A potted history of the garage door

With today’s incredible choice of colours, sizes and styles the modern garage door can be an important aesthetic addition to any home or commercial property. Of course, ultimately though it is still a humble door designed to protect the contents of the garage from the elements and any unwelcome visitors.

According to a certain popular reference website, garage doors could date back as far as 450 BC when chariots were stored in gatehouses. For a more modern take on the history of the garage door though we unearthed the following facts:

  • As cars grew in popularity in the early 1900s the need arose for somewhere to store them. Initially they tended to be kept in outbuildings with the horses and buggies.  Eventually the wealthy decided their pride and joy should perhaps not be stored with the livestock and the concept of a separate outbuilding for the storage of cars was developed.
  • The word garage comes from the French garer – to shelter or protect. It entered the French language officially in 1901 and first appeared in an English dictionary around 1902.
  • The first garage doors were basically barn doors, hinged at the sides which opened outwards. These obviously suffered from wear and tear and took up a significant amount of space when open.
  • The first overhead garage door was invented in 1921 by American C.G Johnson. Five years later he invented the electric door opener. About this time integral garages started to become a feature of homes and so people were more concerned about the appearance and durability of doors which the industry eagerly latched on to.
  • In the 1970s, steel garage doors started to make an appearance.
  • Further materials were developed including fibreglass and aluminium.
  • Nowadays garage doors come in a variety of styles including sectional, side hinged, up and up and over and a wide variety of materials. They can also be finished in more or less any conceivable colour.

For a full selection of the latest garage doors available today – without the history lesson! – please pop in to our Cheshunt showroom or contact us on 01992 630 404.
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