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