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History of Garage Doors

Before the advent of the “horseless carriage” people stored their transportation in carriage houses which protected their horses and buggies from the elements, but with the advent of the automobile it became preferable to keep the family car somewhere other than a smelly shed, ergo the evolution of the family garage. Of course the first garages were simple structures usually with plain swing-out double doors that didn’t hold up very well against all kinds of weather.

Contrary to popular perception the automatic garage door is not a recent innovation. In 1921 Mr. C. G. Johnson’s patent was approved for the first automatic garage door. Five years later his patent application was approved for an automatic garage door using an electronically activated key pad. Johnson’s invention led the way to the first overhead door which lifted upwards and folded parallel to the garage ceiling.

Through the intervening years there were many innovations in door style and design and materials beginning with wood and later polystyrene insulated wood, galvanized steel, fiberglass, composites and vinyl-covered aluminum. Always looking for greater convenience, ti was probably inevitable that the automatic garage door opener would come next. People could stay in their cars and drive in protected from the elements and secure in their homes.

In succeeding years it became apparent that there were risks and dangers to children who could be seriously injured or killed by automatic doors, so in 1993 the Consumer Product Safety Commission initiated a federal law that required all automatic garage doors to be equipped with photo-electric sensors. Sensors work by detecting any object under a garage door and reversing themselves and returning to an open position. With the advent of state-of-the-art sensors. Serious injuries from automatic garage doors are a rare occurrence.

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