US 3688314 A
A protective environmental suit and helmet device having retaining means in the lower portion of the helmet and sealing means in the margin of a distensible neck portion of the suit adapted to engage over the retaining means on the helmet to provide a quick sealing of the suit to the helmet to protect the wearer from a hostile environment.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Hill Sept. 5, 1972  PROTECTIVE GARMENT 3,3l0,8l1 3/1967 Iacono ..2/2 R 72 I t 1 R 8 In Do DeL 3,353,534 11/[967 Savoie R l 1 or y 3,427,660 2/1969 Raschke ..2/4  Assignee: [LC Industries, Inc., Dover, Del.  Filed; Dem 10, 1969 Primary Examiner-Jordan Franklin Assistant Examiner-George H. Krizmanich  Appl. No.: 883,962 Ano,ney Dona|d D. Demon s2 U.S. Cl. ..2/2.1 A ABSTRACT  ELI Cl. A protective envircmmental i and h l device  d of Search having retaining means in the lower portion of the hel- 2/ l 8H4 met and sealing means in the margin of a distensible neck portion of the suit adapted to engage over the  Rehmnces Cited retaining means on the helmet to provide a quick seal- UNITED STATES PATENTS ing of the suit to the helmet to protect the wearer f h ti] t. 3,081,459 3/1963 Clark ..2/2.1 R mm a 08 e env'mnmen 2,394,078 2/1946 Krupp ..2I2.l R 21 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures PHENTEBsEP s can SHEET 2 BF 3 mvsmon.
BY RQDNEY S. HILL PATENTEM 5'97! 3.688.314
sum 3 0f 3 INVENTOR.
PROTECTIVE GARMENT BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The invention herein described was made in the course of or under a contract with the Department of the Army.
1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to making of quick and secure connections between adjacent detachable portions of a body garment, and more particularly to connections that can be made very rapidly between a neck or collar portion of a body protective or environmental garment, and a helmet portion thereof, to produce effective gastight sealing between the connected portions. An environmental garment, as the term is used herein, relates to a body covering which encases all or part of the wearers body to give protection against undesirable contact with hostile elements in the external environment such as nerve gas, atomic fallout, or the like.
2. Description of the Prior Art There are numerous devices by which a closure can be made between adjacent parts or portions of body encasing garments including connections of a neck portion of a body suit to a helmet. While some of these provide a detachable connection between such parts, there has been heretofore lacking in such devices a simplified, lightweight construction having a capability of at once making the connection between the parts and providing for instant gas-tight sealing of the joint in a quick and simple manner so that the wearer can breathe ambient air until it is required to fully seal the connection. Also, the prior art devices do not provide satisfactorily under difficult operational conditions for establishing a gas-tight seal around selected peripheral portions of the helmet and neck collar with the remainder of the seal quickly connectable and disconnectable so the wearer has a full supply of ambient breathing air until necessary to complete the sealing of the parts of the garment to be connected and provide a total disengagement of the parts to be connected whenever desired.
The present invention fills a long-felt need for a simplified, lightweight sealing means or device for sealing together portions of a protective body garment, to give the freedom of full or partial gas-tight attachment or detachment between the portions to be connected with the capability for instant completing and sealing the connection from a partially sealed condition in which the wearer has full breathing access to ambient air. Accordingly, this invention contemplates an environmental suit and helmet device forming a body covering garment that has a distensible sealing collar adapted to be quickly extended over and tightly self-sealed to the edge of a protective helmet and maintained in place by retaining means positioned on the collar. The helmet may be provided, advantageously, with retaining means in its lower edge for cooperative engagement of the retaining means in the collar to provide for quickly hand locating and/r holding the margin of the collar in place connected around the lower edge of the helmet. Such action can be effected by quick hand distension of the collar so as to engage one retaining means over the other to provide the quick connective sealing of the suit to the helmet which protects the wearer against contact with whatever deleterious elements may be present in the external environment.
