Exit Signs History

The basic definitions of and an exit sign is a luminous device in a public facility, airplane or boat which indicates the location of the emergency exit.

The device simply reads, "EXIT" some of these exit signs are equipped with an arrow to the left, right, or double arrows indicating the direction of the emergency egress. The word "Exit" in English was actually derived from the Latin word which translates to "To Go Out". These exit signs must adhere to building county and state codes, standards and requirements. One of the main requirements of these exit signs is to stay lit and luminous constantly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This requirement has been but in place for our protection in the event of a loss of power or reduced visibility due smoke from a fire. Photoluminescent exit signs and Tritium nuclear exit signs are both non-electrical exit signs that meet UL 924 standards and permitted for use in most buildings. Having a non-electrical exit sign can be very cost effective as well as saving energy. Electrical exit sign are either connected to a generator or a back-up battery. The standard requirement for exit sign back-up batteries is 90 minutes. In the event of an emergency, if there is a loss of power, a signal is sent through the exit sign triggering the back-up battery to go into action. 90 minutes should be enough time for people to evacuate a public facility at a given time.

Exit Signs have come a long way over the years. The first exit signs were powered by an incandescent bulb sometimes not even within the exit sign itself. These signs were also mainly metal. There were also exit signs that were basically a glass panel that fit directly over a light bulb. As time past it was discovered that these exit signs needed to be updated as they were not completely effective in the event of a true emergency. The main problem was discovered that in the event of a fire, the power to the exit sign would fail. The exit signs in those days were also not very luminous which made them difficult to see through smoke during a fire emergency. As time moved on, exit signs were developed better and better. Exit signs began to resemble what we see today. The little rectangular box with the word "EXIT". The exit sign continued to be powered by incandescent bulbs. However, the exit signs continued to only work as long as the main power remained intact. It wasn't long before back-up batteries came into action. The problem with the first back-up batteries for exit signs was plentiful. The first exit sign back-up batteries were a separate device and they were both large in size and heavy in weight. These back-up battery systems for the exit signs were also very costly. Furthermore, the exit sign back-up battery didn't last as long as desired. Today, we can see such improvements with the exit sign back-up battery. The exit sign now has a small powerful back-up battery with in the fixture itself with a minimum 90 minute back-up battery life.

Exit Sign lighting have improved as well. The original Exit Signs had a bulb covered by either plastic or glass and was not very luminous. These dim exit lights were very difficult to see through smoke. As improvements were made, we became introduced to exit signs that were lit by either fluorescent lamps or LED (light emitting diode) lamps. These are not only much more bright and luminous, but also much more energy efficient. Another benefit of LED exit signs is that there is little to no maintenance. The led bulbs do not need to be replaced and the exit sign can last up to 10 years. There are also LEC (light emitting capacitor) exit signs that are electrical, luminous, very cost effective (25 cents per year) and can last up to 25 years with little to no maintenance. Along with the technological improvements of exit signs, there have been design improvements as well. Today exit signs are sleek and classy. They have got real style to them. Exit Signs are no longer and an ugly requirement that sits in the corner of a hall or lobby. Nowadays they can actually add to the decor of a facility. For instance, the Edge-lit Exit Sign is a very stylish sleek exit sign. It has a glass panel and the word "Exit" looks as if it is floating in air. Exit Signs are available in both red or green. New York and Chicago have there own specific requirements for exit signs. New York approved exit signs and Chicago approved exit signs. As we can see the "Exit Sign" has quite a history behind it. Exit signs have truly come a long way and not only save lives, but also look classy. We look forward to all technological improvements and anticipate great things for the "Exit Sign".