US 3707004 A
A bulletproof, shatterproof and shock-resistant guard to afford complete protection of the head, face, neck and upper torso of the human body. The guard incorporates an integral, transparent domelike top which is supported not by the head and neck but by the shoulders of the wearer thereby allowing unhampered head movements and unrestricted vision. As a defensive one-piece encasement for the head, neck and upper torso, the guard can be used by soldiers, sailors, policemen, firemen, civil defense workers, guards, and others engaged in hazardous occupations. In a modified embodiment the guard comprises a supplemental transparent safety hood of essentially the same construction as the basic protective piece but adapted for use by the industrial worker for protection against the impact hazards that might be encountered in a dangerous environment. The safety hood, like the basic protective piece, rests on the shoulders of the wearer, is transparent, and allows free head movement and unrestricted vision.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Kapitan et al.
1151 3,707,004 1, 1 Dec. 26, 1972  BALLISTIC RESISTANT PROTECTIVE.
' GUARD Y  lnventors: John R. Kapitan; Christine S.
Kapitan, both of 9882 Kentucky Drive, Lakewood, Colo. 80226  Filed: Feb. 2 1971  Appl. No.: 111,861
589,842 3 1959 Italy ..2/3R
Primary Examiner-Jordan Franklin Assistant Examiner-George H. Krizmanich Attorney-Wheeler, House & Wheeler 57 1 ABSTRACT A bulletproof, shatterproof and shock-resistant guard ,to afford complete protection of the head, face, neck and upper torso of the human body. The guard incorporates an integral, transparent domelike top which is supported not by the'head and neck but by the shoulders of the wearer thereby allowing unhampered head movements and unrestricted vision. As a defensive one-piece encasement for the head, neck and upper torso, the guard can be used by soldiers, sailors, policemen, firemen, civil defense workers, guards, and others 1 engaged in hazardous occupations. In a modified embodiment the guard comprises a supplemental transparent safety hood of essentially the same construction as the basic protective piece but adapted for use by the industrial worker for protection against the impact hazards that might be encountered in a dangerous environment. The safety hood, like the basic protective piece, rests on the shoulders of the wearer, is transparent, and allows free head movement and unrestricted vision.
'16 Claims, l2 Drawing Figures PATENTEI'J HEB 26 I972 SHEET 1 OF 2 BALLISTIC RESISTANT PROTECTIVE GUARD BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Conventional head protectors, such as helmets are put on directly over the head, thus requiring that a large opening be provided at the bottom to make it possible for the head to enter. This makes it difficult to protect the neck and chin of the wearer. Present day bulletproof helmets and vests because of theirdisjunctive fitting to the human body leave vital organs in the neck and face vulnerable to lethal or disabling injuries. A satisfactory solution to this protection problem was not feasible until a synthetic material was developed that possessed extraordinary mechanical strength along with the optical property of nearly total transparency to visible light similar to glass, but that, unlike glass, could be easily cut and bent to irregular shapes. A synthetic plastic material 'as tough or tougher than metal with great impact strength and rigidity but clear as glass is now commercially available and has been used for various types of protective shielding, for instance, the protective shield assembly described in US. Pat. No.
3,370,302. The material referred to is a polycarbonate resin, considered an engineering thermoplastic because of its excellent dimensional stability, mechanical strength, heat resistance, and low flammability. Commercial aromatic polycarbonates of this type are known by the trademarks ofLexan" manufactured by General Electric in the United States, Merlon of Mobay Chemical Company, United States, Markrolon" of Farbenfabriken Bayer, A. G., Germany, and Panlite" of Teijin Chemical Company, Ltd., Japan.
SUMMARY or THE INVENTION The guard of the present invention is desirably thermoplastically formed out of polycarbonate resin so that the walls of the protective piece are a minimum of 5/16 inch thick but may be suitably over a one-half inch in thickness where deemed desirable for extra heavy duty. In the preferred embodiment, the invention covers the entire region of the head, face, neck, chest, upper back, and part of the shoulders of the human body with a single, integral, rigid, conformed shape. The guard of the present invention combines the functions of the conventional helmet, face shield, and ballistic resistant vest into an integrated plastic piece whose weight is supported by the shoulders of the wearer. The wearer, with his head and upper torso encased in the one-piece plastic guard is enabled thereby to enjoy complete freedom in turning his head up, down or sideways, along with unrestricted vision in all directions. The wearer is thus not only sheltered from projectiles, spall, blows, and the elements but also may wear corrective eyeglasses with comfort and safety within the plastic dome of the invention covering his head.
