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Mar 06 2014

Throwback Thursday – Reed Exit Device

Category: Adon Brownell,Panic HardwareLori @ 8:03 am Comments (6)

The 4th winner of the $50 birthday gift card is Jodie Meyers of Phillips-Langley & Associates! Jodie also sent me the laundry room photos from last week.

Jodie saw this old Reed exit device at a university in Ohio:

Reed Exit Device

I don’t recall ever seeing this type of device in person and I didn’t find any information online, so I went to my go-to resource – three treasured books by Adon Brownell, HAHC (someone tell me what HAHC stands for).  And in the Architectural Hardware Specifications Handbook (1971), I found it – the hinged crossbar:

Hinged Crossbar

Adon’s books are long out of print, but thanks to his grandson, Michael Brownell of Brownell & Associates, I have permission to share some of Adon’s work here.  In another of his books, Taking the Mystery Out of Builders’ Hardware (1940), Adon has this to say about panic hardware:

Among the many problems facing the builders’ hardware engineer is that of proper protection of human lives.  All types of public buildings should be equipped with proper fire and panic exit devices.  There is often more danger from panic than there is from fire itself.  The building may be called fireproof, but it is surprising how many so called fireproof buildings have been entirely gutted by fire.

As long as I live I shall never forget one in a building directly back of our store in Pittsburgh.  A film building called fireproof was gutted by fire and more than 20 girls lost their lives. 

Such catastrophes as the Iroquois Theater fire in Chicago where 596 lives were lost, and the Collingwood School fire in which 174 children died will bear out the definite responsibility that is every builders’ hardware engineer’s who specifies or equips fire and panic bolts for the exit doors of any public building.

In so doing, you are rendering a real contribution to humanity.  It becomes your duty to do it right.  Carelessness or ignorance on your part would be a sad alibi if you failed to specify or equip such doors with suitable devices, thereby causing the loss of human lives.

I never had the chance to meet Adon, but I think we would have been friends.

Taking the Mystery Out of Builders Hardware, Chapter 39:

Mystery Panic Hardware 1   Mystery Panic Hardware 2

Mystery Panic Hardware 3   Mystery Panic Hardware 4

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6 Responses to “Throwback Thursday – Reed Exit Device”

  1. Jutz... says:

    I know this shows my age but I actually sold and installed the Reed device many years ago. If I remember correctly, there was an issue with the device spring(s) not wanting to return the bar back to the neutral/locked position due to the flat bar being solid and quite heavy. Also, The “H” in HAHC stands for either Honorable or Honorary.

  2. Jodie Meyers says:

    They had a bunch of them at the VA Hospital up near Chicago. I think that is the only other place I remember seeing them. That is why I was so excited when I saw this one. Thanks for posting it Lori!

  3. Cecil Martin says:

    I work in maintenance at a school district that still has several of these devices in service. I would be interested in hearing of any supplier that can still get the handle return springs for these devices. There are two different springs, one for the right door and one for the left door. The original part# for the 3050 lever handle is 61-3050-7313. I know that they don’t make these springs anymore and are hard to find old used ones. I have until recently had a supplier who would salvage them from building retro’s and then sell them to us. He retired and left me without a source. I would be very interested in finding a new source of these springs.

    • Lori says:

      Hi Cecil –

      Unfortunately I don’t have a source for these. Maybe someone will see your comment and respond.

      – Lori

  4. Bryan McKeehan says:

    Two years later but I may have a small source of those springs for Cecil Martin, I’m not certain but I’ll look into it. A picture of each of them would be quite helpful.

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