The History and Evolution of Garage Doors

New two-storied gray brick cottage with garage on first floor.

Garage doors are commonplace among homes in the United States. For many, they act as the first line of defense for valuables such as family heirlooms, golf carts, and cars stored in the garage. For others, they act as the primary entryway into the home. Some even use their garage as a space to create art, restore old cards, or design new inventions. Whatever you use your garage for, the garage door is a vital part of it and provides both safety and convenience.

Garage doors today have architectural beauty and can be made from a range of materials. In this month’s article, the team at Action Garage Door Repair Specialists looks back on the unique history of the garage door and its evolution throughout modern history.

The Birthplace of the Garage

The first garage door can be traced back to the beginning of the 20th century. The innovation of the car was revolutionary in the United States. Many higher-class individuals who invested in the first models stored their cars in carriage houses, large outbuildings designed to store horses and buggies. However, this caused the cars to stink of hay and horses, an odor that was extremely difficult to remove. Thus, demand rose for a new type of outbuilding that would exclusively house cars.

The first garages were public parking lots covered like barns, the idea being that since barns housed multiple horses, so should garages house multiple cars. The owners of these garages charged about $15-20 dollars monthly for a parking space. Individuals who paid to have their cars parked in these garages could expect a heated space that was routinely cleaned by the owner and their staff.

The first garage doors on these outbuildings swung out in a wide arch, like conventional barn doors, allowing cars to pass through once the door was completely open.

In 1910, the rise in the usage of cars began to overcrowd the public garages, calling for a new solution.

The Invention of Modern the Garage Door

Green and Blue Garage Doors

In 1921, inventor C.G. Johnson patented the very overhead garage door. This invention allowed the garage door to take up less space, as it retracted upwards towards the ceiling so the car could be driven in underneath. It also enabled garages to be installed on the side of houses. By the 1950s, more and more families were installing garages and garage doors in their homes, ending the need for public garages.

The Addition of Style

In 1956, Wayne-Dalton, also known as Wayne Door, moved to Mt. Hope, Ohio. Here he became integrated into the largest Amish community in the world. Wayne-Dalton hired the finest Amish craftsmen in the region and produced a line of superior-quality garage doors. With new technology such as pinch-resistant doors and tamper-resistant bottom brackets, these garage doors brought us closer and closer to the ones we know today.

As garages became a more prevalent part of American homes, so did the demand to ensure that the garage door matched the homes’ aesthetic. Garage doors began to take on different styles such as:

  • Colonial
  • French
  • Mediterranean
  • Old English

Introduction of Stronger Garage Door Materials

driver opens the garage with remote control from the comfort of a carWith the call for fancier and more aesthetic garage doors, the industry boomed and flourished. In the 1970s, people began making garage doors out of materials other than wood. Galvanized steel was a popular choice among homeowners, as the extra durability increased its lifespan. Polystyrene insulation was placed between the layers of steel to increase the insulation, keeping garages warmer and improving their durability.

Next, materials such as fiberglass, composite, and vinyl-covered aluminum were used to help better match garage doors to houses.

The Garage Doors of Today

Today, garage doors are still an integral part of many homes across the United States. Customization options have allowed homeowners to get the exact style they are looking for. From beautiful wooden garage doors to hardy steel ones to traditional carriage house styles, they can be made to fit any style of home.

Action Garage Door Repair Specialists offer superior-quality custom garage doors to suit your home or business. We have been providing unparalleled garage door installation and repair services for the DFW Metroplex, Austin, and Houston areas for over 30 years. If you are looking for a garage door that is worthy of its history, contact the team at Action Garage Door Repair Specialists today!

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