It is a primary object of this invention to carry into practice a new concept for the protection of head and torso wherein all vital organs of the upper part of the human body, particularly the face and neck, are adequately protected against ballistic and other dangerous projectiles directed against them, while attaining a high degree of freedom of movement of head and body together with unobstructed vision.
It is a particular object of this invention to provide a protective bodyguard construction which removes the weight of a protective helmet and .the force of the impacts and blows that may be rained upon it from the structural support by the head and neck of the wearer and to utilize the much stronger shoulders of the wearer for such support.
It is also an object to provide a protective head-neckchest piece made of polycarbonate resin which is relatively light in weight so as to reduce the wearers fatigue to a minimum and which nevertheless has a very high degree of resistance to impact stresses.
It is another object to provide a protective headneck-chest piece to the wearer who would otherwise be vulnerable to injury or death from clubs, hurled missiles such as stones and bricks, bullets, body blows and the throwing of acids and other irritants by uncontrollable law breakers.
Another object is to provide a protective piece which may be readily and economically manufactured and which is easy to use and maintain.
Another object of this invention is to provide a protective piece which imparts high-level impact protection wherein the net result is to reduce to zero the energy transmitted to any part of the wearers head, face or neck since the shoulders would support the head encompassing bullet-resistant shield.
Another object of this invention is to provide a lightweight, non-metallic bullet resistant one-piece protective helmet-like head guard, breast plate and back guard made of solid polycarbonate material because such material provides greater projectile resistance than would be expected from its areal density.
Another object of this invention is to provide a solid protective piece whereby the head and upper torso are adequately enclosed in a plastic shell and yet wherein the accumulation of CO resulting from breathing is vented by an adequate system of ventilation and air circulation under conditions of rugged use.
A further object of this invention, insofar as the transparent safety hood version of the invention is concerned, is to reduce the likelihood of injury to persons by objects from exterior sources by providing an improved piece of safety equipment for this purpose.
The aforementioned and further objects and advantages of our invention will become more apparent by reference to the following detailed specifications to be read in context with the attendant drawings.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic side view partly in perspective and partly in cross section of the protective guard in a normal position on the wearer.
FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1 but with the section taken on intersecting planes and illustrating the rear and side vents.
FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic rear view, partly in perspective and partly in cross section.
FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic perspective view of the guard, shown separately from the wearer.
FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic perspective view similar to FIG. 4 but taken from a posterior viewpoint and showing fastening straps.
FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic perspective view similar to FIG. 4 but taken from an anterior viewpoint and showing fastening straps.
FIG. 7 is another diagrammatic perspective view of the protective guard of FIGS. 1 through 6, viewed from below and from the front of the guard.
FIG. 8 is a front diagrammatic perspective view of the modified embodiment comprising a transparent safety hood positioned on the wearer.
FIG. 9 is a side diagrammatic perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 8.
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary perspective view of a portion of the transparent safety hood of the embodiment of FIG. 8, showing the supporting shoulder rests and chest plate without the shield.
FIG. 1 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of the shield portion of the FIG. 8 embodiment.
FIG. 12 is a cross section taken along the line l2l2 of FIG. 8.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Although the disclosure hereof is detailed and exact to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, the physical embodiments herein disclosed merely exemplify the invention which may be embodied in other specific structure. The scope of the invention is defined in the claims appended hereto.
Like parts are given the same'reference characters in the several views.
In general, the protective head-neck-chest piece or guard of FIGS. lthrough 7, inclusive, is molded of polycarbonate resin into a dome 4 for encompassing the head and neck and an integrally joined shoulder supported saddle l8. Saddle 18 includes a breast plate 6, back plate7, and shoulder piece 9. The breast plate 6 extends downward to the zyphoid process in the human anatomy. The back plate 7 extends downward to cover about two-thirds of the shoulder blades and is thus shorter than the breast plate. These lengths permit easy donning and doffing of the guard. Another feature of the guard is the inclusion in the saddle of a ricochet flangeS above the inside rim or edge of the main ventilation port 3 located below the wearers jaw. Flange 5 inclines outwardly at an angle of about sixty degrees but not less than forty-five degrees from the vertical or longitudinal axis of the dome. The flange 5, at least one-half inch in width, serves to protect the wearer from projectiles and spall which might ricochet upwards from the inclined breast plate 6, under certain conditions.
