Double Glazing, Garage Doors and DIY Information

19 February 2007

History of the Garage Door - Part 2

In the previous article in this series, we talked about the beginnings of garage doors. In this article, we'll talk about the some of the inventions and progress made in garage door construction and design.

The Invention of the Folding Overhead Door

In 1921, a man by the name of C.G. Johnson developed the most common modern form of the garage door, the "up-and-over " garage door model, which could be lifted upwards, opening the garage, while folding parallel to the garage ceiling. C.G. Johnson was instrumental in the development of the modern garage as 5 years later in 1926, he invented the electric door opener, which made it quick and easy to open the heavy garage doors. This new invention marked the birth of the Overhead Door Corporation, one of the largest garage door manufacturers in the world.

Wayne-Dalton also established himself in the industry and quickly became one of the leading manufacturers and servicers of garage doors and garage door openers. Wayne-Dalton moved to Mt. Hope, Ohio, which at the time was one of the largest Amish communities in the America. Here, they hired the Amish craftsmen who lived in the area to manufacture high quality garage doors, and this was the first of a series of events that enabled Wayne-Dalton to become a leader in garage door innovation.

However, even though the functionality of the garage door was all but finalized, style became a major factor, and as architecture changed so did people's ideas for garages. At this time, garages were not always in peoples' homes. However, due to a decrease in the amount of space available, garage began to move closer to homes and then eventually became part of them. Hence, all garage doors were different in style now as they had to match the style and colour of the rest of the main building.

There was now a growing demand for colonial, French, Mediterranean, and Old English-style garage doors that matched the architecture of the homes of the manufacturer's clients. Craftsman was one of the more popular architectural forms during this time period because of their open framework, their lattices, and their pergolas. The garage door industry really began to pick up and succeed with this increased demand in styled garage doors as the demand created new jobs and business opportunities.

Garage Door Materials Progressed with Technology

Traditionally, garage doors had always been made out of wood. However, slowly but surely wood stopped being used as it could easily be damaged by the sun and rotted by the rain. Due to the hassle with the amount of maintenance that was required innovators went to work, developing a new type of garage door.

In the 1970s, steel was becoming quite popular, so galvanized steel garage doors became quite common. Steel was not as good an insulator as wood, but it definitely was more durable and two steel doors placed together could provide as much insulation as a wooden door. Hence, most garage doors during this time period used two steel plates around a layer of Styrofoam providing polystyrene insulation. Garage doors were now warm and durable.

Still, people kept innovating and soon fiberglass was commonly used to construct garage doors. After fiberglass, more materials such as resin-filled wood, and eventually vinyl-covered aluminum, similar to aluminum siding were used. Aluminium had many advantages because since aluminium siding was used in many modern homes and it was very simple to match the garage doors to the house, making them an attractive part of the home design.

In the next article, we'll talk about more modern doors, as well as some of the dangers posed by garage doors
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