The respective retaining means on the collar and helmet may each be one or more individual retaining means shelves or ledges protruding around the rims thereof such as a first and a second retaining means ledge located respectively at a rear and a front edge on both the helmet and the collar or neck shroud that is to be connected thereto. Where the helmet has a protective shell that is the off-face portion and a slidable face shield for covering the face, a first retaining means ledge can extend along the edge of the helmet shell at the back and a second such ledge along the lower edge of the face shield with sealing surfaces for collar attachment above the ledges around the helmet periphery. In the case of the collar, such individual ledges can incorporate a collar sealing means in the form of individual neck sealing gaskets, such as a first and a second such sealing gasket or means respectively positioned around front and rear margin portions of the collar. The gaskets are adapted to be compressively engaged against the sealing surfaces on the helmet and make a gas impervious seal therebetween. In some cases the collar sealing means can be provided as separate from incorporation with the retaining means.
To produce the required tight sealing the neck sealing gaskets are made advantageously as elastomerically compressible and distensible lips providing for selectively extending the collar over the ledges on the helmet and have sealing surfaces for sealing redially and circumferentially against the helmet contours and in some cases axially down on the ledges thereof to produce the gas-tight sealing. The gaskets can with advantage be semi-circular or U-shaped and joined together at their ends in separate planes angled one to the other to form the collar sealing means as a continuous ring-like lip protruded inward of the collar upper margin so as to effect the desired sealing around the full periphery of the helmet or only a portion thereof.
Cooperative fastening means, which can be snaptype connectors, or the like, can be provided in the margin of the neck sealing gasket at sides and back of the collar and on the helmet lower edge for fixing the position of the collar circumferentially on the helmet and provide for distended holding of it fully sealed to the helmet around only a part of its periphery when that is desired. Such fastening means, when engaged, can also provide for hinging the front portion of the collar to sides of the helmet disengaged from the front periphery thereof in readiness to be distended or expanded up over helmet lower front edges when necessary to complete a full peripheral sealing of the collar to the helmet.
In order that the collar sealing means may have the requisite easy sealing the collar or neck portion can be distensible or stretchable in whole or in part, for example, as by use of bias cut or elastic fabric, or advantageously can be provided with one or more elastically stretchable gores or panels inserted in the collar margin and joined into a part of the collar means. This construction provides for the collar to be hand grasped to stretch it over the helmet edges above the retaining means therein which effects the quick completion of the gas-tight sealing thereto.
One or more stretch preventing means such as a nonstretchable strap also can be advantageously provided around one or more portions of the collar and be connected to the helmet and span the stretchable panels, when used, in order to hold or lock the seal between helmet and collar against being broken by accidental displacement of the connected portions.
When the helmet shell and face shield have contours producing areas of peripheral surface offset additional protruding seal means such as gasketing wedges can be associated with the collar sealing means for sealing in these areas to assure the gas impervious seal or connection of the collar to the helmet. Such wedges can provide simultaneous radial and circumferential compressive sealing against angled surfaces such as where one or more surfaces to be sealed lie in planes nonnal to one another.
It will be appreciated that an assembly produced by the device of this invention provides an operationally effective garment connection which can be worn fully sealed or sealed only in part in readiness to form a complete annular seal with its mating garment part, or the connected parts can be disengaged partly or completely whenever the environment changes.
