward ends are adjustably gripped by buckles 43 and `44 respectively mounted on a pair of flexible inelastic loops 4S and 46 which are secured to the shell by plates 47 and 48.
A generally disc-shaped crown pad 50 of resiliently compressible material is slidably suspended from the diagonal headstraps 30 and 32 so as to be interposed between the crown of the wearers head and the crossed portions of the headstraps. The two straps 30 and 32 extend through slits S1 in the crown pad, so that the pad may be adjusted in position relative to the headstraps to suit the wearers comfort. The structure and arrangement of this crown pad, which serves to cushion the wearers head against the headstraps, is disclosed in applicants copending application Ser. No. 844,273 filed July 24, 1969 for Protective Helmet.
The rigging of the helmet further includes a headband structure comprising a front headband 53, a pair of side headbands respectively designated 54 and 55, and a rear headband 56. As shown in FIGS. 2-5, the front headband includes .a flexible inelastic tubular member 58 formed by longitudinally folding and stitching an elongated strip of leather or the like. Member 58 is positioned to extend horizontally across and engage the forward portion of the wearers head, and contains a layer 59 of resiliently compressible sponge material. The central headstrap 31 passes through a saddle strap 60 which is stitched to the center of the outwardly (i.e. forwardly) facing surface of member 58, to aid in maintaining proper positioning of member 58 within the shell.
The front headband 53 further includes a flexible inelastic band 62, fixedly anchored at its opposite ends to the sides of the shell and extending across the interior of the shell forwardly of member 58 and saddle strap 60. Band 62 passes through a pair of inelastic loops 63 respectively stitched to the outwardly facing surface of member 58 adjacent the opposite ends thereof, for support of member 58 on band 62. A further pair of inelastic loops 64, respectively stitched to loops 63, are respectively secured to the front anchoring plates 41 and 42 of the two diagonal headstraps, to connect member 58 directly to the helmet shell. The band 62 has a fixed length between its anchorage points shorter than the corresponding distance as measured along the interior circumference of the shell, and hence serves to maintain the front headband assembly including member 58 in assured inwardly spaced relation to the front of the shell regardless of adjustment in size of the overall headband structure.
The two side headbands 53 and 54 (which may be fabricated of flexible, inelastic woven textile material) are respectively stitched at their forward ends to the opposite ends of the front headband member 58, and extend rearwardly therefrom along the opposite sides of the helmet shell interior, being respectively disposed outwardly of the upper portions of the earcups 16 so as not to interfere with proper sealing engagement of the earcups with the wearers head.
As shown in FIGS. 2 and 6-9, the rear headband 56 (like the front headband member 58) is a flexible tubular member formed by longitudinally folding and stitching a strip of leather or the like. It is secured to the rear loop 39 of the central headstrap 31 by means of an elastic loop 66 stitched to the center of the outwardly (i.e. rearwardly) facing surface of headband 56, and is positioned to extend horizontally across and engage the rear portion of the wearers head, rearwardly of the two earcups 16, in inwardly spaced relation to the rear of the helmet shell.
As a particular feature of the invention, a pair of adjustable Ibuckles 67 and 68 are mounted on the outwardly facing surface of the rear headband 56, adjacent to but on respectively opposite sides of the fore-and-aft center line of the helmet shell (i.e. on opposite sides of loop 66), being spaced substantially equidistantly from that center line and positioned well to the rear of the earcups 16. Specifically, the two buckles are mounted on a pair of loops 70 formed by inserting a length of inelastic flexible material through a pair of vertical slits 71 cut in the rearward wall of headband 56 on opposite sides of the loop 66, doubling over the two projecting ends of the length of material and inserting them within the respective slits, and stitching the last-mentioned ends to the rear headband, to produce two fixed loops 70 respectively projecting outwardly through the two slits 71. The rearward ends of the two side headbands S3 and 54 are led around the outwardly facing surface of the rear headband 56, and respectively inserted in the two buckles 67 and 68, which grip these ends to secure the side headbands adjustably to the rear headband.
To further stabilize the position of the rear headband, a pair of loops 73 are respectively stitched to the outwardly facing surface of the rear headband adjacent its opposite ends, and the side headbands are respectively passed through these loops. In addition, a pair of elastic loops 74 respectively stitched to the loops 73 serve to connect the rear headband to the rear loops 45, 46 of the diagonal headstraps.
