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In the United States alone, more than 80 million homes feature an integrated garage. It’s hard to imagine a time without them, especially if you live in an area where snow and ice is common. Although you see them everywhere you look, you may not know how they came to be.

Henry Ford’s Miscalculation

In 1896, a young Henry Ford was in a neighbor’s coal shed working on his quadricycle or horseless carriage. The simple predecessor to the motor vehicle consisted of a buggy frame on bicycle wheels with a small motor. Wrapped up in the excitement of his new invention, Ford must have lost track of his surroundings. When the quadricycle was complete, he realized that it was too large to be taken out of the shed in one piece. Undaunted, he simply knocked down a section of brisk wall and installed what many consider to be the first garage door.

Garage Growth and Development

As more people began buying and driving automobiles, the need for safe storage became apparent. At first, car owners tried to use carriage houses and stables, but the vehicles didn’t fit correctly, and the horses weren’t happy with their new roommates. Soon, prefabricated garages and carports became available through retailers like Sears and Roebuck. These early problem-solvers were generally kept at a distance. Gasoline stations weren’t yet widely accessible, so car owners had to store their own gas. Due to the fire hazard, it was more sensible to place the garage in the back of the yard. Once a more established network of gas stations was in place, this was no longer necessary, and the obvious convenience of having an attached garage started changing the face of home architecture. While no one is sure exactly when the first attached garage was built, a magazine called Country Life featured one in a 1941 edition.

New Looks, New Technology

Many early garages resembled carriage or stable houses with large, side-by-side wooden doors that could only be opened by hand. Today’s garages feature automated doors and are built in a variety of styles to match home architecture and decor. Some even mimic the old-fashioned barn-door look. However, advances in technology have made garages much easier to use; perks like remote garage door openers and garage heating are now standard. You don’t even need a car to appreciate your garage. It makes a great storage room for your seasonal decor or a fully equipped home gym. It could even become the home base for an 80s cover band or a phenomenal man-cave.

Overhead Door Company of Portland

Whether you use your garage for parking your car or turn it into an art studio, you need a quality garage door to ensure safety, secure access, energy efficiency, and comfort. Overhead Door Company of Portland provides top-quality garage doors from trusted manufacturers and we guarantee service and maintenance for the life of your door. Our experts can help you select the perfect garage door and accessories for your needs and budget. Contact us today for more information.