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The History of the Garage Door: Protecting Your Car and Home for 100 Years

Jun 07, 2019|

We get it. The history of the garage door may not be the most thrilling story out there.

But it is interesting, though—especially the ending.

Learn all about how the evolution of garage doors has changed the way we come and go, leading up to the most groundbreaking invention in the history of garage doors: the smart garage system.

garage door
Keep reading to learn more about the history of the garage door.

The history of the garage door

With the invention of the automobile in the early 1900s, the need for a place to store vehicles quickly presented itself. More often than not, those who were able to afford an automobile already had a decent place to store it: a small carriage house where the horse-drawn buggy was once kept.

These carriage houses were similar to the garages we use today, except for two major differences: they were almost always separated from the structure of the home, and the garage doors didn’t lift with the push of a button.

In fact, the garage doors didn’t lift at all. The standard for carriage houses was a set of grand double doors, side by side, that opened outward. This type of garage door system required owners to get in and out of their car any time they needed to open or close the doors.

The doors were inconvenient, to say the least. They also required a great deal of maintenance and care to work properly, being that they were opened and closed so frequently. Additionally, the doors couldn’t open if there were just a few inches of snow on the ground to block them.

The overhead door

It wasn’t until the year 1921 that C.G. Johnson gave the world something better: the upward acting garage door (also commonly referred to as the overhead door). Rather than opening outward, this type of garage door could be lifted upward off the ground.

Because the upward door was the first real change in the industry, C.G. Johnson is widely credited for the invention of garage doors and his company is still thriving after almost 100 years since the first model was released.

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The invention of the garage door opener

While the overhead door was easier to open and needed less open space to function, it still required manual operation. It wasn’t until Johnson joined forces with Herbert Cady Blodgett that the first electric door opener was introduced in the late 1920s.

Johnson was on the right track, but the electric garage door opener hardly minimized the inconvenience of manual operation.

In its earliest form, the garage door opener was a switch inside the garage, still requiring drivers to get in and out of their vehicle in order to close the garage door.

The next advancement: stationary control panels

The next upgrade came in the form of a stationary control panel positioned on the side of the driveway. This allowed drives to roll down their windows and open or close their garage door with the press of a button.

While this invention was a significant step forward, implementation was costly and complicated. In order to install a working switch box in the driveway, underground electrical wiring had to run from the box to the garage door.

In the 1940s, America was finally treated to the first remote radio control transmitter (the wireless garage door opener). This started as an expensive, oversized trend (as did most inventions in the 1900s) but over time it has transformed into an affordable and compact solution that is the standard for many American homes.


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We can't forget about safety

In addition to the improvements made for the sake of convenience, safety measures (such as speed sensors and photocells) were also added to the garage door to prevent unfortunate accidents and damage to vehicles.

The types of garage doors have also greatly expanded, changing not only the function but the appearance as well. From drawbar to jackshaft garage doors, homeowners today can choose from a wide variety depending on their needs and personal preference.

Smart garage door control: the biggest innovation in garage doors

When it comes to the history of the garage door, things really started getting interesting with the invention of the smart garage system.

In fact, the entire home saw a big upgrade when smart home technology revolutionized the way we live our lives.

Think of all the things you can do with smart home technology by opening one simple app on your phone and tapping the screen a few times. You can:

  • adjust the temperature of your home with a smart thermostat
  • monitor the live footage streaming from your outdoor security cameras
  • communicate with visitors through your doorbell camera
  • even lock your doors when you're miles away from home.

And now, you can access your garage door anytime from anywhere, so long as you have a smartphone with access to the internet.

Garage door opener
Control your garage door from anywhere with a smart garage door controller from Vivint.

Upgrading to a smart garage provides homeowners with a splendid combination of these benefits:

  • Never leave the garage door open again with mobile control.
  • Receive notifications when the garage is left open by another family member.
  • Improve your garage security with restricted access, mobile notifications, and integration with other smart security devices.

Take your garage security to the next level with a smart garage door controller.

check on the garage door with our app
Forget to close your garage door? You'll receive a notification on your smartphone and then can close it from wherever you are.

Upgrade your garage door opener

The evolution of the garage door reached its peak with the invention of the smart garage door opener. Today, smart home tech can provide you and your family with optimal security, unbeatable convenience, and priceless peace of mind.

Integrate your new garage door with smart home locks, indoor cameras, and motion sensors to get the most out of your investment and provide your family with unparalleled security.

Reap the rewards of a smart garage door system with Vivint.

Boost your home’s IQ today. Call one of our Smart Home Pros for a free quote at 844.481.8630.

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