As may now be understood, the effective size of the described headband structure may readily be altered by pulling the side headbands 54 and 55 one way or the other through their respective buckles 67 and 68, i.e. by changing the amount by which the free rearward ends of the side headbands extend through the buckles so as to vary the effective length of the side headbands, drawing the front and rear headbands closer together or permitting them to move farther apart. The buckles V67 and 68, it may be noted, are of a known type adapted to permit continuous variation in the amount by which the side headbands project through them, and hence to permit continuous variation of effective headband size over a range of sizes. Owing to the positioning of the buckles, the earcups do not interfere with such adjustment. Also, and again owing to the positioning of the buckles, proper centering of the headband within the helmet may easily be maintained incident to adjustment of headband size, by so adjusting the buckles that when adjustment is complete the two side headbands extend by equal amounts through the respective buckles. The band 58 restrains the front headband 53 against inadvertent maladjustment such as might permit the front of the wearers head to come into contact with the shell.
When the rigging has been properly adjusted, and the helmet is placed on the wearers head, the headstraps and headband structure transmit the weight of the helmet to the head in a comfortably distributed manner, and support the shell in properly spaced relation to the head so that blows or impacts on the shell are transmitted to the head only indirectly, through the flexible rigging.
1. A protective helmet comprising (a) a rigid helmet shell adapted to receive the head of a wearer and having depending opposed side portions disposed to extend over the wearers ears;
(b) a pair of earcups;
(c) means for respectively mounting said pair of earcups within said shell side portions for receiving the wearers ears;
(d) headband structure including (i) an inelastic front headband portion extending across the front of the interior of said shell and having opposite ends,
(ii) means for anchoring said opposite ends of said front headband portion to the interior of the shell at opposite sides thereof, said front headband portion having a fixed length between its anchored ends shorter than the corresponding distance as measured along the interior cir- 8 tend across the front of the interior of said shell and having opposite ends adapted to be anchored to the interior of said shell at opposite sides thereof, said front headband portion having a xed length between cumference of said shell, its opposite ends shorter than the corresponding dis- (iii) a pair of side headband portions connected tance as measured along the interior circumference to and extending rearwardly from said front 0f Said shell; headband portion along opposite Sides of the (b) a pair of side headband portions connected to said interior of said shell outwardly of said pair of front headband portion inwardly of said opposite earcups, respectively, each of said side headl() ends and adapted to extend rearwardly from said band portions terminating rearwardly in a free frOn headband Portion elcng Opposite sides 0f the end, interior of said shell, respectively, each of said side (iv) la rear headband portion extending across the headband portions terminating rearwardly in a free rear of the interior of said shell, and end;
(v) means for loosely suspending said rear head- (C) 2t rear headband Dertien adapted i0 extend across band portion from the rear of the interior of the rear of the interior of said shell and to be loosely said Shell so as to be movable toward and away suspended therefrom so as to be movable toward and from the rear of said Shell; away from the rear of said shell, said rear headband (e) a pair of buckles; portion having a rearwardly facing surface and op- (f) means for securing said pair of buckles to said posed ends;
rear headband portion rearwardly of said earcups (d) e- Pair 0f 100195 secured i0 seid reelrwardly facing on opposite sides of the fore and aft eenler line surface of said rear headband portion adjacent said of said shell, respectively, said rear headband por- OPPOsed ends, resPeciVely, said side headband Per' tion having a rearwardly facing surface, said buckles tions being respectively inseried through said lOOPs; being disposed on said rearwardly facing surface and (e) e Pair 0f buckles; and being substantially equidistant from said center line (i) means fOr securing seid Pair 0f bnckleS t0 Said and being respectively adapted to receive and engage rearwardly f'ecing surface 0f said rear headband p0rsaid free ends of Said Side headband portions for tion intermediate said pair of loops, said buckles being securing said side headband portions to said rear Positioned i0 be disposed 0n OPPOsiie sides 0f the headband portion, the extent of engagement of said fore and afi cellier line 0f said shell, resPeciVely, side headband portions with Said buckles being adsaid buckles being substantially equidistant from said justable to vary the effective size of said headband center line and being respectively adapted i0 receive structure, said rear headband portion having opposed and engage seid free ends 0f seid side headband Por' ends projecting laterally of Said buckles; and tions for securing said side headband portions to said (g) a pair of loops Secured to said rearwardly facing rear headband portion, the extent of engagement of surface of said rear headband portion adjacent said Said side headband Portions With said buckles being opposed ends, respectively, said Side headband p0r adjustable to vary the effective size of said headtions being respectively inserted through said loops. bend structure- 2. A helmet as defined in claim 1, wherein said bucklesecuring means comprises a pair of loops and means for securing said loops to the center of said rearwardly facing References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS surface of said rear headband portion, said buckles being 2,846,683 8/1958 respectively carried by said last-mentioned pair of loops. 3 241 154 3 /1966 axilleet al 3. For use with a protective helmet having a rigid hel- 45 3447162 6/1969 Aeo n 2 3 met shell adapted to receive the head of a wearer, headband structure comprising:
u JAMES R. BOLER, Primary Examiner (a) an inelastic front headband portion adapted to ex-