The above and further objects and advantages of the invention will become more apparent from attention to the annexed drawings and description of a preferred embodiment thereof which are presented as only illustrative and not as limitative of the inventive concepts herein.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a protective environmental suit and helmet device of this invention with the helmet and collar portion of the suit sealed together around their full peripheral extent and locked against displacement by the stretch preventing strap;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the device of FIG. 1 showing the back part of the collar sealed to the helmet, the stretch preventing strap unsnapped therefrom and the front part of the collar detached and dropped down from the helmet to permit normal breathing;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view similar to FIG. 2 with the collar fully detached from the helmet;
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the suit and helmet device sealed as in FIG. 1 partially broken away to show the front and rear neck sealing gaskets sealing against the helmet and the stretch preventing strap in its position when locking the front portion of the seal in place;
FIG. 5 is a plan view from above of the collar showing the ring-like collar sealing means with its sealing wedges with broken lines added to show the position of the face shield, and the helmet shell and sealing strip when the collar is sealed to the helmet;
FIG. 6 is an elevational view of the right-side half of the collar as seen from the inside, taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is an elevational view partly in section taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view of the central left side of the collar circled in FIG. 5;
FIG. 9 is a front elevational view taken along line 9- 9 of FIG. 3 showing a portion of a forward directed side edge of the helmet and the face shield sealing strip with the face shield in broken lines for clarity;
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary elevational view of an inside surface of the helmet lower front edge taken along line 10-10 of FIG. 9 with phantom lines added to show a portion of the collar sealing means in sealing position; and
FIG. 11 is a fragmentary front perspective view of the left side of the helmet showing in dashed lines the relative position of the collar when sealed thereto.
DESCRIPTION In the drawings, a body covering garment or protective environmental suit and helmet device of this invention that incorporates the selective sealing between adjacent portions of the garment is indicated generally by the numeral 20. The garment includes a body encasing suit 22 having attached to it by means of sewing, cementing, heat sealing, or the like, a tubular neck portion or collar 24. The collar is adapted to be sealingly attached to an associated helmet 26 that includes an off-face portion or protective shell 28 and a face covering portion or face shield 30 that has side wings pivoted in the sides of the helmet so it can slide between retracted-up and lowered positions. The construction of opposite left and right sides of the helmet, its face shield and the collar of the suit are the same but in mirror opposite arrangement with the letter a generally used to denote parts on the right side comparable to parts at the lett side.
A first ledge-like retaining means is provided around the lower sides and back periphery of the helmet shell 28 by a neck or collar retaining ledge or shelf 34 that protrudes from the surface of the shell and is available to support portions of the suit collar 24 in place when it is attached only around the back portion of the helmet. This shelf can also cooperate with a lower flange 36 that forms a second ledge-like neck or collar retaining means extending out from the lower edge of the face shield 30 around front and forward sides of the helmet for retaining the suit collar on front portions of the he]- met when the collar is to be sealed thereto around its full periphery.
A rear neck sealing gasket 38 and a front neck sealing gasket 40, respectively forming first and second ledge-like and approximately U-shaped neck sealing means are oppositely arranged around the upper margins of respective inner back and front parts of the collar 24 to provide sealing means for making a gas-tight connection to the helmet outer surfaces. Each of these neck sealing gaskets is elastically stretchable so the collar can be redially distended around its margin for elastically sealing it against the helmet and are elastomerically somewhat compressible to have good surface sealing characteristics. The U-shaped neck sealing gaskets are disposed in planes forming an angle of about 40 with respect to the horizontal and have their respective right and left ends connected together at each side to form a compressible continuous ringlike gasket or collar sealing means 42 that borders the free open end or rim of the collar. The rear and front neck sealing gaskets can be selectively hand attached to the helmet to make a detachable seal only along the back of the helmet by means of three sets of mating element snap fasteners 44 located at sides and back of the device, or the gaskets can make a seal between the full periphery of the collar and helmet by action of a pair of elastically stretchable gores or panels 48 and 48a that are set into opposite front side margins of the collar 24. The panels provide for the front half or part of the collar to be elastically distended or expanded outward to engage its neck sealing gasket 40 over the face shield lower flange 36 for sealing the collar elastically to the front of the helmet.
To supply the wearer with life support air when the collar 24 is fully sealed to the helmet, helmet shell 28 defines an air inlet aperture 50 and has a hose connector 52 operatively connected thereto which is adapted to have attached to it an intake air hose 54. The air hose, in turn, operatively connects at its end not shown, with a source of air, also not shown, such as a respirator back-pack which can be hand controlled by the wearer to supply breathing air into the helmet and suit when needed with exhaust means for the air positioned in the front of the collar.
