United States Patent 3725953

A face mask having a rigid transparent member defining a frontal portion two curved side portions allows for wide-angle vision with little distortion. An outwardly bulging nose portion is provided to permit a close fitting on the face and to reduce the mask's entrained mass. A resilient seal formed with an annular cross-sectional configuration is fitted about the periphery of the transparent member to ensure a sealed fitting on a number of differently contoured faces by resiliently compensating for the dissimilar facial features. Including the disclosed seal minimizes discomfort when the mask is worn for prolonged periods of time since the seal does not dig into the fleshy portions of the face.

Johnson, Clarence S. (San Diego, CA)
Langguth, Arthur F. (San Diego, CA)
Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/430, 128/206.26
International Classes:
A61F9/02; B63C11/12; (IPC1-7): A61F9/00
Field of Search:
2/14W,14B,68 128
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3671976FULL VIEW DIVER'S MASK1972-06-27Johnson et al.
3108283Bathing cap1963-10-29Gasaway
3027562Skin diver's mask1962-04-03Widenor
2869133Underwater hood1959-01-20Garbellano
2282220Head band for use in connection with bathing caps1942-05-05Gage

Primary Examiner:
Franklin, Jordan
Assistant Examiner:
Nerbun, Peter
What is claimed is

1. In a diver's face mask including a rigid frontal portion and rigid peripheral portions cooperating together to ensure a wide field of vision and a reduced entrained mass an improvement therefor is provided comprising:

2. A face mask according to claim 1 in which said resilient tubular element is rubber surgical tubing and said resilient layer is neoprene rubber wrapped around and bonded onto said rubber surgical tubing to increase resiliency to allow the comfortable fitting of said face mask to a wider variety of facial contours.

3. A face mask according to claim 1 in which said resilient layer has a Y-shaped cross section with the arms joined to the rigid portions and the base of the stem being bonded onto said tubular element a portion of which is shaped to contain a diver's nose.


The invention described herein may be manufactured and used by or for the Government of the United States of America for governmental purposes without the payment of any royalties thereon or therefor.


There is disclosed and claimed herein an unobvious improvement over the U.S. Pat. No. 3,671,976 entitled "Full View Diver's Mask" by Clarence S. Johnson and Larry E. McKinley.


All who have worn conventional face masks immediately are aware of their limitations, the most obvious being the inclusion of a tunnel-like sleeve reaching between the face plate and the face which blocks peripheral vision. In addition, these masks enclose a large dead-air space making clearing more difficult and the narrow semirigid lip on their inner ends painfully cuts into the fleshy portions of the face. A trend or tendency to avoid these limitations has been to fabricate wide-angle diver's masks, usually molded from transparent plastic sheets. One of the most notable endeavors in this field is disclosed in the U.S. Pat. No. 2,928,097 issued to L. N. Neufeld for his "Underwater Goggles." Neufeld's goggles allow a wide angle of visibility and reduce the entrained mass. However, his rigid design and manner of sealing appear to restrict his manufacturing technique to a single custom-fit mask per wearer. That is to say, with each person having differently contoured facial features, it will be difficult to seal the interior of the mask using Neufeld's semirigid sealing lip. Obviously, a considerable number of differently dimensioned masks must be manufactured to fit the variety of facial contours. The above-identified related patent application discloses a closely fitting face mask but the seal used does not accommodate the wide variety of differently shaped facial contours. A continuing need exists for an adaptively fitting face mask ensuring wide-angle visibility which lends itself to be comfortably worn for prolonged periods of time.


In a diver's face mask having a rigid transparent frontal portion and rigid transparent peripheral portions cooperating to ensure a wide field of vision and a reduced entrained mass, an improvement is provided allowing a comfortable fitting on differently contoured faces. A sealing means is carried on the periphery of the rigid portions and has a pliable annular cross section easily compressible by an elastic head strap to comfortably fit a variety of facial contours for long periods of time while sealing the mask's interior. Thusly configured, only a few differently dimensioned face masks are needed to fit a great majority of divers.

The prime object of the invention is to provide a face mask comfortably worn for prolonged periods of time.

Another object is to provide a face mask configured to accommodate differing facial contours among divers.

A further object is to provide a face-mask seal incorporating pressure compensation to ensure sealing of the mask's interior.

Still another object is to provide a face-mask seal readily removable from the transparent member allowing its subsequent reuse.

These and other objects of the invention will become more readily apparent from the drawings when taken with the ensuing description.


FIG. 1 is an isometric depiction of the improved face mask.

FIG. 2a is a sectional view taken generally along lines 2--2 in FIG. 1.

FIG. 2b is a sectional view of a modification of the improved face mask taken generally along lines 2--2 in FIG. 1.


