US 3857117 A
An article of waterproof apparel comprising an inflatable canopy composed of two sheets of flexible impervious material secured together along lines arranged to define a plurality of interconnected panels of generally sector shape in the inflated condition, each panel comprising at least one inflatable area and one non-inflatable area, the inflatable areas each substantially surrounding the non-inflatable areas, the panels further being arranged to mutually support each other.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Tenowitz Dec. 31, 1974  WATERPROOF APPAREL 2,864,092 12/1958 Hurst 2/ 177 W  Inventor: Samuel Matis Tenowitz, 58 P1tze1' 2 869 M959 ensanwang 2/177 Rd., Glen Austin, Transvaal FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS Provmce, South Afrlca 633,293 12/1961 Canada 2/177  Filed: Oct. 1, 1973 Primary ExaminerWerner H. Schroeder  Appl' 402631 Assistant Examiner-Peter Nerbun Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Mason, Fenwick &  Foreign Application Priority Data Lawrence May 17, 1973 South Africa 73/3327 Oct. 6, 1972 South Africa 72/7151  ABSTRACT An article of waterproof apparel comprising an inflat-  US. Cl. 2/177, 2/198 able canopy composed of two sheets of flexible imper  Int. Cl. A42b l/20, A42b 1/18-  M is h 2H7. 175 198 89 171 v1ous materlal secured together along lines arranged le 0 earc to define a plurality of interconnected panels of generally sector shape in the inflated condition, each panel 56 R f d 1 comprising at least one inflatable area and one non- 1 e erences l e inflatable area, the inflatable areas each substantially UNITED STATES PATENTS surrounding the non-inflatable areas, the panels fur- 606,982 7/1898 Smyth 2/177 ther being arranged to mutually support each other. 1,560,073 11/1925 Bontempli et a1. 2/177 x 2,418,069 3/1947 Delano 2/177 x 10 Clams, 4 Drawlng Figures PATENTED UECB 1 I974 sum 20F 2 WATERPROOF APPAREL This invention relates to waterproof apparel of the type used to protect a persons head and possibly shoulders from rain, but which may, if desired, be used alternatively for protection against the sun.
Generally used for the above purpose are umbrellas and hats which are usually cumbersome and/or inconvenient to transport, since they are separate articles generally too large to carry in a pocket or small handbag. As a result of this, various inflatable hats and umbrellas have been proposed but as far as Applicant is aware, none of these have been successful, since in general they have been uneconomical to manufacture or not sufficiently rigid in use.
It is the object of this invention to provide an inflatable article of waterproof apparel which may take on the form of an umbrella or hat, may be inexpensively produced and which will be sufficiently rigid and thus wind-resistant in use.
Articles of apparel of the above type will hereinafter be collectively referred to as hats.
In accordance with this invention there is provided an article of waterproof apparel comprising an inflatable canopy composed of two sheets of flexible impervious material secured together along lines arranged to define a plurality of interconnected panels in the inflated condition, each panel comprising at least one inflatable area and one non-inflatable area, the inflatable areas each substantially surrounding the non-inflatable areas, the panels further being arranged to mutually sypport each other.
Further features of the invention provide for the inflatable areas of all panels to be interconnected, for the panels to be roughly of sector shape, for the canopy to be basically circular in shape, for the peripheral edge of the interconnected panels to have a zig-zag configuration generally in the plane of the uninflated article and for the edge to be formed as a continuous inflatable area.
These and other features of the invention will become more apparent from the following description of a preferred embodiment of the invention as applied to an inflatable waterproof hat.
In this description reference will be made to the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of an uninflated hat;
FIG. 2 is an isometric view of the hat in an inflated condition; and
FIGS. 3 and 4 are similar views of an alternative embodiment of the invention.
Whilst the description of this preferred embodiment of the invention is directed towards an inflatable hat, it could equally well be applied to an umbrella, a handle simply being provided for supporting the canopy over a person.
In the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the inflatable hat comprises two superimposed sheets of flexible impervious material welded together along certain lines by high frequency or heat welding depending on the plastics material used. The sheets of material could be, of course, secured to each other along lines using solvent welding or adhesives if these processes are convenient or desired.
The lines 1 define eight uninflatable areas 2 'of roughly sector shape arranged so that adjacent areas have common radially extending inflatable areas 3 be tween them.
It will be seen that each uninflatable area 2 is defined by a pair of diverging lines originating near the centre of the hat and joined adjacent the periphery by a line 4 of zig-zag configuration.
The ends of the lines 1 near the centre of the hat are arranged in a circle so that the radial inflatable areas 3 are all interconnected.
The periphery of the hat is formed by a continuous line 5 spaced from and roughly parallel to the lines 4 of each uninflatable area 2. Thus there is formed a continuous peripheral inflatable area 6 interconnecting the radial, inflatable areas 3 and having a zig-zag configu ration generally in the plane of the article.
It will be noted that the radial, inflatable areas 3 diverge slightly in width from the centre of the hat to its periphery. This is necessary to obtain a bigger ballooning of these areas near the periphery than at the centre when inflated to cause the periphery to contract and the hat to assume a conical shape as shown in FIG. 2.
Contracting of the periphery is made possible by the zig-zag configuration of the peripheral inflatable area 6 which concertinas upon inflation of the hat.
