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History of Garage Doors

Which came first, the garage or the garage door? The answer may surprise you—especially since the history of garage doors dates back to 450 BC! The term “garage” and “garage door” is pretty subjective and can include many things. Whether opened electronically or manually, these spaces were designed to accommodate “large vehicles” which, back in the day, may have included your standard chariot or horse cart. Today, it’s more likely the space where your sedan or crossover is parked.Vintage Garage Door

Usually, bigger garage doors are created with many jointed panels that roll on tracks across the ceiling of the garage or into a hidden “roll”. They’re often operated with a spring-loaded mechanism in order to minimize motor or human effort. There are also garage doors which move horizontally. Nowadays they are well insulated and created from a variety of materials including fiberglass, wood or metal, but the history of the biggest door you own and use is worth noting.

In the Beginning

“Old” garage doors of the twentieth century were often built with just one panel—it wasn’t until recently that multi-panels were hinged together. Door weight is balanced with extension springs or torsion springs. However, back in 450 BC, chariots were kept in “gatehouses,” which garage door experts agree were the first garages. What we consider “garages” today didn’t become popular in America until the turn of the twentieth century.

In 1902, a number of manufacturing companies in America, such as Cornell Iron Works, had catalogues that featured “float over doors.” This was basically a garage door that lifted upward and was designed to hold larger storage items. In 1906, the first upward lifting door appeared in catalogues, but it wasn’t until 1935 that the original one-panel wooden door was created by Rhead.

Single and Loving It

Single panel garage doors were the first, and can still be found today. The downside is that they obstruct areas outside the garage, so you need to park many feet from the door to avoid getting your car smacked by it. When track hardware is used you can park a little closer, but you still need to ensure you’re out of the “danger zone.”

Piece by Piece

Sectional garage doors feature between three and eight panels that slide up. Internally, they take up as much space as a single panel, but you don’t need to make room for them when they open or close, and every panel features its own connection—this means more reliability.

Keep On Rolling

The latest evolution, roller doors, are almost always corrugated steel. They have roots in door coverings and offer strong impact resistance. No matter which type of door you choose (or material), rest easy knowing that although you might not be storing a golden chariot, if it was good enough for kings and deities, it’s definitely good enough for your daily commuter.

This entry was posted on Monday, July 21st, 2014 at 4:28 pm and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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