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Publication numberUS3729745 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 1, 1973
Filing dateNov 4, 1971
Priority dateNov 4, 1971
Publication numberUS 3729745 A, US 3729745A, US-A-3729745, US3729745 A, US3729745A
InventorsLatina R
Original AssigneeAto Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Protective device for the head
US 3729745 A
Abstract
A protective device includes a face mask backed with padding and a helmet sized and configured to generally cover the top, back and sides of the user's skull. The helmet has a top margin which abuts the padding extending along the top of the face mask and forms a line about which the mask will swing relative to the helmet. An upper strap attaches the upper part of the helmet to the top section of the face mask, but does not prevent the two from pivoting relative to each other. The midportion of the face mask is connected by means of adjustable side straps to an elastic band which extends around the back of the helmet and urges the face mask and helmet together. The protective device is easily and quickly put on and removed merely by spreading the helmet and face mask apart against the force exerted by the elastic band, in which case the face mask will swing about the upper margin of the helmet so as to temporarily enlarge the size of the protective device.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Latina [52] US. Cl ..2/9 [51] Int. Cl. ..A4ld 13/00 [58] Field of Search .,2/9, 8, 10, 206,

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS [451 May 1, 1973 Primary Examiner-Jordan Franklin Assistant Examiner-Peter Nerbun Attorney-Frederick M. Woodrufi" et a1.

[57] ABSTRACT A protective device includes a face mask backed with padding and a helmet sized and configured to generally cover the top, back and sides of the users skull. The helmet has a top margin which abuts the padding extending along the top of the face mask and forms a line about which the mask will swing relative to the helmet. An upper strap attaches the upper part of the helmet to the top section of the face mask, but does not prevent the two from pivoting relative to each other. The midportion of the face mask is connected by means of adjustable side straps to an elastic band which extends around the back of the'helmet and urges the face mask and helmet together. The protective device is easily and quickly put on and removed merely by spreading the helmet and face mask apart against the force exerted by the elastic band, in which case the face mask will swing about the upper'margin of the helmet so as to temporarily enlarge the size of the protective device. I

8 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates in general to protective devices for the head, and more particularly to a protective device for use primarily by catchers in the sport of baseball.

Baseball catchers normally wear face masks to protect their faces from foul tips which in most cases are diverted enough from the path of the pitched ball that they cannot be caught. Conventional face masks, however, cover and protect only the catchers face, and leave other vital areas unprotected. For example, conventional masks provide no protection whatsoever for the temples or for the top or back of the skull. The failure to protect these vital areas renders catchers vulnerable to serious injury, and the problem is particularly acute in baseball games involving younger and less experienced players. In these games, which are often called little league games, the catchers tend to crotch too closely to the batters and the batters have a propensity to swing wildly. Consequently, the chances of a younger and less experienced catcher being struck on the back or top of the head by a wildly swung bat are much greater than the chances of a more mature player being struck.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION One of the principal objects of the present invention is to provide a protective device which provides protection for the users face, temples, and for the back and top of the users skull. Another object is to provide a protective device of the type stated which is ideally suited for use by baseball catchers to protect them from injury which might otherwise occur as a result of a foul tip or wildly swung bat. A further object is to provide a protective device of the type stated which may be easily and quickly removed by a catcher to provide better vision for catching pop-ups. An additional object is to provide a protective device of the type stated which may be easily adjusted to fit a large variety of head sizes. Still another object is to provide an auxiliary helmet which may be attached to most styles and sizes of conventional face mask frames. These and other objects and advantages will become apparent hereinafter.

