Title:
Rear-sector helmet suspension
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A universal, rear-sector helmet suspension attachable selectively inside to the rear sectors of various size helmet shells which are characterized by possessing different, generally common patterns, respectively, of plural, pre-established and located host attachment sites including a rear, central host attachment site, and additional, other, laterally-spaced host attachment sites. The suspension includes (a) an elongate, resilient armature which is bendable to form a curved expanse fittable, in a universal manner, closely within the rear-sector insides of the shells in such helmets, and (b) spaced, anchor-accommodating, guest affixing sites including (1) a longitudinally central, position-locating guest affixing site which is commonly employable with the rear, central locating host attachment sites in all such helmet shells to anchor the armature positionally in place in such shells, and (b) plural, range-accommodating other guest affixing sites which freely accommodate further attachable fitment of the armature, on a one-to-one basis, at the respective locations of the other host attachment sites in such shells.



Inventors:
Paasche, Gerhard (Scappoose, OR, US)
Application Number:
11/408871
Publication Date:
02/15/2007
Filing Date:
04/20/2006
Assignee:
MJD Innovations, L.L.C.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A42B3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SUTTON, ANDREW W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JON M. DICKINSON, P.C. (PORTLAND, OR, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A universal, rear sector helmet suspension attachable selectively inside, and directly to, the shells of helmets which are characterized by different sizes in a user-defined range of sizes, and wherein such shells have a generally common pattern of plural, pre-established and located, spaced host attachment sites with respect to which different pairs of adjacent such sites have differing specific spacings that differ in a known way in relation to helmet-shell size, and wherein the host attachment sites include a rear, central locating host attachment site, and additional, other, laterally-spaced host attachment sites, said suspension comprising an elongate, resilient armature having a long axis, bendable to form a curved expanse fittable, in a universal curving manner, closely within the rear-sector insides of the shells in such helmets, and throughout the mentioned range of helmet sizes, and spaced, anchor-accommodating, guest affixing sites furnished in the armature, including (a) a longitudinally central, position-locating guest affixing site which is commonly employable with the rear, central locating host attachment sites in all such helmet shells to anchor the armature in place in such shells, and (b) plural, range-accommodating, other guest affixing sites which freely accommodate attachable fitment of the armature, on a one-to-one basis, at the respective locations of the other host attachment sites in such shells.

2. The suspension of claim 1, wherein said affixing sites take the forms of spaced, elongate apertures formed in and distributed along said armature.

3. The suspension of claim 2 which further includes plural, distributed, chin-strap attaching-device holders formed integrally with said armature.

4. The suspension of claim 2, wherein said central and other guest affixing sites each takes the form of an elongate aperture having a long axis, with the long axis of said central guest affixing site being disposed generally normal to said armature's said long axis, and the long axes of said other guest affixing sites generally paralleling the armature's said long axis.

5. The suspension of claim 2 which further includes elongate, article-retaining spring-finger structure formed integrally with, and extending angularly away from the long axis of said armature.

6. The suspension of claim 5, wherein said spring-finger structure includes a pair of elongate, side-by-side-adjacent spring fingers.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority to currently pending, prior-filed U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/676,178, filed Apr. 28, 2005, for “Rear-Sector Helmet Suspension”. The entire disclosure content of that provisional application is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a rear-sector helmet suspension which takes the form of a distinctly characterized, special-purpose improvement over a predecessor suspension described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,681,409 B2. The information content of that patent is, accordingly, incorporated herein by reference for the purpose of providing useful background information in relation to understanding the offerings of the present invention.

The present invention more particularly constitutes, in relation to the suspension described in the above-mentioned '409 patent, a special-case improvement regarding smaller-version suspension inserts for use in the shells of certain kinds of helmets, such as military helmets, wherein it is, for various reasons, desirable to provide an independent, helmet-shell-attached suspension for the rear ends only of lateral straps that form part of a military helmet chin-strap system, without also providing a special independent suspension for the front ends of those same straps. The referenced prior patent devotes attention to a situation where a full, wrap-around (larger-version) internal helmet-shell suspension is desired, not only to accommodate the rear ends of elongate, lateral chin-strap elements, but also to handle the front ends of those same straps. The present invention, by way of contrast, focuses attention on providing a special-purpose, rear-sector-only chin-strap accommodating suspension.