It can be seen that the helmet shell 28 further defines a front edge 56 that extends in use across the wearer's forehead and turns downward at each side of the face where it presents substantially vertical forward directed side edges 58 and 58a at respective right and left sides of the helmet. A face shield sealing strip 60 is cemented to the helmet shell along the inner margin of the front edge 56 continuing along the edges 58 and 58a and terminates at each end in an inward directed sealing strip enlargement 62, each of which has a respective flat upper face 64. The sealing strip 60 is approximately rectangular with a V-shaped groove 66 to provide greater elastic compressibility and sealing when the sides of the groove are compressed one toward the other. Sealing strip 60 also presents a flat forward directed sealing strip edge 68 that borders the edge of the helmet and has a flat rear directed sealing strip edge 70 for sealing against upper edges of the face shield.
In addition to its lower flange 36 face shield 30 has an upper flange .72 which extends outward from the surface of the shield along its outer upper edge and downward along the sides terminating at the shield lower edge. The upper flange, when the face shield is in its lowered position, makes sealing abutment against the rear directed edge 70 of the face shield sealing strip 60 and when held in this position the bottom side edges of the face shield also seal by abutment on the flat upper faces 64 of the sealing strip enlargements 62. It will be seen that the ends of the lower flange 36, when the face shield is in its lowered position, terminates short of the forward directed side edges 58 and 58a of the helmet shell producing a gap 74 therebetween which assists in the making of a tight full peripheral seal.
it will be observed that the retaining shelf 34 is positioned above the lower edge of the helmet and constructed to taper progressively outward from the surface thereof with its forward ends beginning at locations near forward left and right lower sides of the helmet shell. The shelf ends are spaced slightly to the rear of front to rear midpoints on the helmet and behind the forward directed side edges 58 and 58a so as not to protrude the shelf beyond the widest lateral dimension of the helmet. This construction provides a smooth unstepped helmet surface at its center side areas for easy sealing connection of the collar thereto and produces a saving in helmet weight. From these locations the shelf extends around the back of the helmet where it is widest at its rear midpoint providing a crescent-like flat upper directed collar retaining surface. When the helmet is wom, shelf 34 is roughly horizontal with the helmet surfaces above its retaining surface available for sealing engagement with the rear neck sealing gasket lositioned in the helmet shell above the shelf 34 are male elements 76 of the three sets of mating element snap fasteners 44 for sealing the collar to the back half or part of the helmet. One of these male elements is located on the center line of the helmet at the rear and the other two male elements on opposite sides of the shell at about its front to rear midpoints at the location of the pivot points in the wings of the face shield within the shell. This is just in front of the ends of the shelf 34 so all the elements 76 are in about horizontal parallel alignment with the shelf and about midway between its ends and the forward directed side edges of the shell. Also afiixed to the helmet are left and right male portions 78 and 78a of an additional pair of sets of strap holding snap connectors. These connector male portions are positioned on either side of the helmet shell just above the forward located male elements 76 and provide a pair of straps to be attached to the helmet to lock the front of the collar against being stretched away from its seal to the helmet.
Turning, in greater detail, to the construction of the stretchable neck collar 24 of suit 22, it can be seen that it has an approximately circular tube-like cross-section which terminates in a free upper edge that is out high at the back to have a roughly horizontal rear upper edge portion engageable over the shelf 34 anda lower cut front collar part that has a downward angled upper edge portion for fitting over the lower flange 36 on the face shield. The neck collar 24 has attached to it the collar sealing means 42 that provides the rear and front neck sealing gaskets 38 and 40. Each of these has a thick shelf-like inward directed collar retaining lip 80 and 82 having a rectangular cross-section each defining a U-shaped or semi-circular vertical sealing surface 84 and 86 for sealing the collar to the helmet surface around its respective half of the helmet periphery. As the ends of the neck sealing gaskets are joined together the lips 80 and 82 provide the collar sealing means 42 with a continuous ring-like vertical sealing surface available to engage the helmet around its full periphery. The collar sealing means 42 has a thin depending annular skirt 88 from which the lips 80 and 82 are protruded inward and which provides for attaching them to the fabric of the main body of the collar 24. It will be appreciated that this ring-like construction on the collar provides it with a continuous inward directed lip which can be fitted over the ledges on the helmet and retain the collar in position thereon with sealing between their adjacent corresponding surfaces. The collar sealing means 42 is a blend of gas impervious neoprene elastomers which gives good compressive sealing against the helmet surfaces and also provides the requisite elasticity without tearing during stretching and use.