The present invention is embodied in a protective device including a face mask and helmet which are connected such that the pivot or swing relative to one another and are urged together by yieldable means. The invention also includes the helmet and means for attaching it to a face mask so that a conventional face mask may be converted into the foregoing protective device. The invention also consists in the parts and in the arrangements and combinations of parts hereinafter described and claimed.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the accompanying drawings, which form part of the specification and wherein like numerals refer to like parts wherever they occur;

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a protective device constructed in accordance with and embodying the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring now to the drawings, 2 designates a protective device primarily for use by baseball catchers. The protective device 2 protects not only the face of the user, but also the temples, and the back, top, and sides of the user's skull. The protective device 2 has two basic components, namely, a facemask 4 and a helmet 6 which are attached together such that the protective device 2 may be adjusted to fit a large variety of head sizes and further may be easily and quickly removed to afford better vision. The mask 2 may be a conventional face mask with the usual mask harness removed therefrom.

The face mask 2 illustrated in the drawing includes a rigid frame 10 which is preferably cast from magnesium and is bowed forwardly to accommodate the nose and to conform to the general curvature of the face. The frame has peripheral side portions 12 which extend along the cheeks of the user and at their upper ends merge into an arcuate top section 14 which extends generally above the forehead of the user. At their lower ends the side portions 12 merge into a lower cross piece 16 which is bowed outwardly and extends across the users jaw. Intermediate the arcuate top section 14 and the lower cross piece 16 the side portions 12 are interconnected by upper and lower cross bars 18 and 20, respectively, both of which are bowed outwardly like the lower cross piece 16. The upper cross bar 18 extends across the users forehead, whereas the lower cross bar 20 extends across the users nose. Accordingly, the space between the cross bars 18 and 20 affords vision from behind the mask. Of course, that space, and likewise the space between lower cross bar 20 and the bottom cross piece 16, are narrower than the diameter of a baseball so that a foul tip or other ball missed by the user will not pass through the mask 4. The side portions 12, the top section 14, and the lower cross piece 16 form the periphery of the frame 10 and are generally quite wide in comparison to their thickness, having considerable surface area exposed on the outwardly presented side of the mask 4, that is the convex side, and also on the inwardly presented side which is the concave side.

In addition to the frame 10, the face mask 4 includes upper and lower pads 22 and 24 respectively which are attached to the frame 10 and extend along the inside surface thereof. Each pad is formed from a resilient material, such as cellular polyurethane, encased in a leather cover.

The upper pad 22 extends along the inside face of the top section 14 and terminates slightly below the juncture of the side portions 12 and upper cross bar 18. In terms of the users face, the upper pad 22 extends in an are from the sides of the forehead generally over the top of the forehead, and serves to position the upper portion of the frame 10, that is the top section 14 and upper cross bar 18, away from the users forehead. The upper pad 22 is attached to the frame 10 by pairs of end tabs 26 and pairs of center tabs 28 held together by snaps 30. The end tabs 26 extend from the lower ends of pad 22 and pass around the side portions 12 at the upper cross bar 20. Indeed, they pass through the space between the upper and lower bars 18 and 20 at the upper corners of that space. The center tabs 28 wrap around the top section 14 at the top thereof and are spaced apart slightly.

The lower pad 24 extends along the inside or concave face of the lower connecting cross piece 16 and along the inside faces of the side portions 12 up to the juncture of those portions with the lower cross bar 18. In relation to the users face, the lower pad 24 extends downwardly along the user's cheeks and thence across the users chin. The lower pad 24 is held in place by pairs of end tabs 32 and a pair of center tabs 34, the tabs of each pair being held together by snaps 36. In particular, the end tabs 32 pass around the side portions 12 and extend through the space between the lower cross bar 20 and the lower cross piece 16 at the ends of the space. The center tabs 34 pass around the lower cross piece 16 at the center thereof.