Accordingly, for the purpose of disclosure herein, and recognizing that modifications of the invention may be made for installation and use in various other types of helmets, a preferred and best mode embodiment of the present invention is illustrated and described herein specifically in the setting of a military helmet and its shell—a setting wherein the special suspension offered by this invention has been found to offer particularly utility. In particular, the invention is intended for use in, and with respect to, different helmet sizes in what is called herein a user-defined range of sizes of helmet shells, which shells are characterized as possessing a generally common pattern of plural, pre-established and located, spaced attachment sites, referred to as host attaching sites. Those skilled in the art will recognize that such conventionally provided, spaced attachment sites have different specific locations and spacings that relate to different helmet-shell sizes. As will be seen, the present invention handily and successfully deals with this “variability” situation.

More specifically, the present invention relates to a bendable and resilient suspension which is deployed (when in use) curving around only the rear sector of a helmet-shell interior. This special-purpose suspension includes, as will be seen, plural, unique, orthogonally related, “universal”, mounting-accommodating, elongate slots, referred to as affixing sites, that are designed with positions and lengths which especially accommodate correctly positionable mounting, on a one-to-one basis, of the suspension of the invention with respect to a conventional variety of already in-place (conventional) helmet-suspension mounting/attachment sites (typically throughbores) provided in the shells of helmets of various sizes. This universal quality of the invention allows the same to be installed as a retrofit structure in a very wide variety of different types of helmets' shells, without requiring any additional helmet-shell preparation before such installing can take place.

The various unique and useful features of the invention will become more fully apparent as the detailed description of the invention which follows below is read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 provides a very simplified and fragmentary front view of a military helmet whose shell has been equipped with a preferred and best mode embodiment of the rear-sector suspension of the present invention.

FIG. 2 presents a simplified and schematic, downwardly looking plan view of the helmet shell (represented, at least partially, as a generally ovate, dash-dot-line outline) of FIG. 1, generally showing the rear-sector arc of this shell fitted compatibly with the central band, or armature, which forms part of the suspension of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows an isolated and developed view of the rear-sector suspension of the invention, per se.

FIG. 4 provides representative, schematic illustrations of different, typical, conventional patterns of host attachment sites that are made available in a typical range, such as a user-defined range, of helmet-shell sizes. In particular, this figure shows how the embodiment of the invention pictured herein can utilize those different site-arrangement patterns quite easily, with affixing-site elongate slots, or apertures, which are formed in the suspension of the invention effectively “lining up” on a one-to-one basis with attachment-site throughbores furnished in a range of sizes of helmet shells.

FIG. 5 provides a developed view showing the operative (connective) relationship which is intended to exist between the rear-sector suspension of this invention and two lateral, or side, elements of a typical helmet chin-strap harness, such as the chin-strap harness pictured in FIG. 1. In FIG. 5, the suspension and harness are shown isolated from any helmet shell, and properly positionally disposed adjacent one another, but in an un-interconnected state.

FIG. 6 illustrates an alternative version of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Turning attention now to the drawings, and referring first of all to FIG. 3 which isolates for view, in an upright condition, a preferred and best mode embodiment of the invention, the rear-sector suspension of this invention is indicated generally at 10. Suspension 10 includes (a) an elongate, slightly curved, central band, or armature, 10a, with a curved long axis 10A, (b) a pair of upwardly and centrally disposed, laterally spaced, elongate, document-holding (article-retaining) spring fingers, or spring-finger structure, 10b which extend upwardly about 2½-inches, and which are formed integrally with armature 10a, (c) a pair of slightly more widely spaced, downwardly extending, elongate, reversely-bent (and thus nominally horizontal loop-forming) chin-strap, attaching-device holders 10c which are also formed integrally with armature 10a, (d) a central, elongate, upright slot 10d, and (e) two pairs of substantially same-length, same-width, but laterally and longitudinally offset, generally horizontally disposed slots 10e and 10f. Slot 10d, which herein has a length of about ⅞-inches, is referred to as a “central, position-locating guest-affixing site”. Slots 10e and 10f each of which herein has a length also of about ⅞-inches, are referred to herein as “other guest-affixing sites”, with these “other” slots having their long axes oriented generally orthogonally relative to the long axis of “central” slot 10d. Collectively, these “guest” sites are referred to as anchor-accommodating sites. The center-to-center spacing between slots 10e is about 8-inches, and that between slightly more closely spaced slots 10f is about 7½-inches. Armature 10a and its thus-associated other structures are preferably formed from an appropriate, resilient plastic material, such as the fiberglass reinforced polyamide plastic material sold under the trademark Pennite®, made by Penn Fibre Plastics, Inc. in Bensalem, Pa., and having a preferred thickness of about 0.060-inches.

