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Publication numberUS616439 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 20, 1898
Filing dateNov 29, 1897
Publication numberUS 616439 A, US 616439A, US-A-616439, US616439 A, US616439A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
US 616439 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

No. 6|6,439. Patented Dec. 20, |898.



(Application ld Nov. 29, 1897.)

(No Model.)



'SPECIFICATION forming part of Letters Patent No. 616,439, dated December 20, 1898. l

Application led November 29, 1897. Serial No. 660,1b9. (N o model.)

To all whom, it may concern.-

Be it known that I, GEORGE B. SHEPHERD, a citizen of the United States, residing at Grayson, in the county of Carter and State of Kentucky, have invented a new and useful Life-Preserver, of which the following is a specification.

This invention relates to life-preservers, its object being to provide acasing of flexible waterproof material supported on a suitable frame and adapted to entirely incase the wearer and exclude water under all ordinary circumstances. The frame and casing when used as a lifepreserver will be non-collapsible and vwill contain enough air to give it sufcient buoyancy to iloat and support the wearer.

The invention also contemplates providing a propelling device to be operated by the wearer from the inside of the casing and also devices for the admission of fresh .air to and the discharge of vitiated air from the casing.

With these and other objects in view the invention consists of the several details of structed that 4when the braces are straight' construction and combination of parts, as will be hereinafter fully described, and particularly pointed out in the claims.

In the drawings, Figure 1 is a perspective view, partly broken away, of la life-preserver made in accordance with my invention, showing the occupant in position therein. Fig. 2 is a side elevation of the frame in its extended position. Fig. 3 is a similari view showing the frame in its collapsed position. Fig. Iiis a sectional detail showing the manner of securing the glass or other transparent material in position'. Fig. 5 is au enlarged view, partly in section, of the propelling device. Fig. 6 is a sectional view of the iioat to which the air-tubes are connected. Fig. 7 is a sectional detail showing the manner of connecting the casing to the frame.

Similar referencenumerals indicate siniilar parts in the several gures.

The frame of the device consists of a series of h oops, (indicated by 1,) preferably four in number, and connected to each other by a series of folding and locking braces 2, so conened out they will automatically lock the frame in its extended position, as shown in Fig. 2, and when bent at their joints will perv suitable material, such as webbing or leather,

secured at one end to the lower hoop, as indicated at 4, and detachably and adj ustably connected at its other end to the hoop at a pointdirectly opposite, as indicated at 5. Asv

shown in the drawings, abutton is secured to the free end of the strap, which is adapted to be engaged with any one of a series of buttonholes formed in the strap. It is obvious, however, that other means for detach ably connecting this end of the strap tothe hoop may be employed, if desired.

6 indicates the casing, made of any-suitable Y flexible waterproof material, and this casing hasv a bodyv portion of suihcient size to fit over the frame and to which it is connected by a series of straps 7, which are secured tothe casing and buttoned or buckled over the respective hoops.

8 indicates twol extensions to receive the feet and legs of the wearer, and thus permit the wearer to walk freely when necessary. The hoops are arranged vat intervals at the body portion of the casing above the leg extensions, which are iiexible, while the body portion is held rigid and prevented from collapsing.- The casing -is also provided with a sleeve 9 on each side to receive the arms of the wearer, and these sleeves will pref' erably be glove-shaped at their ends in' order to permit greater freedom in the use-of the fingers. be somewhat contracted, if desired, and will be open to permit the wearer to put the preserver on, and in order to'close the open end I provide a draw-stringv 10, which can be operated from inside the casing, so that the occupant can open or close the upper end of the casing. at pleasure. The frame and casing will be so connected that when the frame is .expanded the upper hoop will be just above the' shoulder of the'occupant and the sleeves extend out between the upper hoop and the one immediatelyA below it. The sleeves will The upper end of the casing may IOC ' be of suicient size to permit the occupant of the preserver to easily insert or withdraw his arms. l Y 11 indicates a pocket formed circumferentially around the casing, exterior thereof, and is adapted to receive buoyant material of any description in order to" prevent the device from sinking. Preferably this pocket will be arranged about opposite the shoulders of the occupant, and instead of filling it with buoyant material it may be aninfiated tube. The casing may be otherwise padded with buoyant-material, if desired.

12 indicates a block secured, preferably, to the inner face of the third hoop from the top of the frame, and 13 isametal plate secured on the outer face of the casing, with a strip of rubber or similar material (indicated by 14) interposed between it and the casing. Alin# ing openings Aare formed through the block 12, the hoop to which it is attached, the casing, the strip of rubber 14, and the metal plate 13, and a Shaft 15 is journaled in the opening thus formed and projects-outwardly beyond the casing. This shaft is intended to .be a permanent attachment to the preserver and is designed to revolve water-tight in its bearing.

16 indicates a crank-handle which can be detachably connected to the inner end of the shaft in order that the occupant of the preserver can rotate the shaft when desired.

17 indicates a U-shaped frame formed of a piece of stiff wire and is provided with laterally-extending.,r coils 18 at the upper ends of its arms and with a downwardly-extending arm 19. which is adapted to fit between the lugs 2O on the plate 13 when the frame is in position.

21 indicates a rudder consisting of a piece of sheet metal, andA in order to secure this rudder to the frame I preferably form a horizontally-extending loop 22 from one of the endportions of the Wire of which the frame is formed and secure the rudder .to the loop by folding a series of spurs 23, which are formed on the edges of the rudder, over onto the sides of the loop. I also fold one end of the rudder around the outer arm of the frame 17. The rudder may, however, be attached to the frame in any other suitable manner.

