Title:
Decorative protective helmet
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A molded decorative protective helmet, which can be made in desirable shapes. Standard semi-hemispherical motorcycle helmets serve their protective purpose very well but have an undesirable appearance to many motorcyclists. A hard molded protective helmet made to have the appearance of a more desirable soft cloth or leather cap will promote motorcycle helmet use resulting in greater protection to a user. The molded protective helmet can have a bill or raised outer edges, which can serve as a point of first contact in the event of a fall by the motorcyclist. This point of first contact can crumble and absorb some of the force of the fall, thus avoiding transmitting the force to a motorcyclist's head. The helmet can be molded from a softer rigid outer covering and a harder inner shell and may have a liner which can be individually sized for a user's head.



Inventors:
Fowler, David B. (Bolivia, NC, US)
Application Number:
10/637389
Publication Date:
02/10/2005
Filing Date:
08/07/2003
Assignee:
FOWLER DAVID B.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A42B1/08; A42B3/04; A42B3/06; (IPC1-7): A42B1/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LINDSEY, RODNEY M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael E. Mauney (Southport, NC, US)
Claims:
1. (Canceled)

2. (Canceled)

3. (Canceled)

4. (Canceled)

5. (Canceled)

6. (Canceled)

7. (Canceled)

8. (Canceled)

9. (Canceled)

10. (Canceled)

11. (Canceled)

12. (Canceled)

13. (Canceled)

14. (Canceled)

15. (Canceled)

16. (Canceled)

17. A decorative protective motorcycle cap comprising: (a) a motorcycle cap molded of rigid protective material, within a first down side of said motorcycle cap having a generally circular opening, whereby said general circular opening slips onto a user's head; (b) on a first end of said motorcycle cap, above said first down side with said opening, a bill extending outwardly from said first end and forming a general quarter moon shape whereby said bill effectively shades a portion of a user's head when said decorative protective motorcycle cap is on a user's head; (c) a crown portion of said motorcycle cap extending above said first down side and forming an enclosure, said crown portion having irregularly shaped a generally rounded shape with a raised circular ridge in proximity a second up side of said motorcycle cap.

18. A decorative protective motorcycle cap of claim 17 wherein said decorative protective motorcycle cap further includes a removable inner liner; said removable inner liner sizeable to individual sizes of a user.

19. A decorative protective motorcycle cap of claim 18 wherein said decorative protective motorcycle cap is molded from a plastic material.

20. A decorative protective motorcycle cap of claim 19 wherein there is a first outer plastic material forming an outer surface of said decorative protective motorcycle cap and a second inner plastic material forming an inner liner material of said decorative protective motorcycle cap.

21. A decorative protective motorcycle cap of claim 20 wherein said first outer surface is molded of a softer material than said second inner material.

22. A decorative protective kepi hat for use by a motorcyclist comprising: (a) a kepi hat molded of rigid protective material with a first down side of said kepi hat having a generally circular opening whereby said generally circular opening slips onto a user's head; (b) on a first end of said kepi hat above said first down side with said opening a bill extending outwardly from said first end forming a generally quarter-moon shape whereby said bill effectively shades a portion of a user's head when said decorative protective kepi hat is on the user's head; (c) a crown portion of said kepi hat generally flat and circular in shape; said crown portion inclined upwardly from said first end of said kepi hat to a second end of said kepi hat; said second end of said kepi hat distal from said bill of said kepi hat.

23. A decorative protective kepi hat for use by a motorcyclist of claim 22 wherein said decorative protective motorcycle cap further includes a removable inner liner; said removable inner liner sizeable to individual sizes of a user.

24. A decorative protective kepi hat for use by a motorcyclist of claim 23 wherein said decorative protective motorcycle cap is molded from a plastic material.

25. A decorative protective kepi hat for use by a motorcyclist of claim 24 wherein there is a first outer plastic material forming an outer surface of said decorative protective motorcycle cap and a second inner plastic material forming an inner liner material of said decorative protective motorcycle cap.

26. A decorative protective kepi hat for use by a motorcyclist of claim 25 wherein said first outer surface is molded of a softer material than said second inner material.

