US 2799020 A
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July 16, 1957 cu 2,799,020
SHALLOW WATER DIVING MASK Filed Aug. 6, 1954 INVENTOR. MAURICE E. CURRlE FIG. 8. M 4QM M;V
24 ATTORNEYS United States.
The invention described herein may be manufactured and used by and for the Government of the United States of America for governmental purposes without the payment of any royalties thereon or therefor.
This invention relates to water masks and particularly to the type adapted for shallow water use such as in diving and swimming.
Shallow water masks are in common use which are made of semi-rigid rubber fabric and glass designed to protect the eyes and nose of the wearer. The outstanding difficulty with these masks is in the fact that the mask is designed in such fashion as to have it conform to the shape of an average face; and in order to secure a watertight fit when applied to a non-average face, the mask straps must be tightly drawn thereby restricting blood circulation and causing considerable discomfort after the mask has been worn for some time.
It has been found that leakage frequently occurs at the face regions adjacent the eyes and lips of the wearer. In realization of this problem, some manufacturers enclose instructions with the masks recommending that the ppressive edges be sandpapered; and while this has proven to be successful in some cases, it is wholly inadequate in others, as for example, where the contour of the face of at ent the wearer is long and narrow or where the bones thereof protrude to an unusual degree. In the latter case, an attempt to modify the mask edges by applying a series of built-up layers of adhesive tape has been made but this is an unsatisfactory solution to the problem and does not permanently eliminate leakage.
Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide a watertight mask which is adaptable for use with any type or contour of face.
Another object of the invention is the provision of a face mask which has a wide field of vision and which is watertight under all conditions of use or operation.
A further object of the invention is the provision of a watertight face mask of thin rubber having thicker side members which are so designed and arranged that they automatically form bending means which bend or angle inwardly upon insertion of the viewing glass in the front of the mask. This angling or bending causes rubber edges of the mask to press against the face for achieving a snug fit of the edge about depressions on the face of the wearer.
A still further object of the invention is the provision of thin rubber flanges on the portions of the mask that contact the forehead and lips of the wearer to provide watertightness without discomforture.
Additional objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent on consideration of the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings, on varying scales, wherein:
Figure 1 is a side view of the mask showing its application to the face of a wearer;
Figure 2 is a rolled-out view of the form of a rubber shape used in making the completed mask;
2,799,020 Patented July 16, 1957 Figure 3 is a view of a stretched out complete mask but before the viewing glass is inserted;
Figure 4 is a horizontal sectional view, substantially along the line 4-4 of Figure 1, showing the mask'in contracted form priorrto insertion of the viewing glass;
Figure 5 is a sectional view similar to Figure 4 of the mask but with the viewing glass inserted, and shows the front expanded and the resultant angling inward of the rear portion of the mask;
Figure 6 is a cross-sectional viewtaken on lines 66 of Fig. 3 and shows the upper rubber flange in the front edge of the mask that bears on the forehead of the wearer;
Fig. 7 is a cross-sectional view taken on lines 7-7 of Fig. 2 and shows the side members or bending means;
Fig. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken on the lines 8--8 of Fig. 3 and shows the lower rubber flange on the front edge of the mask that bears on the lip of the wearer; and
Fig. 9 is an elevational view of the view plate.
This invention broadly consists of a flexible face mask provided with side semi-rigid stiffening members which tend to pivot inwardly when the glass is inserted in the groove provided on the inner peripheral portion of the front of the mask. The result of this action is that the rear side mask edges are forced closer to each other. By making the mask of thin rubber the pressure on the face is not uncomfortable while a water-proof seal is obtained at the irregular areas of the side of a face contacted by the mask-edges. The necessity of forcing the mask to the face by forced strapping is thereby eliminated.
Referring now to the drawings, and particularly to Figure 1, there is shown a mask embodying the teachings of the instant invention. The material is elastic, flexible and water-proof, such as soft, thin rubber in sheet form of approximately thickness. In constructing the mask, a blank section of rubber is first cut to a predetermined shape, such as that shown in Figure 2. The section of rubber comprises a main band portion 10 having front and rear edges 12 and 14 from which extend a pair of straps 16 and 18 so that the straps lie against the side of the head when the section is formed as a mask. Since this blank is made of sheet rubber, it is evident that the band portion 10 and the straps 16 and 18 are of substantially uniform thickness.
In accordance with the invention, semi-rigid side members made of stiffer rubber are bonded to the body portion 10 approximately in line with the straps 16 and 18. These side members are alike and comprise identical semirigid members or stilfeners 20 and 22. Each has a cross section as shown for stiffener 20 in Figure 7. Vertically, each cross section is substantially of uniform width, this width being greater than that of the sheet rubber of which the blank is formed.
The preliminary form shown in Figure 2 has straight edges 30 and 32 which are finally secured or bonded together to form the shape of the mask shown in Figure 3. In the completed mask, the stiffener members 20 and 22 are positioned adjacent the sides of the head and transmit elastic movement from the front edge of the band portion 10 to the rear band edge in a type of pivotal action which will be more fully explained hereinafter. The rear edges 21 and 23 of the members 20 and 22 are such as to lie beyond the eyes in a direction toward the ears. In the completed mask the band portion 10 is substantially tubular, and integral with straps 16 and 18. If desired, a buckle device 23 of any suitable form can be placed on the strap ends so as to secure the mask to the head of the wearer.
