US 3710994 A
An inflatable mannequin of plastic sheet material shaped to simulate the human body below the waist is adaptable for use primarily in connection with commercial display of womens' panty hose. The sheet material is formed to define a hip section having a buttocks side and an abdomen side, with gusset means formed interiorly of the mannequin at the hip section extending between the buttocks side and the abdomen side to enhance the realism with which the mannequin simulates a human form. By a further aspect of the invention, gusset means are provided at foot and ankle portions located at the lower extremities of a pair of leg sections which extend from the hip section of the mannequin. The gusset means similarly operate to enhance the realism of the foot and angle portions of the mannequin.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Cherry et a].
[ 1 3,710,994 [451 Jan. 16,1973
[54 INFLATABLE MANNEQUIN STRUCTURE ENHANCING REALISTIC BODY SIMULATION  Inventors: Nancy Rey Cherry; Judith Ann Schackelford, both of New York, N.Y.
 Assignee: Inflat-A-lndustries, Inc., New York,
 Filed: Dec. 30, 1970 v  Appl. No: 102,713
 US. Cl ..223/67  Int. Cl. ..A41h 5/02  Field of Search ...2/226, DIG. 2, DIG. 3, DIG. 4;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,483,580 12/1969 Cherry et aI ..l2/1 14.4 3,472,434 10/1969 Cherry et al ..223/67 3,378,179 4/1968 Fope ..223/67 Primary ExaminerJordan Franklin Assistant ExaminerG. V. Larkin AttorneyAlfred Musumeci  ABSTRACT Aninflatable mannequin of plastic sheet material shaped to simulate the human body below the waist is adaptable for use primarily in connection with commercial display of womens panty hose. The sheet material is formed to define a hip section having a buttocks side and an abdomen side, with gusset means -formed interiorly of the mannequin at the hip section extending between the buttocks side and the abdomen side to enhance the realism with which the mannequin simulates a human form. By a further aspect of the invention, gusset means are provided at foot and ankle portions located at the lower extremities of a pair of leg sections which extend from the hip section of the mannequin. The gusset means similarly operate to enhance the realism of the foot and angle portions of the mannequin.
14 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJAN 16 I975 3.710.994
sum 1 or 3 FIG. 1
NANCY REY CHERRY J'UDITH ANN SHMKELFORD wflh/ 'i ATTORNE PATENTEUJAH 16 I975 3.710.994
sum 2 0F 3 INVENTORS NANCY REY CHERRY J'UDITH ANN SHACKEL'FORD BY ATTORN PATENTEUJAN 16 I915 3.710.994
SHEET 3 or 3 2O INVENTORS NANCY REY CHERRY JUDITH ANN SHACKELFORD 3 4mm U4,-
ATTORN S INFLATABLE MANNEQUIN STRUCTURE ENHANCING REALISTIC BODY SIMULATION BACKGROUND OF THEINVENTION Articles of wearing apparel may be placed upon such mannequins after inflation thereby to simulate the appearance of the article when it is being worn.
Mannequins made from solid material are presently 'in general use. However, inflatable mannequins offer a potential for provision of many advantageous features as compared with the solid counterpart. In addition to being lighter in weight, and much easier to transport since they may be shipped in a deflated condition, inflatable mannequins are more simply and less expensively repaired than solid mannequins. Furthermore, inflatable mannequins may be dressed with far-less difficulty since, due to their flexibility, they may be bent and deformed to permit the desired placement of wearing apparel thereon.
Notwithstanding the fact that inflatable mannequins offer significant advantages over solid mannequins, their full commercial acceptance and wider use has been impeded by their inability heretofore to realistically simulate the human form. Much of the difficulty encountered in attempting to achieve closer human simulation has been related to manufacturing problems. It will be apparent that it would not be a viable expedient to attempt to provide more realistic human simulation at the expense of unduly complicating the structure and arrangement of the mannequin resulting in increased manufacturing cost and complexity. The commercial success of an inflatable mannequin will be dependent as much upon its ability to be competitively priced as upon its capacity for realistic human simulation.
