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Brief History of the Garage Door

The word garage comes from the French garer, to shelter or protect. That was its purpose, to shelter and protect the vehicle.

As the car worked its way into society, so did the need for somewhere to store it. Cars were first kept next to the horses in the carriage house. People with cars in those days were usually of higher class than most. Your fancy new car smelling like horse manure just would not do!

The first garages looked actually a lot like our modern-day parking lots, but on one level. People figured that if they could store more than one horse in a barn, then perhaps they could store more than one car in a similar structure. This system worked well until about 1910, when there were too many cars for the garages to accommodate.

The carriage house worked well before. If only they could get rid of those smelly horses. That led to the invention of the garage, as we know it today. They were simple structures. Of course, they had a door, because the purpose was to protect the car from the elements. It was a double door, attached to the garage with strap hinges that opened outwards.

The doors were subjected to heavy wear and tear. With the hinges creaking, a screw would get bent. It eventually would fall out being opened and closed almost daily. If there was snow on the ground, it would block the doors. They could not open until all the snow was shoveled around them.

Then, came the sliding track doors. A more versatile garage door design that meant that the garage had to be at least double the width of the door. Then, a solution to the question of space came with the invention of the Overhead Door™ by C.G. Johnson in 1921. He founded the Overhead Door Corporation™. This door could be lifted upwards, folding parallel to the garage ceiling. Five years later, in 1926, Johnson invented the first electric garage door opener.

In 1921, C.G. Johnson and his wife toured trade shows and county fairs demonstrating the “Overhead Door™” with a miniature garage door mounted on a Ford model T truck. The actual door above is displayed at the corporate office of Overhead Door Corporation™. For over 90 years, the Overhead Door™ brand stood for product quality, expertise, and professional service.

From commercial and industrial Overhead Doors™ and access systems to residential garage doors and openers, Overhead Door Company of Waterbury™ combines quality, dependable products with reliable service to consistently give home and business owners confidence and peace of mind.

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