The helmet 6 includes a shell 40 which is preferably molded as a unitary structure from a slightly resilient plastic such as polystyrene and is shaped to extend over and cover the top, sides, and back of the user's skull. In particular, the shell 40 has a crown section 42, the forward margin 43 of which abuts against the upper pad 22 of the face mask 4 (FIGS. 2 and 3). The crown section 42 extends over the top of the users skull, curving downwardly toward its rear end where it merges into a back section 44 FIGS. 2 and 3) which covers the back of the skull. Along their sides the crown and back sections 42 and 44 merge into side sections 46 which extend along the sides of the users skull and have cutouts 48 for accommodating the ears. Ahead of the cutouts 48, the side sections have downwardly projecting temple sections 50 which cover the users temples. The temple sections 50 have somewhat oblique forward margin (FIG. 2), and as a result they also project slightly forwardly, this forward projection being generally between the side portions 12 of the face mask frame (FIG. 3) and between the ends of the upper and lower pads 24 and 26 thereon (FIG. 2). The oblique forward margins of the temple sections 50 at their upper ends merge into the forward margin 43 of the crown section 42. The back section 44 has a lower margin which merges in the lower margins of the side sections and the latter margins, of course, curve upwardly to define the ear cutouts 48. The shell 40 is further provided with a series of laterally spaced ribs 52 which extend primarily along the crown and back sections 42 and 44 thereof to impart rigidly thereto. Moreover, the shell 40 has cutouts 54 for purposes of ventilation.

In addition to the shell 40, the helmet 6 includes pads 56 which are affixed to the inside face of the shell 40 by a suitable adhesive, and these pads may be formed from a cellular plastic material such as polyurethane.

The face mask 4 is held to the helmet 6 by means of an upper connecting strap 60 which is secured to the crown section 42 of the shell 40 and by two side connecting straps 62 which extend along the side sections 46 of the shell 40.

The upper connecting strap 60 is connected to the crown section 42 of the shell 40 by two rivets 64 (FIG. 2) and between the rivets 64 it is provided with a buckle 66. Beyond the forward rivet 64 the strap 60 extends upwardly along the back face of the upper pad 22 for the face mask 4 and then projects forwardly between the inside face of the arcuate top section 14 for the face mask frame 10 and the upper pad 22. This forwardly projecting portion, that is the portion between the top section 14 of the frame 10 and the upper pad 22, is furthermore disposed between the two sets of center tabs 28 on the upper pad 22 (FIG. 1), and accordingly the tabs 28 in cooperation'with the upper strap 60 serve to center the face mask 4 on the helmet 6. At the forward margin of the top section 14 for the face mask frame 10 the upper strap 60 turns rearwardly and doubles back upon itself, extending over the outwardly presented surface of the top section 14 as it does. The end of the upper strap 60 passes through and is secured in the buckle 66. The upper strap 60 confines the upper portion of the face mask 4 to the upper portion of the helmet 6, but lets the two swing away from each other. The strap 60 is adjustable in the buckle 66, and consequently the position which the forward margin 43 of the helmet 6 assumes on the upper pad 22 of the face mask 4 may be altered by tightening or loosening the strap 60.

The side connecting straps 62 are connected to the ends of an elastic band which extends around the back section 44 of the helmet shell 40 and is secured to the back section 44 only at the center thereof by rivets 72 (FIGS. 2 and 3). The elastic band 70 terminates at the side sections 46, generally above the ear cutouts 48 therein, where the side straps 62 are secured thereto. Each side strap 62 is connected to an end of the elastic band 70 by two rivets 74 (FIG. 3) and between the rivets 74 is provided with a buckle 76. Each side strap 62 then extends forwardly along the side section 46 and passes behind the side portion 12 of the face mask frame 10. At the forward margin of the side portion 12 the strap 62 doubles back upon itself, extending through the space between the upper and lower cross bars 18 and 20-and passing over the outside face of the side portion 12 as it does. The end of the strap 62 extends through and is secured by the buckle 76. Since the side straps 62 are attached to the elastic band 70, they are free to move forwardly with the face mask 4 if the mask 4 and helmet 6 are forcibly spread apart. However, the side straps 62 are normally drawn rearwardly by the band 70 and hence urge the face mask 4 toward the helmet 6.