Accordingly, it will be seen that the capability to produce an inflatable mannequin with enhanced realistic simulation of the human form by a structure which is not unduly complex or prohibitively expensive to manufacture will be a valuable commercial contribution and a significant forward step in the relevant art.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Briefly, the present invention may be described as an improvement in an inflatable mannequin simulating the human body below the waist, said mannequin consisting essentially of sheet material enclosing a generally hollow interior and defining a hip section having a buttocks side'and an abdomen side, said improvement comprising gusset means extending interiorly of said mannequin at said hip section from said buttocks side to said abdomen side, said gusset means being shaped to restrict said sheet material against outward expansion thereof upon inflation of said mannequin.
By a second aspect of the present invention an improvement is provided in an inflatable mannequin simulating the lower extremity of the human leg, said mannequin consisting essentially of sheet material enclosing a generally hollow interior defining an ankle section having a left and a right side, and a foot section extending in a generally continuous manner from said ankle section and having an instep side and a sole side, said improvement comprising first gusset means extending interiorly of said mannequin at said ankle section from said left side to said right side, and second gusset means extending interiorly of said mannequin at said foot section from said instep side to said sole side, said first and said second gusset means being shaped to restrict said sheet material against outward expansion thereof upon inflation of said mannequin.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The present invention will be better understood from FIG. 4 is a partial exploded view of' the invention showing the upper hip section of the mannequin with individual sheet material panels in their unassembled condition;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view taken from the abdomen side of the present invention partially broken away to show the gusset means extending interiorly thereof at the hip section;
FIG. 6 is a sectional elevation taken along the line 6-6 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 7 is a partial perspective view of the lower extremity of one of the leg sections of the mannequin of FIGS. 1 and 2 showing an ankle and a foot portion;
FIG. 8 is a cross sectional side elevation of the lower extremity of a leg portion of the mannequin of the present invention; and
FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken along the line 9-9 of FIG. 8.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now in detail to the drawings, the present invention is shown as comprising an inflatable mannequin including a left leg section 10 and a right leg section 12 which extend in a continuous manner from a hip section 14 having an abdomen side 16 and a but-' their edges and at other appropriate locations.
The left leg section 10 of the mannequin comprises a left outer panel 28 and a left inner panel 30, with the right leg section 12 being formed from a right outer panel 32 and a right inner panel 34.
The hip section 14 should, for the purposes of defining the terms utilized in the present description, be considered to include the entire upper portion of the mannequin, and it is intended that the term hip section as used herein shall be defined to include the upper extremities of the leg sections and 12 which comprise a left thigh section 36 and a right thigh section 38. Additionally, the hip section 14 will also be defined as including a crotch section 40 which extends between the right and left thigh section 36 and 38 to complete therewith the hip section 14.
The crotch section 40 is formed with a left abdomen panel 42 and a right abdomen panel 44 both located on the abdomen side 16 of the mannequin of the invention. On the buttocks side 18, the crotch section 40 includes a left buttocks panel 46 and a right buttocks panel 48. In the formation of the crotch section 40, the left abdomen panel 42 extends continuously between the leg sections 10 and 12 to the left buttocks panel 46. Similarly, the. right abdomen panel 44 is continuous with the'right buttocks panel 48, said continuity extending through the area formed between the left and right leg sections 10 and 12.
Accordingly, it should be understood that the term hip section 14 as used herein is intended to refer to the entire upper portion of the mannequin of the invention, which upper portion will be seen to generally include' the upper extremities of the left and right leg sections 10 and 12 which have been identified as a left thigh section 36 and a right thigh section 38, as well as the opposing sides of the crotch section 40 which, on the abdomen side 16 have been defined as comprising a left abdomen panel 42 and right abdomen panel 44 and which on the buttocks side 18 have been defined as comprising a left buttocks panel 46 and a right buttocks panel 48.
The terms abdomen side" 16 and buttocks side" 18 are intended to refer in a general sense to the front and rear sides of the hip section 14. Accordingly, it will be seen that the abdomen side 16 shall be taken as including the front portion of the left thigh section 36, the left and right abdomen panels 42 and 44, as, well as the front portion of the right thigh section 38. Similarly, the buttocks side 18 shall be taken as including the rear portion of the left thigh section 36, the left and right buttocks panel 46 and 48, and the rear portion of the right thigh section 38.