A resilient padding or cushion 19 of energy absorbing plastic material, sponge rubber, nylon felt, or the like is permanently bonded to the inner surface of the saddle 18. This resilient padding 19 will act as a shock absorber against the impact that may be delivered against the outer surface of the protective guard. The padding 19 seems to spread the load of the impact by absorbing part of the load in compression so that the force of the energy transmitted to the body may be substantially diminished. The padding 19 further serves to make the wearing of the protective guard more comfortable inasmuch as the walls of the piece are hard and rigid. The padding 19 is made somewhat heavier at the shoulder portion 9 of the saddle 18, where the entire weight of the protective guard rests on the wearer. The protective guard is normally to be placed over the usual jacket and other regular clothing expected to be worn by the wearer.
While many ballistic resistant materials are suitable for use in fabricating the guard, we prefer a polycarbonate resin. The properties of the polycarbonate that are of greatest interest to this invention are good mechanical properties over a wide temperature range, particularly its high impact strength; very slight tendency to cold flow; good resistance to a long-term exposure to high temperatures; good electrical properties, even at elevated temperatures; low water absorption; high transparency and lack of color that permits optical utilization; physiological inertness; good resistance toward aqueous agents, oils, fats, aliphatic hydrocarbons, and alcohols; self-extinguishing properties (ASTM D-635); and no rust or corrosion. The combination of these is not currently available in any other material.
Ballistic experiments on sheets of polycarbonate confirm impressively the extraordinary high impact behavior of this material. In one series of tests reported by General-Electric, polycarbonate sheet material only 5/16 inch thick bounced a .22 caliber rifle slug fired from a distance of 19 feet. In a following test, using a .38 caliber slug fired at 15 feet and a .45 caliber slug fired from a distance of 50 feet the slugs were deflected. In all three tests the polycarbonate sheet showed no visible signs of failure other than small dents where the slugs impacted. Rocks, bottles, sharp cornered bricks, and sledge hammers were used to test the durability of the polycarbonate. In all cases the material did not crack, chip, or shatter. The light weight of polycarbonate resin, specific gravity of 1.20, is especially important to this invention as is its refractive index of 1.586, with a light transmission rated from 82 to percent, depending on sheet thickness. For the purposes of this invention, the addition of ultra-violet radiation absorbers may be added to the material to hinder yellowing under prolonged and severe exposure conditions. No adverse effects have been observed on persons working industrially with polycarbonates. The material is permitted to come in contact with food of all types, according to regulations promulgated in the United States and the German Federal Republic, and therefore can be used safely in a physiological sense.
In use the guard is placed on the wearer over the head coming to rest on the shoulders. Because the wearers head and neck are not used as supports for the protective guard, normal head movements within the transparent hemispherical covering or dome 4 permit him to observe his surroundings without obstruction or optical distortion. The wearers exhalation is naturally directed downward toward a large ventilation port 3 located centrally under the wearers jaw. This downward flow will tend to keep the solid plastic head encasement 4 purged of carbon dioxide. In addition to the main ventilation port 3, two aural vents l are located on a higher level on either side of the plastic domes walls, and a rear, vent 2 located at a still higher level of the head encasement approximately at the top back of the wearers head just above the occipital protuberance provide adequate air circulation and ventilation within the solid walled dome 4. The construction of the protective guard is especially designed to prevent direct or ricocheting projectiles and impacting objects from gaining entry at the ventilation ports 1, 2 and 3.
The ventilation ports 1 and 2 located at the upper and rear sides of the domed portion 4 of the piece may be uniform in size and shape. They comprise openings 20 through the dome and hoods 21 which overhang said openings. Half round flanges or heads 8 are incorporated laterally along the exterior wall of the dome 4 just beneath each of the underside vent openings 22 of hoods 21. The purpose of these beads 8 is to deflect any projectile or stray fragment flying upwardly from entering through the underside openings 22 of the hoods 21.