Since the upper connecting strap 60 generally confines the upper end of the face mask 4 to the upper end of the helmet 6, whereas the side connecting straps 62 coupled with the elastic band 70 allow the midportion of the mask 4 to spread away from the lower portions or temple sections 50 of the helmet 6, the face mask 4 will pivot or swing about the forward margin 43 of the crown section 42 on the helmet 6 when the helmet and face mask 4 are spread apart.

In order to don the protective device 2, the user merely grasps the face mask along its lower pad 24 with one hand and the helmet along its back section 44 with the other hand, and spreads the face mask 4 and helmet 6 apart against the closing force exerted by the elastic band 70 (see arrows in FiG. 2). This causes the face mask 4 and helmet 6 to swing relative to each other along the abutting upper pad 22 on the former and the forward margin 43 of the crown section 42 on he latter. The face mask 4 and helmet 6 are spread sufficiently to enable the users head to fit inside the protective device 2. Once the users head is inside the device 2, the face mask 4 and helmet 6 are released, allowing the elastic band 70 and side connecting straps 62 to draw the two together. The elastic band 70 actually presses the pads 22 and 24 on the face mask 4 gently against the users face and the pads 56 along the back section 44 of the helmet 6 gently against the back of the users head, imparting a feeling of solid support for the face mask 4. By adjusting the side connecting straps 62 the force exerted by the elastic band 70 may be varied, so that the protective device will comfortably fit heads of different sizes.

To remove the protective device 2, the user merely grasps the lower pad 24 on the face mask 4 and pushes forwardly and upwardly. This causes the face mask 4 and helmet 6 to spread apart against the closing force exerted by the elastic band 70 so that the protective device 2 can be lifted free of the users head. This removal may be accomplished quite hurriedly without injuring the user, so that the protective device 2 can be thrown off when chasing pop-ups.

Inasmuch as the protective device 2 covers not only the users face, but also the top, back, and sides of the skull, it offers far more protection than conventional face masks. Indeed, it is ideally suited for use in baseball games involving young and unexperienced players where the tendency is for the batters to swing wildly and the catchers to crotch too closely to the batters.

The upper and side connecting straps 60 and 62 enable the helmet 6 to be attached to most face masks of current manufacture and design, once the mask harnesses have been removed therefrom, so that conventional face masks may be provided with the advantages of the present invention. Thus, the helmet 6 with its upper and side connecting straps 60 and 62 and its elastic band 70, serves as a substitute for a conventional mask harness.

This invention is intended to cover all changes and modifications of the example of the invention herein chosen for purposes of the disclosure which do not constitute departures from the spirit and scope of the invention.

What is claimed is:

l. A protective device for protecting the face and skull of the user, said device comprising: a face mask sized and configured to extend over and protect the users face and including padding which is presented against the users face, some of the padding being located across the upper portion of the mask generally opposite the users forehead; a helmet having a crown section which extends over the top of the users head, side, and back sections which extend across the sides and back, respectively of the users head, the crown section terminating at a forward margin which abuts against the portion of the mask padding extended across the upper portion of the mask; connecting means attaching the upper portion of the mask to the crown section of the helmet so that the mask at its upper end remains adjacent to the crown portion of the helmet, the connecting means permitting the mask to pivot on its padding about the forward margin of the crown section so that the lower end of the mask can swing outwardly away from the helmet to enable the user 0 rapidly don and remove the protective device;

and yieldable means connecting the mask and the helmet and urging the helmet and mask together.

2. A protective device according to claim 1 wherein the yieldable means comprises an elastic band connected between the sides of the face mask and the helmet.

3. A protective device according to claim 2 wherein the elastic band is anchored to the back section of the helmet; and wherein straps connect the elastic band to the sides of the mask generally midway between the upper and lower ends thereof.

4. A protective device according to claim 3 wherein the straps are adjustable.

5. A protective device according to claim 1 wherein the connecting means is a strap which extends between the top of the face mask and the crown section of the helmet.

