US 3633230 A
An angular casing of substantially V-shape comprising a pair of tubular arms joined at one end. One of said arms holding a compressed gas cartridge such that the frangible end portion of the cartridge is disposed near the juncture of the arms, and the other arm including a spring-loaded plunger held in the compressed position by a trigger mechanism. A pivotal striker is provided at the junction of the tubular arms, such that triggering of the plunger causes the striker to pivot against the frangible surface of the compressed gas cartridge to release the gas therefrom. The entire inflation device is adapted to be connected to, and communicate with, an inflatable bladder to form a circular life-preserving collar.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent lnventor Paul F. Horton 5040 30th South, Seattle, Wash. 98108 Appl. No. 31,240 Filed Apr. 23, 1970 Patented Jan. 1-], 1972 INFLATING DEVICE 10 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs.
U.S. Cl 9/345 Int. Cl B63c 9/08 Field of Search 9/345, 340, 329, 319, 316, 314, 31 l; 222/5 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,084,636 6/1937 Fromm 9/340 X 8/1964 Dobbs 9/345 X FOREIGN PATENTS 580,498 7/1959 Canada Primary Examiner-Milton Buchler Assistant Examiner-Paul E. Sauberer Attorney-Graybeal, Cole & Barnard ABSTRACT: An angular casing of substantially V-shape comprising a pair of tubular arms joined at one end. One of said arms holding a compressed gas cartridge such that the frangible end portion of the cartridge is disposed near the juncture of the arms, and the other arm including a spring-loaded plunger held in the compressed position by a trigger mechanism. A pivotal striker is provided at the junction of the tubular arms, such that triggering of the plunger causes the striker to pivot against the frangible surface of the compressed gas cartridge to release the gas therefrom. The entire inflation device is adapted to be connected to, and communicate with, an inflatable bladder to form a circular life-preserving collar.
PATENfED mu 1 1912 INVENTOR. P/IUL E HORTON 1 gm 4770:?NEV5 INFLATING nsvrcr:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1 Field of the Invention This invention relates, in general, to compressed gas inflating devices, and in particular, to an angular-inflating device for use with an inflatable bladder as a life preserving collar.
2. Description of the Prior Art It has long been recognized that the incidence of accidental drownings resulting from persons falling overboard from a boat or ship may be reduced by requiring all persons on board to wear inflatable life jackets or collars at all times. This practice is not often followed, however, due to the bulky and generally uncomfortable nature of inflatable life preserving equipment presently available. A bulky life jacket or collar is particularly abhorrent to pleasure boat enthusiasts who are generally interested in unhindered freedom of movement and the resulting comfort to be derived therefrom. inflating devices presently used on inflatable life jackets and collars are themselves of often bulky, and are often placed on the jacket or collar in a position which, although easily reachable for actuation, is likely to hinder the activity of the wearer. Prior art inflating devices, while functional in that they provide a means for storing a compressed gas and releasing it in response to the actuation of a trigger, are often nonfunctional when viewed from the point of view of providing freedom of motion and comfort for the wearer. Additionally, in the past the inflating device has been appended onto the inflatable article, rather than being an integral portion of the article itself.
Prior art patents such as Davis, U.S. Pat. No. 3,266,668 and Shepard et al., U.S. Pat. No. 3,180,524 illustrate inflating devices of a type well known in the art. These patents disclose a spring-loaded plunger which is adapted to be held in the compressed position by a removable key. Removal of the key allows the spring to thrust the plunger through the frangible surface of a compressed gas cartridge disposed longitudinally therefrom. Marcus, U.S. Pat. No. 1,772,674 discloses a device operating on a somewhat different principle, wherein the compressed gas cartridge is itself moved against a stationary pin by the movement of a lever actuated plunger.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention comprises an inflating device having an angular configuration such that it conforms to the curvature of the wearers body. In one embodiment, the device may be connected between the ends of a longitudinally arcuate inflatable bladder such that fracturing of a compressed gas capsule stored therein results in inflating the bladder to form a life preserving collar.
It is an object of the present invention, therefore, to provide an inflating device for use with an inflatable bladder.
More particularly, it is an object to provide an inflating device which is adapted to be connected end-to-end with a longitudinally arcuate bladder to form a life preserving collar.
A still more specific object is to provide an angular inflating device for use with a longitudinally arcuate bladder.
An additional object is to provide an inflating device which is compact in size and easily actuated.
One more object is to provide an inflating device which when used in conjunction with an inflatable collar may be positioned at a convenient and comfortable location on the wearer's body.
One more object is to provide a substantially V-shaped inflating device having compressed gas storage means in one arm of the V, spring-loaded plunger means in the other arm of the V, and a pivotal striker located therebetween.
Additional objects and advantages will become apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a schematic view of a typical embodiment of the inflating device of the present invention, including said device connected between the ends of an uninflated bladder to form a life preserving collar adapted to be disposed around a wearer's neck.
FIG. 2 is a schematic view of the inflating device of FIG. 1, including said device connected between the ends of an inflated bladder, and the manner of triggering said inflation.