Inasmuch as the human head rotates round an almost vertical axis, i.e., the axis of the odontoid process, the inner surface of the plastic dome 4 of the invention could be equidistant at all sides of the wearers head to provide the maximum degree of viewing and complete and normal head turning. But in order to provide the wearer with sufficient space to move his neck forward and back so that he may also nod his head downwardly and tilt it upwardly, the interior of the enclosing dome 4 in the preferred embodiment allows, along a horizontal line, about four inches of space in front of the forehead and chin, about 2% inches at the sides of the head, and about 2 inches at the rear of the head. The general shape of the exterior surface of the dome top, shoulder supports, breast plate and back plate is a rounded form to present glancing surfaces so that a bullet or spall may bounce off without imparting full impact.
The protective head-neck-chest piece or guard is held in place on the wearer by means of straps l2, and preferably by a crossed pair of straps 12 which is attached by rivets or snap fasteners 14 to the back plate 7 and from there pass under the arms of the wearer to be adjustably buckled, from an anterior viewpoint, to corresponding straps 12 attached by rivets or snap fasteners 14 to the breast plate 6. The securing straps 12 need not pass under the arms of the wearer but may be attached directly to a belt encircling the wearers waist, or anchored in position on the body in any other manner considered expedient so that the guard will not shift or slide when the body is exercised violently, as in running. The straps 12 may be made of a suitable flexible material such as leather, plastic, plastic-to-leather laminate, nylon web, and the like and are preferably adjustable in length to provide a firm and comfortable fit on the wearers body. Each of the two straps is comprised of two parts, each part with an end portion attached with a metal snap connector 14 to the saddle. The two parts are fastened together by means of an adjustable metal harness buckle 13. The buckle 13 provides a ready means for correctly adjusting the securing straps to the size and shape of the wearer's body. Alternately, the holding straps 12 may be secured to the breast and back plates of the guard by means of slots, in lieu of the snap fasteners.
To employ the bodyguarding piece, the user places it on his shoulders in such a manner that the top of his head enters through the neck opening into the helmet-like dome 4, bringing the entire bodyguard to rest on his shoulders. The user then buckles on the protective piece by adjusting the length of the retaining straps to the girth of his waist, shoulders and chest so as to impart firm engagement in supporting the piece on his shoulders.
The transparent safety hood version of our invention in FIG. 8 et seq. is essentially the same in construction and materials as the basic protective head-neck-chest piece. The transparent safety hood is supported on the wearers body by his shoulders and only the anterior half 11 of the transparent impact-resistant dome is utilized. In the safety hood version, the saddle 18 is abbreviated. The breast plate 6 can be foreshortened or used in full but a back plate is not required. In the case of the safety hood, the back plate is abbreviated to a collar or tiebar l6 and functions to help support the hood on the wearers body. Retaining straps are not needed as the hood can be easily kept in place on the wearers shoulders without straps. As compared to conventional safety eyewear and faceshields, our transparent safety hood is a more effective accident preventer for persons engaged in dangerous working environments because it provides greater areal enclosure for the face and the anterior side of the upper torso. Full freedom of head movement, unobstructed vision, and adequate allowance for prescription eyeglasses to be worn, if desired, in conjunction with safety hood invention provide a further basis for improving the equipment protecting the workers eyes, face, neck, and upper front torso.
The shoulder rest or saddle 18 which supports the entire protective piece on the shoulders of the wearer in both embodiments has narrow arches which lie close to the neck of the wearer to permit free movement of the joints of the arm and shoulders. As there is a close correlation betweenhumerus and shoulder bones, any movement of the former is followed by those of the latter. The arm moves freely in all directions and rotates around its own axis. It is suspended at a certain distance from the trunk and thus its movements are not hampered by the latter. The characteristic movements of the arm will not interfere with the shoulder rest supporting the protective piece if the upper part of the joints of the arm and shoulder are left uncovered by the shoulder rest portion of the protective head-neck-chest piece. Padding on the underside of the shoulder rest 9 will compensate for the minor body movements involved at this point.
