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Publication numberUS3742538 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 3, 1973
Filing dateMay 3, 1971
Priority dateMay 3, 1971
Publication numberUS 3742538 A, US 3742538A, US-A-3742538, US3742538 A, US3742538A
InventorsSmith E
Original AssigneeEmergency Syst International
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Reversible life preserver
US 3742538 A
Abstract
A strapless life preserver which is reversible and in fact can be worn in four different positions and in each of these positions permits free use of the arms. There are two annular tubular wings of generally similar size and shape, formed preferably from a single helical tubular structure of air-tight, semi-resilient sheet material, or from a helical casing with one or more inner tubes of lengths corresponding to the position thereof in the helical casing, the ends of the tubular structure being joined together at a central point of the tubular structure and having portions thereof adjacent to said point restrained from separation so that the inherent tendency for inflated flexible tubes to straighten results in the remaining portions of the two wings being biased together, thus making the life preserver self-clamping upon the torso of the wearer, without resort to straps or other fastening structures.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Smith 1451- July 3,1973

[ REVERSIBLE LIFE PRESERVER [75] Inventor: Eric P. Smith, Coronado, Calif.

[73] Assignee: Emergency Systems International,

' Santee, Calif.

1221 Filed: May 3, 1971 [2]] Appl. No.: 139,615

[52] US. Cl. 9/340 Primary ExaminerMilton Buchler Assistant Examiner-Paul E. Sauberer Attorney-Knox & Knox [57] ABSTRACT A strapless life preserver which is reversible and in fact can be worn in four different positions and in each of these positions permits free use of the arms. There are two annular tubular wings of generally similar size and shape, formed preferably from a single helical tubular structure of air-tight, semi-resilient sheet material, or from a helical casing with one or more inner tubes of lengths corresponding to the position thereof in the helical casing, the ends of the tubular structure being joined together at a central point of the tubular structure and having portions thereof adjacent to said point restrained from separation so that the inherent tendency for inflated flexible tubes to straighten results in the remaining portions of the two wings being biased together, thus making the life preserver self-clamping upon the torso of the wearer, without resort to straps or other fastening structures.

8 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures Pmmmm a ma 3.742.538

SHEEI 1 0f 2 INVENTOR. ERIC P. SMITH PATENTEU JUL 3 I973 SHEU 2 0F 2 INVENTOR. ERIC P. SMITH REVERSIBLE LIFE PRESERVER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Applicant has himself developed other life preservers which are strapless and formable from a single length of inflatable tubular structure with the ends connected to a central point of the tubular structure but these other life preservers, although they do have a double wing-like structure, do not have structure adjacent to the above mentioned central point to restrain the wings from separation from each other, and upon inflation a very different configuration results. The prior art includes life vests which have portions adapted for underarm positioning with other portions wrapped around the neck of the wearer, and in 'all such arrangements various fastening devices, usually straps which are tied or buckled, secure the life preserver in place upon the person. Prior life preservers have also been designed to urge the wearer, whether or not incapacitated, into an upright or at least a face up position and alternative oral and mechanical inflation means is recognized as not new. There exists a need, however, for a life preserver which, while meeting all these desirable criteria, is also what may be called panic-proof inasmuch as ineffective donning is virtually impossible in that the life preserver will function even though it is reversed from side to side or even reversed from front to back, the donning being accomplishable instantly and without resort to any fastening means.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The above mentioned need is met by the item as herein disclosed and claimed, namely, a life preserver wherein a pair of similar annular wings, illustrated as formed from a single tubular structure, with or without inner tubes, these wings being joined at one point and having a web or the equivalent to limit their spreading apart near the juncture of the wings with the result that when inflated the wings are biased toward each other thus providing a torso-clamping capability no matter how the life preserver is worn.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one form of the life preserver, in deflated condition;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the inflated life preserver;-

FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view taken on line 33 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an alternative form of the life preserver;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged sectional view taken on line 5-5 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing the initial step of the preferred method of putting on the life preserver; FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing thelife preserver as worn in one position; and

FIG. 8 is a somewhat diagrammatic view showing how a plurality of inner tubes of different lengths are employed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In the preferred form of this invention, the life preserver is fabricated from a single length of a tubular structure I0, the ends 12-12 being connected to a central point [4 of the same, this tubular structure as air-tight seams l6 and 18 which will ordinarily be cemented or heat sealed type. The seams 16 and 18 may be thought of as being on the inside and outside periphcries of the two annular wings 20 and 22 achieved by the foregoing structure, and said connection point is at a return bend 14 so that the two wings are generally parallel to each other in the collapsed or non-inflated configuration of the item.

The same numeral 14 has been used to indicate the return bend and the central point of the tubular structure 10 because of the coincidental nature of these concepts. However, the actual connection of the ends 12 may be effected by the fabric connecting strips 24-24. When such strips are used they are adhered to the outer faces of the ends 12 and the other ends 26 of the strips 24 are adhered to the central point 14 preferably reinforced by a strong fabric patch 28. A single fabric coupling strip 30 may suffice to tie together the inner or confronting faces of the ends 12.

Inflation means of any suitable character may be employed and there is illustrated diagrammatically at 32 a simple oral tube type which must of course be valved, the prior art being well developed in this respect.

