US 3671976 A
A full view diver's mask having a transparent faceplate member configured to conform to the general contour of a diver's face, carries a peripheral, resilient seal to maintain a sealed relationship. A frontal planar section and a pair of curved portions permit distortion-free frontal and peripheral vision.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Johnson et al.
[451 June 27,1972
[ FULL VIEW DIVERS MASK  Inventors: Clarence S. Johnson, 4444 West Point Loma Boulevard, San Diego, Calif. 92106; Larry E. McKinley, P. 0. Box 647C, Oro Verde Road, Escondido, Calif. 92025 221 Filed: 0:.15,1910
211 Appl.No.: 81,032
- [S2] U.S.Cl. ..2/14 C, 2/14W  Int. Cl. ..A6ll 9/02  Field olSelrch ..2/14'W, l4 B,-14 C, 14 D, 14 P, 2/14 A, 14G, 10,15
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,928,097 3/1960 Newfeld ..2/l4P 3,336,599 8/1967 Gatti et a1. ..2/14 D 2,876,766 3/1959 Rebikoff et al.. .-2/ 14 W X 3,483,569 12/1969 Armendariz ..2/14 W 3,027,562 4/1962 Widenor ..22/14 W 2,709,256 5/1955 Baratelli ..2/14 G Primary Examiner-H. Hampton Hunter Attorney-Richard S. Sciascia, Ervin F. Johnston and Thomas G. Keough  ABSTRACT Y A full view divers mask having a transparent faceplate member configured to confonn to the general contour of a divers face, carries a peripheral, resilient seal to maintain a sealed relationship. A frontal planar section and a pair of curved portions permit distortion-free frontal and peripheral vision.
4 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures FULL VIEW DIVER S MASK BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Contemporary continuous masks limit a divers vision by including an elongate tunnel-like, rubber sleeve supporting a planar transparent faceplate. A twofold disadvantage is immediately apparent in that this design blocks out considerable, if not all, peripheral vision, and, secondly, the tunnel-like, rubber sleeve encloses a large, dead air space making water clearing more difficult. Diving goggles covering only the eyes allow a greater degree of peripheral vision, yet they are unsuitable for most applications since, first, goggles do not lend themselves to pressure equalization, and, hence, cannot be used at depths, and second, their curved surfaces introduce distortion.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed to providing a divers face mask for ensuring a wide field of vision and includes a transparent member enclosing the facial area and configured to conform to the facial contours encompassing the eye and nose area. A resilient member, carried on the transparent members peripheral portion, seals the interior of the mask from the surrounding water and, by being small sized, does not restrict both frontal and peripheral vision.
A prime object of the invention is to provide a divers face mask ensuring greater visibility.
A further object is to provide a divers face mask allowing substantially distortionfree peripheral vision.
Yet another object is to provide a divers face mask enclosing a minimal dead air space to allow ease in clearing the mask.
Still another object is to provide a divers face mask enclosing a minimum volume and, thus, a minimal virtual mass and presenting a reduced lateral water plane area allowing greater diver freedom.
Another object is to provide an inexpensive face mask using a low cost, transparent member.
Yet another object valve 22 to provide a face mask whose low cost makes it disposable upon being marred.
These and other objects of the invention will become readily apparent from the drawings when taken with the ensuing description.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is an isometric depiction of the preferred form of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken generally along lines 2-2 in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken generally along lines' 3--3 in FIG. 1.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings, in FIG. 1, a face mask is snugly held on a wearers head by a resilient strap 11 bonded onto opposite lateral extremes of the face mask through a pair of conventional buckle elements 12 and 13. The tensile force exerted by the resilient strap serves to position the mask on the divers face as well as sealing the masks interior from the surrounding water. By mounting the buckle elements on the far lateral extremes of the mask, peripheral vision is minimally obstructed and the lateral extremes of the mask are pressed against the temporal areas to more positively seal the masks interior.
In the preferred form, the buckle elements are directly mounted on a transparent member 15, or more precisely, on a peripheral rim l6 molded to substantially conform to the facial contours encompassing the eye and nose areas. The transparent member is, for example, a plastic-like material, such as lucite, which is readily shaped upon application of mild heat. By placing a heated lucite sheet next to a male or female mold and applying a vacuum of pressure, the sheet easily attains the mold's configuration in accordance with well known techniques.
One method used to shape a prototype transparent members calls for making a female mold of a divers face and casting a plaster-of-Paris positive." Malleable putty or clay is added onto coextensively eye-nose area and is sculptured to provide a built up male mold for responsively shaping the transparent member to ensure distortion-free forward and peripheral vision.
A flat, faceplate portion 17, traversing an area generally defined as being directly in front of the eyes, is created on the sculpted positive to provide the distortion-free forward visron.
In a similar manner, wide angle peripheral vision is achieved by building up the sculpted positive" to provide a building surface for a left and a right curved surface 18 and 19, each having a radius of curvature extending to the center of the left and right eyeball, respectively. Having the curved surfaces roughly configured as quadrispherical shells and designed with such a radius of curvature, induces minimal distortion and allows substantially unimpaired peripheral vision.
