Evolution of the Garage Door

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Garage doors have come a long way from where they were over 100 years ago. Today, overhead doors are as sophisticated as ever, with key features that keep your garage warm and safe. Join us as we walk you through the history of the garage door; past, present, and future.


Garage doors have come a long way from where they were over 100 years ago. Today, overhead doors are as sophisticated as ever, with key features that keep your garage warm and safe. Join us as we walk you through the history of the garage door; past, present, and future.

Around 1912 architects were intrigued by a ‘new kind of outbuilding’ and called it a garage. The word garage is derived from a French word garer, meaning shelter or protect. The first garages used to be more or less, a basic shed. With little to no protection from extremely hot or cold temperatures all while being extremely hard to maintain. The door was no different than a conventional house door with strap hinges and would swing outward (talk about heavy!). Not to mention, these doors would suffer tons of wear and tear due to the frequency of use and were basically inoperable when blocked by snow.

Fast forward 9 years later, the overhead door was making an appearance due to the rise in popularity of cars! Invented by C.G. Johnson, founder of Overhead Door Corporation in Detroit. Detroit is where the company started their first plant in a 1000-sq ft. building. Now, with the space being so small, production compacity was at one door per day.

After getting a patent for the company C.G. Johnson and his wife spent the next couple of years traveling the country with a miniature overhead door mounted on the back of a Model T Ford truck signing distributors to sell the new luxury product.  In 1923, while traveling through Indiana, Johnson was stopped by a local and was blown away by the garage door design and offered Johnson a factory location. Of course, Johnson was overjoyed with the offer and leaped at it! In 1924, the factory location of 200,000-sq ft. was located in Hartford City, Indiana.

But C.G. Johnson didn’t stop there; three years later Johnson invented the first electric garage door opener with Herbert Cady Blodgett. Together, they formed the Door Control Company, which soon became the Overhead Door Company of Hartford City. This was currently where we are at with overhead door technology…until recently.

Clopay, has partnered with Lifemaster to bring you the future of garage doors, The Extreme Series. This high performing door system operates 3 times faster (24 inches per second to open) and lasts five times longer (50k cycles) then standard garage doors.  The Extreme Series offers more than 20 models to meet the needs of different industries. This series is the perfect fit for emergency service buildings, car dealerships, and manufacturing or distribution centers. Not only are all these models aesthetically pleasing and beautiful but are extremely high functioning! Contact the garage door experts at South Dakota Overhead Doors to discuss your future garage door.


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Rapid City Showroom
3280 W Chicago St,
Rapid City, SD 57702
Phone: 605-355-1500