US 3681800 A
The invention relates to inflatable swimming aids which when uninflated are worn under and hidden by swimming trunks. The aid comprises an upper buoyancy chamber which in use extends above the trunks and can lie against the body of the wearer and which when deflated is tucked into the trunks and lies there inconspicuously.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Thoma  SWIMMING AIDS  inventor: Hermann Thoma, Four Winds, Middle Road, Momingside, Sandton, Transvaal, South Africa  Filed: July 8, 1970  Appl. No.: 53,131
 Foreign Application Priority Data July 18, 1969 South Africa ..69/4825 July 28, I969 South Africa ..69/5382  U.S. Cl. ..9/335 [5 1] Int. Cl ..B63c 9/16  Field of Search ..9/335, 334, 329, 311, 336
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,500,661 3/1950 Chillemi ..9/335 51 Aug. 8, 1972 3,098,248 7/1963 Geier ..9/3 35 3.134395 6/ l 964 Kirchner ..9/335 X l,730,8 l 2 lO/l929 Ford ..9/334 Primary Examiner-Milton Buchler Assistant Examiner-Paul E. Sauberer Anomey-Young & Thompson ABSTRACT The invention relates to inflatable swimming aids which when uninflated are worn under and hidden by swimming trunks. The aid comprises an upper buoyancy chamber which in use extends above the trunks and can lie against the body of the wearer and which when deflated is tucked into the trunks and lies there inconspicuously.
9 Clains, 8 Drawing figures T l l onumhlmnuh I PATENTEDMI: awn $681,800 SHEET 10F 3 07' rys.
PATENTEB 8 sum 3 BF 3 SWlMMlNG AIDS This invention relates to swimming aids and is concerned with swimming aids which are inflatable and are intended to be worn under a swimming costume or to form part of the swimming costume.
Such swimming aids are known. MOst known swimming aids which are intended to be worn with swimming trunks are wholly contained within the trunks. This means that when they are inflated they do not support the user in the correct position and they are, therefore, unsatisfactory when used by a nonswimmer. Swimming aids are known which do extend to the correct position on the users body, but these can only be used with one piece costumes of the kind used by women. They are in most cases rather unsightly, and are very obvious, even in the uninflated condition.
A swimming aid has been proposed which can be worn around the abdomen and which when not in use can be folded over mid-way along its thickness and tucked under swimming trunks. Such a swimming aid is cumbersome to fold and is difficult to use although it is a considerable improvement on prior suggestions. It has also been proposed to provide a pair of swimming trunks with two sets of buoyancy chambers, a lower one within the trunks and an upper one swingable from a position within the trunks to lie on the abdomen when inflated. The upper and lower buoyancy chambers are of the same width, with the result that it is difficult to tuck the upper chamber into the trunks after use. It is also visible from the side when in use, which may cause embarrassment to the user. The upper buoyancy chamber is not urged against the body and tends to flop down in front of the trunks.
It is an object of the invention to provide a generally improved swimming aid of the kind mentioned above.
According to one aspect of this invention there is provided such an inflatable swimming aid comprising a main buoyancy chamber which in use spans the lower part of the abdomen of a wearer and is in use covered by swimming trunks and an additional or upper buoyancy chamber adapted to be folded down between the main portion and the wearers anatomy when deflated and to be pulled from the swimming trunks and laid against the abdomen when the aid is inflated, characterized in that the main buoyancy chamber preferably has a straight upper edge and in that the additional or upper buoyancy chamber is less long than the main buoyancy chamber and extends upwardly from its upper edge.
The swimming aid may be formed in the swimming trunks but preferably it is received in a pouch to protect the wearer's skin from the material of the two buoyancy chambers.
An elongated weld may be provided along a line forming a continuation of the upper edge of the main chamber to facilitate the folding down of the additional or upper chamber. Alternatively the two buoyancy chambers may be separate but held together in a pouch or the like.
Both the main and the additional buoyancy chambers are preferably subdivided into pockets, e.g., by slots or welds to inhibit the movement of air during swimming.
Five embodiments of the invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a swimming aid of the invention shown flat with the pouch partially removed for clarity,
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the swimming aid when folded.
FIG. 3 shows the deflated aid in position under a pair of swimming trunks,
FIG. 4 shows the aid in the inflated position, and
FIGS. 5, 6, 7 and 8 are plan views of other aids of the invention.
Referring now to FIGS. 1 to 4, there is shown an inflatable swimming aid 11 contained in a pouch 12. The aid 11 is made of two sheets of platics material and its edges are welded together as shown at 14. The aid 11 comprises a pentagonal main buoyancy chamber l5 which in use spans the abdomen of a user 17 and which has a straight upper edge 18. Extending upwardly from the center of the edge 18 is an upper buoyancy chamber 19. This buoyancy chamber 19,.when the aid is deflated is normally folded down in the swimming trunks 21 between the main buoyancy chamber 15 and user 17. A weld (not shown) may optionally be provided to extend over much of the continuation of the edge 18. Both the buoyancy chambers 15 and 19 are divided into transverse by a number of transverse cuts or slots 23 to allow the aid to be more easily moulded to the shape of the body of the user 17.
A plastic conduit 25 extends from the upper edge 18 close to the buoyancy chamber 19 and has at its free end, a simple closure plug 26 secured by a string, plastic connector or the like.
The inflatable aid 1 l is contained within a woven pouch 12 which is of substantially the same shape and which protects the skin of the wearer. The pouch 12 has an opening 27 through which the aid may be inserted and has seams 28 sewn into it to fit into the cuts 23. A pair of tabs 29 extend from the ends of the pouch 12 and are provided with suitable securing means (not shown) so that the pouch 12 can be held around the waist of the user 17. Alternatively the tabs 29 can be connected directly to the aid 11.