Directing attention now to others of the drawing figures herein, in FIG. 1, suspension 10 is shown mounted in place at, and in a bent and curved condition along, the rear-sector region 12b of the shell 12a in a conventional military helmet 12. Attachment between suspension 10 and the usually prepared attaching sites (typically throughbores) in shell 12a is established both through slot 10d, and, depending on the particular conventional style of this shell, and the specific prepared locations (pattern) therein of rear, laterally-spaced throughbores, additionally either through bilaterally symmetrically spaced paired slots 10e, or alternatively through likewise symmetrically spaced paired slots 10f. The lengths and spacings of these paired slots (10e-10e, 10f-10f) in armature 10a, in relation to the size and location of central slot 10d, is such that, in accordance with the design of the present invention, proper alignment will normally definitively exist to enable such ready attachment of suspension 10 in most conventional military helmet shells which typically possess a substantially common pattern of throughbore attachment sites. Five different dash-dot lines presented and appropriately labeled in FIG. 2 in relation to their respective, associated slots 10d, 10e, 10f, generally illustrate the “lateral”, central locations of the five slots provided in suspension armature 10a.

FIG. 4 shows how these slots “universally” align on a one-to-one basis (i.e., one slot/aperture per throughbore) with different conventional and relatively common patterns of attachment throughbores in the near sectors within a range of helmet-shell sizes. Several different, typical aperture and throughbore one-to-one alignments are illustrated in this figure, as follows:

    • 1. Aperture 10d aligned with throughbore a, along with Apertures 10e aligned with throughbores c, c;
    • 2. Aperture 10d aligned with throughbore a, along with Apertures 10e aligned with throughbores d, d;
    • 3. Aperture 10d aligned with throughbore a, along with Apertures 10f aligned with throughbores, e, e;
    • 4. Aperture 10d aligned with throughbore a, along with Apertures 10f aligned with throughbores f, f;
    • 5. Aperture 10d aligned with throughbore b, along with Apertures 10e aligned with throughbores c, c;
    • 6. Aperture 10d aligned with throughbore b, along with Apertures 10e aligned with throughbores d, d;
    • 7. Aperture 10d aligned with throughbore b, along with Apertures 10e aligned with throughbores e, e; and
    • 8. Aperture 10d aligned with throughbore b, along with Apertures 10e aligned with throughbores f,f.

Attachability and attachment of a chin-strap harness with respect to suspension 10 is illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 5. Indicated generally in thin-line, schematic character at 14 in FIG. 1 is such a harness which includes lateral strap elements 14a, 14b, the rear ends of which are secured to suspension 10 through suitably attached conventional hardware 13 and the generally horizontal loops (not specifically shown) formed, as mentioned earlier hereinabove, in the reverse bends existing in attaching-device holders 10c in suspension 10. A conventional, generally horizontal nape pad is shown fragmentarily at 15 in FIG. 1. This nape pad extends laterally between, and somewhat below, hardware 13.

FIG. 5 further illustrates suspension 10 depicted in a condition ready for attachment to the rear ends of strap elements 14a, 14b in harness 14.

Turning attention now to FIG. 6, a modified form of the invention is illustrated wherein slot 10d is not necessarily employed or included, and with respect to which rear, central attachment of the suspension to the inside of a helmet shell is accommodated by conventional, two-sided hook-and-pile fastening structure, such as that shown generally at 16. One side of structure 16 is affixed appropriately centrally to helmet-shell rear-sector 12b, and the other side is affixed appropriately to the rear central portion of suspension armature 10a. In this embodiment of the invention, the location in suspension 10 where the mentioned “one” side of structure 10 is affixed is referred to herein as a longitudinally central, position-locating guest affixing site, and the facing location in the rear sector of helmet shell 12a where the mentioned “other” side of structure 16 is affixed is referred to as a central locating host attachment site.

The invention thus proposes a unique rear-sector helmet shell suspension structure which easily and “universally” fits into place in a range of different helmet-shell sizes. Very specifically, the several attaching slots (including the central “guest affixing site”, and the other “guest affixing sites”) slots 10d, 10e and 10f have been sized and located in such a fashion that suspension 10 is readily retrofit, or originally fit, into the shells of a relatively wide variety of helmets, such as in military helmet shell 12a, without requiring any modification of such a shell. These several slots are designed so that when suspension 10 is correctly located near the rear sector of the inside of a helmet shell, three of these affixing-site slots will normally be properly aligned with commonly available host attaching sites (throughbores) that are already in place in such a shell (see again FIG. 4 in the drawings).

The suspension of this invention readily accommodates easy and convenient attachment to it of the rear ends of the usual lateral strap elements in a helmet chin-strap harness. The proposed suspension is quite simple and inexpensive in construction, and may, of course, and as suggested above, be included either as original helmet-shell equipment, or introduced later as retrofit equipment.

Accordingly, while a preferred and best mode embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described herein, and one modification discussed and pictured, it is appreciated that other variations and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention.