|Publication number||US3787895 A|
|Publication date||Jan 29, 1974|
|Filing date||Jul 21, 1972|
|Priority date||Jul 21, 1972|
|Also published as||CA995402A, CA995402A1|
|Publication number||US 3787895 A, US 3787895A, US-A-3787895, US3787895 A, US3787895A|
|Original Assignee||Belvedere P|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (10), Referenced by (42), Classifications (11)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent [191 Belvedere Jan. 29, 1974 PROTECTIVE FACE MASK AND PADDING MATERIAL THEREFOR  Inventor: Paul C. Belvedere, 2105 W. 61st St.,
 Filed: July 21, 1972  Appl. No.: 273,864
 US. Cl 2/9, 2/10, 2/173  Int. Cl A4ld 13/00  Field of Search 2/9, 3, 173, 2, 14 W, 14 B, 2/206; 128/146, 141, 146.3, 146.7
 ReferencesCited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,935,204 11/1933 Dym. 2/3 R 1,480,780 l/1924 2,790,175 4/1957 Sowle 2/9 2,908,911 10/1959 Sowle 2/9 3,132,345 5/1964 Keith 2/9 3,216,023 11/1965 Morgan 2/9 3,259,908 7/1966 Simpson et a1. 2/9
7/1967 Bennett 128/1467 3,330,274 3,462,763 8/1969 Schneider et a1. 2/3 3,545,437 12/1970 Quackenbush 128/1467 Primary Examingn-Jordan Franklin Assistant ExaminerPeter Nerbun Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Merchant, Gould, Smith & Edell 57 ABSTRACT A protective face mask consisting of a soft, resilient inner member conforming in shape to a users mouth and chin, and an outer member of hard, impact resistant material which is sized and shaped to fit over the users mouth and mechanically secured to the inner member. The inner and outer members are constructed and arranged to define a plurality of cavities between them when secured together, and the thickness of the inner member permits it to deform resiliently in the area of the cavities when subjected to impact forces.
21 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PROTECTIVE FACE MASK AND IADDING MATERIAL THEREFOR The invention broadly relates to protective sports equipment, and specifically contemplates an article designed to withstand severe impact forces without injury to the user.
For most contact sports, it is necessary for the participant to wear equipment which protects the vulnerable portions of the body; e.g., face masks, helmets, knee pads and shin guards. Such protective equipment ordinarily has an outer member with a hard outer surface to withstand impact forces, and some type of padding, such as a plurality of cloth layers or foam rubber, which is glued or otherwise affixed to the inner surface of the outer member. The protective device also includes means such as straps or the like for securing it to the user in a fixed position. 1
One problem with many such protective devices rises from the inability to permanently secure padding to the outer member. Many times the padding becomes loosened or detached from the outer member, in which case the device is uncomfortable to wear and offers lessprotection to the user through its inability to absorb forces transmitted directly from the hard outer member.
An additional problem stems from the fact that construction of the hard outer shell in combination with a padded lining does not lend itself to face masks, which are extremely useful in protecting the faces and mouths of hockey players. Existing face masks either consist of a single plate of hard material which is capable of transmitting impact forces directly to the boned portions of a users face; or a padded device which is highly uncomfortable to the user and ordinarily interferes with his breathing. The result is that face masks are rarely used in ice hockey, which requires far greater face protection than most contact sports.
My invention is therefore directed to an improved construction usable for virtually any type of protective device which offers complete protection to the user and is extremely comfortable to wear. The improved construction is particularly applicable to face masks, and I have therefore chosen such a device for the preferred embodiment of my disclosure. The improved face mask consists of an inner shell member formed from soft resilient material which conforms to and fits over a users mouth and chin. A'n outer member formed from hard, impact resistant material is sized and shaped to fit over the users mouth and mechanically secured to the inner member. The inner and outer shell members are constructed to together define a plurality of cavities or spaces therebetween, and the thickness and resiliency of the inner shell member permits it to deform resiliently in the area of cavities when subjected to impact forces. Consequently, the hard outer shell member is able to receive and withstand severe impact forces, and the inner shell member, by reason of its resilience, flexibility and cavity construction, insulates the users mouth from the forces of impact and prevents injury.
In the preferred embodiment,.the soft inner shell is made from ethyl vinyl acetate and the outer shell consists of clear molded polycarbonate resin. I prefer to mechanically secure the inner and outer shell members (e.g., by riveting or through the use of interlocking molded parts) not only because it is extremely difficult to adhesively bond these preferred materials together, but also because adhesive securing or the like does not permit the somewhat independent cooperation of inner and outer members which is necessary for optimum protection.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT With reference to the Figures, a protective face mask embodying the improved construction is represented generally by the numeral 11. Face 'mask 11 comprises an inner shell member 12 and an outer shell member 13 which are mechanically secured as explained in further detail below.
