The panic bar, also known as an exit device or crash bar, has become a standard safety feature in commercial buildings around the world. It is designed to allow occupants to quickly and easily exit a building in the event of an emergency, such as a fire or other hazard.
While panic bars are widely used today, many people are unaware of their origins and how they have evolved over time. In this article, we will explore the history of the panic bar, including who invented it and how it has changed to meet the needs of modern buildings.
History of the Panic Bar
The panic bar was first invented in the late 19th century by an American businessman named Carl Prinzler. Prinzler was a hotel owner who was concerned about the safety of his guests and employees in the event of a fire. He recognized that traditional doors with knobs or handles could be difficult to open in a panic, especially if they were locked or blocked by debris.
To solve this problem, Prinzler developed the first panic bar. This device was a simple bar that was attached to the inside of a door. When pressure was applied to the bar, it released the latch and allowed the door to swing open. This made it easy for people to quickly exit the building in the event of an emergency, without the need for keys or other complicated mechanisms.
Prinzler patented his invention in 1898, and it quickly became popular in hotels and other public buildings. The device was also adopted by the US military during World War II, where it was used on aircraft and other vehicles to allow crew members to quickly exit in the event of a crash or emergency.
Evolution of the Panic Bar
Over time, the panic bar has evolved to meet the needs of modern buildings and safety regulations. Today, there are many different types of panic bars available, each designed to meet the specific needs of different buildings and applications.
Some of the most common types of panic bars include:
- Touch bar: A horizontal bar that is pushed to release the latch
- Push pad: A flat plate that is pushed to release the latch
- Mechanical dogging: A feature that allows the panic bar to be locked in the open position for convenience
- Electric dogging: A feature that allows the panic bar to be locked and unlocked electronically
Modern panic bars also come with a variety of optional features, such as alarms, remote unlocking, and weatherproofing. These features can help to improve safety and convenience in commercial buildings of all types.
The panic bar is an important safety feature in modern commercial buildings, and it has a long and interesting history. From its humble beginnings as a simple bar on a hotel door, the panic bar has evolved to become a sophisticated device that is used worldwide.
Commercial door panic bars and exit device hardware are available at www.autodoorandhardware.com.