FIG. 3 is a sectional plan view of a typical inflating device of the present invention, including a spring-loaded plunger in the compressed position, and further including the end portions of an inflatable bladder.
FIG. 4 is a sectional plan view of the device of FIG. 3, including the spring-loaded plunger in the striking position, and further including the path of flow of compressed gas therethrough.
FIG. 5 is a partial sectional view taken along lines 55 in FIG. 3.
FIG. 6 is a partial sectional view taken along lines 6-6 in FIG. 4.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring now to FIG. 1, a typical embodiment of an inflating device 10, made according to the present invention, is disclosed. Inflating device 10 includes angular casing portion 12 which is adapted to be connected end-to-end with an arcuate inflatable bladder 14 to define an inflatable life preserving collar 16. As shown in FIG. 1, collar 16 is adapted to be disposed about the neck of a wearer 18 such that the angular inflating device 10 rests below the chin of the wearer. The angular shape of casing 12 substantially conforms to the shape of the wearers neck, as does arcuate inflatable bladder 14. It is thus seen that inflating device 10 when combined with inflatable bladder 14, provides an inflatable collar which is compact and which may be worn on a wearers body in a position such that the physical movement of the wearer is unhindered. Inflating device 10 is an integral portion of collar 16, rather than a mere appendage thereto.
Referring now to FIG. 2, it will be seen that the positioning of inflating device 10 directly beneath the chin of the wearer allows for easy and sure inflation of the life preserving collar in an emergency. The trigger actuating mechanism, which will be described hereafter, is centered directly below the chin of the wearer, and thus as seen in FIG. 2 the natural movement of the wearers hand to his throat allows triggering of the device. This positioning of the trigger pin removes any possibility of the wearer being unable to locate the triggering device for emergency inflation, and further would often allow the inflatable device to be triggered while the wearer was still in the act of falling from the boat, and before he had become submerged in the water.
Referring now to FIG. 3, the internal configuration of inflating device 10 is disclosed, including the manner of connecting the inflating device to inflatable bladder 14. Angular casing 12 is substantially V-shaped and includes outwardly diverging arms 20 and 22. Arm 20 includes threads 24 near its outer end, which threads are adapted to cooperate with the internal threads 25 of cap portion 26 such that the cap may be screwed onto arm 20 to provide a gastight connection. Conventional O-ring seal 28 is associated with cap 26 to ensure the integrity of the connection. A relatively stiff resilient portion 30 is mounted on the internal face of cap 26, and includes a dishshaped surface 32 which is adapted to act as a seat for compressed gas cartridge 34. Resilient material 30 presses the cartridge 34 against retaining collar 36, but is not so resilient as to allow the cartridge to move when its frangible end portion is struck by the pivotal striker 38 as will be discussed below.
Hook 40 extends outwardly from cap 26 and is adapted to be inserted in eyelet 42 near one end of inflatable bladder 14. Other conventional connecting means may be substituted for the hook and eyelet disclosed in the drawings, with the only requirements being that the connecting means be detachable to allow the collar to be easily placed around or removed from the wearer's neck, and that the connecting means be surelocking to prevent accidental disconnection.
Outwardly diverging arm 22 includes threads 44 which cooperate with the internal threads 46 of cap portion 48. Again, conventional O-ring seal 28 is provided to ensure the gastightness of the threaded connection. Spring 50 has a crosssectional dimension which is approximately equal to, although slightly smaller than, the in cross-sectional dimension of arm 22 and is thus adapted to be disposed longitudinally therein such that it may be freely coiled or compressed. Spring 50 seats at one end on internal shoulder 52 of cap 48, while plunger 54 rides on its opposite end. Plunger 54 includes barrel portion 56 which is adapted to be inserted longitudinally in spring 50, shoulder portion 58 on which spring 50 bears and head portion 60. Head 60 is adapted to make contact with pivotal striker 38 when spring 50 is released as illustrated in FIG. 4.
The trigger mechanism of the instant device is illustrated in FIGS. and 6. Curved actuating arm 62, having an enlarged finger-receiving surface 64 near one end to allow easy and sure triggering of the device, is adapted to pivot about fulcrum 66. Fulcrum 66 includes upstanding shoulder portion 68 and transverse pin 70 which holds actuating arm 62 firmly against the outer surface of arm 22.
Trigger pin 72 including top ball portion 73 is mounted on actuating arm 62 by inserting the pin and ball in a hole in arm 62 having a diameter substantially equal to the narrow neck between the pin and ball. This type connection allows the pin to maintain orientation normal to casing 12 when arm 64 is rotated as illustrated in FIG. 6 and thus prevents binding of the pin in channel 76. Other conventional mounting techniques may also be used to achieve similar results. Pin 72 includes outwardly extending collar 74 which is adapted to ride in channel 76 and which performs the dual function of centering pin 72 in channel 76 and, in cooperation with seal 86, sealing the casing against leakage as will be described below. Channel 76 is defined by externally threaded cylindrical flange 78 extending normally outward from arm 22. Cap 80 includes internal threads 82 and is adapted to be seated on flange 78. Cap 80 includes a centrally located hole 84 in its top portion through which trigger pins 72 extends. Seal 86 ensures the airtightness of the threaded connection between cap 80 and flange 78, and also fits tightly around trigger pin 72 to prevent leakage through hole 84. As is best seen in FIG. 6, after actuation of the trigger mechanism, collar 74 abuts against seal 86 and thus acts as an additional barrier against gas leakage through hole 84.