Referring now to FIG. 1 of the drawings, a face mask 10 is snugly held on a wearer's head by a resilient strap 11 bonded onto opposite lateral extremes of the mask through a pair of conventional buckle elements 12 and 13. A rigid transparent plastic sheet is formed to define a frontal planar portion 14 having a contoured lip 14a and a pair of curved peripheral portions 15 and 16 in accordance with the method disclosed in the above-identified related patent application. An opening is provided through which the nose extends to bring the mask close to the wearer's face for minimizing the entrained mass while ensuring wide angle visibility.

The essence of this invention resides in sealing means 20 and its extension. Inclusion of the sealing means has made possible the fitting of only a few differently dimensioned face masks as described above to the vast majority of divers. Since the frontal and peripheral portions are rigid and are capable of only slight flexure, sealing means 20 is designed to accommodate differing facial features by including a suitably shaped layer of pliable neoprene 21 wrapped about and bonded onto a length of resilient surgical rubber tubing 22.

A neoprene layer having a thickness of approximately an eighth-of-an-inch is highly satisfactory and relatively inexpensive. A continuous extension 21a of the layer is coated on its inner surface with a suitable bonding agent such as the popular neoprene cement commercially known as "Black Magic." The outer surface of contoured lip 14a is similarly coated and the two surfaces are bonded together. Selecting a length of rubber surgical tubing 22 having a relatively large hole results in a more resiliently accommodating seal. When the large diametered tube is elastically compressed, its relatively wide limits of radial flexure allow the seal's fitting across the forehead and around the cheek areas. The tensile force exerted to resilient strap 11 is sufficient to bring the seal to pliably adapt to the diver's facial contours to effect a sealing of the mask's interior from the surrounding water.

The sealing means continuously extends around the periphery of the rigid transparent members and reaches across the area lying between the lip and nose. Along this region, it has been found expedient to extend the outward portion 21a to define a nose pocket 23 of neoprene rubber suitably dimensioned and tailored to provide a cavity for the nose. The opening in the face mask, mentioned above, is covered by the nose pocket which in turn is bonded onto an outer surface of front portion 14 along an outwardmost portion 23a. Thus the mask's watertight integrity is ensured and, as an added bonus, a diver is capable of equalizing the pressure in his middle ear spaces to that of the surroundings by merely pinching off his nose through the flexible nose pocket and forcefully blowing.

Due to the resiliently pliably adaptive makeup of layer 21 and tube 22, the mere tightening of resilient strap 11 about the diver's head pulls them against the contours of the bony and fleshy areas of the face. The neoprene layer and the rubber tube are elastically deformed and tend to flatten out over these contours. Increasing the tensioning of the resilient strap introduces little discomfort which would otherwise be endured had there been a semirigid lip of the type provided on conventional face masks. Using the disclosed sealing means, only a few differently dimensioned face masks need be provided to comfortably outfit the vast majority of divers.

In recognition of the fact that the mask is subjected to fluctuating ambient pressures as a diver changes his depth, pressure compensation holes 22a, only one of which is shown in FIG. 2a, provide fluid communication between the interior of the rubber tube 22 and the mask's interior. As a diver goes deeper and deeper in the water and compensates for the relatively lower internal mask pressure by blowing air through his nostrils, a small portion of the air is passed to the interior of tube 22 via the holes. Were the holes omitted, that is, if tube 22 is sealed to define a dead air space, this air space would collapse under increasing ambient pressure and the mask would loose its seal. It matters not if water enters the tube through the compensation ports since resilient properties of the tube are retained.

A slightly different embodiment is depicted in FIG. 2b showing frontal portion 14' and right peripheral portion 15' mounting a modified sealing means 20'. In this case, the modified sealing means includes a tubing portion 24 having the pressure equalization ports 24a, only one of which being shown in FIG. 2b, joined to a Y-shaped portion 25. The tubing portion and the Y-shaped portion optionally are molded as a single unit or the Y-shaped portion is bonded onto the tubing portion, either configuration being a mere matter of choice. The tubular portion continuously runs around the periphery of the rigid portions of the face mask and beneath the nose in a portion 24'. At this general area, the Y-shaped portion is provided with a bulging nose pocket 26 and the Y-portion is joined to front planar portion 14' at Y-shaped extension 25'.

An advantage of the embodiment set forth in FIG. 2b over that shown in FIG. 2a resides in the fact that the modified sealing means 20' is removably mounted on the transparent portions. The sealing means in this type of face mask is more expensive than the transparent plastic member. If the plastic is scratched or damaged, the advantages of having a removable and remountable sealing means are obvious. The arms of the Y-shaped portions are separated by a slot for either resiliently gripping the transparent member or for being held in place by a small amount of neoprene cement. Merely pulling the Y-shaped portion from a damaged transparent member permits its subsequent reuse.

Obviously, many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in the light of the above teachings, and, it is therefore understood that within the scope of the disclosed inventive concept, the invention may be practiced otherwise than specifically described.