Upon inflation, the tubular structure at the bend 14 tends to straighten and to prevent or at least limit divergence of the portions of the tubular structure adjacent to the bend 14 a web 34 is connected therebetween, usually by stitching 36 the same as at 36 to and between the two inner seams 16. The web limits divergence or separation of the portions of the wings adjacent to the bend l4 and this assures that the remaining portions of the wings 20 and 22 tend to remain generally parallel to each other but the resiliency of the inflated tubular structure allows forceful separation of the wings by the user, while providing a surprisingly firm and completely adequate clamping of the torso when the arms are inserted through the wings as indicated in FIG. 7.

In a modified form of the invention, illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, the tubular structure takes the form of an outer fabric casing 38 which can be virtually identical with the structure identified by the numeral 10, or somewhat simplified in the manner of seaming and the connection of the corresponding ends 40, by stitching the peripheries and at 42 in the area corresponding to that identified by the numeral 14 in the single walled prior described form, since an inner tube 44 is provided within the casing 38. This inner tube must be nonporous and flexible and provided with means for inflation diagrammatically indicated at 46 and of course the inner tube conforms generally with the casing 38 in length and diameter when inflated. The inner tube has a bend therein, indicated at 48 in FIG. 5, corresponding exactly with the bend 14, so that a web 50, identical in 7 function to the web 34, is stitched to and between the structed in the first principal step in fabrication of the item, is helical as illustrated in FIG. 8, and when a plurality of inner tubes is used, the tube 60 is considerably shorter than the tube 62. In other words,'the length of the inner tubes will vary according to their relative positioning, the longer tubes always being disposed toward the outside periphery of the helical structure 10. A tendon 64 may be secured to and between the wings, parallel to and spaced from the web 34 to permit entry of the users head and to retain the life preserver on the person when in non-inflated condition The preferred manner of donning the life preserver is illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7, if being obvious that the item can be reversed left to right if access to the inflation means is not required and it will be further evident that the life preserver may be shifted so that the web 34 or 50 is behind the shoulders rather than on the chest.

In other words there are four positions in which the life preserver can be worn and in each position a secure torso clamping action makes the use of fastening means such as straps unnecessary. It is preferred however that the life preserver be worn with the web in front since the chin is then gently urged upwardly and an incapacitated person will be automatically righted to face-up position in every mode.

I claim:

1. An inflatable life preserver, capable of being donned in a plurality of positions, and having no straps essential to the use of the preserver when inflated, comprising:

a pair of similar, tubular annular wings joined together at one point said wings being substantially parallel and juxtaposed when inflated except when forced apart by the user;

each wing being inflatable and somewhat flexible;

means limiting angular separation of opposing portions of the two wings adjacent to said point;

whereby the remaining opposing portions of said wings are resiliently biased against separation, upon inflation of the wings, so that the wings tend to clamp firmly upon the torso of the wearer.

2. A life preserver according to claim 1 wherein said means is a stretch resistant web permanently and fixedly secured to and between the first mentioned portions adjacent to said point.

3. A life preserver according to claim 2 and including a second web, of tendon character, secured terminally to and between the wings parallel to and spaced from the first mentioned web to permit entry to the user's head whereby the life preserver in non-inflated condition is retained on the person.

4. A life preserver according to claim 1 wherein said wings are parts of a single tubular structure having the two ends thereof permanently secured at said point to a central portion of said structure,

5. A life preserver according to claim 4 wherein said tubular structure is of essentially single wall character.

6. A life preserver according to claim 4 wherein said tubular structure is an outer annular tubular casing with an inner inflatable tube of approximately the same length.

7. A life preserver according to claim 4 wherein said tubular structure is an outer tubular casing with a plurality of inner inflatable tubes.

8. A life preserver according to claim 7 wherein said tubes are of different lengths, the tube of the least length being disposed adjacent to the radially inner periphery of said casing and the tube of greatest length being disposed adjacent to the radially outer periphery of said casing.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US419132 *Jul 8, 1889Jan 7, 1890 John charles wilcox
US3152344 *Feb 15, 1963Oct 13, 1964Radnofsky Matthew ILife preserver
US3629886 *Sep 3, 1969Dec 28, 1971Barnier Georges AInflatable swim appliance
DE438368C *Dec 14, 1926Franz StreitAufblasbarer Schwimmschlauch
FR1033228A * Title not available
GB190723960A * Title not available
IT441664A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3992735 *Sep 11, 1975Nov 23, 1976Mccarthy Edward PFlotation ring for dredge pipe lines
US4976642 *Sep 15, 1989Dec 11, 1990Wilkie Lawrence ALife ring
US7313362 *Jun 19, 2000Dec 25, 2007AlcatelHigh altitude airborne craft used as radio relay and method for placing said airborne craft on station
US7798879Jan 21, 2009Sep 21, 2010Crosby JamesPersonal flotation device
US20100184344 *Jan 21, 2009Jul 22, 2010Crosby JamesPersonal flotation device
Classifications
U.S. Classification441/118
International ClassificationB63C9/00, B63C9/125
Cooperative ClassificationB63C9/1255
European ClassificationB63C9/125A