Title:
Helmet pack
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to an improved, inflatable liner for a helmet. The liner employs hook and loop fasteners for easy removal and attachment to the inner surfaces of the helmet shell. The liner incorporates a fluid impermeable enclosed volume which may be inflated with water (or air). A valve provides access to the enclosed volume. The liner is of a light-weight, open-framed, semi-hemispheric configuration which allows for air circulation. A soft material is disposed on the open frame structure creating a buffer between the wearer's head and the helmet. A soft, moisture-absorbent fabric encompasses the periphery of the liner. The absorbent fabric functions as a sweatband for absorbing perspiration and for protecting the wearer's forehead from rubbing against the helmet shell.



Inventors:
Jessie, William D. (Speedwell, TN, US)
Application Number:
10/128434
Publication Date:
10/30/2003
Filing Date:
04/24/2002
Assignee:
JESSIE WILLIAM D.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A42B3/12; (IPC1-7): A42B3/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070289061Combination beach towel/ changing cover-upDecember, 2007Dumoulin
20090007307BASEBALL GLOVES WITH FLEXIBILITY FOLDSJanuary, 2009Le et al.
20050060790Three position headpieceMarch, 2005Cho
20090293175Disposable and ambidextrous glove sanderDecember, 2009Cox
20080083051Hat with magnetic accessory attachmentApril, 2008Cunliffe
20080314237Bullet-Proof StructureDecember, 2008Cioffi
20090098957ATHLETIC ARTICLE FOR USE IN FLAG FOOTBALLApril, 2009Hitchcock et al.
20090241241Configurable headgearOctober, 2009Bailey
20060168709Drawstring hatAugust, 2006Rattay
20050010990Four-fingered welding gloveJanuary, 2005Jang
20090019620GOGGLES WITH INTERCHANGEABLE LENSJanuary, 2009Reed



Primary Examiner:
LINDSEY, RODNEY M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard C. Litman (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A cushioning device for protective headgear, said device comprising: a plurality of hollow spoke members having outer surfaces, each one of said hollow spoke members having a first end and a second end; a hollow annular rim member, said hollow annular rim member attached in fluid communication with each first end of said plurality of spoke members; a dome-shaped hollow member having an underside, said dome-shaped member spaced from said hollow annular rim member and attached in fluid communication with each second end of said plurality of spoke members; an interior area formed by said plurality of hollow spoke members, said hollow annular rim and said dome-shaped hollow member; a soft, pliable material disposed and attached in said interior area; a plurality of fasteners, said plurality of fasteners fixed to said outer surfaces of said spoke members; and a moisture-absorbing fabric, said moisture-absorbing fabric disposed completely around said hollow annular rim member.

2. A cushioning device for protective headgear as recited in claim 1, including a valve for controlling the entrance and egress of fluid, said valve disposed on said underside of said dome-shaped hollow member.

3. A cushioning device for protective headgear as recited in claim 2, wherein said plurality of hollow spoke members is spaced around the circumference of said hollow rim member.

4. A cushioning device for protective headgear as recited in claim 3, wherein said plurality of fasteners is composed of hook and loop fasteners.

5. A cushioning device for protective headgear as recited in claim 4, wherein said hollow spoke members, said hollow annular rim and said hollow dome-shaped member are fabricated from a pliable, fluid-impervious plastic material.

6. A cushioning device for protective headgear as recited in claim 4, wherein said hollow spoke members, said hollow annular rim and said hollow dome-shaped member are fabricated from a pliable, fluid-impervious rubberized material.

7. A cushioning device for protective headgear, said device comprising: a plurality of hollow spoke members having outer surfaces, each one of said hollow spoke members having a first end and a second end; a hollow annular rim member, said hollow annular rim member attached in fluid communication with each first end of said plurality of spoke members; a hollow dome-shaped member spaced from said hollow annular rim member, said hollow dome-shaped member attached in fluid communication with each second end of said plurality of spoke members; an interior area formed by said plurality of hollow spoke members, said hollow annular rim and said hollow dome-shaped member; a soft, pliable material disposed and attached in said interior area, said material having an outer surface; a plurality of fasteners, said plurality of fasteners fixed to said outer surfaces of said spoke members; a moisture absorbing fabric, said moisture absorbing fabric disposed completely around said hollow annular rim member; a fluid, said fluid disposed in said hollow spoke members, said hollow annular rim and said hollow annulus; and a valve for controlling the entrance and egress of said fluid said valve disposed on said hollow dome-shaped member.

8. A cushioning device for protective headgear as recited in claim 7, wherein said plurality of hollow spoke members is spaced around the circumference of said hollow rim member.

9. A cushioning device for protective headgear as recited in claim 8, wherein said plurality of fasteners is composed of hook and loop fasteners.

10. A cushioning device for protective headgear as recited in claim 9, wherein said fluid is water.

11. A cushioning device for protective headgear as recited in claim 9, wherein said fluid is air.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention generally relates to protective equipment. More specifically, the present invention is drawn to a liner for protective headgear, especially a combat or policeman's helmet.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] The Kevlar helmet is known to provide adequate protection for soldiers and police officers in life-threatening combat or law enforcement situations. However, the helmet can become uncomfortable during an extended period of wear. Such discomfort could be a distraction when it is necessary that the wearer's full attention be focused on the task at hand. One cause of discomfort is improper fit. Since heads come in various sizes, it is difficult to find the “right” helmet which will provide adequate protection and still be comfortable to wear. Another cause of discomfort is the chaffing of the helmet against the forehead of the wearer. This problem is readily evident when the helmet is removed in that a red or dark band is present on the wearer's forehead. To provide a removable, protective liner for a helmet, which liner does not change the appearance of the soldier's or policeman's uniform, which liner is inflatable to adjust for proper fit and padded in a way to enhance comfort, would be universally welcomed in the art.

[0005] There is a plethora of prior art helmets which employ removable liners. For example U.S. Pat. No. 3,462,763 (Schneider et al.) shows protective headgear having a removable liner. Although the liner is fluid-filled, there is no means to reduce or increase the volume of fluid to adjust the liner for size and comfort.

[0006] U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,600,714 (Cade et al.) and 5,175,889 are drawn to helmets with inflatable liners. The liners however, are permanently secured to the helmet shell and there is no structure for providing comfortable wear at the user's forehead.

[0007] Helmets having removable, fluid-filled liners are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,994,022 (Villari et al.), 4,060,855 (Rappleyea), 4,014,048 (Rappleyea) and 5,014,365 (Schulz). None of the patentees contemplate incorporating structure for insuring a comfortable fit at the wearers forehead.

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 4,575,871 (Auerbach et al.) Shows a flexible liner used to form a water reservoir in an army helmet. The liner is not inflatable and cannot be utilized for size and comfort adjustment.

[0009] None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singularly or in combination, is seen to disclose a fluid-filled liner for a helmet as will subsequently be described and claimed in the instant invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] The instant invention relates to an improved, inflatable liner for a helmet. The liner employs hook and loop fasteners for easy removal and attachment to the inner surfaces of the helmet shell. The liner incorporates a fluid impermeable volume, which volume may be inflated with water (or air). A valve provides access to the enclosed volume. Besides affording a high degree of protection against blows, impacts and the like, the inflatable liner can be adjusted to a comfortable fit.

[0011] The liner is of a light-weight, open-framed, semi-hemispheric configuration which allows for air circulation. The liner may be inflated with cold water for desert or high temperature situations. Alternatively, warm water can be employed in cold temperature scenarios. If necessary, water from the liner can be used to slake thirst in emergency hydration situations. A soft material is disposed on the open frame structure for creating a buffer between the wearer's head and the helmet. The liner is provided with an annular rim and a soft, moisture-absorbent fabric encompasses the circumference of the annular rim. The absorbent fabric functions as a sweatband for absorbing perspiration and for protecting the wearer's forehead from rubbing against the helmet shell.

[0012] Accordingly, it is a principal object of the invention to provide a liner for a helmet, which liner will afford a high degree of protection against impacts, blows and the like.

[0013] It is another object of the invention to provide a liner for a helmet, which liner incorporates a hydraulic cushioning assembly.

[0014] It is a further object of the invention to provide a liner for a helmet, which liner can be removably attached to the inner surfaces of the helmet.

[0015] Still another object of the invention is to provide a liner for a helmet, which liner can be adjusted for size and comfort.

[0016] It is an object of the invention to provide improved elements and arrangements thereof for the purposes described which are inexpensive, dependable and fully effective in accomplishing their intended purposes.

[0017] These and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] FIG. 1 is an environmental, exploded, perspective view of a helmet and liner according to the present invention.

[0019] FIG. 2 is a plan view of an assembled helmet and liner according to the present invention.

[0020] Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0021] Attention is directed to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings wherein the liner of the present invention is generally indicated at 10. As noted above, liner 10 is adapted for insertion into a combat-type helmet H. Helmet H is of the conventional Kevlar type used by combat troops and law enforcement officers and is not, per se, part of the inventive concept. Liner 10 is fabricated from a soft, durable, fluid-impermeable rubber or plastic material and is configured as a semi-hemispherical, open-framed member having a continuous, circumferential, lower hollow rim 12. Hollow spokes 14 are spaced around rim 12 and extend upwardly therefrom. There are no spokes in the ear area of the liner to allow for better air circulation and to prevent concussion from heavy blows or explosions. As contemplated, the spokes will be set one to two inches in from of and behind the ear area. Spokes 14 terminate at their upper ends in an upper, hollow dome-shaped member 16. Hollow rim 12, hollow spokes 14 and hollow member 16 are in fluid communication whereby liner 10 may be inflated with water. Although water is the preferred inflation medium, it should be noted that other suitable fluids such as air may be utilized if desired. A valve 18 (shown in phantom lines) positioned on the under side of member 16 communicates with the hollow interior of liner 10 to permit the fluid to be added or extracted from the liner without removing the liner from the helmet. A soft flexible material 20 is disposed to cover the interior area of liner 10. Material 20 may be of any suitable type (cotton, nylon, etc.) and is positioned so that inner surfaces thereof will form a buffer between the wearer's head and the liner 10. A series of hook and loop type fasteners 22 are positioned on the outer surfaces of spokes material 14 and rim 12. Rim 12 is completely covered by a moisture absorbing fabric 24.

[0022] In use, liner water is added to inflate liner 10 to adjust the liner to the head size and comfort level of the wearer. The liner is then inserted in helmet H so that hook and loop fasteners 22 are mated with their counterparts (not shown) mounted on the inner surface of the helmet. As noted above, wearing comfort is greatly enhanced since material 20 will act as a buffer between the liner and the head of a wearer and moisture absorbing fabric 24 will cushion the wearer's forehead from direct contact with rim 12 and absorb perspiration to keep the same from dripping into the wearer's eyes.

[0023] Although described as usable with a combat-type helmet, it is evident that the instant invention could easily be adapted to other protective head wear such as helmets for cyclists, skaters, skiers, etc.

[0024] It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiment described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.