Prior to actuation the end portion 88 of trigger pin 72 extends into the cylindrical chamber defined by arm 22. With spring 50 in the compressed position, shoulder 58 of plunger 54 abuts against end portion 88 of the trigger pin such that the spring is held in the compressed position. Referring now to FIG. 6, it will be understood that pivoting of actuating arm 62 by rotating portion 64 towards casing 12 causes the trigger pin 72 to be raised in channel 76 such that shoulder 58 is released and spring 50 allowed to uncoil thrusting plunger 54 down arm 22 and against pivotal striker 38. Although not disclosed in the drawings, it is also contemplated that a resilient member might be disposed around pin 72 and within channel 76 to additionally bias the pin to hold spring 50 in the compressed position. It is additionally contemplated that conventional automatic triggering means responsive to immersion in water may be provided.
Walls 90 extend outwardly from casing 12 and surround the above-described actuating mechanism to protect it from accidental operation. It will be readily understood that only a downward force on enlarged finger-receiving surface 64 of actuating arm 62 will trigger the instant inflating device. Substantially horizontal forces which might result, for example, from random bumping of the inflating device during normal movement of the wearer will be absorbed by the protective walls 90.
Pivotal striker 38 is substantially triangular in cross section but includes oppositely spaced rounded portions 92 and 94 which cooperate with the arcuate surfaces ofcasing 12 formed opposite each other near the juncture of the outwardly diverging arms. The cooperating curvatures of the surface walls and portions 92 and 94 of pivotal striker 38 allow the striker to pivot around the angle defined by the diverging arms. Thus, striker 38 is normally disposed in the position shown in FIG. 3 when the plunger and spring are held in the compressed position by trigger pin 72 prior to actuation. However, as best seen in FIG. 4, when the trigger pin is raised to release the compressed spring, plunger 54 causes striker 38 to pivot such that tack 96 fractures the frangible cap 98 of compressed gas capsule 34. It is thus seen that the pivotal movement of striker 38 allows the force of the released spring to be translated around the angular connection between the arms 20 and 22 to fracture the compressed gas cartridge.
Plunger 54 includes a central channel 100 through which the compressed gas flows after it is released from the fractured cartridge. Additionally, shoulder 58 of the plunger may be serrated or notched to allow the compressed gas to also flow between the shoulder and the walls of arm 22. The released gas, after having passed the plunger, flows through arm 22 as illustrated by arrows 102, through channel 104 in cap 48 and into inflatable bladder 14. As discussed above, inflating device 10 is gastight and thus channel 104 is the only means of exit from the inflating device for the released gas. A conventional ball valve 106, including seat 108, ball and biasing spring 112, may be provided in the neck of cap 48 to prevent the return flow of gas from the inflated bladder into the inflating device. The ball valve 106, thus acts as an additional safety feature should any of the seals of the inflating device fail.
The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or central characteristics thereof. The present embodiments are therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore to be embraced therein.
What is claimed is:
1. An inflating device comprising an angular casing adapted to be connected between the ends of and communicate with an inflatable bladder, a compressed gas-holding means within said casing, a plunger disposed on a spring within said casing, said spring adapted to be releasably held in compressed posi tion, and a pivotal striker disposed between said plunger and said compressed gas holding means.
2. An inflating device comprising a pair of tubular arms joined at one end to form a substantially V-shaped casing adapted to be connected between the ends of a longitudinally arcuate inflatable bladder, one of said anns including a compressed gas cartridge having a frangible surface portion, said other arm including a plunger disposed on a spring adapted to be held in the compressed position, pivotal striking means disposed at the juncture of said arms, said striking means adapted to be pivoted by said plunger to fracture said frangible surface of said gas cartridge to release said gas to inflate said bladder.
3. The inflating device of claim 2 wherein one of said arms includes an internal collar for holding and positioning said compressed gas cartridge.
4. The inflating device of claim 2 wherein said plunger includes at least one channel through which gas may flow.
5. The inflating device of claim 2 wherein said casing is gastight except for a tubular connection with said inflatable bladder.
6. The inflating device of claim 5 including a ball valve in said tubular connection to prevent backflow of gas from said bladder into said casing.
7. An inflating device comprising a pair of tubular arms joined at an angle at one end to form a casing, cap means disposed on the unjoined ends of said arms, compressed gasholding means positioned in one of said arms, spring means having a plunger disposed thereon disposed in said other arm, pin means extending through said casing adapted to hold said spring in the compressed position, trigger means connected to near one end and a neck portion near its opposite end, whereby said inflation device and said bladder may be joined by connecting the hook of said inflation device and the eye of said bladder and by connecting the neck of said inflation device and the neck portion of said bladder.
10. The inflating device of claim 8 wherein said casing includes an outwardly extending wall around said trigger portion to protect said trigger from accidental actuation.