Collar sealing means 42 further has extended through its upper margin in the neck sealing gasket 38 part of it three female elements 90 of the sets of mating element snap fasteners 44 for mating with the male elements 76 that are affixed on the helmet shell as heretofore stated. When connected, these elements hold the compressive sealing engagement of collar 24 to the helmet at the back. The forward ones of the female elements 90 are located at the forward ends of the rear neck sealing gasket 38 and are spaced closer together than their corresponding male elements 76. In this way distension of the rear portion of the collar 24 to engage the mating snap fastener elements compresses the rear neck sealing gasket 38 against the helmet surface shelf 34 and holds the gas-tight sealing when the front part of the collar is not in sealing position at the front. With the collar snap fastened about sides and back of the helmet, the forward pair of snap fasteners also anchor the rear ends of the front neck sealing gasket 40 at sides of the helmet shell for hinge-like collar action at the front. (See FIG. 2)
Just forward of the approximate midpoint of the sides of the neck portion the collar skirt 88 extends downwardly at either side in an arrowhead to form the stretchable panels 40 in V-shape or triangular form of the same two-way stretch elastomeric material that forms the sealing means 42 and its skirt 88. Each panel is roughly equilateral and set point down into a matching V-shaped or triangular notch in the margin of the fabric which forms the main body of collar 24. The panels are positioned so their upper edges extend from each of the snap fasteners elements at the sides of the collar to well forward thereof. Thus, with the collar in its fully sealed position the panels extend forward of the ends of the lip-like lower flange 36 on the visor or face shield, thus spanning the gaps 74. Also in this area, the front neck sealing gasket is provided at its opposite sides with a pair of integrally formed inward directed sealing protuberances or wedges 94 and 940. These give additional sealing engagement of this gasket radially against the surface of face shield 30 and in a front to rear or circumferential direction against the forward directed side edges 58 and 58a of the helmet shell 22 where the juncture of these parts fomis a stepped contour to the helmet surface. The wedges 94 taper gradually inward of the principal inner circumference of gasket 38 enlarging gradually towards the rear to just past the center of the stretchable panels 40 where it terminates in a step having flat vertical and rear directed sealing surface 96. Left and right side wedges also have at their rearward ends tapered downward directed tips 98 and 980 which in sealing position fit into an associated gap 74 on the helmet and provides the sealing surface 96 with a substantial area for abutment against both the forward directed side edges 58 and 58a of the helmet and the forward directed sealing strip edge 68 due to the width of the step. As will be appreciated, with the collar sealing means 42 in its sealing position on the helmet there will be an elastic hoop-like effect pressing the wedges 94 into tightened sealing engagement against the face shield and shell which effectively seals the collar to these parts where they meet at the sides. This effect produces with the remainder of the collar sealing means the gas impervious circumferentially directed sealing at the sides and radially inward around the helmet. Also, as the width of the stretchable panels 40 decreases downwards they provide a progressive diminishing in the stretch afforded to the collar from its upper edge downward. The greater stretch of the top permits the collar to be sufficiently distended to engage the front neck sealing gasket 40 over the face shield lower flange 36 by accommodating for the thickness of the lip 82 and the wedges 94 while the lesser stretch below allows for the collar to have sufficient stiffness to remain in expanded tubular condition for comfort and easy neck movement of the wearer.
