While we at P.J. Fitzpatrick are very proud of the New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland doors that we sell, we’re also equally proud to offer residential garage doors crafted by Richards-Wilcox.
You’ve probably spent your entire life with a garage nearby, but have you ever wondered where the idea of a garage came from?
You could say that the idea of a garage door dates back to around 450 BC, when people stored their chariots in gatehouses. But as far as a garages for cars go, the idea surfaced in the early 1900s, just after cars were available to the masses. At the time, many people kept their horse-drawn carriage in a carriage house – an outbuilding separate from the house. Depending on the wealth of the family, a carriage house could hold just one small carriage or it could hold an array of carriages and even have room for living quarters for the staff members who managed the horses.
Some people converted their carriage houses into car garages, while other, wealthier folks didn’t want to keep their cars near where they kept horses. So, large garages were built (similar to our parking decks, but smaller) and car-owners were charged a monthly fee for parking their cars there.
Once the garages were full and there was no more room for cars, people resorted back to the idea of a carriage house. In the early 1910s, they build their own carriage house for their car. This is when the modern home garage (from the French word garer, meaning “to shelter”) was essentially invented.
Sliding Tracks and Folding Doors
Garages started out like barns, with a double door that opened outward. However, these doors got so much use from opening and closing every day that the hinges and screws would fall out. That’s when the first garage was built with a door on sliding tracks. The tracks allowed the door to slide sideways in front of the garage and eliminated the need for extra space in front of the structure.
Not long after the sliding tracks came the invention of the folding garage door (around 1921). This door was cut into sections and joined together with hinges. It could be folded upwards and sit parallel to the top of the garage.
Just a few years later, in 1926, C.G. Johnson, of Hartford City, Indiana invented the electric garage door, however, sales of the garage door didn’t take off until after World War II, when the Era Meter Company of Chicago offered one that could be opened via a keypad at the end of the driveway or via a switch inside the garage.
Today, the majority of homes use the original “folding door” garage door, however, these doors come in many different looks and styles. The New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland garage doors that we offer are made with environmentally friendly (and insulating) Neufoam that makes the doors structurally sound. We also carry garage doors that are built to resemble carriage house doors and doors that are made from steel, but have the look of real wood.
If you’re interested in any of our quality garage doors, give us a call today to get started!