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Mar 11 2010

Another Ladies’ Room (and Ladies)

Category: Door Closers,Funky ApplicationsLori @ 11:00 pm Comments (5)

How much longer will this hold?I get a little self-conscious when I’m taking photos of doors because I think people are probably wondering why in the world I would be doing that.  I haven’t been approached by Security yet, but I’m sure that day will come.

Tonight I was at a hotel for the New England Chapter DHI meeting, and I saw a badly-mangled closer on the ladies room vestibule door.  After dinner I was in the ladies room doorway, standing on one foot, holding the door open with my other foot, trying to get just the right angle with the camera, while looking at the LCD screen and pressing the button.  As I was standing there looking like a fool, the outer door opened.  Busted!  I was so relieved to see that it was 3 of my DHI pals (all ladies, of course).  They probably still thought I was weird, but they didn’t call Security on me.

The bathroom encounter got me thinking about women in the door and hardware business.  I have met a lot of really knowledgeable women in the industry and at this point I don’t think anyone finds it unusual.  But looking around at the DHI meeting and seeing women representing less than 10% of the attendance reminded me of what it was like when I first started in the industry.

Mangled Shoe

I skipped my senior year of high school and graduated from college with an Associate Degree in Architecture when I was 18.  I spent the first year and a half working for an aluminum storefront company and then went to work for a hardware distributor.  I wasn’t just female, I was 20 years old!  The contractors didn’t want to waste their time talking to me since they assumed I didn’t know anything.  Once I got a couple of years under my belt, the contractors loved me because I did what I said I would do, but I had to stay hidden in my office so they wouldn’t know that their project manager was barely old enough to buy beer.

When I started working for MPS Sales, the local Ingersoll Rand rep agency, I was an AHC/CDC with about 8 years of industry experience, but I didn’t know a lot of the local distributors (or they didn’t know me).  It took several years to win over the customers who only wanted to talk to “one of the guys.”  I can still clearly remember a conversation with a customer when I was alone in the office and I insisted that I could help him, and he gave me his lunch order.  🙁

We’ve all come a long way since those days and I’m so glad to see more women entering the industry and earning certifications.  You go girls!!!

5 Responses to “Another Ladies’ Room (and Ladies)”

  1. Jess says:

    I hate when I see a closer that has bent its own arm or soffit plate/PA arm bracket believe it or not, I have seen this ALOT in the technical school I used to go to (classroom doors – not an IR company) their problem was they would bend in the middle of the shoe (like a tortilla chip) and whenever that happened I would have to remove the arm from the shoe, then remove the shoe from frame, stick it in a vise, grip with a pair of vise grips and bend it straight. well as the students in that class got rough (room full of boys with hormones raging..HAHA) well, it all lead to the frame stop (reveal) splitting (yes it was a metal frame) and the maintenance guy (only time I really let them put their hands on any of the closers while I was there) getting creative with some 3/8 plate steel and he made some form of splint thingy to prevent the bending. after I saw the end result the next day, I thought “ok…..I think I’ve seen it all, it appears that whoever did this his or her husband/wife is or was an orthopedic doctor or Orthotist (person that makes braces/splints for people)

    when i would fix the doors and get told “code dorito (more like DOORito here!)” and classroom number or shop name, I knew it was a bent PA arm shoe

    seems with this one the screws that hold the PA shoe in should have been drilled deeper into the frame or some form of reinforcement on the closer itself, did the backcheck force feel abrupt or not working?? sometimes if door swings too far open (arm stretched out all the way) this is the result.

    don’t know whats worse, a bent shoe or a mangled doorframe, or a loose top jamb (header frame) of an all aluminum “storefront” frame, (frames with glass above the doors) place i was in had a closer that did that (LCN 4114 LH on a steelcraft door) somehow (I guess because the place was built in 1974) that LCN (used a CUSH EDA arm with hold detent hold open) somehow managed to work the frame loose (didn’t fall out or split, but made it a little loose)

    pretty cool to learn that you worked with hardware since you were 20, that’s a shame though that some people when you offer to help they give you “grunt work” or simple “office worker’s tasks” (taking his lunch order) instead of helping with an install or repair of a door.

    guys: just because you see a female into door hardware, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know what she’s talking about!!

    I once impressed a locksmith with my brainz on closers….back in high school he asked me, “do you have a favorite brand/series??” I said “yea, LCN 4040 or 4010 with EDA arms, reason, they last a long time” didn’t mean to bother him, as I caught him as he was fixing a pushbar problem (pivot inside or some dogging latch kept binding up inside preventing the latch from springing back after its been retracted by bar)

    as for the question on the photo at the top (how long will this hold) I’ll give that (non-IR product name here) at least a month or 2 before the arm screws fall out and closer does nothing other then just “wave” at people as the door gets opened and shut manually because the closer will no longer be connected. the length of time before the screws fall out all depend also on how often the door is used and also the adjustments of the closer (back check as well as latch speeds)

    sorry for the long post, but this post was an interesting read, (makes me wish I had a camera or some form of image capture device back in middle/high school days!)

  2. Andy Lindenberg says:

    Man or woman, you’re one of the most knowledgeable individuals in our industry and well respected by all. I’m just glad you’re on my team!:)

  3. David R. DeFilippo AIA says:

    I just hate to see poor up-keep on buildings. I remember a project for a CUNY campus that was essentially maintenance work that had not been done. Among the multi-building scope was numerous pieces of busted hardware. It included panic devices, closers and similar items including poorly fixed work like the picture.

    • Lori says:

      I agree David. I post photos here with sort of light-hearted commentary, but I think it’s a shame that some facilities don’t maintain their doors and hardware, particularly when it’s a life-safety issue.

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