As heretofore indicated the material of the collar 24 is slightly distensible largely due to the natural "give" of the fabric used and this assists to provide compressive sealing of the rear neck sealing gasket 38 at the back of the collar to the helmet by the mating together of the respective elements of the snap fasteners 44 holding the seal in place and maintaining the parts secured together at the back and sides. Major distensibility or stretch of the collar is provided, however, by the elastically stretchable panels 40, and it will be appreciated that they can be of greater or lesser extent and can take a variety of shapes.
For limiting the stretch around the front part of collar 24 a heavy stretch preventing strap of nonstretch material such as webbing is sewn to the outer surface of the collar upper margin between the forward directed edges of the stretch panels 48 limiting any stretch to the area of the elastic panels during placement of the collar front part over the lower flange on the face shield. The strap continues at each side, from its attachment at the stretchable panels, in a pair of free strap extensions 102 and 102a at respective left and right side ends terminating in a reinforced bight, that provide pull tabs to disconnect the strap. Snap connector female portions 104 and 104a are respectively positioned in the tabs and can be matingly engaged over the corresponding male portions 78 and 78a positioned on sides of the helmet and behind the rear terminations of the stretchable panels 48. When engaged on the helmet strap 100 provides holding means to additionally secure the front of the collar to the face shield and its extensions press in against wedges 94 forcing them radially tightly against the face shield and also draw the wedge sealing surfaces 96 rearward in tight abutment against the forward directed side edges 58 and 58a tightening and locking the sealing in this area.
The invention provides a high degree of flexibility in operation and use against the possibility of wearer contamination from hostile elements of the external environment which can be seen particularly from FIGS. 1 through 4. Thus, the wearer can, when there is only a slight or no possibility of encountering such hostile elements, for example, radioactive particles or poison gas, wear the protective suit and helmet device 20 fully unconnected as in FIG. 3 with the face shield in lowered or down position as there shown, or in a retracted-up or off-the-face position, for breathing the atmosphere of the external environment. if greater caution is required the wearer with the suit and helmet donned, can reach up and engage the center rear set of snap fasteners 44 thus initially positioning the collar rear sealing lip 80 against the helmet over its shelf 34 which begins a sealing of the back part of the collar to the rear of the helmet. The wearer then grasps the upper edge of the collar and pulls forward on each side of the rear neck sealing gasket 38 compressing it against sides and rear of the helmet. He then engages the forward sets of the snap fasteners 44 at respective opposite sides of the helmet which holds the seal of the rear neck sealing gasket, and thus the collar, to the back of the helmet. This sealing establishes a detachable gas impervious seal around approximately about the back of the helmet and the suit and positions the device as shown in FIG. 2 with the wearer still able to breathe the external atmosphere and the device in readiness to complete total sealing of the neck of the suit to the helmet. lf, due to the presence of gas or other hostile environment, it
becomes necessary to quickly complete total sealing together of the helmet and suit, starting from the partially sealed condition of FIG. 2, the wearer quickly grasps the front part of the collar by its free upper edge and lifts its hinge-like from its snap fastener anchoring connection at the helmet sides. In the same action the wearer distends the collar front forward by the elasticity of the front neck sealing gasket 40 and the stretchable panels 48 and engages the lip 82 over the face shield lower flange 36. When the wearer releases the collar, its elastic portions retracts or draws its sealing gasket 40, and with it the front part of the collar, for self-sealing against the outer surface of the face shield, and forces the wedges 94 into their sealing positions as pointed out above which completes gas-tight sealing together of the peripheral edges of the collar 24 with the helmet 26. The wearer can then breathe life support air supplied through air hose 54 as will be appreciated and can make largely unimpaired normal head movements in either the partial or fully sealed condition of the garment.
