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From Caveman to Castle: How Door Engineering Has Evolved

Doors are as common to mankind as clothing and footwear. For all of known history, and probably for most of pre-history, human beings have been utilizing doors to close in the spaces that they inhabit. Doors have ranged from roughhewn logs to shaker style French doors and modern Craftsman, and have included doors that have been built as works of magnificent artistry. Your front door represents a long history of engineering and continual improvement that has resulted in modern doors that are safe, fire-resistant, and beautiful. Here are just a few of the major improvements that have been made to doors, doorways, and door hardware over the last few millennia.

 

Doors to the Afterlife

The first doors represented in historical documents are found on paintings within Egyptian tombs. These doors were either single or double and made of what appears to be single slabs of wood. In Egyptian mythology, doors were considered to be the way to the afterlife, with doors to sacred or important places carved with images of the afterlife.

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Hinges of the Ancients

Hinges made of bronze have been found in Africa, Asia, and in Europe dating as far back as 5500 BC. These bronze age beauties were usually only utilized by the rulers and wealthy in the land. Historians believe that most of the citizens in these ancient cultures were either too poor to afford metal hinges and may not have used doors at all.

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Stiles, Rails, and Frames

In Egypt, where the weather is warm and dry, door frames were unnecessary, but as civilization moved north to wetter parts of the world, the need for advanced technology increased. Evidence of stile and rail doors have been found in ancient Roman buildings. Most of us are familiar with this design as many of our kitchen cabinet doors utilize the same structure.

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Sliding and Folding Doors

The technology for sliding doors and folding doors goes all the way back to Greek and Roman civilizations. These doors had alternating hinges, much like todays bi-fold closet doors.

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Medieval Metal Doors

During the middle ages the art of working bronze, copper, and creating alloys advanced. This skill reached a pinnacle of art during the Renaissance and metal doors were utilized as an art medium.

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