6. A protective device according to claim 1 wherein the face mask has a rigid frame provided with a top section extending across the top thereof and forming part of the mask periphery: and wherein the strap is anchored to the crown section of the helmet and loops around the top section.

7. A protective device according to claim 6 wherein the face mask padding which is located generally opposite the users forehead is disposed behind the top section of the rigid frame; wherein a pair of strap-like means loop across the top section for securing the pad to the top section, the strap-like means being spaced apart and positioned such that the space between them is centered relative to the top section; and wherein the connecting strap extends between the pair of strap-like means and is laterally confined by the strap-like means.

8. For use with a face mask sized and configured to extend over and protect the users face and having padding presented toward the face, some of the padding extending across the upper portion of the mask, the improvement therewith of a helmet having crown, back and side section configured to generally cover the top, back and sides, respectively, of the users skull so that the helmet generally frames the face along the top and sides thereof with the forward margin of the crown section being along the top of the face, a first connector on the crown section of the helmet for attaching the helmet to the upper portion of the face mask with the forward margin of the crown being against the padding on said upper portion, the first connector permitting the face mask to pivot on its padding about the forward margin of the crown section so as to enable the mask to swing outwardly and upwardly with respect to the helmet, second connectors engaging the sides of the face mask below the first connector, and yieldable means connecting the second connectors with the helmet so that the face mask will be urged toward the helmet.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3984875 *Aug 28, 1975Oct 12, 1976Canada Cycle And Motor Company LimitedProtective head gear
US5394564 *May 12, 1993Mar 7, 1995Rodriguez; David G.Umpire's strike zone mask
US5537687 *Oct 15, 1993Jul 23, 1996Garza; JaimeProtective face mask system using varying thicknesses of energy absorption & dissipation material
US5694649 *Oct 28, 1996Dec 9, 1997Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc.Adjustable baseball batter's and catcher's helmet with mask
US5737770 *Aug 5, 1993Apr 14, 1998Chen; Mike Chien-FangSport face mask
US5893174 *May 22, 1995Apr 13, 1999Primeau; Charles W.Non-discard protective facemask/helmet assembly
US5911308 *Apr 15, 1998Jun 15, 1999Chafitz; Steven R.Sports safety mask
US6112333 *May 19, 1998Sep 5, 2000Mazzei; WilliamProtective helmet for anesthetized patient
US6128786 *Oct 16, 1997Oct 10, 2000Hos Development CorporationOne-size-fits-all helmet
US6189156Jul 21, 1999Feb 20, 2001Spalding Sports Worldwide, Inc.Catcher's helmet with eye shield
US6976272 *Feb 16, 2004Dec 20, 2005I2 Innovative IdeasUniversal visual shield apparatus for use with a hockey helmet
US6983487 *Apr 9, 2003Jan 10, 2006James F. Rickon, Jr.Baseball catcher's mask
US7426763Sep 29, 2004Sep 23, 2008Dupaco, Inc.Table engageable support for head cushion supporting anesthetized patient
US8656520 *Aug 2, 2007Feb 25, 2014Gus A. Rush, IIIAthletic helmet
US20090113606 *Jan 9, 2009May 7, 2009Bastien JourdeGoalie helmet with novel strap configuration
Classifications
U.S. Classification2/9
International ClassificationA42B3/20, A42B3/18
Cooperative ClassificationA42B3/20
European ClassificationA42B3/20
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 25, 1987ASAssignment
Owner name: FIGGIE INTERNATIONAL INC.
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:FIGGIE INTERNATIONAL INC., (MERGED INTO) FIGGIE INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS INC. (CHANGED TO);REEL/FRAME:004767/0822
Effective date: 19870323
Jun 30, 1981ASAssignment
Owner name: FIGGIE INTERNATIONAL INC.
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:A-T-O INC.;REEL/FRAME:003866/0442
Effective date: 19810623