Inner shell member 12 is formed from a relatively soft, resilient material that lends itself to vacuum or in jection molding, an example of which is ethyl vinyl acetate. In its preferred form, the ethyl vinyl acetate is colorless and translucent. Generally speaking, inner shell member 12 conforms in shape to the lower portion of the users face, having a mouthportion I4 and a chinportion 15. Mouth portion 14 is sufficiently large to encompass the users mouth entirely and includes a plurality of openings defined by vertical cross members 12a and horizontal cross member 12b, 120, which are of sufficient size to permit the user to breath without interference. Horizontal cross members 12b and 12c are disposed approximately in a straight line and essentially overlie the juncture of the users upper and lower teeth.
With specific reference to FIG. 3, it will be seen that the outer face of inner shell member 12 defines a large but shallow receptacle for receiving the outer shell member 13 in essentially flush relationship therewith.
Outer shell member 13 is formed from a hard, impact resistant and non-breakable material which retains these desirable characteristics over a wide range of temperatures. An example is polycarbonate resin, which is clear molded in its preferred form. Outer shell member 13 conforms in shape to the shallow receptacle defined by inner shell member 12, and it includes identically shaped breathing openings through its face which register with those of the inner shell member 12 to permit unimpeded breathing by the user. With additional reference to FIG. 2, outer shell member 13 is essentially planar in shape, although it bows gradually over its width to conform to the inner shell member 12 and the users mouth. The outer peripheral edge of outer shell member 13 and each' inner peripheral edge defining a breathing opening is raised or projects toward the inner shell 12 to define a plurality of recessed spaces designated 16 in FIG. 3. Construction of the mouth portion 14 of inner shell member 12 is similar, with projecting peripheral edges defining cavities therein designated 17 in FIG. 3.
In this preferred embodiment, the vertical and horizontal cross members l2a-c which define the breathing openings each has a projecting portion or bead (designated 17a in FIG. 3) which cooperates with an opposed cavity 16 to maintain proper alignment between inner and outer shell members 12 and 13. Therefore, as will be apparent from the phantom lines of FIG. 2, the cavities l7 peripherally surround the users mouth essentially along the juncture of teeth and gums to offer maximum protection to the entire mouth.
Due to the material thickness of inner shell member 12 and its generally resilient nature, impact forces exerted upon the hard-faced outer shell member 13 are transmitted inwardly through the raised inner and outer peripheral edges thereof, and the cavities 17 of inner shell member 12 deform resiliently and thereby act as insulators to the impact forces. Preferably, the peripheral edges of inner shell member 12 slightly overlap the corresponding peripheral portions of the outer shell member 13. Consequently, upon impact, these peripheral edges tend to flatten out and'further envelop the corresponding peripheral portions of outer shell member 13, which facilitates the resilient deformation of cavities l7 and insures protection of the users entire mouth.
It will be appreciated that the invention does not reside in the specific construction of inner and outer shell members 12, 13 as disclosed, but rather in the provision of resiliently deformable cavities between the shell members which effect the improved protection. I have found that the improved construction may be applied to different types of protective sporting equipment as well with the same result; i.e., to protectively receive and withstand severe impact forces by the outer shell member 13 and to absorb and distribute forces received and transmitted thereby through resilient deformation of the cavities 17 of inner shell member 12. This substantially reduces the magnitude of impact forces and thereby fully protects the vulnerable area.
In the preferred embodiment, outer shell member 13 is mechanically secured to inner shell member 12 in two respects. First, with reference to FIGS. 2 and 4, the outer shell member 13 is formed with a pair of barbed projections 18 on each side thereof, and inner shell member 12 has a pair of corresponding sockets 19 at appropriately disposed plug-in,positions. The barbed projections 18 and receptacles 19 cooperate through interlocking engagement to hold each side of the outer shell member 13 in tight engagement with inner shell member 12.
Secondly, as best shown in: FIGS. 2 and 3, a plurality of plastic, nonremovable rivets 20 are inserted in registering holes to hold the inner and outer shell members 12 and 13 together at various points over their engaging surfaces. v
I prefer mechanically interconnecting the members 12 and 13 not only because the materials from which they are respectively formed do not lend themselves to adhesive bonding, but also because such mechanical connections permit a limited degree of independent movement between the shell members, thus enhancing the deformable, force-insulating feature of the inner shell member 12.
The chin portion projects down and around for conforming engagement with the users chin, and includes a plurality of elongatedslots 21 therein for ventilating purposes. ltwill be appreciated that the close conforming relationship of the chin portion 15 with the users chin assists in maintaining face mask 11 in its proper position over the users mouth.
Protective face mask 11 is preferably secured to a helmet such as that designated 22 in FIG. 1 by a pair of straps 23 integrally formed with inner shell member 12 and extending laterally from each side thereof. Each of the straps 23 carries an adjustable buckle 24 the inner side of which defines a snap 25. The snaps 25 are sized to fit over dome-shaped projections 26 which are also integrally formed on the inner shell member 12. Helmet 22 includes a pair of ear straps 27,-and face mask 11 is secured by passing the straps 23 there around in loop fashion and snapping buckles 24 onto the dome-shaped projections 26 as shown.
Although I have shown the improved construction in conjunction with a hockey face mask, it will be appreciated that the construction is equally applicable to various types of articles for protecting vulnerable areas of the human body.
