Top 10 Random But Interesting Facts About Doors

Top 10 Random But Interesting Facts About Doors

May 31, 2021
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door
facts about doors

Doors can be one of the most interesting elements of a residential or commercial space, and yet, we don’t really give much thought to the doors we walk through on a daily basis. Keeping that in mind, here are some cool, random facts about doors that we are sure you’ll find interesting. 

Door Fact #1: The Oldest Door Is At Least 5 Centuries Old!

Archaeologists have uncovered what they believe is Europe’s oldest gateway during a previous excavation of the old town hall in the city of Zurich.

5000 year old Zurich door

The door is estimated to be about 5 centuries old, measuring 153cm (5ft) high and 88cm wide, built around the time when Stonehenge construction also began. The door is one of the so-called “stilt houses” found in the pre-Alpine areas where agriculture and livestock breeding were introduced.

The harsh climatic conditions at that time meant that people had to build solid houses to keep the cold wind from Lake Zurich away, and the door would have helped.

Door Fact #2: There Is A Reason Most Doors Swing Into A Room Or Home.

As you walk down the street, you will find push or pull signs on doors showing how to enter shops, and it can be quite confusing at times, making you wonder why it is designed this way.

Safety & Security

The first answer is for safety. The simple door design has exposed hinges, a weak point for safety. The positioning of the hinges on the inside of the front door makes it harder for burglars to gain access. If there is a hinge that can be hidden under the door, it has become the norm to open it inwards. With old doors, opening the doors from the outside would mean the hinge was outside, and that would have meant that a burglar with the right tools could easily open them.

There are indeed a number of reasons why front doors open inwards, some of which are practical and others not. The practical side of this development is the fact that doors open to the outside world.

Public buildings are designed to open outwards, as in the event of a fire, an inward-opened door can break, and it is an inward-opened door that firefighters must break open to get to their property.

Protection from Extreme Weather Conditions

A door that opens inwards also helps to protect against all kinds of extreme weather conditions. There are other weather conditions that would cause problems when a door swings outwards, such as heavy rain or strong winds. With strong winds, a door opening outward can easily be hit by a strong gust endangering passers-by on the streets. With wind gusts of more than 35 km / h, an outward opening door can hit you in the face or even the head.

If it snows heavily, it can also mean this operating style for doors makes it incredibly difficult to open in these conditions. A blanket of snow or even flooding would mean you could be trapped in your house, and that is not good for your safety.

Reason in Ancient Rome: to let Janus, the god of doors and opportunities, in

The month of January is named after the god of doors, Janus, and refers to the first month because it signifies the beginning and opening. Janus was known as the “God of the Doors” and also as the patron saint of all doors. When the Romans built their doors, they welcomed and greeted Janus and his guests in, and when a Roman did great service to his country, he was honored with an open door to the outside world, symbolizing his help to the empire.

Need a New door?

If you want a new door installed in your home, US Window & Door can help. A new door will change the look of your property. Although swinging front doors are not common, they can still be great options for your patios at home. We also have obscure stained glass options that add the finishing touches to the look and feel of your property, increasing your home’s value and eliminating the chances of costly repairs due to old worn-out doors. Feel free to contact us, and we will be happy to provide professional installation services. We are one of the leading window and door installers in San Diego with over 30 years of experience in the industry.

Door Fact #3: The Largest Door Is In Florida!

The entrance doors of the Kennedy Space center are the largest in the world. Completed in 1965, the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Centre, on Merritt Island, Florida, has the largest doors in the world, and it is also the fourth largest building structure in the world by volume. These doors are 465 feet high and take 45 minutes to open and close.

Door Fact #4: The Patent To The Revolving Door Was Given In 1888.

An inventor from Philadelphia named Theophilus Van Kannel received the first revolving door ever patented by the US Patent and Trademark Office in New York City. The patent for the revolving door was granted On August 7, 1888, and shows a revolving door with three partitions.

revolving door

Theophilus Van Kannel invented the design that marks the entrance to modern skyscrapers. The revolving door helped to alleviate some of the problems associated with conventional doors and served as an airlock to prevent damage inside a building, such as air conditioning and ventilation systems.

It also kept street noise and exhaust fumes away, and architects liked it for its ability to make a room appear large and majestic. The door was particularly useful in high-rise buildings, where the high air pressure difference created by the high ceilings and walls of the building made conventional doors difficult to open and close.