As best seen in FIG. 4 the crotch section 40 is formed to include portions of both a left base panel 50 and a right basepanel 52. The base panels 50 and 52' are each formed, in a manner which will be more fully described hereinafter, to comprise the panels 42, 44, and 48 such that when each of the individual panels forming the mannequin of the invention are heat sealed together, an assembly will be formed which is embodied in the inflatedmannequin depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings.
A basic feature of the present invention is the provision of gusset means which extend interiorly of the hip section 14 from the abdomen side 16 to the buttocks side 18. As best seen in FIGS. 5 and 6, the gusset means of the present invention are shown to comprise a pair of gusset panels which, in the specific embodiment described herein, include a left gusset panel 54 and a right gusset panel 56. The gusset panels 54 and 56 'are sized to extend across the interior of the hip'section 14 in a manner which provides restraint against outward expansion of the sheet material forming the abdomen and buttocks sides 16 and 18 when the mannequin of the invention is inflated.
As previously stated, a primary objection to prior art mannequins of the type described is the fact that such mannequins generally fail to produce a realistic simulation of the human form. It will be understood that the ability to provide a realistic mannequin will depend upon the specific structure and arrangement of the parts which go to make up the mannequin as well as the mode whereby they may be assembled. in addition to providing the required realism, the structure of an inflatable mannequin must be simply conceived so as not to introduce prohibitive manufacturing expense. The.
specific structure of the present invention, especially the provision of structural reinforcement embodied by the gusset means extending interiorly of the hip section 14, are considered to enable production of a realistically configured inflatable mannequin simulating the lower portion of the human body without introduction of excessive structural complexity such as would cause prohibitive cost and pricing of the item involved.
For the sake of manufacturing convenience, the gusset panels 54 and 56 of the specific embodiment described herein are actually formed as double-layered panels, with the left gusset panel 54 comprising a pair of complementary panels 54a and 54b, while the right gusset panel 56 is similarly comprised of a pair of complementary panels 56a and 56b. The panel 54a is formed integrally at the upper end of the left inner leg panel 30 and the complementary panel 56a is integrally formed at the upper end of the right inner leg panel 34. The complementary panels 54b and 56b are formed, respectively, as integral portionsof the left base panel 50 and the right base panel 52.
From the foregoing description, it will be seen that the mannequin of the present invention is basically comprised of six elemental sheet material panels which are heat sealed together, in a manner to be more fully described hereinafter, to provide the realistic body simulation sought. These six elemental panels are the outer and inner left leg panels 28 and 30, the left and right base panels 50 and 52, and the outer and inner right leg panels 32 and 34. These elements are com-.
The inner and outer left leg panels 28 and 38 arejoined together by a front heat seal 58 and a rear heat seal 60 which are formed, respectively, to join edge 62 of panel 28 to edge 64 of panel 30, and to join edge 66 of panel 28 to edge 68 of panel 30.
The right leg section 12 is formed in a manner similar to the left leg section 10 with a front heat seal 70 and a rear heat seal 72. The front heat seal 70 joins together edge 74 of panel 34 and edge 76 of panel 32, while rear heat seal 72 joins together edge 78 of panel 34 and edge 80 of panel 32.
The left leg section 10 is attached to the crotch section 40 by a heat seal 82 which joins the panel 30 to the panel 50 along lines 84 and 86 which extend inwardly from the edges of the panels 30 and 50 across the intermediate surfaces thereof. It will be noted that the line 84 is defined as extending between the panel 30 and panel 540 which is integrally formed therewith. Similarly, the line 86 extends between the panel 54b and both the panels 42 and 46 which are formed integrally therewith and comprise the unitary piece of sheet material which makes up the left base panel 50.
The right base panel 52 is attached to the right leg section 12 in a similar fashion. A line 88 extends across the panel 34 adjacent the integrally formed panel 56a and coincides with a line 90 extending across the panel 52 between the integrally formed panels 56b and 44, 48. A heat seal 91 is formed along the lines 88 and 90 joining together the panels 52 and 54.
