The Evolution of the Modern Day Garage Door

HASS Garage Door RA 360 National Walnut

One of the most used entry doors to a home is the garage or overhead door. Since most homeowners have attached garages, they can easily leave and enter their home without dealing with the elements of nature. Today, garage doors have become not only functional, but attractive, with many architectural styles and options.

Taking a look back in time, the garage door began with the term “carriage house”, referred to an outbuilding or barn where horses and buggies were kept before the invention of the automobile. In the 19th Century, carriage houses were detached from the main house and accessed by large swinging doors. With the arrival of the automobile, wealthy homeowners moved their cars in with the horses and buggies, until the eventual decline horse-drawn carriages.

The first garages were public structures built in the early 20th Century that could accommodate around 100 automobiles. Eventually, as more people could afford automobiles, they opted for the convenience of building detached garages behind their homes.

With more people having their own garages, there was a need for better garage doors. The first doors used strap hinges and opened outward which created problems. The hinges would rust or simply couldn’t hold the weight of the wide, heavy doors, so they were difficult to open and close.

Another garage door option evolved from the sliding barn door. Unfortunately, the sliding door required double the space to operate, making the garage too large for most properties in the early 1900’s. A folding garage door was later invented which took up less space and was somewhat easier to open and close.

In 1921, C.G. Johnson, invented the overhead door, which was fabricated into sections with internal hinges. Five years later, Mr. Johnson invented the electric overhead garage door opener, which became more popular as electricity became a staple in most homes in the 1930’s and 1940’s. By the 1960’s, attached garages and electric door openers were the norm, making it more convenient and safe for homeowners.


Until the last 15 to 20 years, most overhead garage doors were functional but didn’t offer many styles. Garage door styles mainly consisted of smooth, flat or raised panels in wood or aluminum. Today, the garage door has become a fashion statement for the home. Haas Door Company currently has eight different series of doors ranging from their American Tradition line, which captures the look of the 19th Century carriage house door style, to the Aluminum 360 Series, which offers a contemporary glass and aluminum look.


While the current home size in the United States is shrinking, the garage footprint is becoming larger, as we all accumulate more “stuff”, besides our automobiles, to house in this space. Whatever your clients are using their garages for, it may be time to talk to them about replacing the overhead door and opener with a more attractive, functional & quiet alternative.



MYERS Building Product Specialists can furnish and install garage doors for new construction and also lend a helping hand with garage door repairs. Contact your nearest MYERS location today so we can assist you with all your client’s garage door needs.