Van Kannel founded his own company, the International Revolving Door Company, to manufacture and market his designs.He also experimented with other inventions and was awarded a John Scott Medal of the City of Philadelphia for his inventions in 1924 and continued to work on improving the revolving doors for the rest of his life.

Door Fact #5: Janus Is The Roman God Of Doors.

Janus is the Roman god of gates, transitions, time, duality, and doorways. A side fact: “January” was named after Janus to symbolize new beginnings. In Roman religion and mythology, Janus, the Roman god of doors, was born on January 1. The first day of January in the Roman Empire and was honored by the Romans who had done great service to the empire. Their doors swing outwards to welcome the arrival of the New Year and the beginning of a new month or the birth of a new life.

door showing Janus god of doors

A building in Rome was named after him, or as it is often called, the open enclosure with a gate at the end, is opened and closed to mark the arrival of peace, which does not happen very often. It is usually depicted as a man with two faces, and Janus presides over the opening of the door and the entry into the New Year and the beginning of a new month.

He was also referred to as the transition god who was engaged in travel, trade, and shipping and had a function in them in relation to birth, travel, and exchange. Janus has been ubiquitous in religious ceremonies over the years, but the ancient Greeks had a special relationship with him, which the Romans claimed to be their own. He was invoked on certain occasions as the most important deity and was believed to have been omnipresent in all religious ceremonies for years and is invoked at the beginning and end of each ceremony.

In Latin, the name of the god means “arched passage doorway”. Janus bears the responsibility for the beginning and is associated with the beginnings as an omen. Janus is venerated and depicted as a symbol of peace, tranquility, and peace in the face of danger.

Janus is often symbolized by the image of a man with two faces, the other on the back of his head. It represented as if he could look into the past with one of the faces and into the future with the other.

Since movement and change are linked, Romans perceive that they have a dual nature, symbolized by the two-headed image. The function of the god of the Beginnings is expressed in the name of Janus, the god of action and the beginning of all action. As the god of motion and movement, he led the beginnings, took care of the passageways, and closed or relocked the doors of houses to protect people’s homes.

Door Fact #6: The Oldest Door In England Is 900 Years Old!

The oldest door in England is over 900 years old and is made of oak, located in Westminster Abbey. It is one of the oldest wooden doors in the world, built during the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042 - 1066). Norman abbey was consecrated in 1065 by King Edward.

Westminster Abbey’s oak doors are the oldest Anglo-Saxon wooden doors in the world, first dated in 2005 by a process known as dendrochronology. The dendrochronology of the wooden doors in the main hall of Westminster Abbey, the Great Hall, shows that the wood was cut around 1032 AD, and the doors were erected sometime in the 1050s. The ring pattern of the wood indicates that the tree grew in eastern England, probably in the northeast of England. This makes the door the only one that can be attributed to the Anglo-Saxon period.

oldest door in england

The construction of the door shows that it was intended to convey a space of equal importance within the abbey. The door consists of five vertical oak planks held together by three horizontal slats and an iron strip. Normally medieval doors have a flat front, but the back has protruding stripes and struts. Each slat is sunk into the plank so that the doors are flush at the sides, and the slate boards sink into each plank until they are flush on both sides.

Its original position is unknown, but it has since been restored to its current position at the front of the abbey.  The board is made from a single tree, and the rings indicate a growth between 924 and 1030 AD.

Once the planks were joined together, the faces were probably covered with cowhide or leather added to create a smooth surface for decorations. The top would have originally been about 1.50 meters high and was almost certainly round-arched, but no trace of painting. It was then fastened with decorative iron belts, and the door was cut out and led into a small, narrow room. Now it measures 6.5 meters, and 4 feet wide, and the top is embedded with round arches.

When Henry III rebuilt the abbey’s chapter house in 1245, the door was kept open until he dismantled it and moved it to a new location. Only one of the original belts has survived and is hidden under its inner door, but it is still visible.

The door has also been begged by a rather unpleasant legend, which says that it was once covered with the skin of a punished person. It was assumed that someone in the church was caught, beaten, and beaten for sacrilege or robbery and that the door was nailed with his skins to deter others. Tests have now shown that the skin was actually cowhide, not a human.

Door Fact #7: Some Of The Most Colorful Doors Are In Ireland!

colorful doors

Some doors in Ireland are very colorful and visually attractive, and they can actually be very striking and memorable. 

Sadly, this happened when Queen Victoria died, and residents were ordered to paint their doors black to mourn her death. Instead, the doors have been painted in different colors as an act of rebellion, and now we see a rainbow of colored doors in Ireland.