An edge 92 extends along the panel 50 throughout the length of both the left abdomen panel 42 and the left buttocks panel 46. Similarly, an edge 94 extends across the base panel 52 along the combined lengths of the right abdomen panel 44 and the right buttocks panel 48. A heat seal 96 which extends around the crotch section 40 joins together the edges 92 and 94.
Since the mannequin of the present invention is generally configured as a body replica truncated at the waist, the upper end of the mannequin is formed as a flat waist section 100 which is structured to provide a stiff, flat upper surface by a flat rigid member 102, which may consist of any appropriate stiff material such as cardboard or the like, held between a complementary pair of sheet material panels 104 and 106 heat sealed together at their edges by a heat seal 108 which extends completely around the periphery of the waist section 100 and which also effects attachment of the waist section 100 to the lower portions of the mannequin. Thus, it will be apparent from the drawings, that the waist section 100, represented by the sheet panels 104 and 106, is heat sealed by the heat seal 108 as follows: to the left outer leg panel 28 by attachment along the upper edge 110 thereof; to the left inner leg panel 30 by attachment tothe upper edges 112 and 114 thereof; to the left base panel 50 by attachment to the upper edges 116 and 118 thereof; to the right base panel 52 by attachment to the upper edges 120 and 122 thereof; to the right inner leg panel 34 by attachment to the upper edges 124 and 126 thereof; and to the right outerleg panel 32 by attachment to the upper edge 128 thereof.
With the mannequin heat sealed as described, the interior thereof will become air tight thereby enabling inflation of the mannequin to the condition depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2. Inflation and deflation of the mannequin of the invention may be accomplished through an air valve 101 provided for this purpose.
The gusset panels 54 and 56 are shaped and sized to extend across the hip section 14 in a manner to prevent the abdomen side 16 and the buttocks side 18 from extending outwardly to an excessive degree upon inflation of the mannequin. Since the shape which is to be effected comprises a generally curved configuration, the gusset panels 54 and 56 are appropriately curved along the lines 86 and 90 to assist in conforming the hip section 14 to the shape desired. Additionally, the upper portions of the gusset panels 54 and 56are cut away to comprise, respectively, curved edges 55 and 57. This cutaway upper configuration is enabled by the fact that as the gusset panels 54 and 56 extend upwardly along the hip section 14, there is a diminishing need for a restraining force. It will be apparent that the waist section will provide adequate restraint at the uppermost end of the hip section 14. This factor, as well as the particular curved shape desired for the abdomen and buttocks side 16 and 18, makes it appropriate to shape the panels 54 and 56 in a manner whereby the force is least at the upper end of the hip section 14 and increases extending in a direction downwardly thereof. This is accomplished by shaping the gusset panels with the upper edges curved as at 55 and 57.
In addition to providing the desired shaping effect, cutting away of the upper portions of the gusset panels 54 and 56 offers the additional advantages that it conserves material and permits air passage across the interior of the hip section 14.
A further structural detail adding realism to the invention is the spacing of the heat seal joints 82 and 91 and the consequent spacing of the edges of the gusset panels 54, 56 connected by these joints. As will be best seen in the view of FIG. 5, the portions of the heat seal joints 82 and 91 which extend along the abdomen side 16 of hip section 14 are spaced apart a further distance than the portions thereof which extend along the buttocks side 18. By this structural expedient, a flatter more realistic abdomen simulation is produced, together with a rounder, more realistic buttocks simulation. On the abdomen side 16, this spacing should be tapered to become greater as the heat seal joints 82 and 91 extend toward the waist section 100, with the greatest spacing occurring at the uppermost ends thereof where the heat seals 82 and 91 join the heat seal 108.
In the manufacture of the mannequin of the present invention it may become necessary to remove, at strategic locations, portions of excess material in order to further enhance the realism and smoothness of the structure. For example, it will be seen from FIG. 4 that the left abdomen and buttocks panels 42 and 46 of the base panel 50 must extend perpendicularly from the panel 54b. In order to accomplish this, a small amount of material is removed from the left abdomen and buttocks panels 42, 46 and subsequently to such removal a small heat seal joint 130 is formed in order to effect continuity between the left abdomen and buttocks panels 42, 46. In a similar fashion, the right base panel 52 is shaped with continuous right abdomen and buttocks panels 44, 48 by removing a small amount of material therefrom and heat sealing the severed portion by a heat seal joint 132.
