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Jun 15 2017

The Story Behind Von Duprin

Category: Egress,Panic Hardware,VideosLori @ 12:07 am Comments (5)

Before we get to today’s post (below), I have an update on the NFPA 101 voteTwo appeals have been filed, asking that the 1-operation language (approved by vote at the technical meeting) be rejected in favor of the proposed language allowing 2 releasing operations.  I will share the appeals when they become available to the public; they will be discussed at the next NFPA Standards Council meeting in August. 

I see some parallels between this situation and the efforts made by Carl Prinzler to convince building owners to install outswinging doors with panic hardware.  More than 100 years ago, Carl maintained that the cost of code-compliance should not be the prevailing factor when considering products that could impact life safety.  Lacking data or studies to show that it’s time to change this stance on safety, what is the motivation for the change?


Many of you have heard this story before, but this video is terrific!  I don’t know how or where my coworker, Peter Wilson, found all of this information, but GREAT JOB PETER!!

See if you can catch the original price of panic hardware in the catalog shown in the video!  🙂

5 Responses to “The Story Behind Von Duprin”

  1. bruce young says:

    what a wonderful story! While I have been told the story for many years but it has never been told so well. It makes me very proud of being associated with an industry that puts the safety of the public above the profits of individuals. The many people that I have met and known over the 46 years of participating in the builders hardware industry have for the most part have done just that; putting safety of the public first. Very well done.

  2. David Federico says:

    I have told this story myself to many that I have taught about life and fire safety. But seeing it first hand inthis entertaining and documentary format makes it all that much more informative. This should be required viewing for all life and fire safety code classes as well as panic and fire exit devices .
    Great job to all that had a hand in its development in the words of the theatre Bravo

  3. Jim Elder says:

    This is great. Well done. What a great story.

  4. Pete Schifferli says:

    It is said that the first fire exit bolt was marketed in 1904 by Hugh Elmer Clark & Bros. of Rochester, NY. The patent was granted in 1905, several years prior to Von Duprin’s which was issued in 1909.*

    It is interesting to note that for much of its early existence and association with Vonnegut Hardware that Von Duprin did not possess manufacturing facilities but had the exit devices produced by several outside contractors from 1909-1961.+

    *Locks and Lockmakers of America, (c)1976, 1997 by Thomas F. Hennessy, pg. 111.
    +The Builders Hardware Industry, (c)1996 by Walter H. McAninch, pg. 91.

  5. Brendan Daley says:

    I have read the story in the front of the catalog, (catalogs are 3 ring binders with paper documents in them the show a manufacturers product line, for those new to the industry)
    But the video was fantastic

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