Numerous nuances and shades of color have been painted on the walls of churches, schools, hospitals, and other public buildings across the country and have become part of the cultural heritage of many Irish cities.

Door Fact #8: The Door Knob Was Invented In 1878.

The invention of the doorknob is not well documented, but the earliest findings were found to be invented in 1878. In that year, the US Patent Office received a template for improving the door and locking device from Osbourn Dorsey.

Before doorknobs were invented, people only used locks and keys if they could afford to have them fitted. Alternatively, they kept the key, did not lock the door, and simply stored their valuables in boxes or chests that could be locked. The key to the king’s castle was entrusted to a servant called a Chamberlain, who hid his treasures in his bedroom. The problem was they were very expensive, and the poor people just didn’t have the money to afford them. This meant they had to rely on simple and cheap ways to open the doors, such as a steering cord. Therefore, no door handle was actually required to close and secure the door.

door knob vintage.

This method of using a lattice door kept the house and the people inside, as well as all of his possessions, safe. Instead of making a door handle or knob, a leather thong or piece of string or cord was placed around the bar, and a small hole was made on the side of the door. By pulling the cord, the grilles were lifted, meaning that someone could come in and out.

The screw and string method is not practical because it takes too long to loosen the screws and repeat them when you leave the house. A lock can accompany the outer door handle to ensure security, but the door handles themselves can be left outside the building to ensure easy access.

Door Fact #9: There Is A Village In India Where Doors And Locks Don’t Exist!

A town in India where the villagers do not worry about security threats because they steadfastly believe that they can rely on the god of their village might be difficult to imagine but it does exist!

door in india with no lock

Shani Shingnapur in India’s Maharashtra state is based on a 300-year-old legend. Shani, the god of Saturn, appeared in a dream to the village chief and revealed himself as his own idol. He blessed the leader and promised to protect them from all dangers, but he had one condition: the deity ordered that a plate be kept at the door of every village where he would dwell from now on. It was believed that the rock and its colossal power protected them and continued to watch over them unhindered. This heavy black slab of rock is located in the Panasnala River, which runs through Shani Shingnapur Village, a small village in Chhattisgarh, India.

After installing the huge slab on a roofless platform in the heart of the city, the villagers decided to remove their door locks. They no longer needed them because they believed that it was no longer necessary when their Lord was watching over them, and this is how the tradition continued for generations. Even the public toilets in the village square have only a thin curtain at the entrance to ensure privacy. New buildings must follow protocol too, but not all. 

United Commercial Bank recently opened India’s first lockless branch, installing a transparent glass entrance with a barely visible electromagnetic lock to accommodate the beliefs of villagers. The police station, which opened in September 2015 and has not received a single complaint from villagers, who do not have a front door.

Door Fact #10: Sliding Doors Are Not New!

When it comes to sliding doors, you’d think they were a modern invention. However, the first ones were used in Ancient Rome

Some sliding doors are supported by a rail fixed on the wall, but the most commonly used system is a “top-hung” system. They hang from the ceiling and take up little space to open wide, saving a lot of space in the house. They also make it easier to move the doors, as they open simultaneously with the walls of the building, saving space.

sliding barn door

The door’s estimated weight can be a decisive factor in determining a suitable sliding system, as most sliding door gear suppliers can give you some advice on the weight of the doors.

The most popular form is “simple threshold ramp,” which is a 60mm wide floor-mounted plastic track that is fixed underneath the door at the midpoint of its run. The bottom of the door has a groove that runs over this track, stopping the door from moving to the side. 

This functionality was used to create the patio doors we know today, as well as many other types of doors. These sliding doors run along the wall, mounted on rails, and open and close simultaneously with the walls of the building.

Sliding Glass or Patio Doors originated in the pre-war period at the turn of the twentieth century and were extensively built before the outbreak of World War II. Historians believe these doors were inspired by Japanese Shoji doors, which are transparent sliding doors with a wood frame.

To ensure longevity, less durable parts were replaced with glass and sturdy materials. At the time, new architects and manufacturers wanted to create a smooth transition between the landscape and the house. Their concepts evolved into trackless systems. In hotels, condominiums, and apartments, these Patio doors became the “it” doors.

So, as you can see, patio doors have come a long way from their beginnings in ancient Rome. They are also available in a variety of designs nowadays from French sliding doors, bifold doors, to the classic multi-panel sliding glass doors. Interested in more info about exterior sliding doors? Check out our sliding glass doors for your home.