27. A decorative protective campaign hat for use by a motorcyclist comprising: (a) a campaign hat molded of rigid protective material with a first down said of said campaign hat having a generally circular opening whereby said generally circular opening slips onto a user's head; (b) in proximity to said first down side a brim extends all the way around said generally circular opening; said brim generally flat in and extending outwardly from said first end of said campaign hat; (c) a crown portion of said campaign hat extending above said first down side culminating in a flattened point with at least two indentations formed in said crown in proximity to said flattened point.

28. A decorative protective campaign hat for use by a motorcyclist of claim 27 wherein said decorative protective motorcycle cap further includes a removable inner liner; said removable inner liner sizeable to individual sizes of a user.

29. A decorative protective campaign hat for use by a motorcyclist of claim 28 wherein said decorative protective motorcycle cap is molded from a plastic material.

30. A decorative protective campaign hat for use by a motorcyclist of claim 29 wherein there is a first outer plastic material forming an outer surface of said decorative protective motorcycle cap and a second inner plastic material forming an inner liner material of said decorative protective motorcycle cap.

31. A decorative protective campaign hat for use by a motorcyclist of claim 230 wherein said first outer surface is molded of a softer material than said second inner material.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to protective helmets. More particularly, it relates to protective helmets that not only provide protection from blows to the head, but does so in the most pleasing aesthetic fashion possible.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It has long been recognized there is a need for combining a pleasing aesthetic appearance with a protective helmet. For example, M. S. Plastino, U.S. Pat. No. 3,203,003, discloses an inner protective shell which fits inside of and is concealed by an outer covering which can be manufactured in a variety of shapes. Similar ideas are seen in Plastino, U.S. Pat. No. 3,103,015, in which there is a hard inner liner with a removable outer cover which may be shaped like a cap or conventional hat with a brim.

One area where there are strict requirements for the appearance of head gear is in the field of equestrian show helmets. These helmets must have particular features. Consequently, it is a challenge to make a protective helmet that also meets the appearance requirements. One such attempt is Plastino, U.S. Pat. No. 4,345,336. This discloses a head gear wherein a cover fits over a resilient shell. The cover may be attached and detached from the resilient shell. A similar design is seen in Broersma, et al, U.S. Pat. No. 5,718,004. In the Broersma approach, a generally circular helmet has additional elements which are required in equestrian shows including the helmet be covered in black velvet, have a forward brim, and a decorative top button. The helmet itself is covered with a velvet-like decorative material to meet the requirements of the appearance requirements for equestrian events.

A similar approach can be seen in Andersen, U.S. Pat. No. 5,289,591. In Andersen, a protective plastic insert is placed inside a conventional golf cap. The insert is sized to adjust to size changes of the golf caps which are usually size adjustable. Thus, a single sized insert will fit inside most golf caps. The idea is for a user to be able to protect himself against the impact of a golf ball while still wearing a conventional appearance golf cap.

One field in which there is a number of designs for helmets are for motorcycles. A motorcycle rider may be traveling at high speed. In many states the rider is required to wear a protective helmet. Many of these helmets cover the user's entire head with a visor which folds down and protects the face. One example of this type of helmet is Kamata, U.S. Pat. No. 5,093,937. Kamata provides a vent to provide ventilation for the helmet which otherwise might be hot.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Despite this earlier work, there is still the need, especially in motorcycle helmets, for a helmet that combines safety with aesthetic features. Currently placing a decorative cover on a hard protective helmet has several drawbacks. First, the outside decorative cover is apt to wear out, get dirty, become detached from the helmet or lost at inconvenient times and require replacement. Secondly, adding an outside cover to the inner helmet adds weight. Third, adding an outside cover can reduce airflow through the helmet, hence make the helmet hotter. Consequently, if the protective shell itself could be formed in such a way as to provide a pleasing aesthetic appearance while maintaining protective features and an acceptable degree of comfort, it would be an advance in the art.

