Safety Meets Charm: The Appeal of Antique Exit Signs
Exit signs are an essential component of building safety, but the standard sign doesn’t fit in every business. For buildings that want to comply with state and federal regulations but also want to maintain their brand identity, antique exit signs might be a good option. These vintage signs offer clarity needed to direct people to the nearest exit without discarding the old-fashioned style of the business. See all of our Vintage Exit Signs
What are Antique Exit Signs?
There are no hard and fast rules to what constitutes an antique exit sign. Since these signs have been used for decades, they come in a broad array of styles, colors, and dimensions. The earliest signs were crafted of metal or white glass and were typically illuminated by a single incandescent bulb.
These signs had two troublesome features, however. The first was that if the power went out, the signs were not visible. The second was that they were not as prominent, particularly if there was smoke in the room, making the exits harder to find. Today, adjustments need to be made to bring signs like these into compliance with modern regulations.
What are Vintage Lighted Exit Signs?
One of the most popular styles of vintage lighted exit signs is the neon sign that was introduced in 1910. The signs began in Europe and made their way to the USA by 1923. Vintage neon signs can be relatively difficult to come by, as few were made during the peak of their popularity. However, neon continues to be in demand, particularly for beverage companies that continue to produce modern signs for restaurants and other businesses.
Can Antique Exit Signs be Compliant?
Today, there are very specific requirements as to how to identify exits in buildings. The size, color, and mounting of a sign make it much more difficult to use antique exit signs safely and legally. Many of the authentic signs must be altered to make them compliant. Oftentimes, building owners choose to instead purchase new signs crafted to look like the vintage signs of the past while maintaining the features necessary to pass inspection by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the National Fire Protection Association(NFPA) and the International Building Code.
To determine whether an antique exit sign is compliant, it must include the following features:
- Lettering:Exit signs must bear the word exit in plain lettering, according to guidelines from OSHA and NFPA.
- Illumination:Signs must be illuminated correctly so they are easy to locate and identify.
- Color: The color of the exit sign must be distinct and easy to see and read.
- Mounting:Exit signs must be mounted at the appropriate height, depending on whether they are door or floor signs.
Some states may have their own requirements regarding exit signs. Antique exit signs will need to comply with the same regulations as new exit signs to ensure the safety of people in the building and to avoid penalties from regulatory agencies. Maintenance may also be needed to prevent possible damage or fading that could affect compliance over time.
How to Mount Antique Exit Signs
There are also guidelines on how to mount exit signs to ensure they are readily visible and easy to follow. The primary rule is that exit signs mounted at doors must have at least 80 inches from the bottom of the sign to the floor. Floor exit signs must be mounted six to 18 inches from the floor. Signs should also be permanently affixed and easy to read.
Buildings are required to have exit signs at every exit door, every exit stairway and ramp, and every corridor intersection. Signs must be free of obstructions so they can be seen easily in the event of an emergency. If an exit cannot be readily seen, arrows may be used to direct guests to the nearest door. Any door that is not an exit should also be clearly marked as such.
Options in Antique Exit Signs
As long as antique exit signs are compliant, the sky is the limit in terms of what can be used to notify guests of the emergency exits in the building. Vintage exit signs, such as those used in movie theaters, are a particularly popular choice for some modern-day businesses that want to maintain a retro style throughout. These signs can be fitted with appropriate lighting to comply with today’s standards as well.
Since exit signs have a long history, there are selections from different eras that will boast a decidedly different look. Businesses that are focused on keeping a consistent style throughout their décor can discover numerous options online. However, selecting antique exit signs from a company that specializes in compliant safety signs will ensure the signs chosen will pass inspections and prevent potential penalties due to lack of compliance.
If you are looking for antique exit signs or vintage lighted exit signs, Exit Sign Warehouse may have the styles you want. All our signs are compliant, so they are ready to mount and display right from our company. Contact us today to learn more.