Every minute of every day in America there are emergencies. Multiple times a day people have to get to safety in a hurry and locked doors could mean a death sentence to them. Every state in the country, and most every city and county have laws requiring emergency exit devices on doors meant for people to get out and away from harm.
In 1911, however, there were few laws, if any, requiring this type of hardware. One hundred-forty-six people died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, most because they couldn’t get out. Just months prior to that disaster, the owners had been strongly advised to install exit devices on the doors to the production floors, but they never did.
That disaster, and the Von Duprin exit device paved the way to what is now so common in North America, most people don’t even know what its called.