24 indicates a propeller which is mounted upon the shaft l between the arms of. the frame 17 an dsecu red thereon by set-screws25.l

26 indicates a nut on the outer end of the shaft, by means of which the frame 17 can be clamped in position on the shaft, and preferably a washer 26 will be' inserted between the nut and the end of the coil. By removing the nut the .frame and the propeller can be easily removed from the shaft when not required for use. f

27 indicates a float preferablyprovided with two chambers, (indicated by 28 and 29,) which openout at the top of the float. A pair of rubber tubes 30 lead from the lower ends of the respective chambers and are secured to the casing with which they communicate just above the top hoop. One of these tubes is provided with an extension 3l to be held in the mouth of the occupant of the preserver, and fresh air can thus be drawn in through the tube, while the -other tube will -serve as 'a conduit for the escape ofvitiated air. In order to maintain the float in proper position, I preferably attach a small weight 32 to itslower end, and it is of course to be understood that the iioat can be of any length desired in order that its upper end will be above the water under all ordinary circumstances. i 1

33 indicates a pane of glass or other suitable transparent material supported in the frame 34, which is secured in the casing in any suitable manner to make a water-tight joint between them.

In order to put the preserver on, the case will be opened at its upper end and the frame collapsed, as shown in Fig. 3, and the occupant can then insert his legs into the sections 8, after which he can by grasping the upper hoop extend the frame to the position shown in Fig. 2, and then, if necessary, close the open top ofthe casing by pulling on the draw` string` 10. When the occupant is in the casing, he will straddle the strap 3, and the latl ter willrtransfer the weight of his body to the frame and practically form a seat, leaving him free to use his legs for any purpose when in the water. The frame will be of sucient size to afford arm-room to turn the crank 16, and the occupant will thus be enabled to propel himself, and the propeller will be so constructed that the occupant will move backwardly. The rudder 21 is designed simply to keep the preserver in a predetermined course, and when it is desired to change the course the occupant will operate his legs to steer the device.

From the foregoing description it is obvious that I have produced an exceedingly efficient lifepreserver,which will eectually protect the occupant from the water and in which he will be enabled to iioat for a considerable IOO IOS


time without much discomfort; also, that the occupant will be enabled to walk with con,-

v siderable freedom when incased by the pre.-


While especiallydesignedfor use as a lifepreserven the apparatus may also be used as be opened, so as to permit the occupants head to project through it, and it is obvious that instead of using the propeller the occupant can by inserting his arms into the sleeves of the preserver use his arms and feet for the purpose of propelling and steering.

It will be understood that changes in the form, proportion, and the minor details of construction may be resorted to without departing from the spirit or sacrificing any of the advantages of this invention.

IIaving thus described the invention, what I claim is 1. In a life-preserver, the combination of a exible waterproof casing provided with legs, a series of hoops arranged at intervals at the body portion of the casing above the legs, and a series of folding braces connecting the hoops and adapted to space the same apart and lock them in such position, whereby the body portion of the casing is rendered rigid and pre vented from collapsing, substantially as described.

2. In a life-preserver, the combination of a frame formed of a series of hoops connected together by a series of folding and locking braces, a Waterproof casing fitted over the frame and provided with sleeves and legs closed at their outer ends,and a series of straps secured to the casing and detachably connected to the hoops, substantially as described.

3. In a life-preserver, the combination of a frame formed of a series of hoops connected together by a series of/folding and locking braces, anda waterproof casing fitted over the frame and connected thereto, said casing being provided with sleeves and legs closed at their outer ends, and a strap secured to the lower hoop at opposite points to be straddled by and forming a support for the occupant, substantially as described.

4. In a life-preserver, the combination of a casing, a fioat open at the top and provided with two separate compartments, a pair of air-tubes connected at their outer ends to the bottom of the oat and communicating with the compartments thereof, the inner ends of the tubes being connected with the casing and one of the tubes having an extension located within the casing, and a weight connected with the float, substantially as described.

5. In a life-preserver, the combination of a frame substantially as described, a waterproof casing fitted over the frame, a shaft supported towork water-tight in the casing and frame, a propeller on the shaft exterior of the casing, and a crank-handle on the shaft inside the casing, substantially as specified.

6. In a life-preserver, the combination of a frame substantially as described, a waterproof casingfit-ted over the frame, a shaft supported to work water-tight in the casing and frame, a propeller on the shaft exterior of the casing, a rudder projecting in front of the pro-f peller, and a crank-handle inside the casing, substantially as specified.

7. In a life-preserver, the combination of a frame substantially as described, a waterproof casing fitted over the frame, a shaft supported to work water-tight in the casing and frame, a U-shaped frame loosely mounted on the shaft exterior of the casing, a propeller secured on the shaft, to turn therewith, between the arms of the U -shaped frame, a rudder secured to the U-shaped frame and projecting in advance thereof, and a crank-handle on the shaft inside the casing, substantially as specified.

In testimony that I claim the foregoing as my own I have hereto aiiixed my signature in the presence oftwo witnesses.



J. W. STROTHER, L. -W. Woons.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4342278 *Oct 15, 1980Aug 3, 1982Horan John JMiniature inflatable containment and dry-water-entry vessels
US4943252 *Jun 9, 1988Jul 24, 1990Manix Thomas JAvalanche flotation ball
US6354295Jan 8, 1999Mar 12, 2002Oceans For Youth FoundationSupplied air snorkeling device
WO1982001358A1 *Oct 15, 1981Apr 29, 1982John J HoranMiniature inflatable containment and dry-water-entry vessels
Cooperative ClassificationB63H16/12