The strap extensions 102 and 102a can then be hand snapped to the helmet as stated above which prevents any stretching of the front part of the collar away from the helmet so as not to become accidentally dislodged from its seal therewith during activity by the wearer. The front portion of the complete seal is quickly disengageable in a reverse manner to that described above, for example, by disconnecting the strap extensions and distending the collar outward and hinging it downward at the front to remove it from the face shield lower flange 36 which releases about 50 percent of the seal. This reestablishes the partially unsealed connection of FIG. 2 and by disconnecting of the snap fastener sets 44 the seal can be completely disengaged for the condition of FIG. 3. In extreme emergency the entire collar sealing means can be elastically engaged around the helmet and the snap fasteners connected thereafter, for sealing attachment followed by snap connecting.
It will be appreciated that the distension limit of the fabric of the collar about its back or rear portion provides a stretch preventing means to maintain the sea] at the back locked against elastic displacement around the approximate 180 of are around the back of the helmet by its pulling from side midpoints of the helmet in back to front directions. Also, the stretch prevention strap 100 provides a stretch preventing means pulling from side midpoints in a front to back direction against the front 180 of are around the helmet with overlapping at the helmet sides of the end connections of these front and back portion stretch preventing means so as to provide stretch prevention around the full periphery of the helmet.
It will also be appreciated that the ledge formed around the helmet by the shelf 34 and the lower flange 36 can be made substantially complete around the helmet periphery by extension of their lengths and in some cases use of the wedges 94 on the collar can be dispensed with. The shelf and lower flange also could be of somewhat lesser extend and/or be interrupted along their length or be provided in various ways such as by channels or other contouring. Also, the neck portion could be formed entirely of suitable elastically stretchable material to provide for the necessary quick sealing with one or more stretch prevention means such as separate or attached straps that can lock the seal around the helmet. Further, the retaining ledges on the collar in some cases may be of shorter or interrupted length with sealing surfaces to make the gas-tight connection with the helmet provided separate from the retaining ledges. The helmet, which in the preferred embodiment is of rigid hard surfaced and gas impervious material, is supportable on the wearer's head by a headband with webbing, attached to the helmet shell.
Various gas impervious materials may be used for providing the suit and its collar or neck portion such as by flexible rubberized woven fabric or the like with the helmet shell and face shield constructed of suitable metal or plastic materials and the fastening means and connectors used can be metal spring-type snaps or in some cases may be other connectors such as Velcro, buckle-like connectors or other suitable type attachment means. The collar sealing means 42 can be formed from any flexible suitably rubber-like material that provides the necessary compressive quality for sealing to the helmet together with the requisite combination of the ability to stretch without tearing.
it will be appreciated that the gas-tight sealing with this invention is produced by engagement of the vertical sealing surfaces 84 and 86 on the collar against the helmet outer surface. However, engagement over the shelf 34 and flange 36 by the flat surfaces of the undersides of the lips and 82 may in some cases also provide additional sealing assisted by the weight of the suit.
With the construction of this invention a significant saving in weight can be made in a quick sealing suit and helmet by providing the helmet shell with a low profile as by a shortened nape portion and forming the ledge thereon either horizontally or at an angle to the helmet lower edge. Also, the shell need not require a chin covering portion on it to effect sealing of the suit to the helmet as the neck sealing gaskets can selectively seal respectively to the helmet shell periphery at a high location in the back and at an angle thereto low in the front on the face shield, with the sealing and locking being effected by separate opposite pulling of the sealing gaskets against the helmet surfaces along two angularly disposed planes.
While presently preferred embodiments of this invention have been illustrated and described it will be understood that their teachings can be incorporated in whole or in part in many variations without departing from the spirit and scope of the inventive concepts contained herein.
1. In a garment for protecting its wearer from the effects of a hostile environment, a body covering garment, said garment having a distensible sealing neck collar having an edge opening adapted to extend over and tightly engage a sealing edge of a protective helmet to form a seal between said neck collar andsaid edge, said neck collar having greater stretchability along said edge opening then below it; a first retaining means positioned in said neck collar adapted to releasably attached a portion of it to an edge of such helmet along an off-face portion thereof; and a second retaining means positioned in said neck collar adapted to releasably attach a portion of it to an edge of such helmet along the face covering portion thereof whereby said neck collar along its face covering portion can be dropped out of sealed engagement with such helmet.