In use, while the user 17 is not swimming, he tucks the upper buoyancy chamber 19 behind the chamber 15 and the aid lies flat under his swimming trunks 21.
When the user wishes to swim, he folds the chamber 19 out of his trunks 21 to lie adjacent the upper part of his abdomen and up to his breastbone. He inflates the aid through the conduit 25 and then plugs the conduit closed (this arrangement of the aid being shown in H6. 4). The upper chamber 19 gives buoyancy to the user at places where this is necessary for the non-swimmer. The cuts 23 and the weld inhibit the movement of air in the aid so that the center of buoyancy does not change much during swimming.
After swimming the user 17 pulls the plug 26 out of the end of the conduit 25 and deflates the aid 11. The upper buoyancy chamber 19 can now be folded down into the position shown in FIG. 3 where it lies flat and is substantially unnoticeable under the swimming trunks 21. Because of the shape of the two chambers 15 and 19 the portion 19 can easily be folded down to lie neatly behind the main portion 15.
It will be appreciated that when the user is swimming he will lie on the upper buoyancy chamber 19 covering it from view. This chamber 19 will also not be visible from the side.
FIGURE 5 FIGURE 6 The currently preferred embodiment of the aid is shown in this figure. Here again there are two separate buoyancy chambers 36 and 37.
In this embodiment, however, the upper edge 38 of the main buoyancy chamber 36 has two recessed portions 39 and the upper buoyancy chamber 37 has downwardly extending projections 40 which form in effect continuations of the outermost pockets 41 and the upper chamber 37.
When this aid is inflated, the projections 40 form continuations below the lower edge of the upper buoyancy chamber 37 and into the area covered by the main buoyancy chamber 36 so that the upper chamber 37 will be held rigidly upright against the body of the user and the possibility of it folding over its lower edge is minimized if not eliminated. It will be seen that when the upper buoyancy chamber 37 is deflated it will have to be folded over only a small portion of itself so that this will not inhibit folding over when the upper buoyancy chamber is to be tucked away.
The aspirating tube 43 for the upper buoyancy chamber 37 is connected to the lower portion of one of the projections 40, while the aspirating tube 44 for the main buoyancy chamber 36 is connected close to the connection of the tube 43. Because the connections are close together, a double tube can be used. The tube part 43 will not be twisted when the upper buoyancy chamber is folded up or down. Further, the belt if provided, of swimming trunks will lie over the projections 40 to provide additional means to hold the upper buoyancy tube upright.
The projection 40 to which the tube 43 is connected can be recessed at 45 to facilitate the connection of the two parts.
FIGURES 7 AND 8 The embodiments of these figures are similar to that GENERAL The invention is not limited to the precise constructional details hereinbefore described and illustrated in the drawings. Thus for example the pouch may form part of a swimming costume.
Also the swimming aid may be used by women wearing one piece swimming costumes. In such circumstances the aid will always be extended with the chambers l5 and 19 lying flat against the body of the user.
The swimming aid can be made from any suitable material in addition to plastics materials and may comprise rubber or may be a moulded article. The moulding can be thickened at its edges for strengthening purposes.
For an experienced swimmer or others, the upper buoyancy chamber can be left in its tucked in position and the main buoyancy chamber only need be inflated to make the swimmer buoyant. This feature is applicable whether buoyancy chambers are connected or not.
There may be provided alternative means such as bellows or the like to inflate the swimming aid rather than to require the user to inflate the aid by blowing into the inflation conduit.
A one-way valve may be provided in the conduit, howsoever, the aid is inflated. The conduit can be made of any suitable material.
It will also be appreciated that the aid can be worn over the bathing apparel, e. g., by water skiers.
It will be seen that the swimming aids above described are neat and unobtrusive when deflated and when inflated give adequate buoyant support for the user as well as being inconspicuous when so doing. The inflated swimming aid will not cause much obstruction to the water when swimming nor to the body movements of the swimmer.
By having two buoyancy chambers, should one fail the other would provide adequate support. This also provides a psychological advantage for the inexperienced swimmer.
1. An inflatable swimming aid comprising a main buoyancy chamber which in use spans the lower part of the abdomen of a wearer, and is in use covered by swimming trunks, means secured to the main buoyancy chamber near the upper portion thereof and passing around the trunk of the wearer to hold the swimming aid in position and an additional or upper buoyancy chamber adapted to be folded down between the main portion and the wearers anatomy when deflated and to be pulled from the swimming trunks and laid against the abdomen when the aid is inflated, the upper buoyancy chamber being substantially less long than the main buoyancy chamber and extending upwardly from the central portion of the main buoyancy chamber so that when inflated it lies against the abdomen of the wearer.
2. A swimming aid as claimed in claim 1 characterized in that the two buoyancy chambers are separate and are held in position by a pouch.
3. A swimming aid as claimed in claim 2 characterized in that the pouch forms part of a swimming costume.
4. A swimming aid as claimed in claim 1 characterized in that the upper buoyancy chamber has projections which are received within recesses in the lower buoyancy chamber.
5. A swimming aid as claimed in claim 1 characterized in that the lower buoyancy chamber has a straight upper edge.
teriaed in that the pockets of the upper buoyancy chambers are aligned with the central pockets of the lower buoyancy chamber.
9. A swimming aid as claimed in claim 1 characterized in that an aspirating tube is provided for each of the buoyancy chambers and in that the locations at which the aspirating tubes are joined to the chambers are close to each other.