Further building up of the positive to. define a surface for molding an outwardly bulging nose portion 20 pennits positioning the mask closer to a divers face and reduces the mask's volume with a twofold advantage. First, the mask has a reduced lateral water plane area allowing its use in extremely turbulent waters, where violent physical motions are called for, or when working in dense marine growth which would otherwise pull a mask, having a larger lateral water plane area, from a divers face; and, secondly, the reduced volume affords ease in clearing the mask. In addition, fashioning the nose portion from the heated transparent member lowers the per unit cost of the mask and eliminates bonding and sealing problems arising if the nose portion were a dissimilar material and not an integral part of the transparent member.
One continuous area where slight visual distortion may occur lies in a goggle-shaped transitional strip 21 extending between flat faceplate portion 17 and left and right curved surfaces 18 and I9, and between the faceplate portion and nose portion 20. However, since the width of this strip is relatively small compared to the wide frontal and peripheral viewing areas afforded, and, since the strip lies outside the most frequently used frontal viewing path, this small area of visual distortion is tolerable.
As mentioned above, peripheral rim 16 is molded to conform to the facial contours encompassing the eye and nose areas and is an integral part of the transparent member, along with the flat faceplate portion, the left and right curved surfaces, and the nose portion. Being so constructed, the masks interior is capable of being sealed on the divers face by reason of the configuration of the rim alone.
A more reliable manner of sealing the mask's interior, also permitting the mask's use on differently shaped faces, calls for mounting a peripheral sealing member 25 along the inner contour defined by the peripheral rim. Although a flat piece of a neoprene material is depicted in the drawings, a narrow rubber lip is optionally substituted or a resilient O-ring having a slotted cross-sectional configuration is applied, the latter allowing greater flexibility for fitting on the differently contoured faces.
The invention was originally designed for divers conducting research with sharks in the open ocean. A divers peripheral vision, being responsive to motion, has the capability to detect and warn of approaching sharks coming from the side. Since all available face masks tended to limit a divers field of vision, they were unsuitable for the task at hand. A mask configured in accordance with the above teachings provides the required wide field of view and additionally has a reduced volume and lateral water plane area.
Further benefits of the disclosed design are realized by including a resilient pressure equalization pad 20a disposed along the lower wall of the nose portion and sized to cover both nostrils. As with conventional masks, similarly equipped,
a slight upward displacement of the mask brings the pad to bear against the nostrils and blocks the passage of air. Attempts to forcefully blow air through the nostrils equalize the pressure in the inner ear to that of the surrounding water.
Optionally, a purge valve 22 extends through a lower section of left curved surface 18 providing an automatic means for clearing water from the mask. The purge valve slightly does block the left eye's lower peripheral vision, but this limitation is largely outweighed by the advantages of having a purge valve.
While vacuum or pressure molding a heated lucite sheet over a male mold form has been referred to above, it obviously follows that the same technique for shaping the transparent member alternatively employs a female mold form to produce the same, improved face mask.
Obviously, many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in the light of the above teachings, and, it is therefore understood that within the scope of the disclosed inventive concept, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.
What is claimed is:
l. A divers face mask for ensuring a wide field of vision comprising:
an integral transparent member having a peripheral portion configured to conform to the facial contours encompassing the eye and nose area and continuously reaching 'across the facial area in a coextensive frontal portion extending in a plane perpendicular to a line of forward vision ensuring substantially distortion-free frontal vision and in a left and a right curved portion reaching between said peripheral portion and said frontal portion and each having a radius of curvature substantially extending to the center of the left and right eyeball, respectively, to allow substantially distortion-free peripheral vision, and
a resilient member disposed on said peripheral portion being shaped to seal the interior of said mask from the surrounding water and being minimally sized to allow substantially unimpeded said peripheral vision.
2. A divers face mask according to claim 1 in which said transparent member includes a nose portion configured to conform to the contours of the nose being integral with and coextensively joined to said frontal portion and said left and right portions.
3. A divers face mask according to claim 2 further including:
a pad disposed on the lower inside surface of said nose portion and sized to cover both nostrils when the mask is slightly vertically displaced to allow pressure equalization of the mask to its surroundings.
4. A divers face mask according to claim 1 further includmg:
a purge valve disposed adjacent said nose portion to allow selective clearing of the mask.
II t i i i UMTED STATES PATENT OFFICE @ER'HMCATE 0F CQRREQTWN Patent No. 3: 7 :97 I bated June 27,, 1972 .-Inventor(s) Clarence S. Johnson et a1 It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
0n the cover sheet immediately following the ABSTRACT, insert:
Statement of Government Interest The invention described herein may be manufactured and used by or for the Government of the United States of America for governmental purposes without the payment of any royalties thereon or there-for.
Signed and sealed this 19% day Or December 1972.
EDWARD M.FLETCI-IER,JR. ROBERT GOTTSCHALK Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents FORM PC4050 (169) uscoMM-Dc 60376-P69 U-Sv GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE C 969 03G"334,