The current invention is a motorcycle helmet. It is believed it will find its widest application in motorcycle helmets since many motorcycle riders, especially those who may be devoted to a particular brand of motorcycle such as Harley-Davidson that carries a certain rebel image may disdain wearing a standard helmet. For a Harley-Davidson rider, wearing a protective helmet is reminiscent of casual motorcycle riders who might ride a motorcycle like those provided by Honda or other Japanese manufacturers. Riders of a Harley-Davidson may be not the least bit interested in being identified as a rider of a Honda motorcycle, advertised as “the nicest people”. Consequently, many motorcyclists prefer to ride bareheaded if at all possible, disdaining a helmet. However, many states require a helmet. Consequently, if the helmet could be shaped in a way that matches the romance and the rebel image associated with motorcycles, especially those associated with American made or Harley-Davidson motorcycles, would provide important protective advantages. An unworn helmet is of no use whatsoever. Thus, a protective helmet that satisfies the need for an aesthetically pleasing appearance is more likely to be worn.

The current invention is a molded, hard protective shell using current materials and manufacturing methods. A hard protective shell need not appear as the disdained hemispherical shaped motorcycle helmet. It can be molded to appear like a soft motorcycle hat, not unlike the hat worn by Marlon Brando as a motorcyclist in the landmark motorcycle movie “The Wild Ones”. Or, it could be molded to appear like a kepi hat worn by fighters in the Civil War, most notably those fighting for the Confederacy. Or, it could be molded into a variety of other pleasing, aesthetic shapes, because the pleasing appearance is itself molded into the very durable protective helmet material. It is durable, long lasting, cannot be lost or detached from the helmet itself. The shape of the helmet itself can form a “crush zone” which provides protection and avoids transmitting forces to the head inside of the helmet. It can be molded in such a way as to be light weight, comfortable and cool and at the same time provide an important appearance advantage which promotes wearing of the helmet even in states which do not require a helmet. The helmets can be made attractive enough to where they themselves become a desirable object and can be treated as a piece of collectible art, as well as a functional helmet.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a cross section of one embodiment of the current invention and FIG. 1B is a fabric liner sized to fit individuals to go within the embodiment of FIG. 1A.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the current invention as seen from above and from the outside and FIG. 2B is this embodiment on the head of a user.

FIG. 3A shows a prior art helmet.

FIGS. 3B, 3C, 3D, and 3E show crumple zones of the current invention.

FIGS. 4A and 4B shows aesthetic variations of the decorative protective helmet.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A and 1B show in cross section one simplified embodiment of this invention. The actual embodiment such as shown in FIG. 2 will be considerably more stylized and complex in shape than the simple cut-away form shown in FIG. 1A. The decorative protective helmet (10) will ordinarily molded into a particular shape. A female mould for the particular decorative protective helmet (10) will be made according to the desired shape. A durable, hard, but attractive shell (20) will be made from an appropriate material to form the outer part of the decorative protective helmet (10). The outer shell (20) can be textured to be made to appear as a type of cloth. It can appear to have seams, stitch marks, or other features that will simulate the appearance of a attractive material other than a hard durable prior art hemispherical shape commonly associated with protective motorcycle helmets (See FIG. 3A). To make the outer shell (20), a material, preferably plastic or polymer, will be placed outside the female die or mold and then molded to fit within the female die by various male die forming members which will force the material, which will be made malleable either by heat or by chemical treatment, into the female die to fully conform with the shape of the female die. In order to provide sufficient strength to the outer material chosen, there will ordinarily be a stronger inner shell (30) which will be applied on the inside of the outer shell (20). This ordinarily will be a material like the material that goes by the trade name Kevlar. There are other varieties of extremely strong light weight polymer materials like Kevlar, nylon and the like which can be cured with appropriate resins to provide sufficient rigidity and protective features to the decorative protective helmet (10) so that it will pass appropriate safety tests to be licensed for motorcycle use. The entire decorative protective helmet (10) could be formed from such a stronger Kevlar-like material. However, it is believed for manufacturing convenience and for aesthetic reasons, that a two piece construction is more practical using current manufacturing methods. The decorative protective helmet (10) is not only a pleasing covering, but also has a protective function. This surface, by its shape, can form a crumple or tear zone in the event of the contact of the helmet with a hard surface such as the ground. When the decorative protective helmet (10) is constructed with the outer shell (20) and the inner shell (30), the somewhat softer outer shell (20) accentuates the crumpling to absorb forces that otherwise might be transmitted to the wearer of the helmet. FIG. 1B shows in cut-a-way a woven inner lining (50), which can be placed inside the decorative protective helmet (10). Although decorative protective helmet (10) could be made without the inner lining (50), it is believed it is more practical to make the decorative outer helmet (10) in a limited number of sizes while preparing to have a sized inner liner (50) to fit inside the helmet. This makes it possible to have decorative protective helmets (10) in small, medium and large, but then to individually size the inner liner (50) to standard hat sizes such as 67/8, 7, 71/8 and so on. Also, the inner liner (50) can be made of modern materials which provide a high degree of comfort. Among these materials are those that wick away moisture and provide cooling by providing a surface from which moisture such as sweat readily evaporates. Secondly, the inner liner (50) can be made in part with various gel compounds which provide cooling when cooling is necessary and provide heat when heat is necessary. These various materials are sold under various trade names such as DuPont Cool Max, Dry Fit and so.