Other locations in the mannequin at which material removal occurs, with subsequent reattachment of the edges created by said removal, are along the sides of the left and right outer leg panels 28 and 32. As seen from the drawings, the left outer leg panel 28 includes a vertically extending heat seal 134 which is necessitated by removal of a certain portion of excess material from along the length of the leg panel 28 over which the heat seal 134 extends. For a similar reason and in a similar manner a heat seal 136 extends along the side of the right outer leg panel 32. a
Similarly, it may be found that some removal of excess material from the buttocks side of the mannequin may further enhance the realism and shape simulation desired, and for this purpose an additional pair of heat seals138 and 140 are formed upon the buttocks side of the hip section 14 extending across the left leg rear heat seal 60 and the right leg rear heat seal 72.
The lower extremities of the left and right leg sections 10 and 12 define, respectively, the left ankle and foot sections and 22 and the right ankle and foot sections 24 and 26. These sections of the mannequin may be formed in any one of a number of acceptable manners. For example, it would be possible to extend the right leg front and rear heat seals 70 and '72 completely around the right foot section 26 thereby to form a continuous heat seal along the median section of the right leg and foot sections 12 and 26. Of course, the panels 34 and 32 would require appropriate shaping at the lower extremities thereof in order to form an acceptable foot simulation in this manner.
In the specific embodiment described herein, the preferred approach taken is to form the foot sections- 22 and 26 with separate panels of sheet material which define a left sole panel 142 and a right sole panel 144 which are affixed, respectively, to the leg sections 10 and 12 by heat seals 146-and 148 extending about the periphery of the sole panels 142 and 144. Thus, the sole panel 142 is attached to the lower edges of the left outer and inner leg panels 28 and withthe sole panel 144 being attached to the lower edges of the right outer and inner leg panels 32 and 34.
In accordance with a basic principle of the present invention the realism of the lower extremities of the leg sections 10 and 12 of the mannequin of the present invention is further enhanced by provision therein of gusset means which extend across the interior of the foot and ankle sections and which operate to provide restraint against outward expansion upon inflation of the mannequin. This aspect of the invention is shown in more detail in FIGS. 7, 8 and 9 of the drawing which depict, by way of example, the left ankle and foot sections 20 and 22. One important aspect of the present invention relates to the ankle section 20 and to the provision therein of a gusset panel 150 which extends across the ankle section 20 and is heat sealed on one side thereof by a heat seal 152 to the left outer leg panel 28, with the opposite side of the gusset panel 150 being heat sealed by a heat seal 154 to the left inner leg panel 30.
Although the gusset panel 150 may be formed as a single unitary piece, it is also appropriate, and perhaps more convenient from a manufacturing pointof view, to form the gusset panel 150 in two parts. Accordingly, as best seen in FIG. 9, the gusset panel 150 is shown as comprising a pair of complementary panels 150a and 150b which are heat sealed together along their inner edges by a heat seal joint 156.
In a similar fashion, the foot section 22 is formed with a gusset panel 158 extending thereacross from the sole panel 142 to the instep side 160. It will be apparent that the left leg front heat seal 58 extends across the center of the instep side 160 of the foot section 22, and, accordingly, the upper edge of the gusset panel 158 may be heat sealed to the instep side 160 at the time that the heat seal 58 is formed joining together the panels 28 and 30v and also attaching therebetween the panel 158.
At its lower edge, the panel 158 is heat sealed to the left sole panel 142 by a heat seal 162 which extends along the sole panel 142 for the length of the edge of panel 158.
Accordingly it will be seen from the structure depicted in FIGS. 7, 8 and 9 of the drawing that an inflatable foot mannequin is provided which is structured to produce enhanced realism and simulation of the lower extremity of a human leg. The gusset panels and 158 extend across different sections of the lower leg extremity to provide resistence, at strategic portions of the leg extremity, to outward expansion of the material forming the mannequin. Of course, it should be understood that the particular contour of the gusset panels 150 and 158 may be varied to produce different shapes of ankles or feet. However, such variation will not depart from the basic principle of the invention which involves provision of said gusset panels 150 and 158 at the particular locations depicted, which are considered to be of critical importance with regard to their selection for enhancement of realistic simulation of th human foot and ankle.