The transparent safety hood illustrated in FIG. 8 et seq. may be molded in two parts, the shield 11 and the saddle 18, to facilitate the interchangeability of different thicknesses of transparent shield portion 11. The shield portion 11 is attached to a two-arm cradle 17 molded integrally with the shoulder rest 9, and to the edges of the breast plate 6. Fastening means connect the mid point of the shield l l to the ends of cradle arms 17. Fastening means also connects the lower portion of the shield 11 to the edges of the breast plate 6. The fastening means can comprise solvent cement, ultrasonic bonding, adhesives, rivets, mechanical fasteners or tongue and groove interlocks. In the illustrated embodiment the fastening means comprises registering holes 23, 24 respectively in the shield 11 and ends of the cradle arms 17, registering holes 25, 26 respectively in the shield 11 and breast plate 6, and pairs of bolts 27 and nuts 28 releasably connected through said registering holes. The bolts 27 and nuts 28 are desirably complementary in shape and have flat circular heads to minimize surface projections, with screw-driven slots. Where mechanical fasteners are used to facilitate interchange of shields of different thicknesses, for example, between 0.100 and 0.250 inches thick, savings can be realized in packaging, shipping, and storage of the separate components as well as in a reduction of in-transit damage.
A padding 19 of vinyl-dipped polyurethane foam, sponge rubber, or the like is permanently bonded to the inner surface of the breast plate 6, back rest 16, and shoulder rest 9 of transparent safety hood in order to provide a comfortable fitting and to act as a shock absorber against impinging objects.
The transparent safety shield will provide a range of protection against impact hazards such as those experienced with various machine tool operations in industry, while'improving the indoor working acuity of the wearer. The protection will be complete not only for the eyes and the entire orbital cavity, but also for the whole face, neck and chest.
1. A protective guard for the head, chest and neck portions of the human body and comprising a shoulder supported saddle with an opening through which the head is received and having a breast plate, a dome about the head and within which the head is freely movable, the front of the dome extending forwardly to overhang the breast plate, and having an open bottom to form a breathing vent under the jaw, said breathing vent being partially blocked by a ricochet flange extending forwardly from the breast plate, and added vents in the dome above the level of said breathing vent, said saddle and dome being molded in one integral piece supported entirely on the shoulders.
2. The guard of claim 1 in which the said piece comprises a transparent polycarbonate material.
3. The guard of claim 1 in which the saddle also comprises a back plate.
4. The guard of claim 1 in which said added vents comprise aural vent openings adjacent the ears.
5. The guard of claim 1 in which said added vents comprise an air circulating vent at the rear of the dome.
6. The guard of claim 1 in which said added vents comprise openings in the dome and hoods over said openings.
7. The guard of claim 6 in which the hoods have bottom openings, and entrance flanges.
8. The guard of claim 1 in combination with straps by which the guard is releasably fastened to the body.
9. The guard of claim 1 in which the saddle is provided with padding along its undersurfaces.
10. The guard of claim 1 in whichthe head receiving opening and breathing vent comprise portions of a single aperture spanned by the top edge of the breast plate. 7 I
11. A safety hood comprising a face shield and a shoulder saddle encircling the wearers neck and by which the shield is supported, said shield and saddle comprising separately fabricated polycarbonate pieces, said shield having a concave curvature facing the wearer and surrounding his head, face and neck up to a vertical plane defined approximately by the outer auditory meatus, said saddle having a breast plate and a cradle and fastening means for attaching the shield to the cradle, the shield having a lower edge spaced from and overhanging the breast plate to form a breathing vent under the jaw and between said edge and said breast plate, said breathing vent being partially blocked by a ricochet flange extending forwardly from the breast plate.
12. The safety hood of claim 1 l in which said fastening means is releasable to permitinterchange of other shields on said saddle.
13. A protective guard for the head, chest and neck portions of the human body and comprising a shoulder supported saddle with an opening through which the head is received and having a breast plate, a shield at least partly enclosing the head and within which the head is freely movable, the shield having a lower edge spaced from and overhanging the breast plate to form a breathing vent under the jaw and between said edge and said breast plate, said breathing vent being partially blocked by a ricochet flange extending forwardly from the breast plate, said saddle and shield being supported entirely on the shoulders.
14. The guard of claim 13 in which the saddle and