Since I started working for Aaron Overhead Doors, our traditional paneled garage door has earned a new kind of respect! Garage doors have been through many changes over the past 100 years and are one of the most important “needs” for homeowners when purchasing a new home. Here, we’d like to take a look at a brief history of garage doors.

When did it start?

Around 450 BC, Romans depended on horse-drawn chariots for transportation, and they needed a place to store them. So, the first garage was a gatehouse used for storing chariots, and most likely, the stables were close by. Fast forward to 1902. This is when “float over doors” became popular in the United States. In 1906, American manufacturers published catalogs that advertised upward-lifting garage doors.


Around 1910, garage doors were composed of a double door attached to the garage and had strap hinges attached that opened outwards. These doors experienced lots of wear with creaky hinges. Hinge screws would bend and eventually fall out from being open and closed so much.  Also, if snow blocked the garage door, you couldn’t open it until the snow was shoveled away!

Then, sliding track garage doors were introduced. These doors needed a bigger garage to slide open and closed in. Although they were more versatile, owners had to build the garage at least double the width of the door.

C.G. Johnson

C.G. Johnson, from Detroit, MI and founder of the Overhead Door Corporation, discovered a solution to the amount of space garage doors were taking up. Johnson’s new door could be lifted upwards, folding parallel to the garage ceiling. In 1926, Johnson also invented the very first electric garage door opener.


By 1970, more than 30 garage door companies existed and the garage door’s popularity continued to grow. Different materials were used, such as aluminum, fiber glass, and wood, which gave customers many choices.

2000 and Beyond

By 2000, the boring paneled aluminum door got a face lift. New designs started popping up, adding to a home’s curb appeal. The real estate crash around 2007-2008 caused many companies to leave the market and others to be bought out by bigger fish. Recently, in 2015-2016, the real estate market has picked back up with new building in the Atlanta area and other areas around the country. Also, homeowners are upgrading or replacing garage doors with popular carriage styles and wood to add to their curb appeal and attract potential new home buyers.

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