A Brief History of Garage Doors
The view of a home garage from the front, with yellow walls and a white front

Once upon a time, people rode carriages and horses, and with all the period dramas we’ve seen we’re well aware of stables that used to house the animals. But how did we arrive at the modern garage and home garage doors that are attached to just about every house in the US?

There’s actually an interesting story that starts with the use of wood carriage houses, which is ironic since wooden carriage doors have recently made a comeback. Let’s recount where the garage started and how we arrived at the cutting-edge garage doors of the day.

Starting from Wood Carriage Houses

The first decade of the 20th century saw a huge spread in the use of cars everywhere. Although they weren’t as accessible as today, cars were still very much on the roads by the Roaring ‘20s. That’s why it was in 1912 when the idea of an external building was pitched to store cars in.

Since carriage houses were the only functional building that performed this purpose, many places started to multipurpose their carriage houses. However, this led to problems, as the stink of the manure left cars smelling dirty — and so arose the need for a dedicated space just for cars.

Early garages looked more like parking lots since homes didn’t really have this feature yet. However, garage doors, as we know them today, didn’t come into existence until 1921. Up till that point, traditional dual door or sliding gates were used.

A vintage wooden carriage house in black and white photography.

The Invention of the Overhead Door

A man called C.G. Johnson is credited with the invention of the overhead door. These garage doors were lifted and pushed upward, where they would rest parallel against the garage ceiling. These doors were originally made of wood.

The same man also invented the garage door opener in 1926; essentially kickstarting the garage door mechanisms we use today. This invention was later used by the owners of Wayne-Dalton in 1956 who sourced their labour from the Amish community at that time, to manufacture and pioneer their successful line of doors.

Image Filename: garage-door-home-yellow-front

Image Alt Text: The view of a home garage from the front, with yellow walls and a white front.

Modern-Day Garage Door Technology

Over time, wood was discarded for galvanized steel doors instead, that were preferred due to their durability. With the essential addition of polystyrene insulation, this door worked well for decades.

Now, we’re looking at the birth of fiberglass doors that are much lighter and beat even metal and steel on the durability front. However, trends like carriage doors and steel doors will come back time and time again, which is why Darkinson Doors supplies all kinds of garage doors and garage door openers in Toledo, OH.

We make sure our local communities get only the best when it comes to their garage doors, as well as commercial doors such as loading dock equipment, sectional doors, scissor gates and more.

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