FIG. 2 shows the decorative protective helmet (10) seen from above in one embodiment. This is an embodiment much like the cap worn by motorcycle policemen fifty years ago or like the cap worn by Marion Brando in the movie “The Wild Ones”. It has a circular bill (100) that extends around the front part of decorative protective helmet (10). There is also a ridge (200) that rises above and extends around and away from the bottom band (300). This shape for a decorative protective helmet (10) is desirable for a variety of reasons. First, it is traditionally associated with motorcyclists including motorcycle policemen as well as earlier motorcyclists and members of motorcycle groups or organizations. Another feature of this particular shape is the bill (100). The bill (100) not only provides shade for the face of a rider who is using it, but also serves a protective function. As will be shown in FIG. 3B, the bill (100) extends out and away from the face of the user. Once the decorative protective helmet (10) is secured on a user, should a user fall in a face down, toward the ground, direction, the decorative protective helmet (10) and bill (100) will provide a point of first contact, shielding and holding a user's face away from the ground from the first impact. The decorative protective helmet (10) itself, including the bill (100) is molded with an outer shell (20) as seen in FIG. 1A and an inner rigid shell (30) as seen in FIG. 1A. Consequently, the bill (100) will begin to break away and provide a cushioning effect for a user rather than transmitting the shock directly to a user's head. Likewise, the extended ridge (200) which is around and away from the band (300) also serves the same effect as is seen in FIG. 3D. FIG. 2A shows the decorative protective helmet on the head of a user. The pleasing appearance is in contrast to the sterile look of a prior art helmet seen in FIG. 3A.

FIG. 3A shows a prior art motorcycle helmet (500). It should be understood that large molded protective helmets like those worn by race car drivers, astronauts, and the like may provide considerably more protection than will the applicant's decorative protective helmet (10). However, it will be understood that a helmet, no matter how much potential protection such a helmet may provide, provides no protection unless it is on a user's head at the time of an accident. In fact, many motorcycle riders disdain wearing helmets and have campaigned against helmet laws. When they are riding their motorcycle in a state where a helmet is required, they frequently wear a small, semi-hemispherical helmet, not much larger than a skull cap or similar configuration even smaller than the prior art helmet (500) in FIG. 3A on the head of a user. It is toward this motorcycle rider and toward their aesthetic needs that this invention is directed. It is believed that this kind of rider will more readily use a helmet if the helmet itself meets their need for an attractive helmet. Consequently, a decorative protective helmet (10) shaped in a desirable form such as a kepi hat or a captain's/motorcyclist hat, will be much more likely to be worn than a much safer protective helmet, no matter how much more protection that safer helmet might provide than the decorative protective helmet (10) of the applicant's invention.