1. Apparatus for protectinga vulnerable area of th human body from forces of impact, comprising:
a. an inner shell member of predetermined shape formed from resilient material;
b. an outer shell member formed from material which is hard relative to the material of said inner member and shaped for cooperable'engagement therewherein the material of said inner shell member comprises ethyl vinyl acetate.
3. The protective apparatus defined by claim 1, wherein the material of said outer shell member comprises polycarbonate resin.
4. The protective apparatus defined by claim 1, wherein the peripheral edges of said inner shell member project toward the outer shell member to define said protective cavities.
5. The protective apparatus defined by claim 4, wherein the peripheral edges of said outer shell member project toward the inner shell member to define said protective cavities.
6. The protective apparatus defined by claim 5, wherein the peripheral edges of said inner shell member overlap corresponding peripheral portions of the outer shell member at least in part to facilitate the resilient deformation of said inner shell member relative to said protective cavities.
7. A protective face mask comprising:
a. inner and outer shell members of generally concave shape and adapted for conforming engagement to a users mouth area, the inner and outer shell members having a plurality of registering breathing openings formed therethrough;
b. the inner shell member being formed from resilient material and the outer shell member being formed from impact resistant material which is hard relative to the material of said inner shell member;
0. the outer peripheral edge of the outer shell member being raised and projecting toward the inner shell member to define recessed spaces along the perimeter of the outer shell member;
(1. the inner shell member having a plurality of depressions formed therein in opposition to the recessed spaces of the outer shell member to define protective cavities therewith, said protective cavities adapted to surround the users mouth, the inner shell member being resiliently deformable relative to the protective cavities upon application of a force of impact to the outer shell member;
e. and means for mechanically securing the inner and outer shell members together.
8. The face mask defined by claim 7, wherein the inner shell member further comprises a downwardly extending portion constructed for conforming engagement to a users chin.
9. The face mask defined by claim 7, and further comprising a pair of straps extending laterally from opposite sides of the main body of the face mask.
10. The face mask defined by claim 9, and further comprising adjustable means for removably affixing the outer end of each strap to the main body of the face mask in loop fashion.
11. The face mask defined by claim 10, wherein the straps are integrally formed with the inner shell member.
12. The face mask defined by claim 7, wherein the inner shell member comprises a shallow recess and the outer shell member is constructed to conform to and be mateably received within the shallow recess.
13. The face mask defined by claim 7, wherein the mechanical connecting means comprises a plurality of spaced barbed members projecting from the outer shell member and a like member of sockets formed within the inner shell member for receiving the barbed members in interlocking engagement,
14. The face mask defined by claim 7, wherein the inner and outer shell members-further comprise a plurality of pairs of registrable apertures formed therethrough, and the mechanical connecting means comprises a rivet constructed for nonremovable insertion through each pair of the registering apertures.
15. The face mask defined by claim 7, wherein the inner shell member comprises ethyl vinyl acetate.
16. The face mask defined by claim 7, wherein the outer shell member comprises polycarbonate resin.
17. The face mask defined by claim 11, wherein said strap affixing means comprises:
a. a fastening member adjustably mounted on the associated strap, the fastening member defining a snap receptacle;
b. and a member projecting outwardly from the outer surface of the inner shell member for cooperable snapping engagement with said snapping member.
18. The face mask defined by claim 7, wherein the peripheral edges of the inner shell member project toward the outer shell member, said peripheral edges overlapping the peripheral portions of the outer shell member at least in part to facilitate the resilient deformation of the inner shell member relative to said protective cavities.
19. Apparatus for protecting a vulnerable area of the human body from forces of impact, comprising: I
an inner shell member of predetermined shape formed from resilient material and defining inner and outer surfaces;
b. an outer shell member formed from material which is hard relative to the material of said inner member and shaped for cooperable engagement therewith;
c. said inner shell member having a plurality of depressions formed therein which project inwardly to define portions raised from said inner surface and protective cavities on the opposite side of said raised portions, said depressions being disposed in a generally encircling manner and thereby adapted to surround said vulnerable area, said raised portions being engageable by said vulnerable area of the human body and resiliently deformable relative to said protective cavities upon application of a force of impact to the outer shell member;
d. and means for securing the inner and outer shell members together.
20. A protective face mask comprising a shell member having a generally concave shape adapted to conform to the mouth area of a user, the shell member defining inner and outer surfaces, the outer surface being rigid to resist forces of impact applied thereto, said shell member having a plurality of depressions formed therein which project inwardly to define portions raised from said inner surface and protective cavities on the opposite side of the raised portions, said raised portions being engageable by the mouth area of the user and resiliently deformable relative to said protective cavities upon application of a force of impact to the outer surface of the shell member, said depressions being disposed in a generally encircling manner and thereby adapted to surround the users mouth.
21. Theface mask defined by claim 20, wherein the shell member further comprises:
a. a downwardly extending portion constructed for ment with said fastening member.
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|U.S. Classification||2/9, 2/10, 2/173|
|International Classification||A42B3/20, A42B3/04, A42B3/08, A42B3/18|
|Cooperative Classification||A42B3/08, A42B3/20|
|European Classification||A42B3/08, A42B3/20|