It should also be understood that it would be possible to utilize either an ankle gusset panel 150 or a foot gusset panel 158 in a particular inflatable mannequin structure, without inclusion of the other panel. Thus, for example, depending upon the specific shape or design required, an ankle gusset panel such as the panel 150 may be utilized without utilization of a foot gusset panel such as the panel 158. Conversely, the panel 158 could be utilized separately without also utilizing an ankle gusset panel 150.
Of course, the preferred approach is to combine both the panels 150 and 158 in a single mannequin structure. By so doing, there is produced as a result of the particular structural cooperation described, a synergistic effect with the parts complementing each other to provide enhanced realism. 4
Although in the foregoing the present invention has been described by reference to a particular structural embodiment thereof, it should be understood that variations and modifications within the knowledge of those skilled in the art are possible without departure from the scope and purview of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. In an inflatable mannequin simulating-the human body below the waist, said mannequin consisting essentially of sheet material enclosing a generally hollow interior and defining a hip section having a buttocks side and an abdomen side with a pair of leg sections extending integrally from said hip section, and including means for inflation and delation thereof, the improvement comprising gusset means attached to said sheet material on the interior side of said mannequin and extending interiorly across said mannequin at said hip section from said buttocks side to said abdomen side, said gusset means being sized and shaped to extend a distance equivalent to the distance across said mannequin from said buttocks to said abdomen side thereby to restrict said sheet material against outward expansion thereof upon inflation of said mannequin and to enhance the realism with which said mannequin simulates the human form. Y Y
2. A mannequin according to claim 1 wherein said gusset means comprise a plurality of gusset panels formed of sheet material.
3. A mannequin according to claim 2 wherein said hip section is generally symmetrical about a median section extending vertically thereacross, said gusset panels being symmetrically spaced upon either side of said median section.
4. A mannequin according to claim 2 wherein each of said plurality of gusset panels has an edge on one sidethereof attached to said abdomen side and an edge upon the opposite side thereof attachedto said buttocks side, said edges'attached to said buttocks side being more closely spaced together than said edges attached to said abdomen side.
5. A mannequin according to claim 4 wherein the spacing between said edges of said gusset panels attached to said abdomen side increases in a direction toward said waist.
6. A mannequin according to claim 2 wherein said gusset panels are formed integrally with and as extensions of other portions of said sheet material defining said mannequin.
7. A mannequin according to claim 2 including an uppermost waist section wherein said gusset means are sized and contoured to provide a varying restraining force across said hip section, said restraining force increasing in a direction extending downwardly from said waist section.
width in a direction extending away from said waist section.
9. A mannequin according to claim 7 wherein said gusset panels are cut away on the sides thereof proximate said waist section.
10. A mannequin according to claim 1 including a left and a right leg section extending in a generally continuous manner from said hip section and an uppermost waist section extending laterally across said mannequin with each of said leg sections consisting essentially of a pair of sheet material panels having their edges joined by a heat seal extending longitudinally along said leg sections to said uppermost lateral waist section.
11. A mannequin according to claim 10 wherein said left and right leg sections are joined together by heat sealing of their upper ends to a crotch section located between said leg sections and formed from a pair of sheet material panels.
12. A mannequin according to claim 11 wherein each of said gusset panels comprise two layers of sheet material, with one layer of one of said gusset panels being formed by an integral portion of one of said leg sections and with the other layer of said one gusset panel being formed from an integral portion of one of said crotch section panels.
13. A mannequin according to claim 11 comprising a first heat seal joining together said crotch section panels and second and third heat seals joining, respectively, each of said leg sections to said crotch section, each of said first, second and third heat seals extending to said upper lateral waist section.
14. A mannequin according to claim 13 wherein said gusset panels extend across and having their edges defined at said second and third heat seals joining said leg sections to said crotch section.