Double Glazing, Garage Doors and DIY Information

13 February 2007

History of the Garage Door - Part 1

The garage door came about soon after the invention of the modern automobile, as people needed a place to store their cars. Originally, cars and horses were stored in the same building; but few liked the idea of storing cars and horse in the same place, as there was both a risk of the horse damaging the car and the idea of horse manure smelling cars just wan not appealing.

Originally, garages were very similar to our one level parking lots. Large (often privately-owned) garages were built where people could store multiple cars at $15-$20 a month for a parking space. The garage was heated, maintained and cleaned by the owner and worked until about 1910, when there became too many cars and too few garages.

Now, people were looking for car garages closer to home to make travel faster and easier. The original garage concept that horses and cars shared a building was workable, if horses and the smell of their manure could be removed. Thus, the concept of the modern garage was born. The word garage comes from the French 'garer' - to shelter or protect.

The first garages were quite basic. They were simple barns with very basic garage doors to protect the automobiles from the elements. The first garage door was essentially a barn door, a double door that was attached to the garage with hinges that could open outwards. These garages were basically sheds and for that reason, garage doors were often opened and closed and thus subjected to heavy wear and tear. The hinges would often creak and the screws would always bend and fall out. With winter, it also took much effort to shovel the snow off the ground so that the door could be opened.

In later years, siding tracks would be used for garage doors, and hence more versatile designs were developed alongside the existing side-hung garage doors. If the garage doors could remain within the area of the garage via sliding tracks a lot of space could be saved. These doors could be moved sideways across the front of the garage to open and close them. However, this led to a problem as it meant that the garage had to be at least double the width of the door. A new garage door was soon developed that was cut into sections, then hinged together at intervals, allowing it to fold around a corner.

In the next article we will talk about some of the progress made in garage door design and construction
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