It will be appreciated that the peripheral area 6 provides a fairly rigid periphery to the hat when it is inflated. The hat described above also requires less joining lines than is the case with previously disclosed hats.
The hat will, of course, be provided with a suitable valve 7 and may also be provided with chin straps 8 or an attachment for a handle (not shown).
The valve 7 may be located in the centre of the hat to communicate with the inflatable areas or at the periphery of the hat as is shown in the drawings.
The chin straps 8 are welded to suitable positions on two diametrically opposed non-inflatable areas of two panels. These straps are preferably secured to the sheets of material by a series of transverse welds 9 which extend partway across the straps from each side thereof. Thus, if one such weld tears, the remaining ones will effectively hold the straps onto the hat.
In use, the hat may be easily inflated when required and also deflated for transport by means of the valve.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3 and 4 the hat, in the uninflated condition is of basically hexagonal shape in plan view and is divided into six panels 11 by means of radially extending weld lines 12, which start at a central area of the hat and terminate in a bifurcated weld 13 at the periphery 14 of the hat. The bifurcation thus defined an uninflatable area 15 at the periphery of the hat where each of these weld lines terminates. The purpose served by these non-inflatable peripheral areas will be described below. Each free end 16 of the radially extending welds is enlarged to form an oval or elliptical button on the ends of the welds which are thus arranged in a circle near the centre of the hat. It is considered that this type of button" will be least likely to tear during use, since the six buttons form a disjointed circle with only small spaces 17 there between to enable air to flow to and from the panels from a centrally located valve 18 in the one sheet of material.
Centrally located within each panel is an endless weld line 19 which is spaced inwardly from the weld lines 2 defining a panel and the peripheral weld 20 which extends around the entire periphery of the sheets of material. Each endless weld line 19 extends parallel to the peripheral weld line, parallel to the adjacent parts of the bifurcated weld lines 13 and then inwardly to a point 21 in each panel. The inwardly extending parts 22 of each endless weld line converge slightly with the adjacent radial weld lines 12 to ensure the formation of a conical shaped hat in the inflated condition as illustrated in FIG. 4. However, if a substantially flat hat is required, these parts 22 of the endless weld lines may be parallel to the radial weld line.
Thus the central part 23 of each panel is uninflatable and this part is totally surrounded by an elongated inflatable area.
When inflated, therefore, this hat will form a conical shape as illustrated in FIG. 4 wherein the radially extending inflatable areas provide radial rigidity and support, whilst the peripheral inflatable portions provide peripheral rigidity and support.
It will be noted that when forming the cone shape the periphery of the sheets of material must contract and this contraction is taken up by the uninflatable areas at the periphery. The formation of the cone shape, as indicated above, is formed by the contraction of the radially extending inflatable portions as a result of the ballooning effect upon inflation. This ballooning effect decreases towards the centre of the hat owing to the fact that the parts 22 of the endless weld adjacent the radial welds converge towards the latter. It is, therefore, important that the peripheral noninflatable areas are in line radially with the radial inflatable parts so that the contraction at the periphery can be taken up easily and effectively by the said noninflatable areas 15.
Finally, the hat is provided with a pair of chin straps 24 welded to suitable positions 25 on two diametrically opposed non-inflatable areas 23 of two panels.
Many other arrangements are obviously possible and the above embodiments are only examples thereof which do not restrict the scope of the invention.
What I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
1. An article of waterproof apparel comprising an inflatable canopy which is flat in its uninflated state composed of two superimposed sheets of flexible impervious material bondedly secured together along lines defining a plurality of interconnected panels, each panel comprising at least one inflatable area and one noninflatable area, the inflatable areas each substantially surrounding the non-inflatable areas and being mutually interconnected, and wherein said inflatable areas include a plurality of radially extending areas joined at the center of said article, bifurcated portions at the outer ends of said radially extending areas and linear peripheral portions extending between said bifurcated portions of adjacent radially extending areas, the panels further being arranged to mutually support each other.
2. An article of waterproof apparel as claimed in claim 1 in which the canopy is basically of circular shape with the panels forming sectors thereof.
3. An article of waterproof apparel as claimed in claim 1 in which the peripheral edge of each of the in terconnected panels has a zig-zag configuration generally in the plane of the uninflated article when the article is in uninflated condition.
4. An article of waterproof apparel as claimed in claim 3 in which the peripheral edge is formed as a continuous inflatable area.
5. An article of waterproof apparel as claimed in claim 1 in which the article is provided with a suitable oral valve communicating with the inflatable areas.
6. An article of waterproof apparel as claimed in claim 1 in which the article is provided with suitable chin or like straps.
7. The invention of claim 1 wherein said inflatable areas include a plurality of radially extending areas joined at the center of said article and extending outwardly and downwardly therefrom and a continuous peripheral area interconnecting the outer ends of said radially extending areas.
8. The invention of claim 7 wherein said radially extending areas are of progressively larger dimensions from their inner ends toward their outer ends.
9. The invention of claim 8 in which the peripheral edge of each of the interconnected panels has a zig-zag configuration generally in the plane of the uninflated article when the article is in uninflated condition.
10. The invention ofclaim 1 wherein said radially extending areas include a central weld line dividing said radially extending areas into two components which branch outwardly at their outer ends to define said bi furcated portions and additionally including an uninflated peripheral area within the confines of said bifurcated portions.