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Who Invented the Panic Bar on Doors?

Who Invented the Panic Bar on Doors?

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.

Disclaimer: The material in this article has no regard to the specific installation, building code requirements, law requirements, authority having jurisdiction, local or state requirements, or any particular needs of any viewer. This article is presented solely for informational and entertainment purposes and is not to be construed as a recommendation or solicitation. Nor should any of its content be taken as advice. Automatic Door and Hardware is not an installation advisor. The views expressed in this article are completely speculative opinions and do not guarantee any specific result. Commercial doors, hardware, and automatic door parts should only be worked on by trained, qualified, and licensed professionals; failure to do so can result in danger. Any opinions expressed in this article are subject to change without notice. Automatic Door and Hardware is not under any obligation to update or keep current the information contained herein. Automatic Door and Hardware may have an interest in the securities and commodities of any entities referred to in this material. Automatic Door and Hardware accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of the use of all or any part of this material. Automatic Door and Hardware recommends that you consult with a licensed and qualified professional before making any modifications or repairs to commercial doors, automatic doors, or hardware components of those doors. The content covered in this article is NOT to be considered as advice. I’m NOT an adviser. These are only my own personal and speculative opinions, ideas, theories, hypotheses, charts, technical analysis, insights, and curated news publications. The technical analysis in this article is completely speculative and does NOT guarantee any specific result. The technical analysis in this article has NO proven rate of accuracy. Do NOT repair or modify your doors and/or hardware based upon the analysis presented in this article. Always do your own research and only use trained and licensed professionals for any repairs or modifications. I will NOT be held liable for any of your personal repairs or modifications or any losses/damages that you may incur if you do repair or modify your doors and/or hardware. Information provided through this article is provided to you as is without any express representations or warranties of any kind, and we make no representation or warranty that this article (or any information provided in response to your inquiry), will be accurate, complete, or error-free. You agree that you must evaluate all information and responses, and that you bear all risks associated with, the use of this article, including any reliance on the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information or materials made available through this article. This article is purely for entertainment purposes only!

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