2. The garment of claim 1 in which said distensible sealing neck collar is formed from rubber.
3. The garment of claim 1 in which said distensible sealing neck collar is formed from an impervious fabric.
4. The garment of claim 1 in which said distensible sealing neck collar has at least one elastic insert positioned in the margin of said neck collar to provide said distensibility.
5. The garment of claim 4 in which said elastic insert is gore-shaped with the pointed part of the gore in the neck collar.
6. The garment of claim 5 in which a gore is positioned on each side of said neck collar.
7. The garment of claim 1 in which said first and second retaining means are projections positioned in a portion of the inner surface of said neck collar adapted to engage outwardly extending mating ledges positioned in an outer surface of a lower portion of a helmet.
8. The garment of claim 1 in which said neck collar in the area of said first retaining means has fastening means adapted to engage mating fastening means on an off-face portion of a helmet to maintain that portion of said neck collar in releasable fixed engagement with such helmet.
9. The garment of claim 8 in which said fastening means on said neck collar are snap fasteners.
10. The garment of claim 8 in which the fastening means in said neck collar portion are spaced so that said neck collar along the face covering portion is distensible to make sealing contact with an edge of said helmet when the fastening means are in fastened engagement.
11. The garment of claim 8 in which said neck collar has releasable holding means thereon for securing to an off-face portion of a helmet a portion of said neck collar that sealingly engages such helmet along the face covering portion thereof.
12. The garment of claim 11 in which said holding means are straps attached to the outer periphery of the margin of said neck collar.
13. The garment of claim 12 in which said straps include snap fasteners.
14. The garment of claim 1 in which said neck collar having therein said first retaining means is substantially horizontal and said neck collar having said second retaining means therein is adapted to be angled downwardly therefrom.
15. The garment of claim 1 in which said body covering garment has ventilation means therein for sustaining the wearer in a hostile environment when said neck collar is in sealing engagement with an edge of a helmet.
16. A suit for protecting its wearer from the effects of a hostile environment, comprising: a body covering garment having a protective helmet sealingly engaged therewith, said garment having a distensible sealing neck collar extending over and tightly engaging a sealing edge of said protective helmet, said neck collar having greater stretchability along said edge then below it; a first collar retaining means positioned in the back and side portions of said neck collar; a second collar retaining means positioned in the front portion of said neck collar; said helmet having a face covering portion there'n, and havinga first retaining means engaging Sald irst collar retalnmg means m e back an side portions of said neck collar and a second retaining means engaging said second collar retaining means in the front portion of said neck collar; first fastening means in the side and back portion of said neck collar; second fastening means in said side and back portions of said helmet lockingly engaging with said first fastening means to retain the side and back portion of said neck collar in sealing engagement with side and back edges of said helmet; and securing means attached to the front portion of said neck collar having means therein for releasably attaching to said helmet to maintain the front portion of said neck collar in sealing engagement with the face covering portion of said helmet.
17. The protective suit of claim 16 in which said distensible sealing neck collar has stretchable gorcs providing said stretchability therein, one gore on each side of said neck collar, whereby removal of said front portion of said neck collar from engagement with the edge of said visor permits the front portion of said neck collar to drop away from said face covering portion of said helmet.
18. The protective suit of claim 16 in which said fastening means are positioned at the back and sides of the outer surface of said helmet.
19. The protective suit of claim 16 in which said face covering portion of said helmet is a visor that is movable to expose the face of the wearer when said second retaining means is released from sealing engagement with said visor.
20. The protective suit of claim 16 in which said face covering portion of said helmet is a visor which is retractable and is in sealing engagement with said he]- met and said neck collar when in face covering position with said second retaining means engaging said visor along the edge of the face covering portion thereof.
21. The protective suit of claim 16 in which said neck collar has a substantially horizontal portion having therein said first collar retaining means and has a portion adapted to be angled downwardly therefrom having therein said second collar retaining means.