In order to achieve a watertight fit between the mask and the areas about the forehead and lip portions of the wearer, the rubber band section 10 is provided with sealing flanges 24 and 26 respectively at the top and bottom ice portions of the rear edge 14 of the mask. These sections are either made integrally with the mask or are added by means of bonding, and are adapted to contact the above mentioned forehead and lip portions of the wearer when the mask is in use. The flanges 24 and 26 are shown in Figures 6 and 8 and it is apparent that such flanges taper somewhat and are turned outwardly at an approximate angle of 120 from the band portion 10. By restricting the size of the stiffener members 20 and 22 to the smooth face areas and forming edge flanges 24 and 26, mask stiffening and close fit is'provided without causing discomfort in use. As shown in Fig. 3, the front edge 12 of the band is circular and is formed with a groove 28 on one side as shown clearly in Figures 4 through 8, so as to form an engagement means for the glass viewing plate which is inserted in the groove.
The view plate 34, which may be of glass, plastic or other rigid transparent substance, is then forced into band edge groove 28, and a clamp or other brass ring 36 applied to hold the mask edge in place. The plate 34 is oblong horizontally and has a surface area substantially in excess of the normal unstretched circular front opening of the mask band so that when inserted in the band edge groove the front band edge is elastically extended horizontally, as shown in Fig. 5.
The effect of this extension is transmitted by the stiffening members and 22 to the rear ends 21 and 23 thereof, forcing a contraction in distance between these ends, as indicated by a comparison of Figures 4 and 5. The reinforcing or stiffening members 20 and 22 act in the nature of levers transmitting outward force at the horizontal edges of the front opening as an inward force at having a surface area in excess of said normally nonextended front band edge opening, each of said reinforcements extending longitudinally in the direction of an associated one of said straps and for a length from a point near said front opening rearwardly to a point slightly beyond said rear opening and along said straps but forward of the ears of the wearer, and a groove formed on the inner side of said front band edge for tightly holding said plate at the front band end, the horizontal dimensions of said view plate being greater than that of said groove and stretching said band horizontally more than vertically, whereby said front band edge is moved outwardly and said rear band edge is moved inwardly upon application of said :plate in said groove.
2. A face mask made of a hollow tubular elastic band of thin rubber provided with a circular front opening and a rear opening, a pair of straps unitary with and extending rearwardly from said band, fastening means for fastening the ends of said straps together, an oblong plastic viewing plate tightly in and closing said front opening, said plate having a horizontal diameter greater than the corresponding diameter of said front opening, upper and lower sealing flanges on the central upper and lower portions of said band adjacent said rear opening, and a pair of stiffening members secured to the opposite sides of the tubular band, in alignment with said straps and extending along substantially the full length of said tubular band.
3. A face mask made from a hollow tubular flexible band having front and rear edges with normally nonextended and noncontracted front and rear openings, a
' pair of straps unitary with and extending rearwardly the rear ends of the members which presses the mask against the face of the wearer. In a typical mask this distance reduction is as much as one inch where the initial unmodified distance is four and one-half inches. This effect is a tipping action of the strips 20 and 22, resulting in inner movement of the rear strip ends 21 and 23 as illustrated in Figures 4 and 5. By reason of this contraction, the rear band edge 14 and the sealing flanges 24 and 26 are forced into close contact with the irregular side head contours, pressing the thin rubber snugly into depressions around the eyes and temples, and making the mask edge leak-proof at the particular areas where leakage usually develops. These advantageous effects are increased by use of the head straps 16 and 18, which by reason of the wide flare and continuous integral connection to the band insure even distribution of retaining pressure around the band areas.
It is now apparent that due to the soft, flexible and elastic material of the mask the rear edge 14 conforms closely to the face contours, while the use of the pivoting members 20 and 22 not only maintains the mask shape but also adds increased but yielding pressure to the side face areas. The angles between the body portion 10 and the edges 24 and 26, which are placed only at face areas where the face surface is of more uniform contour, also helps to stifien and maintain the shape of the mask.
Obviously many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood, that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.
What is claimed is:
l. A face mask made from a hollow tubular flexible band having front and rear edges with normally non-extended and non-contracted front and rear openings, oppositely disposed stiffening reinforcements integrated in said band to hold the band shape and to transmit front band edge movement to the rear band edge, securing straps integrated with and extending rearwardly of said rear band edge, fastening means for fastening the ends of said strap together, whereby said mask is secured to the face of a wearer, an oblong transparent view plate from said band on opposite sides thereof for attaching the band to the head of a wearer, said rear edge including a concave portion, a stiffening strip on each side of said band unitary with the band and extending longitudinally of the band from a point near said front edge to a point slightly beyond the foremost part of the said concave portion, but normally forward of the ears of the wearer when in wearing position, a transparent plate positioned in and closing said front opening, said plate being oversized horizontally relative to the normally nonextended front band edge opening, whereby on placement of said plate in said front band edge the stiffening member is tipped toward the rear thereby moving the rear band edge inwardly for holding it firmly against the face of a wearer.
4. A one-piece blank for a water mask comprising a band of thin rubber having a substantially straight front edge and a rear edge, said rear edge including a centrally disposed concave part, a portion extending backwardly from said front edge and having a pair of side edges, said side edges being adapted to be secured together so that said front edge forms a circle and said portion forms a tubular section, an upper forehead sealing flange member extending from the rear edge of said portion, a pair of spaced straps extending backwardly from said portion, each strap having a flaring part merging into said portion, a lower lip sealing flange member extending backwardly from the rear edge of said portion, said straps being between said flange members, and elongated stiffener members in line with said straps and ex tending from a point near said front edge to a point rearward of the said concave part but forward of the ears of the wearer of the mask when in Wearing position.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,483,226 Johnson Feb. 12, 1924 2,361,917 Malcom Nov. 14, 1944 FOREIGN PATENTS 996,860 France Sept. 5, 1951
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