Moreover, as is shown in FIG. 3B, decorative features such as a bill (100) may also serve an important protective function. In FIG. 3B, the head of the user is shown coming in contact with a hard surface such as ground or pavement. This is something a user might experience if the motorcycle turned on its side and the user was thrown from the motorcycle in a collision with an obstacle in front of the user. In FIG. 3B, the head of the user has not yet contacted the ground (600), but the bill (100) of the decorative protective helmet (10) is beginning contact with the ground (600). In FIG. 3C, the same view is shown after the contact with the ground (600) for the decorative protective helmet (10) and the bill (100). Here, the bill (100) has crumpled while simultaneously holding the user away from the ground (600). This crumpling absorbs some of the force that would otherwise be transmitted to the skull of a user. The energy required to crumple the bill (100) of the decorative protective helmet (10) is absorbed by the crumpling of the bill (100) and not transmitted to a user, thus serving an important protective purpose, as well as the inherent decorative purpose that a bill (100) may serve. FIG. 3D shows a side view of the decorative protective helmet (10) seen FIG. 2 where a user's head is again about to contact the ground (600). Here, the extended ridge (200) extends around, and away from, the head of a user and will contact the ground (600) first. As is seen in FIG. 3E, the ridge (200) has crumpled absorbing energy, while maintaining a distance between the head of a user and the ground (600). In this fashion, a user who disdains a motorcycle helmet providing the most protection, like a prior art helmet (500) seen in FIG. 3A, may be persuaded to wear the decorative protective helmet (10). The features that provide the attractiveness to the decorative protective helmet (10), such as the bill (100) or the ridge (200), can also be constructed to provide crumple zones and protective features not found in the prior art helmet (500) seen in FIG. 3A.

FIG. 4A shows decorative protective helmet (10) in rough form as a kepi hat (320), not unlike those worn both in the north and in the south by infantrymen in the Civil War. These hats are not like a baseball hat, which is typically is rounded on the top, but rather the kepi hat (320) has a distinct rim (330) that provides for a relatively flat top that is inclined from the rear of the head of the user to the forehead of the user. The sides of the kepi hat (320) come down to the hat band (340) and bill (130) with relatively vertical sides until you approach the bill (130) of the kepi hat (320), where there is an inclined angle construction.

FIG. 4B shows the decorative protective helmet (10) as a campaign hat (350), sometimes called a “drill instructors hat” or a “Smokey the Bear hat.” These hats are commonly worn by drill instructors in basic training in the Marine Corp and in the Army and oftentimes worn by highway patrol troopers. They are also worn by the cartoon figure used by the Forestry Service to promote fire safety called “Smokey the Bear.” Hence, it is sometimes called a “Smokey the Bear hat.” These hats are characterized by a relatively wide flat brim (230), a hat band (222), and with a high crown (360), which has indentations in the crown of the hat.

It will be noted that the decorative protective kepi hat (320) has a bill (130) which provides protection for the front of the user, while the campaign hat (350) has a wide flat brim (230) and a high crown (360). Again, when these are made of rigid material, they provide a crumple zone and provide extra protection. Moreover, the association with the infantrymen in the War Between the States or Civil War, on the one hand, or the association with drill instructors or highway patrolmen may make these hats aesthetically attractive to certain customers and make them more likely to be worn than a less attractive hat.

It will be appreciated by one of skill in the art that there could be variations on the underlying theme of an attractive outside shape designed to entice a motorcyclist who may otherwise disdain a standard shaped helmet, to wear the decorative protective helmet provided in that particular pleasing aesthetic shape. There is a whole catalog of shapes that might be useful or pleasing to a particular category of users. These can include distinctive types of sport hats such as baseball caps, or other kinds of military hats such as sailor hat. An extreme example could even look like a feathered head dress of an indian chief, an old-fashioned bonnet for women, or any other shape that is likely to evoke a positive reaction in a user, pleasing both the user's sense of style while at the same time provide important protective advantages. It will be understood these shapes may be varied without parting from the essential spirit of this invention, which is to provide a pleasing aesthetic shape in a molded, hard, protective helmet providing extra protection to a user while the aesthetic shape entices a user to purchase and use the protective helmet. The only limitations are the claims which follow.